You’ve probably heard this saying many times: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Many hotels run on this adage because they’re worried about implementing new systems and processes. You could almost say our industry is known for sticking to procedures because ‘that’s the way it’s always been done.’
The trouble with this approach is that avoiding change can result in an unsatisfying guest experience and cost you money and business. This is especially true in the competitive meetings and events space.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Instead, keep up with the latest trends and leverage developments in tech to wow your guests and boost conversion rates.
Keeping up with a changing world
Demographics among event organizers and decision-makers are changing. Early adopters and digital natives are moving into key positions. This has led to a shift in expectations among planners. Today, they want faster, more personalized and mobile-ready proposals in response to their RFPs.
This means hotels and venues need to adapt their proposal management process. But many are reluctant. The most common worry is that new systems are too expensive and time-consuming to implement. Maybe the ROI isn't immediately apparent or you doubt the new system can live up to your expectations. Perhaps you even had a bad experience in the past.
While these are legitimate concerns, keep the shifting landscape in mind and consider the opportunity cost of avoiding new solutions.
Old habits in the RFP and proposal management process
The MICE and group space is changing rapidly. In the past year we've seen endless innovative technology solutions being adopted. Just think of all the new opportunities for hosting virtual and hybrid events.
If the events we host are developing so much, then why should the RFP and proposal management process stay the same? At Proposales, we think it's time to drop some of the old habits and start creating proposals that do your amazing events justice.
What are these 'old habits'? Here are some that probably sound familiar to you:
- Sending static PDF proposals which clients need to print out to read and compare
- Needing endless back-and-forth calls and emails with your guest
- Having rigid, time-consuming processes your staff and guests must follow
- Overloading proposals with irrelevant information
All this comes at a cost to your hotel or venue. In short, it gives you fewer chances to show your property from its best side which results in lost RFPs.
The true cost of losing an RFP
Of course, it's impossible to win every single RFP. However, if you're winning fewer than you could be, it's time to invest in updating your proposal management process. Yes, that comes at a cost. But so does losing too many RFPs.
Missing out on a deal has more consequences than just losing the revenue from one client. Here are three other important points to consider:
- Lifetime customer value: if you lose a prospect now, you may lose their future business as well
- Your expenses: the time and resources your staff use to create the proposal and respond to questions is lost if you don't get the deal
- Team morale: if too many RFPs are lost, your team may get demoralized, and you could lose talent
There's good news though. You can build a few simple new habits to better manage your RFPs and win more of them.
Seven new proposal management habits to embrace
For starters, you don't need to throw all your current procedures overboard. Instead, revamp and optimize parts of your proposal process to improve the experience for your team and your guests.
Get started with the following seven habits to grow your success rate:
- Speed up your response time: The faster you respond to RFPs, the more likely your proposal is to get accepted. Need proof? Research shows that 75% of RFPs are won by the first five respondents. Speed up your proposal process by automating the most repetitive, time-consuming parts of it. Do this is by using a modern platform that integrates with your other systems and allows easy proposal creation, follow-up and sign-off.
- Use a visually attractive layout: Make your proposal easy to scan by breaking it down logically. Add sub-headings and consider a leader image for each section to give strong visual cues. Avoid long blocks of text and use bulleted lists to highlight features and benefits. The easier you make it for your guest to find information, the more likely they are to read your whole proposal and get back to you.
- Add powerful visuals: Show, don't tell. People want to see images and videos of your venue and perhaps past events. Using pictures and video creates a connection with your potential guest and helps them to imagine themselves at your venue. Take it a step further and offer a 60-degree virtual reality walkaround.
- Leverage interactive design: Use an interactive proposal solution to allow your potential guest to update certain elements of the proposal themselves. These can include their menu choice, number of attendees, number of rooms needed or the requested room type. This reduces on back-and-forth communication and gives your guest a greater sense of control.
- Adopt a digital-first approach: Event planners don't want to print out never-ending proposals. They want a compact file they can open and show their team on their computer, tablet or phone. Accommodate this need by creating concise proposals that look beautiful on all devices.
- Customize your proposals: Focus on brevity and clarity. Include only relevant information and details your client has asked for. Then, customize your offer with a few hand-picked upsell options that could add value to your guest's event.
- Set up an efficient follow-up system: Keep meticulous track of proposals you've sent and don't forget to follow up. Doing this manually can be a lot of work. A modern proposal management system will do the heavy lifting for you and ensure you're always up to date.
A lot of these points may sound like they'll take immense amounts of time to implement. That might have been true in the past, but not anymore. Today, advanced proposal platforms like Proposales allow you to create beautiful, interactive, customized proposals faster than ever before.
Leveraging technology this way not only saves you time and energy. It also boosts your conversion rate because you can respond to RFPs faster and create better looking offers your guests will love.
Today, it's crucial to provide your guests with an unforgettable experience from the moment they get in touch with you. Give us a shout to get started on that journey today.