RFPs can be laborious and time consuming to respond to and manage — yet they are one of the most important tools in the world of hotel management.
Request for proposals (RFPs) have become the standard for kicking off the event planning process. As we head into the future, we can expect technology to further speed up the workflow significantly for both venues and planners.
What is a hotel RFP?
In the hotel industry, an RFP is a request for proposal that is submitted by a buyer, which in many cases is an event planner.
The RFP is intended to clearly outline everything that the buyer is looking for including meeting space requirements, the length of the event, and the expected number of attendees.
Download your Hotel RFP Template [Free 2023 Proposal]
Your hotel’s proposal is your chance to really sell your venue and show prospective clients that you’re the best destination for their event.
Because of its importance, your RFP response needs to include anything and everything that a client may need to know about you in order to make their decision.
Download our free Hotel RFP template for a detailed outline of everything you need to include, such as:
- Overview and event summary
- Services section
- Visuals and multimedia
How to win more RFP bids?
The best RFP software will let you automate the following strategies so you can respond fast and win more bids. Win more RFP Bids by following the below steps:
1. Prioritize Incoming RFPs for Faster Responses
If you’re like most hoteliers and event planners, you’re inundated with a huge volume of RFPs coming in from online channels like Cvent and StarCite, over the phone, via email, and even fax.
With an influx of RFPs, many hotel sales teams try to prioritize the larger, more profitable events — ignoring the growing volume of small group RFPs that could help fill function space and maximize revenue
Still, even when prioritizing the larger events, hotels struggle with response time and lack an efficient way to quickly identify the leads worth responding to. After all, not every event is the right fit for every hotel or event venue.
And if you get an RFP through Cvent or a similar channel, you know that there are at least 10 other hotels that just received the same one. With fierce competition. you need a way to quickly assess and respond to the RFPs most likely to generate revenue for your business.
Hotel RFP management software gives you this ability by helping you:
- Quickly assess every incoming RFP.
- Automatically route RFPs to the appropriate sales representative.
- Respond to the RFPs that make sense for your business within minutes.
Speed, without sacrificing quality and accuracy, is the name of the game when it comes to RFPs. Based on a review of submissions and responses generated through MeetingBroker — an RFP management software program — 72% of first responders win the business.
2. Personalize Your Proposals
It’s no secret that personalization matters in the hospitality industry. The guest experience isn’t the only thing that should be considered when implementing these efforts; the RFP process could also benefit from a dose of personalization.
With so much information already available online, you must be able to provide value beyond what can be found on your consumer website. By integrating your online RFP solution with your sales and catering system, you can create auto-generated and customized proposals that include group-specific details for the business you’re trying to win.
For example, hotel RFP software includes standard and customizable templates tailored for specific event types — a wedding RFP template might include different fields and use different language than a corporate event RFP template.
As research points out, consumers are spending 45% of their time independently researching their options online and offline before they reach out for more information. Additionally, the number of decision makers engaging in the process now averages at 6.8 and they’re spending an additional 22% of their time discussing their options.
This is why it’s so critical to respond with very targeted and personalized proposals that are written specifically for the type of event the prospective client is looking to host. This level of personalization will help the client gain a clear understanding of your hotel’s ability to deliver a successful event and experience.
3. Track Customer Access in Real Time & Engage Promptly
One way to differentiate from the competition is with superior accessibility and follow-up.
Certain hotel RFP management tools give you the ability to interact with your clients in real time. Once a prospect engages with your hotel, subsequent client interaction with the RFP kicks off an alert so that you’re able to respond almost immediately. This not only helps engage the client, it also streamlines the process and ensures all facts are captured correctly.
When you drive a high level of customer satisfaction through the sales cycle, you have a better chance of winning the business. Plus, this can ensure that customers not only return but share their experience with their friends and colleagues, helping you generate referral business.
4. Track All Leads & Improve Future Prospecting
Additional value can be gained by leveraging integration between your RFP management software and your sales and catering solution.
Imagine a scenario where your sales team has identified a group need period over future dates. Because you have access to historical RFP data, you can quickly identify groups that have historically shown interest in your property for this time period. Armed with this information, you can reach out to these groups to inquire about future engagements that can help fill your need period.
Or, maybe there’s a particular group you were interested in booking but they signed with a competitive property in your market. By fully understanding this group’s needs and expectations based on the RFP data you have preserved, you can create a “trace” in your sales and catering system to follow up with them for future business.
With all leads stored in a centralized location, your team is empowered to effectively track production, identify areas for growth, and plan for future prospecting.
5. Keep the Business in Your Portfolio: Share Your RFPs with Sister Properties
If your hotel is part of a larger hotel group, you can leverage RFP tools to share information across properties. This is often an overlooked opportunity for hotels that care about their brand portfolio and are looking to deliver superior customer service.
