Finding the right venue for an event can be a daunting task – especially when it involves overnight accommodation or multi-room bookings.
One of the first steps in the selection process is contacting hotels to get rates and check availability. You compile all of your meeting details into your RFP and hit send. After a week or so, you may get a response that has details missing, incomplete answers to questions you’ve asked, and uncertainty as to whether they even have the meeting space you need – leaving you essentially right where you started.
But why? Where could you have gone wrong?
The problem for many marketing managers or event planners, is that most eRFP technologies are just directories which have made it too easy to send RFPs to many hotels, which may not even be the best fit. This is called RFP spam. Even without an intelligent sourcing solution, there are still a number of ways you can vastly improve your sourcing process.
Thanks to RFP spam venue sales managers are receiving more business event RFPs than they have the time to respond to. And when they do, your event might not even be a great fit for their venue, and frequently it comes back to you without the level of detail you really need. Try this progressive path to selecting a venue for your next business event. It will save you tonnes of time, ensure that you get complete proposals and the best offers from the hotels.
Step 1: Search broadly (but no spamming). Send to eight to ten hotels and get their room rates, F&B minimums and a yes or no to the question of sleeping room and meeting space availability. This is not the time to get them to respond to your concessions, agree to your addendum, or assign meeting room names – I promise, you’ll get far more value later on.
Step 2: Narrow your search. Based on the first pass of availability and rates, reduce the number of hotels down to five to seven.
Step 3: Inform the venues. Sales managers, start your engines! This is where you begin to energise those salespeople. Tell the venues that made the cut and also let them know who else is on the short-list. Be sure to notify the others that they didn’t make the cut.
Step 4: Put your chosen venues to work. Open up the dialogue and connect. It’s also time to give your “chosen few” more information on your meeting, to include your concession requests, addendum, etc.
Step 5: Narrow again. Yes, that’s right. One more cut down to your top three is critical to getting the most out of your venue relationships. Imagine how motivated those three salespeople will be when they hear they’re only up against two other venues.
Once you’ve completed this five-step process, you will have all the information you need to select the best offer. Make your decision with confidence, pop champagne with the winner, and let the others down quickly so they can move on.
This path will save you time and it will ensure that you get the right information and the best offers from the right venues at the right time along the path.
The author of the article is Miranda Carter (pictured), director of marketing, APAC, at etouches.