Category Archives: RFP

Five Essentials Often Missing from RFPs

Incomplete RFPs lead to delays and less than perfect bids, which can put a planner at a disadvantage in the current seller’s market.

Here are five fundamentals to include in your RFP. By including this information up front, suppliers can respond promptly and offer you the best possible quotes.

1. Date Flexibility: 

Meeting dates should be listed in order of preference, including alternate weeks, dates or patterns you will consider. This eliminates the need for back and forth date consideration, and suppliers can reply just once with availability.

2. Room Rate Threshold:

Pre-qualify the hotel according to the maximum rate your attendees can afford to pay.  Indicating your rate thresholds will allow suppliers to quickly submit a quote or decline to bid.

3. Incomplete History:

Include detailed history for your room consumption and rates paid in the last three years. Include your F&B and other charges. Suppliers will assess your business based on the ‘total spend.’ The more ammo you provide, the better!

4. Concessions:

If concessions are requested, prioritize them in order of importance.

5. Decision Process:

Explain the timetable for the decision, who else may be involved in the process and any criteria affecting the selection process.

Want more RFP tips? Contact the RFP Hotline 866-922-8988 for personalized assistance.

Planners Love RFP Organization!

What are your peers saying about RFP OrganizationSM?

“I learned about ConventionPlanit.com earlier this year and sourced RFPs for both our 2017 & 2018 Annual Meetings through their website. We typically obtain quotes from several destinations, and by using their RFP OrganizationSM tool, I was able to obtain quotes and concessions which were compiled on a streamlined chart.

Their tool made it easy for me to narrow down my search and saved me many hours researching hotels appropriate to host our programs. Best of all, there were no hidden fees or commissions.”

Cheryl L. Jamison, Executive Director
Association for Conflict Resolution
Columbus, GA 

Read more reviews

Have you used RFP OrganizationSM ? What did you think? Comment below and let us know!

10 Tips for Creating Effective RFPs

Are your RFPs being responded to promptly and properly?  For many meeting planners, the answer is no.  It is no secret that our industry is doing more work with less staff, and many hotels are inundated with too many leads and not enough time. 

At ConventionPlanit.com, we see and distribute many RFPs for meeting planners.  Since we connect planners to suppliers, we also understand how to streamline the RFP process. 

Read on for ten easy tips to ensure your RFP will be responded to efficiently and accurately.

1.  Meeting Value:  Spell out the total value of your meeting to secure the best offer from suppliers.  This includes sleeping rooms, food and beverage expenditures, recreational activities, etc.

2.  History:  Provide detailed meeting history, including dates and pick-up reports for the last three years.

3.  Room Rates:  Provide a maximum rate threshold to expedite the quote process.  Specify quotes as net or commissionable, and if commissionable, to whom?

4.  Hidden Fees:  Ask that all applicable fees be spelled out (ie, resort fees, internet access, union fees, service charges).  Are you using a third party to source your meeting?  Is there a fee or commission?

5.  Flexibility:  Where are you flexible? Rates, space, dates or pattern of the week?

6.  Meeting Specifications:  Clarify meeting set-up styles, ceiling heights and audio visual specifications to better assess the amount of meeting square footage necessary.

7.  Contractual Matters:  Where will the contract be signed?  Different state laws may apply.  Both parties must be protected.  Refer to the APEX contractual clauses for specific examples.

8.  Billing Instructions:  What items are ascribed to the master account and who is authorized to sign it?

9.  Concessions:  In order of priority, what is on your wish list?  VIP upgrades or airport pickups?  1 per 40 or 50 comp rooms?

10.  Decision Process:  What is the timetable for a decision?  How is the decision made?  Is a site inspection necessary?  What is the final decision based upon?

Another way to ensure you are receiving the responses you need is to send your RFP through ConventionPlanit.com – you are guaranteed to receive a response to your RFP within 24 hours.  

To get started, visit www.conventionplanit.com or call the RFP Hotline at 866-922-8988.

Ten Tips to Increase RFP Response Time

Frustrated by slow response time to your meeting RFPs? Wish you didn’t have to keep calling to find out whether a property is going to respond?

It’s not that hotels don’t want your business – they do! They want to make sure they respond quickly to potential buyers, but they are often inundated with incomplete RFPs that need to be qualified, or RFPs get buried in their systems.

Meeting professionals can help themselves by following these 10 tips to increase RFP response time:

1. Do some homework and narrow your search to a short list of qualified properties.

2. Include a reasonable range of preferred dates and be clear about which dates are the first, second, or third choices.

3. Provide complete information about the number of rooms, number of attendees, overall meeting requirements, etc.

4. Send a verified room block history so the property can see a strong track record for the meeting.

5. Create a deadline for the response and a realistic time frame for the decision.

6. RFPs are taken more seriously if you avoid looking as if you’re fishing around for rates.

7. Provide rate thresholds for rooms and information on how the rooms will be fulfilled and paid.

8. Indicate how the decision will be made, including the steps properties can anticipate in the process.

9. Call the hotel sales department to ask about the status. Properties interested in landing business should have procedures in place to respond quickly to phone requests, especially if a planner is following up on a previous communication.

10. Consider using an online search directory to distribute the RFP and ensure that properties respond. ConventionPlanit.com offers an RFP Valet® service and guarantees that properties will respond within 24 hours to say whether they will send a proposal and when the proposal can be expected.

