Hoteliers are celebrating; the demand for MICE travel is back.
As a result, we prepared this list of RFP response tips to help hotel sales managers capitalise on the demand increase, submit better proposals, and win more MICE business.
In this post, we discuss RFP response tips and lead management tools that hotels can use to capture the attention of more travel agents and planners. We explore a variety of ways hoteliers can make their proposals stand out, tools for fast-tracking the RFP response process, and so much more.
Discover 6 RFP response tips all hotels must know
Unlock the strategies, best practices, and resources hotels need to outperform and outshine the competition below:
1. Compare and contrast: your hotel vs. the comp set
Sales managers should work to envision how planners view their property compared to comparable hotels nearby. If your hotel is missing out on MICE business, or losing leads to the competition, you need to know why.
Identify your hotel’s strengths, weaknesses, and what traits or services set you apart from the competition. Create an analysis chart that compares your hotel against properties in your comp set. In your comparison chart, outline key details for each property, such as:
● Number of guest rooms
● Room types/room type distribution
● Full-service or limited-service
● Brand affiliation
● Hotel amenities
● Parking capabilities
● Event space and specs
● Standard rates (i.e., weekday and weekend)
● Loyalty or rewards programme availability
Determine which hotels in your area are best suited for distinct types of MICE business: social groups, corporate accounts, conventions, weddings, and so forth. For example, a traveling youth sports group may find a hotel that has offers a large block of double rooms more appealing than a hotel that primarily offers single king rooms. If your hotel does not have meeting or conference space, it may be more difficult to win corporate RFPs than competing hotels that do. Offering additional perks, complimentary rooms, or other perks may help offset the impact of lacking services or amenities.
In addition, sales directors should regularly scope out competing hotels and pay close attention to how they respond to online RFPs. Analyse your competitors’ response times, turn down rates, win/loss rates, and track area demand using comprehensive online RFP management services.
2. Determine the best business for your hotel
Determine the smallest pieces of business your hotel can take, the largest RFPs you can accommodate, and establish what your ideal groups look like.
● How many MICE rooms can your hotel accommodate on an average day?
● What are your top-level MICE rate goals?
● What is the lowest MICE rate you can offer?
● How much meeting space do you have available?
● Do you have separate meeting spaces or one large space?
● Do you offer food and beverage services?
● Can you host wedding ceremonies, receptions, both, or neither?
● Do you offer digital or tech-friendly services business travellers find appealing?
When you receive RFPs, qualify and prioritise your MICE leads. Determine whether or not your hotel can accommodate the group and whether or not taking the business is the right decision for your hotel. You may find yourself turning down all RFPs for MICE travel during high-demand seasons, and that’s okay. Ranking RFPs allows sales managers to spend their time and focus their energy on winning the most profitable pieces of business.
3. Choose the right RFP Management tools
Worldwide, hotel professionals turn to Cvent to cultivate a steady flow of leads, meet their MICE business budget goals, and improve MICE pickup numbers. Hotels that advertise on the Cvent Supplier Network, or CSN, are visible to the thousands of travel and event planners who trust Cvent to supply their venue sourcing needs.
Cvent also offers a wide variety of RFP management tools for hotels, which include:
• Interactive marketing: In a world where planners often have 1-2 minutes to view a hotel’s proposal, take advantage of Cvent’s interactive ads, branded pages, or build custom MICE webpages to connect with planners in relevant ways.
• RFP integration: Using Cvent’s RFP integration services, hotels can view and respond to all of their RFPs, including requests made on their website directly, at one time in a single location.
• Automated responses: Tap into Cvent’s high-value travel network of corporate buyers with corporate travel RFP tools that automate the entire corporate RFP lifecycle. Cvent’s Response Automation tool scores leads, ranking and grading each RFP a hotel receives, allowing busy sales managers to quickly identify the best pieces of MICE business for their hotel.
• Rate publisher: Automate the rate loading process to view real-time availability and minimise the potential for proposal errors. Integrate your hotel’s property and revenue management systems with your RFP management system to streamline the RFP acceptance process.
• Market insights: Cvent Transient tools provide unique market insights and reporting to help hotels edge out the competition. By tracking competitor bids, the status of RFPs, and marketing where the travel buyers are, hotels are able to improve their corporate sales strategy and win more RFPs.
• Business intelligence tools: Track and analyse real-time RFP data for up to ten hotels in your comp set. Using Cvent’s Business Intelligence tools, hoteliers can review area-wide group demand, proposed pricing, as well as awarded business. Hotel managers can also analyse their team’s performance by reviewing response times, bid rates, and conversion rates for different members of the sales team.
Hotels who advertise on CSN have unparalleled access to buyers and the ability to turn their hotel’s website into a lead capturing machine. Incorporate RFP response tips or management tools and watch how they affect your business in real-time.
4. Optimise your online presence
Planners who are introduced to your hotel through an online RFP service may choose to check out your website or peruse online reviews before accepting a proposal from you. Having a clean, attractive online presence helps hotels attract and connect with more planners. Optimise your online presence by ensuring that hotel contact information is up to date on all booking platforms, that all photos are current, that listing information is high-quality, and that your hotel is represented consistently across all channels.
To boost your online appeal, find and claim all online listings for your hotel. Start by searching for your business on Google, locate the Google Business page for your property, and claim it as your own. If a Google Business listing for your hotel does not already exist, create one. Next, search for your property on 3rd party booking channels, such as Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and more. Refresh your hotel’s profile to highlight key features, include updated photos, add experiential marketing tools, and display satisfied planner reviews.
5. Perfect the “elevator pitch”
Many travel planners and agents have to sift through hundreds of RFP responses when sourcing accommodations. When swamped with responses, busy planners may spend a minute or less scanning your proposal. To capture their attention, write a hospitality-focused elevator pitch, or a quick and comprehensive pitch for your property, that explains why your hotel is the perfect venue for a planner or agent’s business.
Organise a compelling outline that explains what your hotel does best. Use this outline to write your pitch, and focus on creating interest in your property as opposed to selling it. Describing your property’s best features, amenities, services, and highlight the solutions you offer to help planners solve problems they may not even recognise they have.
6. Respond to RFPs quickly
Logging into multiple RFP sites each day to check, read, and respond to proposal requests can be a time-consuming process. As the volume of hotel RFPs continues to rise, response speed will play a vital role in which hotels capture more business and benefit most from the surging demand. Responding to high-quality proposal requests before your competition can help your hotel stay ahead of the curve.
Hotels should focus on integrating response systems and utilising real-time market data in RFP negotiations to stay ahead of the competition. Integrate your hotel’s RFP systems to ensure that all of your requests are housed in one place. Use pre-loaded custom proposals and send polished responses to planners quickly by automating as much of the process as possible. Save time, energy, and make the RFP process more efficient by viewing, responding to, and tracking hotel RFPs in a single online dashboard.
Win more business using these RFP responses
Now that you have the tools to create better proposals, it’s time to put them to work. Bookmark this post for quick reference and employ the RFP response tips we’ve discussed to drive more group business to your hotel.
Next up, we review additional trends that are affecting hoteliers in 2022. From the rise of touchless hotel technology to the limitation of third-party data collection, we cover seven hotel marketing trends affecting the industry and discuss what hotel professionals can do to prepare.