A Request for Proposal (RFP) is an invitation to potential suppliers and venues to submit a proposal to you on what they have to offer your event. It’s also one of the best ways to negotiate good rates and services from your suppliers.
Ask potential suppliers for detailed information including prices, corporate information, financial information (to be sure they can deliver without risk of bankruptcy), technical capacity, product information and availability, and customer references. The more detailed your specifications, the better the chances that the proposal you get back will be accurate.
Make sure your RFP clearly outlines your event strategy, objectives and concrete requirements. This gives potential suppliers enough insight into your needs to offer you the most appropriate service, benefits and price.
A good RFP will leave the exact structure and format of the proposal response up to the suppliers. That way, you can judge potential suppliers based on the innovative and creative ideas they come up with to benefit your event.
Once you receive back proposals in response to your requests, you will need to carefully evaluate them to select the best suppliers for your needs. In the case of venues, it’s a good idea to follow up with a site inspection. In the case of entertainers and speakers, it’s a good idea to follow up by watching and listening to them either live, or via recorded footage.
Once you’ve made your final decision, it’s a gesture of good manners to inform everyone who was unsuccessful what your final decision was. Get confirmation of dates and services in writing to prevent any nasty surprises, and double-check all dates, details and rates.