August 23, 2018

A hotel request for proposal (RFP) is a request for pricing on a block of hotel rooms and amenities. Most hotels will not allow a single person or organization (a.k.a. “Client”) reserve more than 9 hotel rooms in a single transaction through a retail site or the front desk of the hotel. Most hotels consider reservation blocks of this size or greater to be groups (learn more about group hotel rates), and require that the client negotiate the reservation through the hotel RFP process.

There are many reasons to book a large group of rooms at a hotel. A client may be looking to book rooms for an event such as a corporate meeting, convention, trade show, or sports tournament. A corporation whose employees travel regularly may send out RFPs annually to major hotel brands to lock in rates for as-needed travel. You can also negotiate the compensation paid by the hotel for sourcing the business via the RFP. The hotel RFP process is largely the same regardless of the purpose, though.

Step 1: Client Compiles a Request For Proposal Document

The client puts together a list of requirements. This list can include:

  • Number of rooms needed
  • Dates rooms are needed
  • Specific amenities (like parking or free wifi)
  • Any meeting space needed (such as conference rooms)
  • Specific room types (single bed versus double bed)
  • Any concessions needed in order to be considered (room upgrades, complimentary rooms, etc.)

There are many other requirements that a client may request depending on what they need. The more complicated the need, the more complicated it is to put a hotel request for proposal together. Also, if the client is requesting proposals from more than one hotel, the RFP generally needs to be adjusted for each hotel they send it to.

Step 2: Client Sends Out the RFP

To send out the RFP, a client must select the hotel or hotels they would like to receive bids from. They generally have to search for the hotels that meet their geographic needs and then collect contact information for the appropriate group booking agent. An RFP used to be faxed, but now it can be sent via email or through an eRFP solution.

Step 3: Hotels Submit Proposals to the Client

It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for a hotel to put together their bid. Hotels who decide to bid on the request will submit their proposals back to the client. These proposals will include what the hotel can offer the client as compared to the request along with pricing for rooms and other services. Sometimes a hotel cannot accommodate all requests from a particular client, so they will offer a compromise.

Step 4: Client Accepts Proposal(s)

A client can choose to negotiate with hotels on their proposals to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Eventually, though, the client will either accept or decline a proposal from a hotel.

Automating the Hotel RFP Process

Time is a big hurdle to the hotel RFP process. Manually drafting an RFP document, searching for hotels, adjusting the RFP for different hotels, and then communicating back and forth with those hotels can take a lot of time. Also, it can be very difficult to manage this process, as there are a lot of moving pieces. Email, phone calls, spreadsheets, calendar reminders, and document versions all need to be organized for future reference. 

This process is automated by hotel RFP management software. Event lodging management software automates the RFP, along with the rest of the housing lifecycle. 

Alliance Reservations Network created Group Productivity Solution (GPS) for exactly this purpose. GPS automates the hotel RFP process to save time while organizing all the extraneous documentation. It’s also a complete event lodging management solution.

GPS has a form questionnaire that clients can enter their information into. Once they have answered all the questions, the software creates a digital RFP document. Then the client can search GPS’s database of hotels starting from a given venue point to find the most conveniently located properties. GPS provides an example of public rates being offered by the hotel, general information, amenities, meeting space specs, and TripAdvisor reviews. With just a few clicks a client can select hotels and send them their RFP.

Through the proprietary Task Tracker in GPS clients are reminded of due dates, bids that have been received, and responses that need to be sent out. Nothing falls through the cracks. Once a bid has been accepted, GPS offers one-click contracting to execute agreements and lock in reservations right away.

On top of automating the hotel RFP process, GPS also manages the group booking life cycle through the end of the stay. Learn more about GPS or contact us using the form below.