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What Should Be Included in a Hotel RFP?

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Question: What Should Be Included in a Hotel RFP?

Dear Rob,

I am trying to create my own online request for proposal form to obtain hotel bids. What information should be included in a hotel bid?

Eileen DeGrazia, office administrator and event planning coordinator for Integrated Healthcare Association in Oakland, CA, organizes numerous seminars, conferences and events for the association throughout the year. This involves identifying and selecting hotels and other venues for her events. Like many other event planners, DeGrazia would like to develop her own hotel RFP to select venues. What proposal examples are available?

Answer:

It's no secret that hoteliers are always looking for ways to identify meeting and event planners who serve as decision makers for selecting hotels and other venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Many hotels have relied upon online hotel RFP sites such as StarCite, Conventionplanit.com and others to promote their meeting and conference services capabilities. They have also developed their own online RFP forms.

This is a great start. However, many planners are reluctant to send their hotel RFPs through third party search engines. Many planners prefer to submit their requests for hotel bids directly to the hotel and conference centers directly.

DeGrazia isn't alone in her desire to create something that meets her custom needs. Meeting planners like DeGrazia will frequently search a variety of sources to identify those venues that potentially meet their needs, and then establish a direct relationship with the sales and conference services staff who will manage their program.

So what information should planners include in a hotel RFP? A great tool to help planners begin to develop their own forms for hotel bids and other event needs is the event specifications guide and other event accepted practices exchange tools from the Convention Industry Council.

Basic elements for a hotel RFP should include the following:

  • Requestor's basic contact information (name, title, organization, address, phone, email, etc.)
  • Event dates (provide at least two different options)
  • Room blocks needed (dates and numbers of guest rooms)
  • Meeting room requests (dates, room sizes, quantities)
  • Food and beverage requirements
  • Accessibility requirements
  • Shipping and receiving requirements
  • Other relevant information

In addition, the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) provides its members with an extensive hotel RFP tool that event planners may wish to consider. Elements of the NBTA hotel RFP include the following:

  • Hotel facility overview information
  • RFP requester overview information
  • Guest room contract details
  • Size of hotel's total meeting space
  • Total number of meeting rooms
  • Size of hotel's largest ballroom or meeting room
  • Ceiling height for largest ballroom or meeting meeting
  • Does hotel have a permanent boardroom set up?
  • How many people does the boardroom accommodate?
  • Does the hotel have dedicated exhibit space?
  • What is the size of the exhibit space?
  • Distance to the area convention center?
  • What is the convention center name?
  • What is the tax percentage on food and beverage?
  • What is the banquet service charge percent?
  • Are the banquet service charges taxed?
  • Does hotel offer in-house audio visual (A/V) services?
  • Will hotel offer discount on in-house A/V services?
  • Will hotel allow client to bring in outside A/V vendors?
  • How many meeting rooms contain high speed Internet?
  • How many meeting rooms contain wireless high speed Internet?
  • How may meeting rooms contain video conferencing?
  • Is there a fee for using own A/V vendors?
  • Does the hotel accept corporate "meeting card" for payment?
  • Does the hotel offer day meeting package rates?
  • Hotel will offer 1 complimentary room for every ___ rooms?

In addition, it would be helpful to share with hotel sales the type of event you are hosting. This will provide them with insight as to what objectives your meeting may have. For example, board meeting, incentive travel, product launch, training meeting, trade show, local employee gathering, or another type of event.

The good news about working with hotels is that most should be fairly experienced at putting similar events together, and a great sales or catering manager will be able to share more details with you about ways to help event planners meet their goals.

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