State of Mississippi Tourism Caucus 2008


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Meetings Industry Request For Proposal Response Pointers & Common Mistakes compiled for State Tourism Caucus

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State of Mississippi Tourism Caucus 2008

  1. 1. RFP Response Pointers & Common Mistakes Presented by Todd Whalley to: State of Mississippi Tourism Caucus Tuesday October 14, 2008
  2. 2. What is a RFP? <ul><li>RFP stands for “A Request for Proposal”. Meeting Planning Departments have fewer in-house employees (if any) and less lead time had led to the rise of 3 rd Party Sourcing. Companies like Starcite etc. send RFP’s through their systems of contacts are handled by other companies like HelmsBriscoe and ConferenceDirect with their well earned commission. </li></ul><ul><li>RFP’s are good for getting a lot of responses in a relatively short period of time, but the Planner ends up looking to “DQ” or disqualify proposals—so the main idea for the respondent is to “make the cut”. </li></ul><ul><li>Planning cycles have seemed to get shorter, but with 3 rd Parties involved, sometimes properties & destinations just get them later. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Wherever the RFP comes from it will have the following structure. <ul><li>Identify & answer these important questions that represent the measurables in a Decision Matrix to score better: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the meeting for? Reasons why their organization need to buy a new solution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is their Client / Audience / End User? Third Parties need to know their Clients too...maybe you can help with local contacts or something they didn't think of? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is meeting for? Incentive event versus &quot;Come to Jesus&quot; Meeting. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What they need from you--not only to answer the questions but also make sure it is sent when & where they specify. This section will also include the criteria they will judge your proposal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you hear if you win or lose? This will include dates & deadlines for the selection process. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What are your competitors doing? <ul><li>Meeting Planner Hotel RFP Options* </li></ul><ul><li>Carlson Hotels Worldwide: Same-day response to RFPs with rates, dates and space </li></ul><ul><li>Hilton Hotels Corp.: Direct bookings for room blocks of up to 25 with meeting rooms and services </li></ul><ul><li>Hyatt Corp.: &quot;Immediate response&quot; to RFPs submitted through online template; 48-hour response on properties outside the United States </li></ul><ul><li>InterContinental Hotels Group: Crowne Plaza brand guarantees a two-hour response to RFPs, with a full proposal returned by the next business day </li></ul><ul><li>Marriott International: RFP Web site tool response within 24 hours; rates, dates and space availability within 48 hours; limits number of properties to receive each RFP to three at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide: RFP response within one business day when using online template </li></ul><ul><li>*According to “Rates, Dates and Space: Real-time Meeting Booking? No Panacea Yet” </li></ul><ul><li>by Corrie Dosh Travel Procurement Magazine December 2007 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Reality vs. Technology <ul><li>An estimated two out of three electronic RFP(’)s go completely unanswered and the likelihood of a response drops if a corporation uses an unfamiliar format for its request.* </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Procurement will come in after three weeks of negotiations with the hotel. We have to submit the bid to them and procurement says they have a five-day turnaround, which usually means five to eight days. They want to use a template, but they don't understand the complexities of meetings.&quot; — Shelly Russ, IEEE Director of Event Management Services* </li></ul>*According to “Rates, Dates and Space: Real-time Meeting Booking? No Panacea Yet” by Corrie Dosh Travel Procurement Magazine December 2007
  6. 6. Meeting Planner Pet-Peeves <ul><li>Not responding within 24 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Not filling out what option the response is for </li></ul><ul><li>No reason given for being “unavailable”. Example—unavailability might be because of a previously booked citywide convention that will make it impossible to host meeting at any hotel on dates at destination. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Meeting Planner Pet-Peeves cont. <ul><li>Not listing meeting room name & square footage </li></ul><ul><li>Specify F&B minimum, not just “Required based on Agenda” </li></ul><ul><li>Answer all of the Planner’s Questions—no “TBD”! </li></ul><ul><li>Provide your contact info even if unavailable </li></ul>
