Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

Cover Story

How to Make eRFP Sourcing More Efficient

When they first appeared, electronic requests-for-proposal (eRFPs) — with their ease, speed and low cost — seemed ideal for stakeholders in the meeting transaction. Mass eRFP distribution, however, has quickly overburdened the booking process, and continues to grow much faster than the actual rate of growth of meeting bookings.

To improve the outlook, a recent white paper spotlights industry best practices that stakeholders can follow with eRFPs. The Global Business Travel Association’s Meetings Committee and Convention Industry Council’s APEX eRFP Efficiencies Workgroup conducted complementary studies and combined their findings into Improving eRFP Efficiency and Effectiveness for the Meetings Industry.

Prep time. Corporate buyers and third parties take a median of two hours to prepare an eRFP. Suppliers spend a median of one hour to process a lead, but have to ask for additional information 42 percent of the time to complete an eRFP.

Turnaround. Internal planners request venue response times of mostly two-to-three days. Third-party planners push to get response between 24 and 48 hours, since they have to then respond to their clients. This time crunch is a good reason for planners to limit the number of eRFPs sent.

What’s working. Here are some of the best actions internal meeting professionals (and third-party planners) take to control how many eRFPs they send:
• They spend more time being strategic and internally qualifying the event and client needs and expectations.
• They limit the number of destinations/venues under consideration to those that best align with event objectives.
• They create a policy that restricts the number of eRFPs to three-to-five per city and no more than three cities.
• They research and narrow the venues/destinations in advance by understanding local demand patterns among other things.
• They identify preferred activities to further limit destinations under consideration.
• In some cases they send a streamlined request for basic information (eRFI) to a wider group, followed by a second eRFP to the resulting shortlist requesting in-depth information.
• They have relationships with hotel sales professionals and national and global sales offices, as well as knowledge of properties through direct experience or participation in trade shows and hosted buyer programs.
• They provide sufficient information for hotel teams to make informed decisions about the meeting, including: event profile, room blocks by day; event history; space, date and pattern requirements and their flexibility; food and beverage requirements; desired room rate range; number of eRFPs and competing destinations/venues; priority of concessions; deadline for final consideration.
Click here to download the white paper.

Travel Buyers Consolidate Meetings and Travel. Half of the respondents in new GBTA Foundation  research, sponsored by Lanyon, either have or are creating a consolidated meetings, events and/or travel program. That’s a 14 percent growth over the past five years. Meetings, Events, and Travel Programs: Consolidation Drivers and Barriers surveyed 200 North American and European travel buyers or travel intermediaries. The study is free for GBTA members, and non-members can purchase the report for $499. — Maxine Golding

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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