by Loren G. Edelstein | February 01, 2015
In what ways could the online RFP process be improved? Here's what some of the respondents to our related survey had to say. See the survey results here.

• ANSWER THEM. If they are not going to get answered, get rid of the option.

• Quicker responses from hotels, attention to detail by hotels, correct spelling in their responses -- it's embarrassing how poor the spelling is, and it carries over to reports to our clients, which we then have to correct. Drives me crazy!

• Not all sites allow me to upload my RFP, and depending on how busy I am, I may skip hotel properties that require me to fill out their online form in favor of those that allow me to upload the one I have already created.

• Live-person acknowledgment and follow-up from the sales assistant at the property -- just so I know it went through

• Suppliers need to make sure their meeting space information is accurate and not overstated. They also need to be clear about outdoor "meeting space" vs. actual indoor space. Warm-climate properties are often misleading about their total meeting space, as they count outdoor space in their meeting room total, which can lead to RFPs being sent to properties that don't truly qualify to host the event.

• Ability to submit a document in place of or in addition to filling out an online form

• Hotels still need to become more proficient in responding to online RFPs, especially in resort/international locations.

• Guarantee two-day turnaround for most properties

• It would be nice to get an automatic response that the RFP was received and the anticipated response time. I often feel that the RFP goes into a black hole and don't know if it was received or when they will respond.

• Don't always get the details needed as terms -- which are half the point! Useful mainly as a starting point, and pick up the phone from there.

• Require properties to respond to all questions

• Often the responses do not put the information in the correct column, so it takes hours to make sure I have the correct information for my reports.

• To have a way to create a must-have checklist that suppliers must check off in order to respond. For example, I had a group that had a specific room size and ceiling height that was needed to fit the set/staging that had already been designed, so it was a must-have. Even though it was noted and highlighted, more than half the responses did not meet the specifications and could not be considered.

• Too many RFP vendors are pushing them as an income source instead of a service.

• Online RFPs are too basic for my larger meetings. We have specialized requirements above and beyond standard meeting space, and an eRFP does not often allow for such to be outlined. Thus I have to speak with the hotels about specific items directly after receiving information.

• Accepting my already designed document instead of requiring that I complete their online form. It takes way too long.

• Improvement could be in how planners use the online RFP process. Flooding the pipeline with too many RFPs is a problem for hotels.

• The formatted boxes make it difficult to communicate specific requirements. Sometimes you can only fill in certain areas of information, and things get left off that have to be communicated by phone.

• It seems like if a hotel is desperate, they will respond. If they don't have space, it would just be nice for them to say they don't have space for this meeting instead of never responding.

• Venues should show why they really want your business and what they will offer to get it.

• Faster response time. It is difficult to use online RFPs when you have a more complex program (e.g., multiple breakouts of various sizes, unique room sets). I find online RPFs waste more of my time as I still have same discussion with sales contact once they respond, and I've spent time completing their specific online form(s).

• None, because I still have to do a site visit. I consider this only part of the process.

• If people understood my needs better

• Electronic RFPs seem to end up in a black hole and don't receive the same timely response that a phone call generates.

• Allow for more flexibility in adding necessary details. For example, say a room for 100 classroom-style is needed, but it also needs to have four 20-foot aisles.

• Eliminate the bias of pay-to-play in the enterprise. How can any sane person expect to adhere to strategic sourcing principles when they use a system that has embedded bias via advertising, paid success fees, etc.?

• A quicker response from properties. Some do not even respond.

• I love it, saves me a tremendous amount of time.

• Contact within 24 hours and a phone call

• This question is difficult to answer because it all depends upon the venue and their process.

• For those that don't reply, some form of acknowledgment is helpful. Being kept in the dark is frustrating. Did you receive the RFP, are you working on it, are we denied? It helps us to move on or sit tight.

• I use the RFP process. However, we do so through an outside agency (HelmsBriscoe).

• Clearer terms, no adding of additional fees

• It depends on if you go through the hotel's online RFP process or through a CVB online process. Hotels are sometimes reluctant or do not respond at all, and CVBs have to send out requests for responses multiple times, thus losing a lot of time. I still get better responses when I call directly and talk to someone. Then follow-up with written requirements. I still feel like the onus of researching the market, the properties available, BEO minimums are still on me.

• Even when the hotel is unable to quote availability, I would like to hear back from them so I know they at least received the RFP.

• There should be plenty of opportunities to enter needs and comments when the RFP online form is not suited to my inquiry.

• Would be nice to know specific reasons business is turned down.

• Only reply if we would actually fit in your property

• Our system is proprietary, thus no need to change.

• A lot of times I end up just calling the hotel, because the online RFP isn't asking for what I'm looking for.

• Often do not know why turned down -- specifics not provided. And more than likely some properties will not ever respond.

• Show parking rates, Internet rates, etc. with hotel profile

• As with any online system, there are restrictions on how information is entered. A standard form does not always make the most sense for conveying the details of my events.

• I've encountered hotels that have been sold to another company, and my RFP hangs in limbo for awhile, until someone checks and finds my request.

• When the hotel responds, they need to include the F&B minimum and the meeting room rental. Sometimes the hotel responds with incomplete info, and then I have to email them and request the info. It would save me a step or two if they responded with complete info.

• Include the CVBs, as they are the most knowledgeable about their destination.

• I would like the ability to create a comparison spreadsheet for my meeting host that shows taxes and services included in the total cost.