By Jennifer Vecchi
Director, Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events at Atlas Travel
We were pleased to get coverage recently in The Meeting Magazine, which covered the efficacy of electronic RFPs for hotel services in the meetings and events industry. It gave me an opportunity to share Atlas Travel’s experience with this technology and I thought it would be a good time to update you on what we are doing in this arena.
We are gradually (and carefully) transitioning to eRFPs in our department. Carefully, because not all electronic tools are created equal and we always want to ensure that we are getting the best response rate and qualified information. One of the tasks I’ve put out to our MICE team here at Atlas is to select among different online providers when generating RFPs, to allow us to assess whether there is a different response rate with one format versus another.
There is little doubt that eRFPs can increase productivity. If a meeting planner sends out seven eRFPs on a Tuesday, and is in meetings all day on Wednesday, somebody else on the team can be looking in the system to see if the hotels have responded. They can also send out reminders if the hotels haven’t answered. They can download the RFPs received and scrub them for missing information.
When a planner sends an email to an individual hotel rep, then the response to that email is captive to his/her computer. If the planner is out of the office or busy when the response comes in, then it isn’t answered right away and time is lost. Furthermore, in this scenario, the email recipient has to transfer important information from a hotel’s proposal to an Excel spreadsheet to compare it with that of other hotels.
The other advantage of eRFPs is the access these systems provide to data and performance metrics. We can see how many hours we spend on RFPs and what each hotel’s response rate is. We can track how many RFPs we send to hotels and hotel chains domestically versus internationally, and the number of hotels versus resorts, which is important when negotiating contracts on our client’s behalf.
As a company, we have a focus on leveraging the best of technology without losing the human component. There is no substitute for experience. No platform is a panacea and sometimes a personal touch is key in making the deal, even from the start of the process. So, we will continue to test options, analyze results and always utilize our professional expertise to get the best deals possible.
If you have a meeting, convention or event in the planning stages, feel free to contact me to explore how our department can help you save time and money and produce the best event possible.
Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Events
Contact Jennifer directly at 508-488-1119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.