4 Critical Questions Planners Must Ask Before Sourcing Their Next RFP

You know the old saying: the devil’s in the details. When sourcing an RFP, planners should be as detailed as possible. This will not only get hotels to take you more seriously, but it also acts as a kind of filter to sort through any properties that don’t meet your planning needs.

What should I include in my RFP?
Here’s a quick breakdown of some key items to include in your next RFP:

  • Concessions: This could be wi-fi, VIP upgrades, F&B budget and more
  • A/V Needs: Think microphones, projectors, screens, internet and outlets
  • Meal Types: Will you need a reception? Coffee and tea breaks? Want to hit the buffet or do you want a traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner each day?

Next, be sure to include your decision factors. These can be items like:

  • Convenience of location relative to the airport
  • Digital and A/V needs like wi-fi, outlets, mics and more
  • Walking distance to great shopping and trendy restaurants

How many properties should I source?
A good rule of thumb is to source eight properties per destination. If you source less than eight, it can become tougher to negotiate. It’s typically better to source more properties because it gives you more options and allows you to create a bidding war.

How far in advance should I begin the sourcing process?
That’s a tricky question. It totally depends on the size of the meeting, the amount of physical meeting space and the popularity of your destination. If you’re planning a larger-sized meeting, you should begin one to two years out. Any more than two years out and many properties may not want to commit because they’re unsure of what their price points will be. Other economic factors like a continuously-shifting supply and demand also play a role in hotels’ hesitation to book too far out.

For smaller meetings, say a 30-person sales training, for example, three months might be the perfect fit. Or for a meeting with 50-100 attendees, you might want to consider a six month lead time.

Do you recommend contracting with a hotel that is in the middle of a renovation?
This may seem like an obvious “no” question but it can actually be a good thing.  Being one of the first groups to experience a property’s incredible upgrades can act as a huge bonus for groups. Just make sure to cover all your bases with a clause that protects you in the event that something goes awry.

Molly Morris

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