Saturday, August 4, 2012


Spam Spam Spam Spam
Spam Spam Spam Spam

Whenever I hear the word “spam” that Monty Python refrain starts running through my head - and I’ve been hearing it a lot lately, particularly as it refers to sending Requests for Proposals out to way too many hotels at a time, otherwise known as “RFP Spam”.

It’s a pretty hot topic. Now that the RFP process has become automated to the point that a planner can – with no more than a few clicks – send a request out to dozens of hotels at a time, the hotels are feeling inundated. The process of assessing which requests will fit, and which are most advantageous to the hotel’s bottom line, is getting bogged down under the sheer volume.

A recent article in the trade publication M&C referred to a panel discussion where “there was a general implication that the proliferation of e-RFPs was driven in part by inexperienced planners – that contacting so many properties for bids indicates a lack of focus”.

Obviously it’s vital to understand the needs of your group or program before thoroughly researching the options. ConferenceDirect has a pretty cool tool in its proprietary facility database. I can go into any hotel listing and not only review all necessary specifications, I can see which of my ~300 colleagues worldwide have booked that particular property and at what rate, when, and for how many rooms. Taking that a step further, I can reach out to a ConferenceDirect associate who may have more experience with that hotel than I do to get an unbiased “review” of everything from working with the sales office to the level of service during the delivery of the program.

All that intel helps to narrow the search to the most suitable venues, but when I’m looking to place a more, let’s say “challenging” piece of business I naturally have to throw the net a little wider. As my colleague Deborah Borak says in that same article: “I can’t send RFPs to six hotels and have five of them not have availability”. We live for giving our clients choices.

Save the Spam for John Cleese and the boys.

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