ConventionPlanit.com Principals and Co-Founders Katherine Markham, CHME, and David Markham also authored a column on this issue entitled “RFP Response Malfunction” that appears on MeetingsNet at http://meetingsnet.com/technology/hotels-respond-request-0810/. The column also appears in the August 2010 issue of Association Meetings, to be available onsite at the ASAE Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, August 21-24, 2010.

ConventionPlanit.com will also be available at the ASAE Annual Meeting in Booth #941 to provide more information and answer questions about the RFP Valet® service and other RFP distribution options.

ConventionPlanit.com Booth busy at the ASAE Expo

As the attendees of the ASAE Annual Expo headed home today, Maureen Pickell, our friendly blogger from the show, offers some closing insights from the expo hall:

“Planners have been stopping by the ConventionPlanit.com booth in spite of the fact that we are not giving out prizes for playing booth games.

What is attracting the planners is a quick tour of the site and learning about our special RFP Valet American Express Reward card offer for using this service.”

…Well, maybe you can win a prize at our booth after all!

Which Hotel or Venue Directory to Use?

For a meeting planner, researching and booking a meeting is more complicated than selecting the number of rooms and date availability. The planning process is involved, tedious, and often frustrating.

With the rise of hotel and venue directories geared specifically for meeting planners, the process, no doubt has the potential to become far easier…if you can choose a website to use, that is.

The choices can be overwhelming, and many search directories are even adding hidden fees into costs for the planners, or requiring hotels to pay fees for each RFP they receive.

For a planner looking for an honest and free website to research and plan their meetings, check out ConventionPlanit.com.

What sets it apart? The RFP Assistance Service. Planners submit meeting specs, and ConventionPlanit.com’s team of experts research properties that meet the criteria – and send out the RFP to properties approved by the planner.

The properties respond directly to the planner, and ConventionPlanit.com steps in only if the planner asks for help receiving responses. The decision-making process remains entirely in the planner’s hands…and the service is entirely free.

Now, planners can even receive a $50 American Express-branded Reward card for using the service!

To get started, email your meeting specs to info@conventionplanit.com.

San Diego Meeting Deals

The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is making meeting planners several offers that will be hard to refuse…

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

with a variety of ways to save on your total bill, meeting room, and even earn 100,000 rewards –

and some of these offers are valid until June 2010!

Check out these fabulous to save by viewing the Manchester Grand Hyatt’s deals.

The Truth about the Meetings Industry in a Recession

You may remember a recent post asking some questions about the general feel of the meetings industry currently.

Our friends at HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings Mid-America and JSpargo were wondering the same question, and conducted a survey of conference attendees to get some answers.

Here are some of the highlights —-

1. Majority of event planners expect no more than 10 meetings this year, with most expecting 1-5. (This is comparable to last year.)

2. Budgets for events have decreased, but the majority of respondents reported that this decrease is moderate (10% reduction at most).

3. Most use a social networking service (#1: LinkedIn; #2: Facebook; #3: Twitter).

4. Customer Service is the most important booking factor by far (Price, Location and Size of Event Space were consistent factors).

We are happy to hear such positive information and minimal budget decreases, and hope this is a continuing trend. Kudos to the associations and companies who are continuing to keep meeting!

Planners — do you agree with the survey respondents?

Hoteliers — how will this information play a role in your day to day operations? Is it comforting to hear the number of meetings planners will be involved with is generally the same?

Hotels Bringing Out Big Savings for Meetings

If you’re one of the lucky still planning a meeting, there are deals ‘a plenty!

An Associated Press article reports the following meeting deals —

_ OMNI HOTELS: For meetings of up to 150 rooms booked by June 30 and held by Dec. 31, it’s waiving fees of $10,000 or more that are levied when an event draws fewer guests than promised.

Omni is booking 20 percent fewer events this year so far than in 2008, said Tom Faust, the vice president of sales. But after cancellations spiked fivefold in December from the same month in 2007, they’re now stabilizing to earlier levels.

Omni operates 43 hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

_ MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL INC.: For events involving 100 rooms or more, Marriott is offering 2 percent discounts, doubling reward points and easing penalties for individual no-shows.

The company, which has about 3,100 hotels around the world, expects revenue from large events to fall 12 percent in 2009 from last year because of cancellations, changed plans and fewer bookings for new events.

_ HYATT HOTELS & RESORTS: For events involving at least 10 guest rooms, Hyatt offers a 10 percent discount at its 19 resorts and a 6 percent discount at its 101 hotels in North America. There are more than 360 Hyatt hotels and resorts around the world.

_ STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC.: Starwood offers a 3 percent discount on the total room bill and 10 percent discount on food and drink. Starwood’s 940 hotels worldwide include the St. Regis, Sheraton and Westin chains.

_ FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS: For events involving at least 10 rooms, it’s offering 10 percent off total room bill. Fairmont has 56 hotels around the globe.

_ WYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS: For events involving at least 76 rooms, planners can choose three benefits from a list including free rooms, suite upgrades and a 10 percent discount on food and drink. The promotion applies at all 82 Wyndham locations, predominantly in the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean. Wyndham’s parent company also franchises Ramada, Days Inn and other hotel brands and operates a timeshare concern.

_ OTHER COMPANIES: The Kessler Collection, which has 11 hotels in Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, is waiving all no-show fees and eliminating penalties for rescheduling events. Palace Resorts, which operates 11 hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, is waiving no-show and rescheduling fees.