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How to use your RFP tool to promote your sustainable practices and gain more clients

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Has a potential client ever asked you what your property is doing to become more environmentally friendly? Even if you haven’t faced this yet, it’s high time you prepare an answer that’ll wow them.

It’s not a secret: combating climate change is becoming more important and many people want to make a positive impact with their day-to-day choices. As a result, you’ll probably start getting some version of the above question more often (if you aren’t already).

And that’s a good thing because it’s a powerful opportunity to showcase your green initiatives and boost your business. Let’s look at how even your RPF process can play into that and help you win more climate-conscious clients.

But before we get into that, let’s find out why this is so important.

Higher awareness of and desire for eco-conscious meetings and events

According to an Accenture survey, 83% of people believe it’s important for companies to design products that can be reused or recycled. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they’re buying more environmentally friendly products today than they were five years ago. Data like this shows that being eco-conscious is no longer a fringe trend but a mainstream mindset.

This has led to increased popularity of brands that make and live up to this promise. Just think of Patagonia or Dr. Bronner’s and their soaring success. Yes, their clients enjoy the high-quality products. But more importantly, they feel like every purchase does some good. This, in turn, creates a deeper emotional connection with the brand.

If that hasn’t convinced you, here’s another interesting point. Especially younger generations are willing to pay more for this feeling of connection and doing good. BusinessWire recently found that 75% of Millennials are willing to shell out more cash for an environmentally sustainable product, compared to 63% of Gen Z, 64% of Gen X, and ‘only’ 57% of Baby Boomers.

This development is reflected in the meetings and events industry as well. As more Millennials come into decision-making roles, both event venues and organizers must address this trend.

One way to do this is to apply for certifications like ISO 14001. It’s a detailed guide for organizations looking to implement a standardized program for environmental operations. Action items include waste and energy management as well as shifting from paper-based to online processes (e.g., with a cloud-based RFP tool). Once you’ve made the needed changes at your hotel, you can apply for official certification.

Some hotel brands have already done so successfully and leverage this certification in their marketing. Steigenberger Hotels, for example, has certified all its European properties with ISO 14001 and created its own best practice catalog to follow. The Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt in Berlin even won a prize for its green meetings initiative at the 2015 Meeting Experts Green Awards.

Accor’s Planet21 program is another good example of a corporate sustainability project. It showcases what the brand is doing on a large scale and creates many opportunities to promote it to potential guests. Finally, Koncept Hotels applies and showcases its FAIResponsibility philosophy which includes a holistic approach to making hospitality greener and fairer.

Yes, if you want something like this at your property, it requires an investment of time and money. But it’s also a valuable chance to differentiate your hotel and give potential clients another reason to work with you.

Make going green part of the guest journey

Sustainable business practices are fantastic. But they’re even better if your clients can get involved. An advanced, online RFP solution can be one of the steps to making your green initiatives part of the guest journey from the get-go. Here are some of the advantages this can have for your property and your customers.

Benefits for your potential clients (e.g., event planners):

  • No need to print and sign proposals on paper as everything happens electronically
  • The smoother workflow makes the entire RFP process more straightforward
  • Both sides save resources and money due to lower material costs and staff hours

Benefits for your hotel or event location:

  • The simple, streamlined process makes it easier to work with you
  • You demonstrate that your commitment to sustainability applies behind the scenes, too
  • You become more attractive to the growing number of people who value eco-conscious business practices

How to help your clients realize their green initiatives

Of course, environmentally friendly business practices should go beyond just saving paper. In the events department, your RFP solution can help you easily take further steps and even bring your potential clients on board.

Use your RFP platform to offer eco-friendly customization options, so you can both show your green side. This will allow event organizers to put together the environmentally sustainable event of their dreams. The key is keeping it flexible. Let your clients choose as many or as few options as they want. With an interactive RFP tool, you can make the offer fully customizable, and the client immediately sees the investment required from their side.

In case you’re just getting started, here are some green add-ons you can offer.

Trees for bookings

Give your guests the chance to support reforestation projects by donating funds to plant trees. This is a popular approach as it’s simple and hassle-free for clients, but they still feel like they’re having an impact.

For example, you could offer one tree planted per room booked or let people add a specific number to their proposal. Possible partners include Pur Project, Trees for All and One Tree Planted.

Carbon offset option

Carbon offsets are another common option already used by airlines and many hospitality businesses. Start by calculating the approximate carbon emissions caused by the event. Then allow your guest to opt for varying degrees of carbon offsetting, like 25%, 50% or even 100%.

ClimatePartner is a popular organization in the travel industry and has a strong reputation for supporting trustworthy initiatives around the world.

Promote regional, seasonal and/or organic menu options

Buying regionally sourced, seasonal and organic products is great for the environment and local communities. Highlight these options in your proposal, show price differences and give clients the chance to choose what works best for them.

Provide sustainably sourced event products

Event products are another area where you can make a big difference and let your customer participate. Work with a partner who provides fairly and sustainably produced items like lanyards, tickets or branded gift bag items. Keep things flexible by offering multiple options (e.g., regular and eco-friendly), so your client can compare and choose the best one for them.

Now that you have so many ideas for sustainable options to include in your meeting and events offers, it’s your turn. Pick a few and add them to your proposals.

Start with the ones that are easiest for you to implement to get a quick win. Then it’s the moment of truth - which add-ons will your clients pick?

The easiest way to add all these green ideas to your proposals is to use an interactive RFP solution like Proposales. Want to see it in action? Then reach out now for a free, no-strings-attached demo!

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