Crafting RFPs for Meeting Services

Begin by providing basic information about your group to selected vendors.

Always specify whether you want items to be priced in a certain way -- with or without gratuities, ála carte vs. package pricing, etc.

Let the suppliers know what complimentary or discounted items you would like to receive based on your event's value.

Ask suppliers for a list of references, and be sure to call them before making a decision.

The following checklist, adapted from Experient's Knowledge Center, was created by Wanda Kovacs, CMP, a Nixa, Mo.-based meeting and event manager with Experient. Following are key elements to include in requests for proposal for ground transportation, tour companies, audiovisual and exhibit services.

Ground Transportation Primary arrival date

Primary departure date

Number of attendees

Individual vs. group pickups on arrival and departure

Type of vehicles requested (sedans, limousines, vans, buses)

Preferred maximum wait time for each arriving attendee

Preferred location of transportation staging

Whether restroom-equipped buses are preferred or required

Preferred policy regarding driver gratuities (included in quoted price vs. extra cost)

Number/type of ADA-compliant vehicles required

referred number of dispatchers (for both airport and staging area)

Tours/EntertainmentDates and time frames available for tours (full-day, half-day, etc.)

Attendee profiles (note if spouses, companions or children will be included)

Preferences for tour types (note activity level, specific areas of interest)

Types and themes used in recent years, so history isn't repeated

Actual attendance figures from previous tours, to indicate which types are more popular with your group

Minimum attendance required for each tour

Maximum attendance permitted for each tour

Lunch, dinner, snacks or beverages to be provided

Type of transportation (with restrooms? ADA compliant?)

Preference for whether taxes and gratuities are included in pricing

AudioVisual Number and location of concurrent sessions

Hours of use for meeting rooms (during show hours only? 24 hours?)

General session times (including move-in and move-out)

Equipment needs (use last year's list as an estimate if not yet determined)

Estimated tear-down and set-up time required to move equipment among rooms

Preferred number of projectionists, if required

Estimate of exhibitor needs for A/V equipment rentals and service

Projected revenue from exhibitor A/V

Trade ShowsNumber of booths

Size of booths/booth packages

Extras, such as aisle size and lounge areas

Number of registration counters

Signage needs, including exhibit hall, meeting rooms and public areas

Drayage requirements (what is the weight of everything that is shipped for setup?)

Labor requirements

Exhibitor revenue (note how much revenue exhibitors generated for the general-services contractor in previous years)