Any type of professional conference, seminar, meeting or event must be accurately planned from the very start. Although many stakeholders tend to focus upon logistics, outbound marketing and financial concerns, the fact of the matter is that the conference space itself will have a dramatic impact upon the guest experience as well as the final ROI. Some common concerns are food, beverages, entertainment and in-house facilities. However, tackling these and other metrics can be challenging. One of the best ways to accomplish this, and following best practices in conference management, is through the use of a Request for Proposal (RFP). Why should this document be distributed to the potential venue well in advance and what information must it contain?
All About the Details
A Request for Proposal will illustrate to the potential venue the exact needs of the upcoming event. Thus, they are able to appreciate whether or not their location is suitable. Not only can this lessen the chances of any unwanted last-minute confusion, but it will enable the selection process to be completed much faster.
Planning an event takes a great deal of time and appreciating which venues are at the disposal of a company will enable coordinators to focus upon other areas such as booking, logistics and contacting potential guests.
The Contents of a Request for Proposal
In order to determine the most appropriate and accommodating conference space, the RFP will have to contain some critical and well-defined metrics. These include:
- Logistical requirements of the conference space itself (capacity, seating arrangements, fire exits, etc.)
- Technology and installations (lighting, sound, screens, etc.)
- Dining and catering needs
- The requirements of staff members and crew
- Accommodations required for any planned activities
- Accessibility issues
- Parking (location, proximity, number of spaces and the possibility of valets, etc.)
Concerning the capacity of the conference space, determine the number of guests that plan on attending and make certain that this figure can be safely handled. An over-crowded event can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Should the event require catering services, be sure that the maximum amount of guests can be accommodated. What is the down payment required and will you be charged the full amount if the number of guests is below the number of invitations? An attrition clause may be able to free you from extra costs in such a case.
Will the venue provide their own staff? Some of the positions that may be offered include maintenance, security and custodial services. Additional queries should revolve around whether or not you require audio-visual specialists and crew.
You may require amenities for specific activities such as presentations, live music or keynote speakers. Can the conference centre address such needs? Other areas to address can be bars and spaces reserved for kiosks.
Parking is another critical concern, for all attendees should be able to arrive at the location within minutes. This is particularly critical for older visitors and those with mobility problems.
Finally, how accessible is the location for those who are handicapped or have mobility issues? This will partially depend upon the demographic that is expected to attend. Still, choosing locations with handicapped-accessible entrances, escalators and lifts is not only recommended but a precondition.
Selecting the Right Conference Space
It is also important to perform a significant amount of research as opposed to sending out the RFP to countless properties. This will save the business time while clarifying the overall selection process.
To recap, this blog is only a brief synopsis of how to create a clear and concise Request for Proposal. To learn a great deal more about sourcing the correct venue, we encourage you to download our in-depth White Paper 7: Effective Venue Sourcing For Your Next Conference.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering integrated solutions especially for non-profit clients. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy of associations. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 conferences with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisation and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.