Posts Tagged ‘bidding on events’

Tips for the RFP Process

February 9, 2016

Responding to an RFP can be a daunting task, especially in the sports market.  Yet, tackling an RFP piece-by-piece can make the process easier and, hopefully, yield lucrative results.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the requirements are a good fit for your destination. Read the RFP thoroughly to see if you have the items needed to place a bid.  The bare bones necessary are the venues, hotel space, volunteer availability, expertise of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and a plan to deal with bid fees.  If you have any questions, pick up the phone and call the planner.  A phone call will go a long way, and allows you to find out what the hot button issues are. In some cases, what you might think is important actually may be unimportant for the planner.  Always ask the question. For example, if a bid specifies that your fields need to have lights but yours don’t, ask the planner if lack of lights is a deal breaker.  Another example might be that a client prefers Hilton properties, but the bulk of your rooms are with Marriott. If this happens, let the client know, and check to see if this will be an issue for the bid.

One of the most important steps in this process is to check the history of the event you are bidding on.  The best way to do this is to talk to the CVBs or Sports Commissions in cities that have hosted the event in the past.  Ask them about venues used, hotel pickup and if there were any challenges with the event operator.  Make sure to find out if they had any overall problems with the event.  This information is very valuable, and will help you in the RFP process.  It is important to also check the geographical history of the event – has the event ever occurred in your region? Some events are a better fit to certain areas of the country- what works in the South might not work as well in the North. It’s fine to let a client know that you have researched their event.  It shows that you are thorough and helps keep them transparent and communicative.

Many destinations cannot afford – or simply won’t pay – bid fees. Many times, a bid fee can be circumvented by offering concessions instead.  A list of concessions is usually provided along with the bid fee. These can include complimentary hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars etc.   Only the sales person and the destination marketing or sports organization can determine if you can address their concessions.  Perhaps you can form a partnership with a local rental car agency to get a reduced weekly rate in exchange for agency being listed as the sponsor. Airlines can be a bit challenging, however contact your local hub, they may be willing to work with you. Utilize relationships with the hotels in the area to obtain comp rooms for the proposal.  Some events will require two or more hotels to fill the comps. Always make sure the comp policy is consistent across hotels listed in the proposal.

Once you have collected all of the information required for the bid, prepare to submit the proposal. If you have not been able to meet all the concessions, it is still okay to submit. Several things can happen at this point. One response may be, that, although the concessions were not completely met, the facilities may be a better fit for the event. Another response could be a flat out no, however the organizer now is aware what you are able to do and may come back for future events.

It is important to ask for decision dates as a part of the proposal submission. If it is not specifically addressed in the RFP, make sure to ask. This allows organizations to hold space at facilities until decision time. Some facilities will place the space on “hold” for a certain number of days and give the event planner the “right of refusal” for the dates. In that case the organization on “hold” will have to go to contract and send a deposit for the space. Some organizations will request a site visit as a part of the decision process. With years of experience, it is safe to say a site visit should typically last two days to include venue and hotel options.

John Gibbons, CSEE
Executive Director of the RI Sports Commission
JGibbons@GoSportsRI.ocm

Ron Eifert, CSEE
Senior Sales Manager
Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau
reifert@daytoncvb.net

Making the Bid

June 15, 2015

basketball courtYou work hard as an event host to bring in events, tournaments and meetings that you think will be perfect for your space. Yes, you may wish you had mega-complexes with dozens of fields, courts and diamonds so you could attract just about any organization that might want to come your way.

That doesn’t mean you can’t bring in top-notch events to your area.

Those who have been around the business of sports know that relationships are the key to landing the right event for your area and for your facilities. With an increased number of upgraded venues battling it out for the same events, it’s more apparent than ever that how you work with what you have is the key to landing the contract.

We had an opportunity to talk with a sports corporation director during a site visit for a sports-related meeting. While that particular sports corporation did not have the newest facilities available for meeting space, what the corporation could offer was personal attention to making the bid work.

“I remember the night before one tournament here in town, I made a quick visit to the venue to check out the locker rooms,” she said. “They were a mess, with graffiti, chipped paint and dirty floors. I turned around, called my family, went to the home improvement store and we spent the night cleaning and painting the locker rooms. Not every host organization would do that, but I felt it was necessary to make the best impression.”

The impression worked, as that particular event returned two more times to that same facility. The moral of the story is, a little personal attention goes a long way.

“There have been days that I’ve shuttled participants and coaches back and forth to hotels and the airport,” she said. “Whatever has to be done, we figure out a way to do it. I can’t always offer new courts or rinks but what I can offer is the best service that any sports corporation can give.”

In a tight bid market with all other things being equal, personal service can make the difference in whether you’re successful. In this case, it was: The sports corporation got the sports meeting it was bidding for.

So as you get ready to make a bid to bring in a new event, remember this: We all WANT to offer new, bigger, brighter facilities: We all CAN offer personal service.