I know the title may seem backwards, but I wanted to start with what are ugly and bad, in order that we can end on a good note! As a person who has seen and created many RFPs over the years, I know what to do, not do, look for and steer clear of, so here goes.
RFPs: The Ugly and The Bad
- Incorrect number or no number of rooms needed per night: This can simply not be. A property will not hold onto rooms in the case that you may need them. The contract they send must specify the number of rooms per night.
- Vague space requirements: Ballroom space is finite. As you add items to the room; tables, food stations, staging, dance floor, etc., you will use up space and then also need room for the attendees. Know ahead of time what is to be included in the room, along with number of guests, then you can determine the amount of space necessary.
- Vague details: Requesting “180 rooms for 3 nights, with meeting space” leaves too many unanswered questions and does not put your RFP at the top of the “to do” pile.
- Be for real: Sending out an RFP asking for no attrition, no rental costs and 50% reduction in food and beverage costs will not be taken seriously.
RFPs: The Good
- Accurate room block and pickup history: This is your key to success! It will show that you are a professional and that you understand your meeting needs.
- Meeting space: You should include the times of your meetings, the type of equipment needed for the space, and the square footage required.
- F&B spend history: Properties will take your room block and your F&B needs into consideration when quoting rates. I know a meeting planner that required ballroom space and only 10 sleeping rooms for one night. The F&B spend history was the key to opening many a property door; her group liked to eat and drink and they had rather expensive tastes.
- Be complete: Your RFP should also include the following information regarding your meeting;
- Description of organization and its mission.
- Type of meeting; board, product launch, annual convention.
- Goals and objectives; education, team building.
- Demographics; age range, gender break down, geographical info.
- Top priorities; budget, amenities, business atmosphere.
- 3 years of meeting history; if you do not have this, contact past properties and ask for the information.
- If you do not have history available, include an explanation.
- Consider flexibility: If you are able to be flexible with your dates, you will have a much more popular RFP.
- Share your uniqueness: What is unique about your group? Do they each carry around 3 electronics that will need to hook into Wi-Fi? Do they want certain types of drink brands available? Are they health oriented? Are they fond of candy? All of this will go a long way in helping the venue to understand you.
- Consider me: I will keep your history for you, send out RFPs that get attention and consideration, and make your life all the easier. Who couldn’t use a bit of that!
Here’s to your amazing and awesome RFPs, Meeting Planners.