by Michael J. Shapiro | June 29, 2015
The Global Business Travel Association and the Convention Industry Council together have issued a white paper that combines research conducted independently by the two groups. Improving eRFP Efficiency and Effectiveness for the Meetings Industry examines the use of electronic requests for proposal and provides recommendations for improving the efficiency of the process. Consultant and GBTA Meetings Committee member Shimon Avish described the industry's conundrum with the current process, saying, "eRFPs are clearly a positive tool for the meetings industry, but there is no question that in recent years their rapidly growing use has created significant challenges. We were pleased to work with CIC's APEX Workgroup to create this white paper identifying the next steps to making the eRFP process more efficient and effective."

GBTA surveyed 412 buyers, suppliers and third-party agencies in March 2014, examining the impact of eRFPs on buyers, third parties and suppliers. CIC's research, conducted by Terri Breining of the Breining Group and Mariela McIlwraith of Meeting Change, consisted of 20 interviews with planners who source event locations.

The sheer volume of eRFPs has created bottlenecks for hoteliers and delayed responses for planners. The white paper offers several best practices, including:

• Education of those using the platform, regarding the importance of sourcing the appropriate hotel venues, providing complete information and not over-issuing eRFPs;
• Improved processes, including the use of standardized templates and better communication;
• Limits that reduce the number of eRFPs, imposed via technology or policy;
• Technology that can facilitate the lead-management process for hoteliers; and
• Alternate technology models that can cut the reliance of supplier payments to technology platforms or even eliminate the need for an eRFP entirely.

"We are grateful we could put together the work and conversations from two independent industry workgroups into one white paper," added Christine "Shimo" Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, chair of CIC's APEX Workgroup on eRFP and the managing director of DMAI's "Now the real work begins as we educate both buyers and sellers and strive towards more efficient processes."

The free white paper can be found at the CIC website  and the GBTA Hub.