For every hotel request for proposal (RFP) that hits your inbox, there’s a harried meeting or event planner on the other end who’s tasked with sorting through the responses. Help your RFP stand out from the pack with the following RFP solutions.
RFP Solution #1: Get Digitally Interactive
Don’t let your content just sit there. Beef up your web site with both SEO-friendly copy and features that engage visitors. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Virtual Tour—This can be as simple as picking up your camera to do a video walk-through, or as sophisticated as hiring a videographer and web designer to create an interactive virtual tour that lets customers decide where to go. Develop your virtual tour with an eye toward features that interest meeting planners—such as meeting room choices, high-tech extras, business centers, food service, on-site amenities, and nearby attractions and restaurants.
- Surveys—Want to know what meeting planners are seeking? Ask them! Most people are happy to give an opinion when asked, and you can make it easy by asking in the form of multiple choice, clickable survey questions.
- Exclusive Web Site Promotions—Reward meeting planners who visit your web site with promotions and deals they can’t get elsewhere.
RFP Solution #2: Hone Your RFP Response Time
All business meeting planners have one thing in common: they’re under deadline pressure. Don’t let RFPs, either paper or digital, languish in a pile waiting for your response. Quickly review each one and prioritize them based on the planners’ deadlines, not yours. Responding promptly—and addressing specific questions clearly and concisely—tells planners you take their needs seriously.
In addition, if you’re using an electronic request for proposal (eRFP) network, adjust your settings so you’re notified immediately when an RFP hits your account. Once-a-week batch notifications won’t cut it.
RFP Solution #3: Focus on ‘Clearly and Concisely’
If a meeting planner asked about the availability and features of a fitness center, remember that they didn’t ask about playgrounds, pools, or pet-friendly facilities. Don’t pile on unnecessary, extra information. On the other hand, if you can provide useful information that the planner didn’t think to ask that is relevant to the RFP, don’t hesitate to include it.
You can also add useful information without cluttering up your RFP response by including it in the form of attachments. You might cover topics such as FAQs, facility and area maps, typical food/beverage requirements for similarly sized events, detailed photographs of the venue, table and equipment layout options, and even press releases and comments from satisfied customers.
RFP Solution #4: Negotiate with a Smile
If you’re reading through an RFP (and you should read them in their entirety) and notice a long list of demands for concessions on your part, don’t assume the meeting planner isn’t open to negotiation. Contact the planner and show that you’re willing to make an effort to address the wish list. Even if you end up not having the lowest price, you’ll leave the impression that service is your number one priority.
RFP Solution #5: When Rejected, Regroup
“No” doesn’t always mean no. It might mean “not yet.” Take a look at the RFPs for clients who went elsewhere. Do they all have something in common? Follow up via email or a phone call in a friendly, professional manner to find out the top reasons meeting planners didn’t choose to hold their meeting or event at your hotel. For example, if one planner out of a hundred said your prices were too expensive, that’s probably not a high priority for you to look into changing. However, if 20% had something to say about your prices, then it’s time to start evaluating your price structure.
RFP Solution #6: Pre-Enter Details
Giving each RFP individual attention doesn’t mean you have to spend long hours laboring over your responses. eRFP systems are often equipped with ways to provide meeting planners with pre-determined information without your having to hand-enter it over and over again. Pre-entering details like venue size, room dimensions, costs, tax details, and more will free up the time needed to provide the customized attention meeting planners crave.
If you need help with additional RFP solutions, contact SmarteHotels.com today. Our RFP Solutions Team can help manage your RFP program.