Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Five Questions to Answer about Guest Rooms on Your RFPs

Previously, I gave an overview of the kinds of information you should include when creating an event RFP. I did not go into a lot of detail then about each section but, rather, just gave a brief overview. This week, I’d like to look at one of those areas in more depth – Guest Rooms.

Although the only information required for the RFP is how many rooms on each night you need rooms and what nightly rate you are looking for (or cannot exceed), there is, in fact, much more information you can (and should) share with prospective bidders if you know it ahead of time. Here are five additional questions for you to consider when compiling your RFP details.

1. How many ADA rooms do you need and what types of accommodations are needed for those rooms? For example, I worked with a group for a while with two members who were wheelchair-bound. I needed to make sure that they had roll-in showers available in their rooms. If you have attendees who are blind, deaf, or otherwise impaired, it is incumbent on you as the planner to make sure that the facility you choose can accommodate their needs – especially if they are regular attendees to your event. In general, though, you should be sure to select ADA compliant properties just in case any attendee for your event requires one.

2. Will you provide a rooming list or will guests be calling the hotel on their own to make reservations – and who pays for the room charges? While this rarely affects the hotel’s ability to meet your needs, it does help them to understand the relationship that will exist between the venue, the planner, and the guests.

3. Since hotels have some rooms that have a single bed and others with two beds, another piece of information you can share is how many rooms you will need each night in which configuration. In other words, list how many single rooms and how many double rooms will you need? If you also have guests who will stay three or four to a room (triples and doubles), you should share that information as well.

4. Do you need a “pet-friendly” hotel? If so, you’d better ask for that up front or you and your guests could be in for a shock if the hotel does not allow pets and they plan to bring them. [Note: Service Animals are NOT pets and, by law, are allowed everywhere their owner goes.]

5. Will you need any smoking rooms and what is the breakdown of smoking vs. non-smoking rooms? This may seem like an odd one to include these days, with so many hotel chains going completely non-smoking but, if you have a group of smokers, you need to make sure that the hotel knows that you will need smoking rooms (or at least, smoking areas). In addition, many foreign groups or groups traveling overseas still prefer or require smoking rooms.

Make it your practice to gather data on your attendees and their use of guest rooms – not just at your primary (host) hotel but also at alternative sites as well if you have access to that information. As with so many things in our industry, the more you know, the better prepared you are to meet the needs of your group and have a successful event.

~ Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises