Tag Archives: rfp valet

RFP’s ‘Valet’ at ASAE Annual

This year the ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with extra energy both Sunday and Monday with association planners and exhibitors interacting face-to-face to build business relationships (Twitter definitely took a back seat).

ConventionPlanit.com, already known as a class act,  had a very special booth upgrade this year to explain the popular (and free) RFP Valet service. RFP Valet helps meeting planners easily source their RFPs to the hotels and destinations of their choosing, and organizes the responses on a virtual chart.

Al Rickard, CAE

Our very own live Valet (Al Rickard, CAE, of Association Vision) was on hand to explain how it all works. Al was a “vision” himself in an elegant tuxedo, complete with the customary white towel on his arm. He may become a permanent fixture as David Markham had trouble keeping up with the demand for demos!

Jo Ann Hoffman, Regional Director of Sales, Maryland & Mara Hill Buckner, Regional Director of Sales, Chicago of ConventionPlanit.com

In attendance were also a few of the ConventionPlanit.com Account Managers. “Newbie” Jo Ann Hoffman, Regional Director of Sales, Maryland joined Mara Hill Buckner, Regional Director of Sales, Chicago in staffing the booth.

We also noticed CP.com supplier members Team San Jose, Tourism Memphis, Delta Air Lines and Visit Vail Valley busy educating planners on their destinations and services. AND, for the umpteenth year in a row, Visit Anchorage won another “Best in Show” Second place!

Look for the ASAE Annual to head over to Columbus next year…see you all there!!

Get Organized

It’s been a flurry of activity so far in 2015 as association meeting professionals everywhere have put on a multitude of conventions, seminars, workshops, webinars and other events to serve their members.

The busy season never seems to end, but the spring flurry of activity is now behind us, providing a window to regroup and find ways to work more efficiently.
ConventionPlanit.com has many tools to help meeting professionals do just that, and they are all free to meeting professionals!

Try some of these:

RFP Valet® – To support meeting planners with efficient RFP sourcing, ConventionPlanit.com offers a personal valet to consult with you and identify suitable suppliers. They help you send the RFPs to a targeted list and obtain bidding responses in 24 hours – guaranteed! You can use your own RFP document – no re-keying is required. Meeting professionals love this service – read what they have to say about it.

RFP OrganizationSM – Once the RFPs start rolling in, how can you easily process and compare them? ConventionPlanit.com offers a complimentary, easy to use sourcing tool to make this easy. Track incoming RFP responses on a streamlined, online chart with this free service. Say goodbye to disorganized email responses! Check out a sample chart.

Stellar Tips – Just when you think you’ve used up all your own ideas for future meetings, it’s time to tap into the collective knowledge of your peers for fresh new approaches. The ConventionPlanit.com Stellar Tips Archives offer just what you need! It’s a treasure trove of hundreds of ideas posted by other meeting professionals you can use for your upcoming events. Just type in a keyword and watch the targeted ideas appear in your screen. But don’t stop there – be sure to submit your own meeting-related tips and vote on the ideas from others that you like the most. Each month the Stellar Tip that receives the most votes wins a $100 gift certificate!

Green Meeting Tips – How green are your meetings? What are the latest best practices in this area? Virtually every association today is striving to make their meetings more environmentally sustainable. Meeting professionals need information and advice, and ConventionPlanit.com provides it in our Green Meetings Best Practices online guide. It includes a wealth of industry resources and articles on green meetings.

ConventionPlanit.com Blog – Join the conversation in the ConventionPlanit.com blog, where you can read the latest posts on a range of meetings topics and some of the most popular recent articles in the ConventionPlanit.com e-Alert newsletter.

Testimonials from your Colleagues – Want to know what your meeting planner colleagues are saying about ConventionPlanit.com? It’s easy to find out – check out the testimonials and learn what makes their lives easier and how you can tap into the same resources.

If you need more information or have questions, call the RFP Hotline at 866-922-8988 or info@conventionplanit.com.

Track Your RFP Responses Easily

RFP OrganizationMeeting planners can now track RFP responses more easily than ever before with ConventionPlanit.com’s new virtual RFP Organization platform.

RFP Organization is now completely accessible to meeting planners via the ConventionPlanit.com website.  The service, now a year old, saves meeting planners time by having all of their RFP responses compiled on a spreadsheet.

Now, these same RFP responses are displayed in real time on an easy to read chart.