  8. 8. Meeting Planner Pet-Peeves cont. <ul><li>Not responding to alternate set of dates—if only available for one put “unavailable” in the other set of dates </li></ul><ul><li>If “available with limitations” clearly state what the limitations are…next to a wedding etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Hitting copy feature (on Starcite) before reviewing RFP closely to ensure answers respond accordingly to the questions asked </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific on dollar amount values—are they per room or, if a F&B minimum, how much. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Meeting Planner RFP Hints <ul><li>Watch due date & decision dates! </li></ul><ul><li>Watch sleeping rooms—and use best rate first—you might not get a second chance. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you make sleeping room comments—talk about upgrades & renovations. </li></ul><ul><li>Include any comp room policies for Staff. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Meeting Planner RFP Hints <ul><li>Make sure to mention ANY extra fees—the Meeting Planner is going to sell their Boss on your response and make their final event budget based on it as well. </li></ul><ul><li>What makes your space great? Special amenities? </li></ul><ul><li>Have your 2009/2010 Calendars handy for quick answers for Meeting Planner phone call. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Meeting Planner RFP Hints <ul><li>After they choose you—ask why . What were the “hot buttons” that can help your property convert future business? </li></ul><ul><li>Use the RFP contacts as a more qualified database to send special meeting packages and hot dates. </li></ul><ul><li>Value added amenities could be the difference. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Decision Matrix Definition <ul><li>A decision matrix allows decision makers to structure, then solve their problem by: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Specifying and prioritizing their needs with a list a criteria; then </li></ul><ul><li>2. Evaluating, rating, and comparing the different solutions; and </li></ul><ul><li>3. Selecting the best matching solution. </li></ul><ul><li>As is, a decision matrix is a decision tool used by decision makers as part of their Decision-Support Systems (DSS) toolkit. </li></ul>Paul Kininmonth, RFP Program Manager, RFP Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc. According to
  13. 13. Reality check—what a Decision Matrix looks like and how you compare: Paul Kininmonth, RFP Program Manager RFP Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc. According to                     ALTERNATIVES Decision Model Hilton NM Marriott SC Hyatt MS Criterion Weight Rating Score Rating Score Rating Score Space 2 4 8 2 4 4 8 Dates 4 2 8 3 12 2 8 Cost 5 0 0 4 20 3 15 Total 11 6 16 9 36 9 31 Rating Description 0 No fit 1 Low fit 2 Fit 3 Good fit 4 Excellent fit
  14. 14. Nuts & bolts of RFP’s <ul><li>Accountability for Director of Sales: </li></ul><ul><li>DOS needs to know when RFP comes in and when responded. </li></ul><ul><li>Review responses before sent to ensure validity—dates, optional dates etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize importance to Team goals for RFP conversions-incentives per or bonus percentage to revenue. </li></ul><ul><li>Small Markets must work harder—provide additional pictures & more info. </li></ul><ul><li>Incremental Revenue = Percentage of Successful Conversions. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Sales Team RFP Training Tips <ul><li>Review elements of successful RFP’s. </li></ul><ul><li>SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)—be brutally honest. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop “Scenario” RFP’s for each market—corporate / association / SMERF etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Build-in special offers & hot dates for optional dates per market. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Sales Team RFP Training Tips <ul><li>Remember—the RFP process is the opportunity to grow new relationships—even if unconverted. Contact afterwards to make sure, although couldn’t host this time, please include next time. </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance any listings on on Third Party Sourcing websites like StarCite etc. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Sales Team RFP Training Tips <ul><li>Make sure room capacity charts & data equal expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes other activities can mean additional amenities—so share with your Partners- ex. Miss Gulf Coast CVB & Ocean’s 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Position your Property / Destination as a small meeting solution-if meeting booked in open space at last minute, use it as the opportunity to get to know Client. It will pay for itself in long run. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Recap <ul><li>Make sure you “Make the Cut” </li></ul><ul><li>Best price first—might not get a second chance </li></ul><ul><li>Disclose ALL FEES so Planner can sell it too </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed responses like room names, F&B minimums & dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest other options-dates & activities </li></ul><ul><li>If unavailable tell why—might save them trouble </li></ul><ul><li>Use process to get to know new Clients for future business </li></ul>
  19. 19. Who says? <ul><li>All brilliant ideas included in this presentation are from: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Rates, Dates and Space: Real-time Meeting Booking? No Panacea Yet” December 2007 by Corrie Dosh, Travel Procurement Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Kininmonth, RFP Program Manager, RFP Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The Evolution of e-RFPs&quot; February, 2007 By Corrie Dosh MeetingsNet Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Maximizing RFP Conversions - The Key to Group Revenue in 2008 and 2009&quot; StarCite Webinar-almost everything else </li></ul><ul><li>Any and all mistakes are by: </li></ul><ul><li>Todd Whalley, Director of Sales & Special Events, Louisiana Northshore CVB </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: [email_address] , (800) 634-9443 (Office) or (985) 966-2824 (Cell) </li></ul>