Don’t make your event supplier crazy with your RFP…
There’s the common misconception that event suppliers are giddy with delight when they receive a new RFP from a client and that they are falling all over themselves to respond quickly. Often that isn’t actually the case-most often when an event planner has neglected to include key information that the supplier needs to be able to craft the RFP repsonse you’re looking for. Be a good partner to your supplier by offering up as much detail as possible when creating RFPs for your suppliers.
There are some important items that should be included in every meeting and event RFP.
- Detailed Program Information. Include as much information about the program as possible. If this is a program or event that has been held in the past, try to give your supplier some history about previous years. Tell your supplier about the objective of the program so they understand what you’re trying to accomplish. The more they know and understand about your program will help them to tailor an RFP response that meets your needs.
- Attendee Demographics. Demographics of the attendees is always helpful and can guide your supplier in proposing events, activities and other options that are appropriate to your group.
- Dates. Expected dates of your program and any events you’re asking your supplier to submit a proposal for. Dates can impact availability and pricing significantly.
- Detail or Estimates. Tell your supplier how much detail do you expect back from them-are you looking for a very specific proposal or are you ok with estimates and high level ideas?
- Contract Clauses. Make sure to tell your supplier if there are specific contract clauses you will need to include or other non-negotiable concessions and expectations.
- Budget. We all hate to show all our cards, but there’s nothing more frustrating for a supplier than to have no idea of budget. They all know you want their best price, but your budget allows them to select options that you can afford. Most suppliers will also break out additional options and upgrades so you can decide if you have the wiggle room in your budget for more bells and whistles. Even giving a budget range to a supplier can help them in their response.
- Response Due By. Clearly communicate to your supplier when you expect them to respond to your meeting and event RFP and don’t forget to do the same for them. Make sure they know when you expect to make a decision. Some suppliers may have put holds on space, activities and more with the hopes that they hold the winning proposal.
- RFP Format. How do you want the information returned to you? Is there a specific format you need them to use?
- Review Process. Let your suppliers know how RFPs are going to be considered. Do you have a client that is going to review their proposals? Is a committee involved?
- Additional Applicable Information. Depending on what your RFP is for (hotels, DMC services, A/V needs, etc), you may need to include additional information for your suppliers such as what your meeting space and sleeping room needs are, manifests for transportation or show schedules and agendas. Remember, the more information you can give your supplier, the better their proposal back to you will be.
Using these basic guidelines can help to make the RFP process go much more smoothly for you and your event suppliers.
Planners-what drives you crazy when working with suppliers on RFPs?
Suppliers-anything else you’d like to see from clients when receiving RFPs from them?
image credit: Ashley Sturgis
WHO? Chief Imaginator at the Event Nerd, former Special Event Magazine”30 Under 40” recipient, and award winning event producer.
WHY? The Event Nerd is a passionate advocate for bringing new technology into event experience, and covers everything from conference coverage to event marketing to everyday tech and words of wisdom.
@DahliaElGazzar, Dahlia El Gazzar
Who? Founder of event marketing consulting agency DAHLIA+, creator and curator of the popular DAHLIA+ Daily newsletter, in demand public speaker, and CMP.
Why? No one quite has the pulse on the tech side of the industry like Dahlia, who is never afraid to share her passion on apps and social media.
@MeetingPool, The Meeting Pool
WHO? A company dedicated to bringing meeting and event professionals into the 21st century through open dialogue.
WHY? Think of them as the event tech world’s water cooler. Great conversations, advice and industry banter begins here, and there’s no easier way to keep up than adding them to your Following list.
@CorbinBall, Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP
WHO? Owner of Corbin Ball Associates, producer of Corbin Ball Daily and the Tech Talk newsletter, frequently named one of the Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by leading publications, and established speaker, consultant and writer.
WHY? Between running one of the largest tech focused meeting websites and traveling to speak at events, he somehow manages to also share breaking news and thought provoking content with followers on a daily basis.
@BearAnalytics, Bear Analytics Inc.
