Monthly Archives: May 2022

Solutions for Today’s Challenges

As meetings and events are resuming, new challenges are emerging. David Markham, 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 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 

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. 

A Perspective

Industry wide post pandemic permanent changes

Gary Hernbroth

Chief Motivating Officer

Training for Winners

My recent observations from speaking at the World Conference of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) last month in San Diego are all very positive in terms of the industry “coming out of the pandemic.” It felt like a reunion with people greeting, hugging, dining and laughing together in person, coming off a year’s hiatus as a virtual event last year. Vaccinations were required, masks we optional (I saw very few), and you could put either a green, yellow or red sticker on your name badge depending on your level of comfort with contact. The excitement to be together again, learning and exhibiting, was palpable.

As a speaker, even though I did many virtual programs during Covid, I much prefer being in front of a room again. I could read body language better and use more physical gestures, moving around the room to get better engagement than presenting from a virtual office. The audience got a lot more out of it, as I did.

From an industry standpoint, I think the “permanent changes” posed in the question (at least for the foreseeable future) will revolve around:

·        Hybrid programming will add to an event’s costs and is more work for speakers who do it right, but it affords many more people the opportunity to participate, and creates an additional revenue opportunity for the group beyond just those attending in person;

·        Reduced expectations (and in some cases frustration) by customers, in terms of the way things were done before such as hotel housekeeping, staffing and service levels, meal selections and delivery, RFP responses, etc. I’ve seen many cases already where certain businesses just aren’t as easy to do business with as before the pandemic. It takes 4-5 steps to do what used to be done in 1 or 2 steps. Wait times are longer. Service attitudes seem to be very uneven. Patience will be a virtue, but it will come at a price;

·        Contracting and legal issues have likely turned a corner forever. All parties in a negotiation are wanting (needing) to cover themselves against the throes of a pandemic or similar far-reaching event in the future. We’ve had contracting issues before, but after a world episode like this – with no definitive end date in sight – no one wants to be caught in a legal tree shredder over it if they can help it. T