I have talked a lot about eRFP “spam” in recent years, an unintended consequences of helpful meeting technology tools. In essence, eRFP spam is when some buyers send out an inordinately high number of RFPs for relatively small, simple meetings. (For example, 60 different hotels sourced for a 30-person team meeting.) What I find interesting is that the buzz on this topic has as quieted down significantly over the past year or so. I believe this is a result of hoteliers developing triage processes to manage the daily tsunami of RFPs. Thus, I now say “eRFP spam, forget about it,” as the issue seems to have been largely mitigated.
In many cases, an output of the triage process is buyer conversion metrics (the percentage of RFPs that turn into contracts). As a result, those with a higher conversion rate get quick responses to their RFP, and those with low conversion rates get delayed, or occasionally, even no response. Therefore, I would like to offer these tips for better conversion rates and an improved eRFP experience:
Do your homework. Verify that the hotels you are submitting your RFP to are truly a good fit for your meeting.
Indicate the number of eRFPS being sent. If you are sending out to a limited number of properties, be sure to let the hotel know it is, say, just one of eight RFPs. This lets the sales people know they have a good opportunity to win the business.
Prioritize your concession list. Clarify what is a “must have” versus a “nice to have.”
Include absolutes with the RFP. If your company requires hotels to accept your entire addendum, include it so they can see the requirements up front.
Just respond. Even if it is a decline, buyers would rather know they can eliminate you from the list, rather than keep chasing you.
Be honest. If the meeting has a poor meeting-space-to-sleeping-room ratio, let the buyer know. Ask if there are alternative scenarios that can be considered.
Use the buyer's correct name. Don't cut and paste and use the name of a different client in your response, that's usually a deal breaker! (It happens!)
Pick up the phone. Be willing to have a five-minute phone conversation to clarify questions, thus avoiding never-ending e-mail exchanges.
I hope that some of these tips will have you saying, "eRFP spam, forget about it" also!