New Venue RFP Trends
We’ve seen a growing trend in the realm of venue RFP’s. The lead times are shorter and they’re typically followed by slow / no decision-making. We can contribute it to a number of factors: businesses getting more dynamic, the uptick in the value of in-person events, and the increase of locations or options for a unique event.
Back in the day, events were planned years in advance and, although some still are, there is a surge of companies that are now looking at these meetings and conferences through a different light. Not to beat a dead horse here, but technology is changing at a rapid pace. There is no way to predict what the next couple months may bring, not to mention a year or two. We live in an instantaneous world and keeping up with the latest trends and advancements is a full-time job. A company cannot predict these changes but one thing is true: they want to stay relevant. The necessity to be seen as an influencer to their audience is important and the way to do that is to be seen. Sometimes shifts and changes come with little warning.
We’ve seen the data: the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the event industry will grow by 44% from 2010 to 2020, exceeding nearly all growth predictions for any other industry. Face-to-face interactions are becoming ever more valuable with the excitement of new event tech. Since this industry is growing at a rapid pace, there is an increase in RFP’s submitted (more people, more events!) event planners try to keep up, but with the aforementioned factor, the timelines are shrinking incredibly.
WHY SHORT VENUE RFP LEAD TIMES?
It’s common that those who want to host a meeting or an event are not the same decision-makers that are allocating the funds. Largely in the corporate world, an event is tentatively planned when a sales target is hit, however, when the quota isn’t met the event doesn’t take place (or is delayed).
We have to understand that sometimes the requests for an event come directly from leadership’s mouth but the ultimate decision-makers haven’t yet looked at the numbers. There really isn’t anything we can do to prevent said scenario, but being clear with deadlines upfront can help alleviate any confusion.
Sometimes the client believes that they can plan the event themselves; thus saving part of the budget to be reallocated elsewhere. The problem with this scenario is the likelihood of a “panic-mode” increases. The company realizes they don’t have the required local knowledge to make their event a success. Event planners are then contacted last minute to hammer out details.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Open communication with the client is the most important part. The essential details should be hammered out before hours of labor are put into play. It’s easier said than done to request the meeting planner know the location, budget, details, and dates before submitting a venue RFP but being able to understand the end goal is the first step.
SUPPLIERS: HOW TO DEAL?
Unfortunately, this is the world that we live in. Shorter lead times for RFP’s are going to become part of the business. We’ve seen the idea thrown around about charging for proposals or venue searches on short notice but if you don’t offer it for free, someone else will. The short turnaround time may be frustrating and hard work that is undervalued but consider it a business expense. There are some clients who understand this process very well and have no objection to venue sourcing and production costs.
When you’re working with an event planner, it’s important to communicate up front who has the authority to make what decisions. Who is responsible and accountable for this? This goes along with transparency and with the shift into a millennial mindset, transparency is vital.