Hotel sales managers respond to many meeting requests (RFPs) on any given day. Because of this volume of RFPs, they typically don’t have the time to give each one the individual attention that you might expect. Try this progressive path to selecting a hotel for your next company meeting. It will save you tons of time, ensure that you get complete proposals, and the best offers from the hotels.
Think of your site selection process in terms of steps, where each step narrows the field of hotels and asks the remaining hotels to work harder to earn your business. Try taking this tiered approach, asking for better offers from the hotels as you get closer to making your decision. You’ll send a clear message to the sales managers, that they are part of the chosen few. This will dramatically shift their attention and direct it toward working hard to get you to select their hotel for your meeting. The result: you’ll get their competitive juices flowing, and you’ll be far more likely to get the best deal for your meeting.
Step 1: Search broadly. Get sleeping room rates, food & beverage minimums, meeting room rental, and a definitive answer to the question of sleeping room and meeting space availability. Send the RFP to 8-10 hotels. (This is not the time to get them to respond to your concessions, or agree to your addendum. I promise, if you wait on these requests you’ll get far more value later on.)
Step 2: Narrow your hotel list. Based on the first round of the hotel’s availability and rates, reduce the number of hotels to 5-7.
Step 3: Quickly inform the hotels that you have selected. This is where sales managers start their engines! Tell the hotels that made the next round and also let them know the list of other hotels that are still in the running. Also, be sure to notify the hotels that they didn’t make the cut. This will help to build your relationship and credibility for the next time you contact them to bid on future meetings.
Step 4: Put your chosen hotels back to work for you. Open up the dialogue and connect. It’s also time to give your “chosen few” more information on your meeting, to include your concession requests, addendums, etc.
Step 5: Now make your final “short list” of hotels. Yes, that’s right. One more cut down to your top three (your “short list”) is critical to getting the most out of your hotel relationships. This will supercharge your sales managers to give you the best possible deal to secure your meeting for their hotel.
Once you’ve completed this five-step process, you should have all of the information that you need to make your hotel selection. You’ll make your decision with confidence. Pop champagne with the winner, and inform the other hotels quickly so they can move on.
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