What's in your RFP Response Tool Belt?

IMG_6091.jpgDoes your RFP Response Tool Belt contain a personal flotation device? Or is it every man for himself?

Soon conferences will end at colleges and universities to make way for a new school year. Conference and event venues are gearing up for a busy fall as people travel to enjoy cool mountain air and changing leaves, all while wanting to be renewed in an unique setting.

And regardless of your site, Requests for Proposals (RFP) are continually arriving by phone and email.

With the majority of RFPs now received electronically, planners are looking for an immediate response. Sites like Unique Venues and Find the Divine provide planners a centralized location to shop for locations and submit a RFP. How do you keep a handle on all the RFPs dropping in?

Have a RFP Response Tool Kit

Unique Venues recently interviewed Mark Mulder, professor at Pacific Lutheran University and former collegiate conference professional, “to get his expert advice on responding to a lead in a timely fashion.” Mulder provided a couple of best practice ideas to help bring part of the RFP response process under control:

“Have in place an RFP response tool kit. The tool kit could be made up of one person who knows to respond within a certain time frame. Have a procedure in place to give a rapid response. The tool kit could contain a computer system to track responses, a packet of materials that can be sent electronically, or a simple letter with customizable information for the meeting planner.

“Give the planner a call or send an email to let them know your sales team is processing their request. Create a relationship and be known for how quickly you respond to the meeting planners RFP. This proves to them you are dedicated to assisting them and gives the prospective client the confidence you will be quick to respond to their event needs as well.”

Building Your RFP Tool Kit

Social Tables also got in on the discussion in a blog post offering two simple ways to change the RFP process. Geared toward event planners, this post recommends treating the selection of a site as you would in selecting an interior designer, viewing portfolios and “meeting the designer to see if this is someone who ‘gets’ you and your needs”. 

Following Mulder’s tips and the suggestions put forth by Social Tables, take some time to determine what information you wish to send to planners regarding facilities. It could mean re-evaluating your material. Do you need new marketing material? Is it digital?

Pulling your sales team together to set up standards of how you will respond to an RFP will ensure none are missed.

However, the biggest key is to respond. Regardless of whether or not you can accommodate the group, your response may just be the only one the planner receives and it makes you stand out with the planner who keeps your site in mind for future events.

Laura Lafferty

Written by Laura Lafferty

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