Drowning in RFPs: Smart Lead Strategies to Help Hotels Succeed

By Dan Berger Founder and CEO, Social Tables | September 02, 2018

Back in October, I moderated a panel at IMEX America, where I had the pleasure of sitting in with four leaders from the groups and meetings industry: Betsy Bondurant (Bondurant Consulting), Steve Enselein (Hyatt), Doreen Burse (Marriott), and Greg Oates (Skift). The conversation that day covered a lot of bases, but a handful of topics seemed to be top of mind across the board - one of which was the exponential increase in RFPs that hotels have seen in recent years.

The consensus in a nutshell? While technology has made the lives of hoteliers easier, it's also created somewhat of a conundrum when it comes to RFPs. Today, with the advent of new meetings marketplaces, submitting multiple RFPs can happen in just a couple of clicks. It's like Bondurant mentioned in our session, "Now once we know what a meeting wants to achieve, we can easily send it to 10 or 20 hotels."

Couple that with seemingly ever-growing group demand across markets, and we now find ourselves in a situation where hotels are floating in a sea of RFPs, with sales teams rushing to qualify and respond to leads as quickly as possible. After all, over 75% of proposals are won by the first five properties to respond.

For hotels that want to swim, the goals are threefold:

1. Respond to RFPs faster

2. Prioritize the right RFPs

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.