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My Hotel Won A New RFP. Now What?
If you work within the sales department of your hotel, no doubt the team is working hard to complete your invited bid RFPs from corporations during the annual contracting season.
It can be a stressful time. With almost 700 questions to complete in the standard GBTA format, you’ve probably ended up locking yourself away in a quiet room to complete the bid correctly and without mistakes—no one wants to receive the dreaded programme decline notification!
Safety and Security
The RFP Safety and Security section is often unique to each global corporation. So, here’s a tip we would like to share – always triple check your answers before completing your bid submission. The consequences of making an error can be high.
If, for instance, you have a fire sprinkler system throughout your rooms but submit ‘no’ in error, your hotel will be excluded from the corporation’s hotel programme. Often, it can be difficult to seek a renegotiation request because numerous corporations are negotiating with thousands of hotels globally. Don’t give your competitors the opportunity to replace your hotel.
Almost all programmes release a bid timeline. We manage quite a few corporations on behalf of our hotels at Pegasus (formerly branded Utell), and we always add a note in our calendar for when bids are due, and when the programme acceptances will be issued.
You can access this same information within the bid invitation pack, which should be available in your RFP Tool. This information is normally emailed through with your bid invitation notification as an attachment, so also check that.
If the timeline is missing, ask your global sales team to request it. Alternatively, you can directly contact the RFP consultant who manages the programme on behalf of the corporation.
The programme acceptance notifications due date has arrived, and congratulations—your hotel has been accepted into a corporation’s hotel programme. What’s the next step?
We recommend you double check the start date of the corporation’s programme (note: this may be May through to April, rather than January through to December).
If your GDS provider does not have an automatic rate loading service when programme acceptances are issued, you will need to create the rate plan and request GDS mapping. We recommend requesting two GDS test sells from the contract start date, and send them through to the RFP consultant.
Also, make sure the contracted rate is extended into the relevant years to capture any travelers that book project work in advance, and importantly avoid failing any rate audits.
Take the time to educate your front of house staff about the corporation. Prepare a short profile with estimated room nights that your property could win from the client’s room night production. When a guest from that corporation arrives, it’s paramount that the front of house team is familiar with their company.
Have you looked carefully at any programme benefits that you included in the completed RFP? This warrants close attention. If you offer complimentary daily bottled water and Wi-Fi, ask your reception team to confirm this, and have the Wi-Fi code ready to share at guest check-in.
Double check the invoicing details are correct too—your guest may have booked the best available rate (BAR) rather than contracted rate.
Room Night Data
The first year of any new corporation’s hotel programme can be treacherous. It’s important to try and reach a minimum of 50 room nights in the first four months. Corporations work a year in advance and typically prepare for the forthcoming RFP seasons around May. As room nights are reviewed, you do not want to fall out of the programme due to low room night production.
If you don’t already have a breakfast meet-up in place for your local corporations, it’s time to think about setting one up. A monthly breakfast reception is a great way for you to network, build relationships, and highlight enhancements and benefits.
Consider adding exclusive promotional rates or season rate plans against the contracted negotiated rate — many travelers book via online booking tools (OBTs) and they’ll be able to access cost saving rewards.
Does the corporation utilize the services of a travel management company? If so, request key contacts and schedule calls: this will enable you to highlight benefits and receive valuable advice to help increase your market share in bookings.
If you’d like to increase your corporate market share and receive more RFPs, we’d love to support your goals. Register your details here and we will schedule a call at your availability.
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