Why would event planners spend more time and effort than they need to on crafting a few pages of Request For Proposal(RFP)?
To eliminate the probability of a disastrous event.
You see, events can take a long time to plan and yet can end up ruined by the tiniest details. And a poorly written Request For Proposal can result in a follow-up game of phone calls and long, time-consuming trails of emails between event planners and suppliers trying to cover all the details required for a perfect event.
Fortunately for today’s event planners, technology has made it a bit easier to craft good Request For Proposals with the onset of eRFPs and proposal automation. However, if not written clearly, confusion and misunderstanding can still result.
So, to help those event planners pulling their hair out trying to craft a good RPF, we will enumerate some simple Request For Proposal(RFP) writing tips.
Request For Proposal: What It Is And Why to Send It?
For those who have no idea, Request For Proposal also known as RFP. It is a solicitation by a company or organization sent out to potential suppliers. A company is interested in ordering or acquiring the services of the prospective supplier and requests a business proposal from the potential supplier that will meet their project requirements as detailed in the RFP.
Most event planners send a Request For Proposal because they haven’t tried a particular vendor or supplier but are interested in their services–or if their company is hosting an event in a new city.
Also, event planners may be looking to change their suppliers in order to meet new requirements. For instance, hosting their usual large event but with a smaller budget provided.
Tips in Crafting An Effective and Successful Request For Proposal
1. Introduce Your Company
First off, a little introduction to who you are.
Give an overview of your organization or company including how your business would be categorized. For instance, are you a corporation, an association, a charity, or a trade body? You need to take into account that the vendor or supplier you’re sending your Request For Proposal may not know you (regardless of the size of your company), or don’t have any experience or knowledge of your industry. So, in simplest terms, try to summarize what you do and who you do business with.
This gives the vendor or supplier a better idea to whom and for what they could be potentially offering their services. Also, it helps them evaluate and determine if their services are a good fit for your company and the events you host. And of course, this can provide them with insight into your event and company, allowing them to anticipate specific solutions they can recommend to fit your needs.
2. Communicate Your Needs
After the introduction, it’s time to talk business.
This is where you lay down your requirements and services you need. As the event planner, you should know most of the facts about your upcoming event. And the more accurate the info you can send to the supplier, the more precise their event proposal will be.
Now, the key details that you need to include in your event RFP are:
Type of Event and Function
What kind of event will you be hosting? A fundraising ball, a corporate meeting, or a holiday event?
By giving your supplier an overview of your event, you give them better insight into your events and provide recommendations on how they can give better services.
In addition, it is also helpful to mention what will happen at the event. You need to be specific as you can be about your event program.
Will there be a silent auction? Are you inviting exhibitors? How many concurrent sessions will be in progress?
Time and Dates
Next, you need to specify the time and date for the event. It is also useful to offer backup dates if possible since being flexible on the timeframe can actually help you get better pricing for their services.
You also need to indicate the amount of setup and post-event breakdown time or days needed. Also, you might want to mention the earliest date you need to have access to their services.
You also need to give general details about your attendees. What are the target audience’s demographics? Are they executives and corporate owners or are you hosting an event for the Gen Z or millennials?
Make sure to mention the maximum and the minimum number of the anticipated audience. What’s the arrival pattern? This can help suppliers to understand services or staffing needs upfront.
If you are crafting a Request For Proposal for hotels and venues, you can ask about their room availability, especially if your event lasts for days.
How many nights will guests be staying and how many rooms do you anticipate needing? Do you need standard rooms or the Presidential suite for VIPs? Is breakfast included? Is there a discounted rate for attendees booking their own accommodation?
Proposal Submission Details
You don’t want to forget to include a deadline for an event proposal from the supplier. Indicate when you plan on shortlisting vendors and suppliers that will get a closer look.
You also need to include details of when and how proposals are returned. Do you want it emailed or through an eRFP software?
3. Be Extra Clear About Your Budget
Now, the key to writing a successful Request For Proposal is to be extra clear on the budget. You need to be as open as possible when money is involved.
When you specify a budget, you give your supplier or vendor a chance to determine whether or not this event project is feasible for them.
For instance, if your target attendee’s budget for a hotel room is below $100, then you should not send RFPs to luxury resort hotels. It is unlikely that the venue will meet your expectations.
Disqualifying vendors and suppliers based on your budget, as well as the key details mentioned above, can save you a lot of time and effort in finding the supplier for your needs.
You do not need dozens of responses. You only need better responses.
So, when you’re extra clear on the budget, and the expectations are known from the start, it reduces the potential for disagreement between parties as well the possibility of your company paying beyond your budget.
4. Prioritize Info, Not Design
It is important that an RFP looks professional. However, content is key to communicating your needs.
Regardless of how good a request For Proposal looks; it needs to be understood by the supplier or vendor. Not only that, focusing on the information and including even the tiniest detail, can help suppliers determine if your requests are feasible for them.
So, spend at least 90 percent of your time organizing and collecting as much info as you can about the event. When in doubt, just include it in.
For instance, if your event needs a physical structure, then you can indicate specific details regarding the materials preferred.
It may seem tedious; however, the more you tell the supplier or vendor, the better they can understand or prepare for your event and ensure its success.
5. Don’t Dictate The Design
In our previous Request For Proposal writing tip, we told you that you need to be descriptive as possible on your wants. But, when it comes to the design, approach, or style of the services, there’s a fine line to be observed here.
Of course, you can include mood boards, sketches, or even previous examples so you can communicate your event visions and goals. However, telling the vendor or supplier exactly what to do won’t give them room to showcase their uniqueness.
In short, don’t do all the work for them.
With that said, you need to give the vendor or supplier some breathing space and let them recommend an approach or design for your event. A good supplier or vendor should be able to take your initial ideas and combine them with their unique skills to take it to the next level.
From there, you can see exactly what you are working with and whether you like it or not.
6. Use Online Resources and Templates
Lastly, you don’t have to work from scratch.
There are various websites out there that can offer free Request For Proposal templates to assist you in structuring your own.
Sites like APEX, CIC, or Cvent Supplier Network will help you find suitable Request For Proposal templates and send them to over 200,000 venues and suppliers throughout the globe. Then, you can add it to the RFP showcase, where the pre-matched venues who have not received your request can respond.
This way, you can receive more qualified proposals from potential sources that you may have not considered and suppliers get a second chance at responding to qualifying Request For Proposals.
And there you have it, folks!
The next time you’re putting together an RFP for your next event, make sure to use the tips provided above. We promise you that this will result in a far more precise quote and a much more efficient process in preparing for a successful event!