Archives for May 2012

Hotel Partners: Request for Proposal Success Tips

VenueQuest utilizes an electronic RFP sourcing tool for each client’s event. We take great pride in fully qualifying a clients meeting and providing as much pertinent information as we can before asking a hotel to prepare a proposal. We are careful to prepare custom questions for each booking so that we fully understand your offer.

Tip 1:

Completely fill out every requested field in the response section of the RFP. We put the questions there because the answers are important to our Client. And if you leave large parts of parts of the response blank, your proposal will look very bad when presented in our side-by-side comparison for a Client. On that comparison, it becomes obvious at a glance who is a thorough and thoughtful sales representative and who is not.

Tip 2:

Respond quickly. We provide a Deadline for Responses with every RFP. It is rare for us to require proposals within 24 hours, but it is extremely helpful if your response does come back quickly. Now on the flip side of this recommendation, if you find that the deadline for a particular RFP has already passed, yet you still want to bid on the booking, we encourage you to contact the VenueQuest representative managing the booking and ask if they are still accepting new offers. Very often, you will still be able to send your proposal.

Tip 3:

ALWAYS send your proposal response through the electronic sourcing tool first. That is our primary tool for evaluating and comparing offers, and we cannot load your proposal from the planner side of the utility. If, after completing the electronic proposal, you still want to email or regular mail a formal written proposal, you are welcome to do so. However, please don’t assume you can only email us a rate and be considered for award of a contract.

Tip 4:

Contact us in response to every RFP, whether you are available or not. When processing each RFP it helps to have a response from every hotel we solicit. At a minimum, please e-mail us to let us know you received our request. If you did receive it, but have not responded in a timely manner or cannot participate – please let us know why. For example, you are waiting for additional information or are sold out. It is important to keep up this consistent communication to help build relationships and be able to depend on one another.

Tip 5:

Work with us to plan a hotel site visit to your property with accommodations for one night. Many clients utilize our hotel site visit services. When evaluating a property for a client we can do the most thorough job by staying for a full night. Once we have stayed at a property we can accurately describe it to our clients, and recommend it when suitable. When asked to evaluate two hotels, we may be able to justify the cost of one over another based on our own experience.

How To Save Money When Planning a Meeting Series

Consider alternate patterns

Most groups try to schedule their meetings to take place in the middle of the week. However, if your meeting is only a few days long, try to schedule it towards either in the beginning or the end of the week so that the hotel could possibly book two groups during that week instead of one. This allows the hotel to maximize revenue for the week, and therefore your group will not be looked upon to pay the higher rates needed to meet their revenue goals.

Find great hotels in Second Tier Cities

Love to go to Phoenix in the winter for the incredible weather, but can’t find reasonable rates or availability? Try Tucson! Wish you could afford San Francisco… how about Oakland instead? It is close to all three major airports in the area and they have a great train that can get you to downtown San Francisco in minutes!

Hot dates

Many hotels send us their “hot dates” regularly, letting us know the dates they need to fill and usually offer incredible incentives to clients for booking over those needed dates.

Ensure guests are checked in under your room block to avoid attrition penalties

Organizations are going as far as penalizing attendees for not checking in under the group room block. If an association gets hit with a high bill for attrition, it could force them to lose a substantial amount of money and possibly increase membership rates to compensate for it. This is a good incentive for attendees to book rooms properly.

Allow use of your meeting room after hours

If you only need your meeting room during daytime hours, allow the hotel to book an evening reception. You can substantially reduce meeting room rental this way.

Negotiate important concessions into your contract

Some examples of important concessions are late check-outs or upgrades, it is best to negotiate them prior to the contract. Typically hotels will not accommodate those requests after the contract has been signed.

Share staging materials with other groups before or after your meeting

If you have extensive audio visual or staging requirements, ask about the groups meeting before or after your group, if they have similar needs, you may be able to save on set up or breakdown costs.

Hold meal functions in meeting room

Seek sponsorships

Obtain quotes from outside vendors

Hotels will typically not allow you to bring in food and beverage for your group, but sometimes you can find better prices on audio visual equipment by getting a few quotes.

Consider international destinations

There are fantastic international destinations that are inexpensive to fly to and have extraordinary hotels at fair prices. Call VenueQuest to help you locate a great international hotel for your next meeting!