May 01, 1998
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio May 1998 Current Issue
May 1998 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

Four Must-Have Checklists

How to Write a Hotel Request for Proposal | Hotel Security | Site Inspection for Accessibility | Site Selection


How to Write a Hotel Request for Proposal

This checklist was compiled with the assistance of Jeff De Cagna, former education manager for the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives, 1426 21 St., N.W., Washington D.C. 20036

The cover letter

  • When sending an RFP to the hotel sales department, provide a timetable for the RFP process. Include the exact date you need the hotel's response and when you expect to make a decision.
  • Describe your decision-making process and identify the decision-makers. Also, let the hotel know what role you play in the process.
  • Discuss any important procedural points the hotel should know up front, such as if the hotel is expected to participate in promotional activities, or whether it is appropriate for the hotel to contact anyone but yourself with regard to the RFP.
  • Give clear guidelines for responses, specifyingthe format you prefer.
  • Group and meeting profile

  • Provide basic information about your organization and participant profiles: Who are your attendees? How long has the organization been having this type of meeting? What are the goals of the meeting?
  • Provide specific information on meeting room requirements, food and beverage, sleeping rooms, VIP needs, ADA requirements and audiovisual needs.
  • Give particulars on sleeping rooms, such as day-to-day room block; history of pick-ups; percentage of singles, multiples and suites; and room revenue history, including dates and locales.
  • Include a wish list of extras, such as airport pick-ups and concierge service.
  • Include any other special needs (language translation, dietary restrictions, floral arrangements, health club facilities, parking, additional security, signage, etc.)
  • Hotel inquiry

  • Ask about the hotel's history:
  • How old is the hotel?
  • Have there been any recent renovations?
  • Are any renovations planned for the dates your group will be meeting?
  • How long has the current management company been running the hotel?
  • What is the experience of your sales or convention services contact? How long has he or she worked at the hotel?
  • Ask for names and phone numbers of three to five meeting planners who have met at the hotel recently with a group size similar to yours.
  • Ask what other groups will be meeting in the hotel during your intended dates.
  • Additional questions

  • Describe the convention services function at the hotel. Is there a separate director of convention services, and does that person sit on the hotel's executive committee? What is the average tenure of the convention services managers at the property? Do any members of the convention services staff have the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation?
  • What is the hotel's overall philosophy regarding meetings business? Describe in one word your hotel's management philosophy.
  • What is the most creative approach you have ever used to meet a client's needs?
  • What single aspect of your hotel makes you most proud? If you could change one thing about your hotel, what would it be?
  • Who are your three biggest competitors? What separates you from your competition?
  • Evaluating responses

  • Was the proposal complete, addressing all your needs? Did the hotel contact follow your instructions? Was the proposal submitted on time?
  • Did the hotel provide dimensional diagrams of the meeting space available?
  • Did the hotel offer acceptable alternatives for requests it could not meet?
  • Does the hotel offer any special facilities or services that would benefit your group?
  • Judge your comfort level. Do you feel like you could have a successful business relationship with the hotel?
  • Were references readily given? How did your peers evaluate their experiences with the hotel?
  • Notes:

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