Think a-to-zRFP for the best results.
Most of you out there in Zentila-land have told us that you struggle not only with getting timely bids from your hotel partners, but also just getting complete bids. In fact, many times you don’t even receive a response. So what’s going on? It comes down to the current technology and your best friend, your hotel salesperson. Unfortunately, these days hotels salespeople are bombarded with meeting RFPs. In fact, so many RFPs, they can’t get to them all. But wait: These aren’t even real RFPs. Nope, they're what the industry now calls RFP Spam.
Think Like a Hotel Salesperson
In order to change the outcome of your current RFP process and get complete bids with great offers, you need to step into the mind of the hotel salesperson and begin to understand what motivates them to respond -- and more important, what motivates them to respond with a great meeting package. The secret? Make your meeting more “bookable." Below are five key steps to making your meeting truly bookable.
Step 1: Sales people are jealous, so don’t date too many hotels. The fewer hotels on the eRFP, the higher the chances for each hotel to book your meeting. This is the single greatest motivator for salespeople. But it only works if you tell them. So turn up the volume on your lead by telling each hotel how many other hotels are also receiving the lead -- and exactly who they're competing against.
Step 2: Be super-duper clear on how and when the decision will be made. Salespeople are much more motivated to jump on your eRFP when they are clear on the decision timeline. The more details the better. Here’s an example:
”We need your response by this Friday, July 13. We will then narrow our search from 6 hotels down to 2 by July 18. I will let you know who made the cut via email by 5 p.m. on the 18th. From there, we expect to make a final decision by July 30.”
Step 3: Make them work hard – but at the right time. The shorter the decision window, the more work you should ask of the sales manager. So, unless you’re making a decision in the next 3 days, asking your hotel sales person to accept your contract addendum as part of the initial response will likely return either a non-response or a half-baked one. Rather, save this important work for when they’re most motivated to accept your terms: when you’ve narrowed the search to two or three hotels and competition is intense. You’ll be surprised at how much more attention you’ll get from your hotel partner.
“Hi Sally, we really liked your bid and have now narrowed the search to you and the Z Hotel. Congratulations! Now it’s time to sharpen your pencil. Attached is our contract addendum. Please review and respond back by 5 p.m. tomorrow. By the way, we’re still on time for our decision by July 30.”
Step 4: Send lots of love notes.
Said a different way, communicate often. You want your hotel salesperson to always be talking about you and your meeting within their own sales office. There are often multiple potential meetings over the same dates as yours, and staying in contact reduces the risk that other meetings will trump yours. So send little notes keeping them informed so they can defend their turf for you. Thoughtful communication also sets a strong tone when you begin to finalize negotiations.
Step 5: Don’t leave’em hanging.
Always let hotels know if they’re no longer in the running. This builds strong trust for the next time you might call on them. It’s a powerful way to say, “I care about you and your time and want you to move on because I'm going in another direction." Allowing your sales managers to move on to other business is an important way to guarantee that they'll give you everything they've got the next time you call on them.Hotel sales teams are in a state of flux as they attempt to navigate through the sea of RFPs they receive every day. The key for you is to understand this and work to separate your RFP from the rest. The tips today will do just that -- and they'll also start the relationship at a whole other level and drive different results for you, beyond just hotel contracting.
Here at Zentila, we understand salespeople better than any other and have built our a-to-zRFP process around getting you the best results. Every tip I mention here is part of what we do for you, ensuring that your hotel relationships -- and your hotel bids -- are over the top.
- Book your meeting with the hotel you really want
- Get complete bids from hotels on the first try
- How the hotel sales process works
- How to create a GREAT eRFP