Requests for proposal, RFP for short, play an important role in planning events. What are they, and how can good briefings and RFPs save you time, money, and a lot of effort?
Organising events can be a challenge – there is good reason for Forbes magazine to name the event coordinator’s profession as one of the 10 most stressful jobs, ranking just behind police officer and pilot!
The briefings, tenders, and RFPs (requests for proposal) are some of the most important tools for you and your service providers. Through these, you can request offers (proposal) from hotels, congress centres, or technical providers.
At the end of this post, you will find a template that you can adapt to your specific requirements. But what does actually belong in an RFP these days?
A request for proposal (RFP) has to give a potential service provider, trade, destination, or venue a comprehensive overview of your event. And this in all the important matters so that they can support you perfectly. An RFP gives the service providers the information they need to submit an offer – but not only that.
It is therefore crucial that, in addition to the ‘hard’ facts and figures, such as
accessibility requirements, etc.,
you also provide information on some ‘soft’ issues. This may be, for example, the image that the event should convey (more experimental, more ‘glamour’, more participative, innovative...). But also, the participants’ expectations.
Of course, information about internationality or language related matters also has its place here.
What exactly do you expect of your service providers? How flexible do they have to be? As part of the special requirements, you should define the desired services as precisely as possible. It is important to convey to the service providers which minimum requirements must be met in each case – and where service providers can also make their own suggestions and introduce concepts.
If you have images or videos that illustrate the desired services, then make them available here or as an attachment.
In an RFP for a hotel, the specific requirements for room capacity, air conditioning, technical equipment, area requirements in square metres for an adjoining exhibition, set-up and dismantling times, number of hotel rooms, meeting rooms, seating, Internet capacities and other details must be specified here. For a technical service provider, information on the required audio, video, and other technologies must be included.
It is obvious that a small 1-2-person company cannot manage an international congress with 2000 participants as a PCO (Professional Congress Organiser). The size of the company, the number of employees, above all their qualifications and their experience play a major role in the selection of a service provider. As a result, such queries have to be made in the RFP.
But here too, other criteria, such as the topic of sustainability, are playing an increasingly important role. What processes does the service provider follow? Do they meet all data protection requirements? Can they ensure that the minimum social standards are met in order to fulfil their tasks, e.g., also in the production of event clothing such as t-shirts? Does the service provider use recyclable products?
To avoid having to start from scratch, we have created a template for you to use as a starting point for your RFP. Please find the file as a downloadable Word document here. Of course, the Salzburg Convention Bureau team is always available to assist you with anything you may need to prepare your tenders as efficiently as possible.
Request for proposal for the trade/service provider:
Name of event:
Intended date: dates and times of events (start, end)
Profile of the event:
Total number of participants:
Profile of the participants: job titles, hierarchy levels, expectations, internationality, language, how many participants need hotel rooms etc....
Plenum capacity: number of participants in the plenary session, desired type of seating (rows, rows of tables, round tables, mixed seating...)
Capacity for breakout sessions: Should other sessions take place simultaneously? How many? How many people must each room be suitable for?
Capacity of exhibition area: Is an area to be planned for an exhibition? Roughly how many exhibitors will there be and how much space is needed per exhibitor?
Required location for evening event: How many evening venues are to take place? How many participants are expected? What kind of location is possible (gala, informal, club, museum...).
Technical equipment: projection, sound, air conditioning, dimming, daylight yes/no, Wi-Fi, minimum Internet bandwidth requirements...
Special room setups: e.g., changing configuration during coffee breaks, special seating options (sofas, round tables, writable walls...).
Deadline for responding to the RFP:
Further dates: period for internal examination, notification of the decision
Congresses/events with similar requirement profiles that have already been implemented: reference projects, ideally with contact persons who are available to give information by telephone.
Personnel to be deployed and their qualification: presentation of the service provider’s project team, possibly with short CVs
Compliance with GDPR: Confirmation that the data protection requirements are considered in all processes.
Sustainability: Which processes and concepts are required of the service provider to meet social, ecological, and economic sustainability criteria? From the use of recyclable materials to meeting minimum social standards for subcontractors or avoiding the use of child labour.
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