Say there are two large companies looking to book your property for the same dates. Either you’re unable to accommodate both parties or you find it unwise to book them for the same property on the same date due to the nature of their competing businesses or ideologies. With RFP software, you can easily look at availability across properties and refer one party to that property, ensuring your hotel group still retains the revenue.
6. Hotel RFP technology and software
Hotel RFP management software is transforming the hospitality industry. It’s now easier than ever for hoteliers and event planners to manage the RFP process and win more RFP bids. Hotel RFP management tools can help hoteliers handle and respond to leads quickly and efficiently. These tools might actually get you excited about the bidding and negotiating process and can ultimately help you identify the right business for your property. In the end, you’ll win more deals in less time and with less effort.
Hotel RFP technology and software is designed to streamline the process of negotiating hotel rates between corporate travel buyers and hotel suppliers. The software automates the entire RFP process, allowing travel managers to request and receive hotel rate proposals from multiple properties in a standardized format, while also enabling hoteliers to respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently.
Hotel RFP technology and software typically offer a range of features such as customizable RFP templates, supplier data management, bid analysis tools, and reporting capabilities. These features help travel managers to efficiently manage the RFP process, identify cost savings opportunities, and track supplier performance over time.
In addition to simplifying the RFP process, Hotel RFP technology and software can also help to improve transparency and communication between travel buyers and hotel suppliers. By providing a centralized platform for all RFP-related data and communication, the software ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page throughout the negotiation process.
Overall, Hotel RFP technology and software can help travel managers to save time, reduce costs, and improve the quality of their hotel supplier relationships. With the right software solution in place, companies can ensure that they are getting the best possible rates and service from their hotel partners, while also minimizing the administrative burden associated with managing the RFP process manually.
Amadeus Meeting & Event Distribution – MeetingBroker is the industry-leading platform for group business distribution that helps venues increase their number of online leads. It enables meeting planners to use online distribution channels to submit inquiries and RFPs for their events to venues.
RFP Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What information is included in a hotel RFP?
A: Typically, an RFP will include items like contact information, event dates, catering requirements, technology needs, the number of rooms or meeting spaces needed, and any other relevant event information.
Q: With hotel RFP management software, how do event planners send RFPs?
A: With software like MeetingBroker, planners can submit RFPs through a hotel’s consumer-facing website or even their Facebook page.
Q: What is the best way to reply to RFPs?
A: Competition in the hospitality industry is intense and static PDF replies won’t cut it anymore. Proposal software, such as eProposal, helps venues create memorable RFP responses with dynamic content, rich graphics, and multimedia options. Hotels will have everything they need to make sure their proposal stands out from the crowd.
Q: What factors should be considered when evaluating responses to an RFP?
A: When evaluating responses to an RFP, factors such as price, hotel facilities, location, reputation of the hotel, and the quality of the response (clarity, completeness, and presentation) should be considered. You should also look at the flexibility of the hotel in accommodating special requests, and their commitment to service.
Q: How can a hotel ensure its RFP response stands out?
A: To ensure an RFP response stands out, the hotel can offer a detailed and personalized response, showing a deep understanding of the client’s needs. Including testimonials or case studies from similar previous events can also be beneficial. Finally, presenting the proposal in a visually appealing way, using high-quality images and videos, can make the proposal more memorable.
Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a hotel RFP?
A: Some common mistakes to avoid include not providing enough information about your event, leaving out key details such as budget or specific room and catering requirements, and not giving enough time for hotels to respond. It’s also important to communicate clearly and effectively, to prevent any misunderstandings.
What’s Next in Event RFP Technology?
The qualified RFP is emerging as the next iteration of the digital RFP. Qualified RFPs enable properties to share relevant information with planners, while the venue maintains complete control of the booking process. For example:
Availability and Pricing
As a planner, one of the biggest challenges is trying to figure out whether a hotel has event space available on a particular date and what they can deliver within the meeting budget. The properties that provide these critical details upfront, updating in near real-time, will receive RFPs that are better aligned with their business and more likely to close. The planner can also feel confident that the destination is more likely to respond quickly and fulfill their event vision.
Group Rates and Add-ons
Negotiated rates (package pricing) simplifies the booking process by defining an experience that the planner can visualize. By providing packages to support different types of events along with optional add-ons like upgraded food and beverage, parking etc., you’ll give planners a better idea of the end-to-end experience they can provide their guests, while generating profitable upselling opportunities for your property.
Advances in event technology have to allow for a more connected workflow between venue and planner. Properties leveraging software to capture more qualified RFPs or offer direct bookings will stand out from the competition, get the attention of planners, and win more repeat business.
Interested in growing your group business in the future or in event RFP technology? Contact us, we’ll help you review your technology options.
Finally, be sure to visit our ultimate guide to grow events and group business for an all-encompassing rundown of events, sales and catering tips, data points and best practices.