As meetings and events are resuming, new challenges are emerging. David Markham, ConventionPlanit.com co-founder, sheds light on the most frequent sourcing concerns challenging meeting professionals today and how RFP Valet® is especially helpful.
What challenges are you hearing from meeting professionals today?
Staffing! Both meeting and hotel sales departments likewise are understaffed, causing communication bottlenecks. Hotel revenue managers typically approve room rates quoted which also stalls the process. We can minimize this by extending the RFP response. Recognizing that limiting the number of destinations in order of preference from which to obtain quotes can be effective for both parties.
Limited Space! In many areas, it’s a sellers’ market because of the rebooking of previously cancelled meetings. Hotels are being careful with room blocks and rates. We emphasis why an RFP should be considered and responded to promptly. To obtain the approval of the hotel’s revenue manager we suggest providing food & beverage guarantee numbers. The more ammunition we can uncover and convey to the hotel, the better.
Where are the opportunities right now for planners to get what they need?
Flexibility! Understanding that hotels have need periods and everyone has preferred dates, we advise that when putting together the RFP, meeting professionals should first clarify within their organizations what alternate dates that can be considered, including a flexible arrival/departure pattern. These steps can avoid going back a second time to check availability.
Consider both shoulder and valley dates and destinations which may not have been previously considered. Airlift into select destinations in North America has actually increased over the past several months. Conduct research online and compile a short list of specific properties or destinations prior to going out to bid.
How can RFP Valet® help planners navigate through RFP sourcing in today’s unique landscape?
Our experienced team consults with planners and distributes their RFP to designated suppliers, including NSOs. Suppliers complete requested bid criteria via email to the planner. Quotes and concessions are automatically compiled onto a comparison chart with attachments to download, forward or print out their results to present at a meeting. It’s all about service, which is so rare today.
What is ConventionPlanit.com?
ConventionPlanit.com is an easy-to-use search directory and RFP portal that has been serving meeting professionals since 2003. Designed with input from our Advisory Council, our website empowers executives and meeting planners who source their own RFPs and negotiate their own contracts with time saving tools, industry resources and services. There are no commissions or hidden fees to worry about. Paid advertisers are showcased, making the tools and services completely free.
Why should a planner use ConventionPlanit.com?
Having an advocate in today’s new landscape is especially helpful today. We provide a powerful means of communication between the buyer and seller. It saves valuable time finding what’s needed to plan meetings and events. Planners have the option of using RFP Valet®, for tools and services with suppliers, or use the search directory to locate destinations, facilities and service providers. Each listing provides direct contact information, so buyers are in touch with the appropriate sellers.