The response charts display only the criteria the planner requests, and can be customized for each meeting. Planners can even view responses from past meetings with the new online component.

The RFP process has been streamlined for hoteliers, as well – they can now respond to RFPs virtually, saving them valuable time.  This means planners will receive responses more quickly!

Planners interested in using RFP Organization for their meetings can get started here, or by calling 866-922-8988.

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.

Organizing RFP Responses

One of the most tedious jobs for a meeting planner is organizing RFP responses from hotels.

Hotels often send information to meeting planners in their own formats, can forget to include pertinent information for the planners, and on occasion, send a proposal with the wrong organization’s name on the top…and the list goes on!

RFP Responses Piled Up

What is a crunched-for-time meeting planner to do?  Ask ConventionPlanit.com to help, of course.

ConventionPlanit.com now offers meeting planners RFP Organization.

We compile hotel responses for you in an easy to read spreadsheet so you can compare Apples to Apples (instead of Apples to Bananas).  You identify the important criteria for the spreadsheet, and we do the rest!

I highly recommend using this 100% free service to compile your RFP responses for any meeting planner short on time.

And if you find your self wondering what’s the catch?  Well, there isn’t one…it’s our way of saying thank you for using our website!

To get started, submit your RFP here and mention the RFP Organization Tool.

What do you think…will you use this new service?  What other service would you like ConventionPlanit.com to offer meeting planners? Post a comment and share!

Independent Planners Receive Clients Through RFPs

Submitting RFPs through ConventionPlanit.com can now mean more business for independent meeting professionals.

That’s because ConventionPlanit.com is now offering free listings on its site to independent planners who submit at least three RFPs through ConventionPlanit.com.

“We recognize that association and corporate meeting planners with fewer internal staff resources than they used to have are increasingly turning to independent planners for help,” says ConventionPlanit.com Co-Founder Katherine Markham, CHME.

“So our site now helps these professionals connect.  We also know that independent meeting planners have tight budgets, so they are always looking for free exposure opportunities like this.”

TeamworkIndependent meeting planners who submit three RFPs through ConventionPlanit.com will receive a free one-year Ruby level listing.  Those who submit 10 RFPs will receive a Sapphire listing, and planners who submit 20 RFPs will get a Diamond listing.

Each higher listing level offers more features to display information on the site.

“Since we implemented our 24-Hour Response Guarantee for RFPs submitted through ConventionPlanit.com, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in the use of our three levels of RFP services,” Markham said.  “Using our site for RFPs is quick and easy and removes the burden of follow-up from busy meeting planners.  We make sure that connections are made and that planners receive the proposals they need on a timely basis.”

Planners can select meeting sites on ConventionPlanit.com and with a single click distribute an attached RFP to all them. Or they can fill out an RFP form on the site.

Those that want a higher level of service can choose the RFP Valet® program, where ConventionPlanit.com executives will help them narrow their search and provide additional follow-up services.

“All these services are free to the meeting planner and they all feature the 24-Hour Response Guarantee,” Markham explains.  “There are no commissions or hidden fees – we simply connect planners and meeting sites and let them negotiate their own deals. Our compensation comes from the listing fees that hotels, resorts, convention centers, CVBs, and other suppliers pay to be part of the site.”

Meeting planners can click here to learn more about the ConventionPlanit.com RFP services.

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.

Receive RFP Responses in 24 Hours

Researching properties and distributing an RFP is considered easy compared to the most daunting task at hand for a meeting planner – receiving timely responses (or responses, period, for that matter).

As a meeting planner, following up with multiple properties, wondering if your RFP was received, and actually receiving a quote can be an exhausting (and time consuming) game of cat and mouse. But that’s just how the system works, right? A hotel will respond on their schedule, not yours.

All hope is not lost! There is a fast, reliable, way to distribute your meeting requirements through ConventionPlanit.com and receive a guaranteed response within 24 hours!

It’s simple; here’s how:

1. Conduct property research and send RFPs through www.conventionplanit.com as usual (I recommend the fast “add to cart” feature; attach your specs and send to several properties at once).

2. Relax! The hard work is done.

3. Within 24 hours, you’ll rest assured that each property received your proposal, and you’ll know when to expect a response. (The CP RFP Team will send you a detailed summary).

And, best of all, since ConventionPlanit.com is commission-free, meeting planners use these services for free! Visit www.conventionplanit.com to get started, or email ashley@conventionplanit.com for more information.

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.