Key Details Every RFP Should Have

Submitting your first RFP? Here are the basics it should cover.

The RFP process is a crucial step in any procurement process. It ensures fairness, transparency, and informed decision-making for both organizations and vendors. But don’t let that scare you if it’s your first time dealing with vendors. Follow this template and things should run smoothly.

Event name and purpose: Describe the purpose of your event, including your overall goals and objectives. This helps qualified, interested suppliers respond with a detailed proposal to suit your needs.

Event history: Provide background about your organization and any relevant history of the event, including what event venues have been used in past years.

Attendee profile: Describe general demographics, such as age or gender, as well as the relationship of attendees to your organization, whether they are operations employees, sales staff, clients or related professional groups. What have the numbers been in the past, and what do you expect the turnout to be?

Dates: List the specific date or range of target dates for hosting your event. Include a history of dates chosen in the past. If you are flexible on dates, say so, as it may give you more opportunities. Mention whether there are any specific days or times you want to avoid.

Accommodation needs: Estimate the number of guest rooms needed per night of your meeting, such as 125 on the first day, 250 on the second day, and so on. Specify any room types desired, such as single or double, and the number of rooms that may be required for event staff or speakers.

Food and beverage requirements: Detail meal requirements, room needs (meeting or banquet room set-ups and capacities), and any prior attendance history you can cite, to help establish realistic numbers. If you have budgeted a certain amount for your meals per person each day, indicate how much, and ask the service provider to work to your budget. Ask for the dates when guaranteed numbers must be locked in.

Reservations procedures: Tell suppliers how you expect room reservations to be made, such as by the individual directly to the hotel, by a group room list, or a combination of both. Specify if online booking tools would be desirable.

Audio-visual (A/V) needs: Include a list of A/V needed in the past, and whether it has been supplied by the event venue or by a third-party specialist. If this is the first time this conference has been held, what A/V do you anticipate being needed?

Destination management: List any guest services you may require help on related to the event, such as meet-and-greet event, ground transportation, spousal programs, children’s activities, special décor or staging or evening entertainment, as well as the number of anticipated people related to each.

Selection process: Describe how your decision will be made and who the decision makers are – such as an executive group or committee – and when you anticipate making a final decision. Acknowledge if you are gathering the information on behalf of an organizing committee, and who will be the key planning contact.

Billing instructions: Indicate the person in your organization who should receive billing details, and any associated accounting code or project name that should be cited.

RFP Etiquette

A well-executed meeting RFP can serve as an excellent event roadmap, and can help match your group to the ideal venue or destination. But keep these considerations in mind when engaging with prospective suppliers: 

Be communicative. Whether you have an open RFP process or have only contacted a shortlist of suppliers, it’s common courtesy to inform all interested parties of your final decision.

Be realistic with numbers. Don’t over- or under-estimate your needs.

Be frank about your timing. If you need to gather proposals on a quick timeline, but may not have a decision for some time, acknowledge this up front. Some event venues may not be able to hold a room block beyond a certain period of time.

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at vince@meetingsevents.com.
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash 

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