The good news, according to Cvent’s Global Planner Sourcing Report 2019, is that the overall budget for meetings and events is growing. The bad news is that the number of events is increasing, so for planners, any budget increases aren’t expected to go much further than before.
To develop leverage with possible venues, planners need to make them want their business. The easiest and most compelling way to do this, according to Laura Puglisi, director of venue sourcing and partnerships at Cvent, is to be a storyteller.
Puglisi breaks down the story into two parts: what your event can do for the destination and venue, and why the venue is a good fit for your event.
“If you have history, use it,” says Puglisi. “Knowing the value of your event will help you negotiate better rates and the best way to define the value of your event is to keep accurate records from past events.”
If you have the information from this event, or events like it, from previous venues then include it in your RFP.
As well as projected needs for the upcoming event, include previous event registration numbers, actualized room nights so the hotel can have confidence in room blocks, session scanning to capture data on average attendance at breakout sessions so the venue gets a sense of room usage and beverage service, and even tracking data for meal areas to understand attendance at buffets as well as plated meals. If you don’t have this information, start collecting it now. Planners should also contact previous venues to collect data on indirect spending, such as the amount attendees spent on parking and onsite entertainment such as spa treatments, shows, or golf. Another way to show your attendees’ value to the venue, says Puglisi, is to include video, photos, or even written testimonials in your RFP.
If you have chosen this destination before, explain why it works for your attendees and the likelihood of your event returning, the prospect of repeat business will give you leverage. If this is the first time you are holding this particular event, include projected growth and the reasons for launching.
Define your event objectives and how the venue can support them, for example, if you need a space that can be reconfigured quickly between sessions, or if you plan on using lots of specialized networking spaces. Venues want to know that you understand the space.
Cover the Basics
Both Puglisi and Paulina Curto, meetings and events team manager at Cvent, stressed in a recent MeetingsNet webinar on crafting a compelling RFP that deadlines for the process need to be spelled out clearly and met by both sides. While the story of your event can remain similar for each RFP, the deadlines should be updated for each venue and destination. Curto says it’s respectful to the venue, so it is not holding space another group may want, and useful for the planner to build in time for travel and other attendee considerations. Planners should also specify if they want to do a site visit while the space is empty or during an event so the venue can plan accordingly.
For more guidance on crafting RFPs and to earn 0.50 clock hours for your CMP, click here to access the webinar on-demand.