To get the most out of your eRFP, you have to include the rest of the alphabet.

Posted by Mike Mason

Jul 17, 2012 11:38:00 AM

To get great results from your eRFP, think a-to-zRFP.


This is part 1 of a 2-part series in preparation for a webcast that’s being presented by Successful Meetings and Visit Orlando on July 24, titled “Electronic RFPs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Click here for registration information.

If you use an eRFP tool, fill in this sentence: “I _________ (love; cherish; muddle through; can’t stand; despise; want to shoot into space) my eRFP tool.”

There. You said it. Doesn't that feel better? Chances are, based on the many discussions we've had with meeting planners about their eRFP tools, you were somewhere between muddle through and put that sucker on the next SpaceX rocket launch.

So what’s really going on here? eRFPs are simple enough, right? Fill in some information about your meeting, ask all of the questions you need answered in order to make your decision, select a bunch of hotels to send it to, click send and BAM, magically, the eRFP elf delivers your meeting lead to your selected hotels and you have bids back from each hotel, complete and on-time.

Huh? What’s that? You’re NOT getting bids on time? And they’re not complete? Hold on, did you just say that often you don’t even get bids back? And you’re then forced to send it out to more hotels, adding more time to the process?

The reality about eRFPs is this: it’s not necessarily the tool that’s the problem (OK, some tools are difficult to use, but that’s for another time.) It’s how the technology is used that’s causing such angst. But there’s good news: With a little extra thought, you can avoid the problems of eRFPs and create compelling a-to-zRFPs.

Think like a hotel salesperson
You want timely, complete, and compelling bids from your hotel partners? Then motivate your sales manager to drop everything and respond to your meeting request. How?  By including unique details (from A-to-Z) that will make your eRFP stand out. For the salesperson, this means making your meeting lead more bookable. The more bookable the sales person believes the eRFP to be, the more likely they’ll drop everything and deliver to you a kick-butt proposal that’s complete, on-time, and at a rockin’ value.

(Fact: Most hotels have seen triple-digit growth in lead volume in the past few years, while their closure rates on those leads have plummeted. Your goal is to make your meeting stand out from the sea of leads (aka RFP Spam) that hotel sales people receive each day.)

Your a-to-zRFP: 5 steps to making your meeting more bookable
Step 1: Salespeople are jealous, so don’t date too many hotels. The fewer hotels on the eRFP, the higher the chance for each hotel to book your meeting. This is the single greatest motivator for sales people. But it only works if you tell them. So turn up the volume on your lead by providing each hotel with how many and who they’re competing with, and limit the number of hotels to 6 or less.

In my next Zmail, I’ll deliver the remaining steps for building your a-to-zRFP and creating the most bookable lead your sales person will receive in their day. 

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Learn key tips to include in your Request for Proposal – save time and frustration.

 

Topics: Meeting Planning, RFP Tips

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