WHO? An innovative company bringing sharp data analytics to the events industry.
WHY? They aren’t just tooting their own horn, they’re a content source and passionate advocate for all technologies bringing real measurement, ROI and efficiencies to the industry.
@JessicaLevin, Jessica Levin, CMP
WHO? President and Chief Connector for Seven Degrees Communications, with a background in professional services, association management and marketing.
WHY? She’s got a unique voice, loves connecting people, and keeps up to date on the latest event industry buzz.
@EventTechAwards, The Event Tech Awards
WHO? The annual Event Technology Awards in the UK and Europe.
WHY? Their coverage expands beyond their own annual awards, keeping you up to date on all the contenders for next hot new thing in event tech.
@ASegar, Adrian Segar
WHO? Author of “Conferences That Work: Creating Events People Love,” conference designer and facilitator, speaker, consultant and all-around conference guru.
WHY? A strong web presence and a love of efficient and streamlined events brings his newsfeed into the technology realm frequently.
@BizBash, BizBash Magazine
WHO? One of the leading industry publications chock full of resources for planners, marketers and techies alike.
WHY? They have their own specialized Event Technology coverage area and deliver what’s fresh, new and innovative for meetings and events.
@EventMB, Event Manager Blog
WHO? One of the oldest and most respected blogs for event professionals, with Julian Solaris at the helm.
WHY? They recently released the second installment of their popular Event App Bible and they are a prolific producer of white papers and original content for the meetings and events industry.
Are there any twitter accounts I’ve missed? Would you like to add yours to the list?
image credit: George
Following are seven spend analysis reports you need to successfully analyze and act on your meeting and event spend. Whether you’re in corporate procurement and experienced with procurement but may not be as well versed in the nuances of meeting and event spend, or you work for a smaller destination management company and aren’t yet as familiar with spend analysis, this blog is for you!
1. Spend by Category
This report will provide total spend by category, such as Decor, Food and Beverage, Transportation, etc. It should allow you to drill down to the lowest level available, meaning that you can view your spend at the lowest item transaction level, and not just overall by supplier, or a total from a Purchase Order.
Why is this important? You may want to compare it to budgets, forecasts, or contracts to ensure that you aren’t overspending, or to ensure that you’re capturing all of your spend. If you budgeted $125,000 on decor, but the report states that you spent $350,000, you know you have a problem. This report should provide historical data that can act as benchmarking data, as well as trending data. You should also track which categories contribute the largest percentage of your spend. And a spend by category report with accurate, up-to-date numbers will also give you that much more buying and negotiating power with your suppliers.
2. Spend by Supplier
This report will provide total spend by supplier, such as each individual DMC, hotel, transportation company, etc. and will depend on the accuracy of the data. Have all suppliers been grouped and normalized, meaning you’ve fixed all of the various spellings of your suppliers? How many different ways have you spelled Hilton/Hillton/Hilten? Have all parent/child relationships been linked? In other words, do you have all the Hilton subsidiaries linked and grouped together so that you’re getting an accurate total of all your spend with that supplier?
Why is this important? This report will automatically identify your top suppliers by spend and the percentage they contribute to your overall spend. Are you spending significantly more with one hotel chain over another? Is there a contract opportunity with this hotel chain? Are you adhering to your existing contract terms with this hotel? What are the contract, discount and payment terms for those suppliers? Does it make sense to consider a relationship with a DMC consortium?
3. Spend by Month
This report will provide total spend by month.
Why is this important? This may not be important to event managers, and of course it will fluctuate seasonally, but in terms of costs, budgets, and forecasts, this is an important report for procurement and finance.
4. Spend by Location
This report will provide total spend by a location, or for your specific corporate structure could be teams, products, offices, regions or countries.
Why is this important? This report will identify which location, team, product, region, etc. contributes the most to your total meeting and event spend. Where are you hosting events? Are certain locations more or less expensive for hosting events? This report will support an analysis of costs and revenue and identify any outlying issues or red flags.
