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I currently consult with corporations and associations that are looking to build effective online strategies using social media to promote meetings and events Keith Johnston I have been in the meetings industry for 15 years I have worked with clients including The Economist, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Pepsi Cola, The State Bar of California and many more companies and associations I am a board member of the Chicago Chapter of Site International I have brought many programs to Mexico where thousands of my attendees have had amazing experiences Today, we are talking about strategies to secure and win RFPs Publisher and Chief Writer for the Industry Blog PlannerWire.net
Your current situation A look at what many hotels and destinations do to win RFPs
Getting RFPs from a CVB or other destination organization What are you currently doing to secure RFPs Sending Brochures? Making Phone Calls Relying on technology solutions that deliver RFPs Attending some industry events This is OK, but it is also the reason you lose RFPs
You need a new equation Winning RFPs is the easiest thing to do if you are securing good RFPs
Forward Thinking + Strategy = Quality RFPs Quality RFPs convert faster to a sale The most effective strategy to winning RFPs is to start long before a planner ever sends you the RFP
How do you secure and win quality RFPs 5 Simple Ideas
Be 100% clear about numbers in the proposal Get out of bad habits to win RFPs Return the RFP on time Return the RFP according to instructions Do not try and hide or bury costs Do not try and deceive SPELL EVERYTHING OUT Biggest Problems Meeting Planners “Know” They Have with the RFP process -
Winning and securing RFPs is more than a technology solution. Technology is a tool; you should have many tools in your toolbox to get good RFPs You cannot build a house with just a hammer
A relationship is the most important tool to secure and win RFPs “Relationships! We all got ‘em, we all want ‘em. What do we do with ‘em?” --Jimmy Buffett
Patience and Understanding The keys to a successful sales relationship Honesty Peer to Peer Interaction Respect Trust
If you are not building relationships, you are losing RFPs to hotels and destinations that are.
When you have a relationship A planner will give you more information than they give others A planner will let you revise the RFP A planner overlook simple mistakes A planner will choose your property even if it costs more A planner will fight to give you the business A planner will be more honest about the RFP process
This process is good but slow How do you start the relationship? You can meet planners at industry events You can meet planners on site inspections There is a better way
Use social media to find and interact with planners Social Media is an untapped market for most hotels and destinations Hotels and destinations that are using social media properly are winning RFPs Social media builds HONEST relationships with planners Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all you need Allows you to be in contact with hundreds of planners on a daily basis A planner will buy from who they know
Stop answering RFP’s that you will not win Planners price point is too low Identify if the meeting planner is fishing Program does not fit your property Concentrate on RFPs that are in your sweet spot Respond to ALL RFPs (even those you turn down, explaining why you are not submitting)
If you are wasting time on RFPs that you cannot win, you are losing the time to properly win GOOD RFPs
Facts and figures are confusing Violence and H1N1 issues in the case of Mexico Confront the media head on Americans are the smartest stupid people in the world Stick to simple to understand narratives Other destinations should do the same – The Gulf Coast, Japan, etc.
You must confront the media issues facing your destination because other destinations are using it against you to win RFPs
Question Would you let this man operate on you? Then why would you book a resort destination from this man?
Khakis and a simple button down are perfect Wardrobe has a lot to do with winning RFPs American Meeting and Event Planners are more casual than in other parts of the world Leave the suit at home, it makes Americans uncomfortable (suits usually mean bad news) Sell me your destination by what you wear
If you are not dressing for success, you are losing the battle with other destinations and properties
Stop Answering BAD RFPs The Wrap Up Eliminate Bad Habits Build relationships Confront the American Media Dress for Success