You are planning an event and have spent the necessary time reviewing your events needs from the time to host the event, your anticipated attendance, meeting space requirements, etc. Now it’s time to take all of this detail and lay out a simple yet concise Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP allows you to communicate your meeting needs to different venues and helps match your event to the ideal venue.
Here are the 6 key elements to include in your venue RFP:
1. Introduction of your firm and the event
- Provide an overview about your company.
- Describe the purpose of your event and the audience.
- Include historicals about the event if available: previous show dates, locations and room block details.
- Provide a deadline as to when the proposal is required and when you anticipate making a final decision.
2. Dates of the event
- Provide multiple dates that you would consider so the venue can review all options in order of preference. I find it helpful to include the day of the week as well.
- Be sure to stipulate your start and end date but do not forget to take into account any set-up and tear-down days required.
- Mention specific dates that would not work (e.g. holidays) as hotels hoping to work with you on finding availability may provide other potential dates that would not work for your event.
3. Sleeping Room Accommodations
- Provide a number of sleeping rooms you anticipate needing.
- Keep in mind peak nights
- Consider shoulder dates to provide flexibility to attendees on arrivals and departures
- Obtain the cost of all rooms and the inventory at the venue (e.g. suites).
- Provide the number of anticipated staff rooms requesting a discounted rate.
- Confirm the # of complimentary rooms you will receive based on your room block (e.g. average is 1 comp room night for every 40-50 rooms picked up within your block).
4. Meeting Space Requirements
- Provide a tentative schedule, including the capacity required and preferred room set up (theater, hollow square, classroom).
- Be sure you are clear on the need for 24 hour hold of meeting space if required.
- Do not forget smaller meeting spaces such as show office, speaker ready room, press room, etc.
- If unfamiliar with space, reconfirm the ceiling height.
5. Food and Beverage
- Provide overview of food and beverage events and the estimated body count for those functions.
- Request the following detail from the venue:
- Food and beverage pricing
- What is the tax percentage on food and beverage
- What is the banquet service charge percent?
- Are the banquet service charges taxed?
- Additional labor fees such as bartender, carver, set-up fee for a smaller group of attendees
6. Audio Visual Requirements
- Include a list of anticipated A/V needed or base this on your past events.
- Does venue offer in-house audio visual (A/V) services?
- Does the venue offer discount on in-house A/V services?
- Are you allowed to bring in outside A/V vendors?
- Get the low down on internet access in meeting space and guest rooms.
Once all of your bids are in and you have narrowed down your options, your next step is to pack a bag – it’s time for a site visit, which I will cover in a future blog post.
Let me know if there’s any information that you request in your event venue RFPs that I may have forgotten!