An ill-considered RFP can compromise your event planning. After responding to many RFPs we’ve developed some strong opinions about how you can create an RFP that will help you find the best partner/vendor to fill in the gaps, become an integrated part of your team, and make your events run more smoothly.
In the world of audio-visual services for meetings and events, the first question is often, “What should I pay for these projectors and lights?” This is important, but a more fundamental question is “What are we trying to accomplish?” This article will help you determine the right priorities.
For events where the audience is high-level and the messages are critical, you might need to focus on value-added services from your vendor.
Even with the economy in recovery mode, we all find ourselves doing more work with fewer resources. This is where clients often miss opportunities to find vendors who can fill in the gaps in their event management team, become an integrated part of their team, and make your events run more smoothly.
We feel strongly that there’s a broad category of events that need a more thoughtful RFP. These are the events that may have repetitive setups for breakout sessions or training, but they also need more support for a more interesting general session, an exhibit space, social functions, or special add-on events like an awards dinner.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What do you wish you could do better at events? If your planning team is over-worked or taxed during your events (and really, who isn’t?), then describe the functions where you would like more support and request a response on how the A/V supplier would become an extension of your resources.
- Are there gaps in your team? There are many areas these days where A/V vendors can play a larger role in your events, like production management, supplier coordination, or space planning. These companies have experienced people who can step in to become an extension of your team very easily, so why not ask.
- Have you been anxious about the quality of support on past events? Describe a scenario where tough decisions needed to be made, and ask them how they would handle it.
- Have you given your suppliers a chance to speak openly? Give your vendors an open response question where they can give you the reasons they think you should work with them. Watch how the responses come back—if they come back with no real value to you, watch out. If there is a genuine response that speaks to your needs, then read on.