Planning a Meeting? Creating a Request for Proposal is as Easy as ABCD

If you’re uncertain about what to include in your RFP — or simply want to make sure you’re covering all the bases — review the four steps necessary for writing a detailed request for proposal.

STEP ONE

Begin by giving the selected vendors basic information about your meeting or group:

o Organization name

o Name of meeting

o Your name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and
e-mail address

o Location of meeting (city and facility or facilities)

o Headquarters hotel, if applicable

o Dates of meeting. Be sure to point out if any of the dates are a holiday. Even if your organization doesn’t celebrate a certain holiday, a union might . . . and overtime and double-time can have a huge impact on your budget. It’s equally essential to check for holidays when planning meetings outside the United States.

o Number of attendees

o Attendee profile. The attendee profile is extremely important when putting together an RFP for services such as tours, entertainment, and theme parties. Knowing the degree to which your delegates have “been there, done that” will help the vendor come up with the Meeting Room Equipment most appropriate events for your group.

o Previous locations (city and facility)

o Deadline for proposals. Allow vendors at least 10 business days to help ensure that the proposals you receive will be as complete as possible.

STEP TWO

List the items for which you require pricing, and remember to be as specific as possible. Let the vendors know, for example, if you would like the audio-visual equipment priced a particular way (a la carte vs. package price per meeting room). We suggest that you provide a template for the suppliers to make their job, and yours, easier. A simple spreadsheet document will help keep all bids in a common format, enabling you to make comparisons more efficiently.

The following is a rundown of major items to include in your RFP:

o Airport Transportation

o Major arrival date

o Major departure date

o Number of attendees

o Specify whether you require individual pick-ups or group pick-ups upon arrival or departure.

o Do you want the meet and greet staff stationed at the gate or in the baggage claim area?

o Type of vehicle requested (van vs. sedan)

o Is a restroom on the bus required?

o Age and capacity of buses

o Do you want driver gratuities included in the price?

o Do the vehicles meet ADA standards?

o Specify the maximum “wait time” for any individual. The shorter the wait, the higher the price since this usually requires more vehicles.

o Do you require a dispatcher at both the airport and the staging area?

o Where will the company stage the transportation?

Tours/Entertainment

o Date and time frame available for tours. Are some days unavailable for tours due to meeting activities? Do you want full-day or half-day tours on specific days during the conference?

o Profile of attendees for any specific tour or all tours (spouses or companions only, children, couples, age, etc.)

o Specific thoughts or preferences on tour options. Have museum tours been very successful with your group in the past? Do your attendees prefer more physical activities like biking or snorkeling or even city walking tours?

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