Hotel marketing staff are sometimes surprised when a meeting planner they worked with, year in and year out, asks them to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP). Reguardless of the relationship one may have with the planner, due to new requirements in place, planners are foced to send out RFPs & receive quotes back.
Do you want to get hotel group business? Follow the techniques prescribed below by Dr. Tom Sant in his book, Persuasive Business Proposals. I have tailored his recommendations to reflect the demands of the hospitality marketing industry.
REASONS FOR RFPs
First and foremost, to compare properties, pricing, and offers. If a planner initiates an eRFP on the Cvent Supplier Network, they will be presented with everyone's pricing and offers in exactly the same way. It allows the decision maker to overlay the offers and compare them very precisely.
Hotelier Strategy: Answer the basic RFP in the time period required. Jot down questions for clarification and if you don't understand a line item, state that on the response. After the initial quote is sent, if the event is large enough, a more indepth conversation may need to take place.
Second, to clarify complex information. Not only is the planner interested in gaining information about your property, but they also want to acquire knowledge about other items, for example:
- Green or LEED certifications
- Wellness options
- Wi-Fi pricing, access points, and support
- AV technology available onsite and rental options
- Food and Beverage
- Ground Transportation
- Information about your city, restaurants, and attractions
Hotelier Strategy: Make it simple and give the information upfront. Provide an executive summary stating that you understand their requirements, what they need, and why they need it. Try to be as non-technical as you can in the summary. Have someone outside of the industry read it to see if it is clear.
Third, add objectivity to the buying process. Some decision makers don't want to have a personal relationship with the hotel sales staff. The meeting planner wants to be totally objective by establishing a scoring system, such as 20% for pricing, 15% for being available on dates requested, 15% meeting destination, and so on. If the organization is large, they may have a consultant handle the responses to keep any personalities out of the equation.
Hotelier Strategy: Write the RFP so it is easy to be recommended. Be specific to the conference and marketing for hotel group business. You want the planner to say, "This hotel is worth exploring in more detail and may be right for us."
Answering RFPs is a lot of work but it needs to be apart of your hotel marketing mix. If you do it right, it can set you apart allowing your organization to increase hotel group business.
Cvent Supplier Network is an efficient and effective RFP tool for planners. Make certain your profile is up-to-date today!