Glenn Reighart, CAE, CMM, CMP, is a hotelier's dream client. As director of meetings and conventions for the National Association of School Psychologists, he plans major citywides, drawing 4,000 to 6,000 attendees. His requests for proposal take the form of a 22-page document, complete with cover letter and table of contents. No question is left unanswered.
The cover letter clearly names the competition. "It will say, 'These five bureaus also received this RFP today,' " says Reighart. And, it lays out the "rules of the game," including when a decision will be made and by whom.
While many planners provide three years of meeting history in their RFPs, Reighart gives six - in very intricate detail.
Full disclosure is the best approach for all parties, he stresses. "You want to partner with these hotels, so why keep any secrets?"
Be honest about your "musts," he adds. "You need to understand you're really not getting something for nothing, so 'concessions' or 'amenities' are words I don't like to use. I provide one list of 'must haves' and a separate list of 'other considerations,' which are things I would like to have if possible."
Often, some of those considerations are very easy and inexpensive for the hotel to provide - perhaps a full bar in a VIP suite - and represent great value to the planner.
A sample RFP from the National Association of School Psychologists is available here.