5. Maverick Spend
This report will provide spend from non-preferred or un-approved suppliers, or depending on the organization, it could also be spend outside of the eProcurement system, outside of an approved catalog or marketplace, or items not included in a contract.
Why is this important? Any spend that is designated as maverick spend will cost the company significantly. Spend with a non-preferred supplier may be less, but a rebate opportunity was missed, or the processing costs are higher. Spend outside of the eProcurement system will result in additional processing and resource costs. Spend outside of an approved catalog, or not included in a contract, will cost more than items that have been negotiated with your suppliers.
6. Pareto Analysis
This report will provide the 20% of suppliers that make up 80% of your spend.
Why is this important? Some companies only manage the 20% of suppliers that make up 80% of their spend, since this is the easiest to manage – a small number of suppliers that make up a large percentage of your spend. The remaining 20% of your spend is referred to as tail-spend management. The cost and resources needed to manage this bottom 20% often doesn’t offset the savings realized.
7. Opportunity Analysis
This report will provide an analysis of the savings opportunities available. It may include supplier contracts that are about to expire – which could lead to better contract terms than previously negotiated. It may include categories or items tied to a large number of suppliers – which presents the opportunity to decrease the number of suppliers. Other opportunities may include vendor rating reports, allowing you to analyze the risk associated with certain suppliers and their alternatives.
Why is this important? Providing a report that is specific to this information allows you to easily make savings and cost decisions that will affect your bottom line.
Are there any reports that I’ve missed?
image credit: reynormedia
Picture this; you have successfully completed your second program with a new client. You were able to manage all airport arrivals and departures for a 500 guest manifest including 10 VIPs, incorporate the company’s brand into each event, arrange and execute offsite activities and all within your client’s budget! This must guarantee you a spot on their preferred supplier list and the opportunity to receive future RFPs, right? Not quite.
Today a meeting planner can easily perform a Google search to find all of their event needs from the venue to the VIP gift baskets. As a supplier, you want to retain your current clients and not lose them to a random supplier that may be found through a quick internet search by your client.
Suppliers work really hard to acquire new clients and to get an opportunity to be recognized as a preferred supplier. But once you are on the “list” your work shouldn’t stop there. Retaining relationships with current clients is a key attribute of a successful company in the meeting and event industry.
Here are 5 ways to engage with your current clients:
- In Person Meetings. This might be obvious but doesn’t happen as often as you may think. Now, it might not be realistic for you to meet in person with your client due to distance, time or financial resources. But if your client is only 20 miles or just a few hours away make the time to schedule an in person meeting. Skype is also a great tool to use if you can’t always make an in person meeting.
- Tweet, Post, #, Like. Social media is here to stay! Interacting over social media is a great way to keep your company relevant in an ever-changing industry and shows your clients that your company is accessible through other forms of communication, not just email or the telephone.
- Introduce Yourself to the Newbies. As a veteran in the hospitality industry, I can tell you from firsthand experience that employee turnover is quite high. Send a quick email to introduce yourself to the new person or the next time you are in the office make a point to ask if there are any new team members.
- Join the Club. The meeting and events industry has a plethora of industry related clubs or associations you can join such as Meeting Professionals International, SITE or International Special Events Society just to name a few. These associations are always putting on networking events. Joining an association would be a great opportunity to learn industry trends, meet up with your current clients and potentially connect with new clients.
- Where’s the Love? You are thankful for your current clients so show them the love and start a rewards program! A rewards program can be as simple as giving a spa day to a client or as elaborate as planning an all-inclusive weekend of fun in Chicago for your client and a guest. Meeting and events professionals can open the door to an array of incentives and gift ideas for your clients so be creative! By showing your current clients that you appreciate their business and value your partnership can send you to the head of the pack.
Remember, just because you scored the program last year doesn’t automatically guarantee you the business for next year. Engaging with your clients can keep you on top of mind when your clients are planning their next program.
How will you engage with your current clients today?
image credit: roland