I blog a lot about event supplier sourcing and Request for Proposals (RFPs). It is, after all, the first step in every planner's journey to a successful event.
One of my more recent posts was a meeting RFP checklist that details what you should include in your RFP in terms of requirements, e.g. sleeping room details, food and beverage needs, etc.
But it's important to remember that the RFP process is a two-way street. Of course you need to get all this information from a supplier to know if they are a suitable choice for your event. But at the same time, you need to give them a little bit of information about yourself. Let them know that you are committed to finding a supplier, and that your business is worth bidding for.
Make sure to include the following items in your RFP that will help them see how working with you could be the start of a successful partnership:
• Event history, including who you have worked with and what did/did not meet your expectations
• Organization profile, such as total number of employees, total number of events per year, total number of room nights booked per year, etc.
• Budget details, including overall budget and a breakdown of budgeted room rate, food budget, etc.
• Sample contract, when possible
Adding these items to your RFP makes it easier for suppliers to answer the questions, "Can I make this event a success?" and "Do I want to make this event a success?" After all, in tough economic times, vendors need to make sure that every decision they make is in their best interest. Prove that booking your business is worthwhile—it will ensure that you receive the best bids from the most qualified venues.