Sabre Travel Network offer three very interesting tools that could serve you in your RFP process, whether your reading this as a hotel, corporation or even travel agent. Sabre, one of the world’s largest Global Distribution Systems, offer many hospitality products and services to our industry, from hotel distribution to representation, but in particular, I wanted to present to you their tools to help aid the RFP process.
For those who are not familiar with this term, RFP stands for request for proposal, and is the process where you negotiate what your preferred inventory partner and rates are for the following year, typically taking place in the last three months of the year. This is quite a labour intensive process and many hotels are actually frustrated with the process and it’s more often than not spoken about at all the major hotel conferences around the world.
The process is not as simple as that though. Even today, many of these negotiations happen via fax, and the documents sent to hotels can contain many questions, ranging from rate inclusions to property information, such as “does your property have a lift, disabled rooms, restaurants etc. Alternatively, I believe there is also a more automated way to send the request via Lanyon, but I don;t have personal experience of this.
The main problem that is always raised is that too many requests are sent to too many hotels. For this reason, and with so many requests, you often hear that so many hotels either don’t respond to the RFP, or it comes back to the corporation / agency far too late. Hotels want to respond, as it’s a key way to ensure they retail loyal customers and fill their rooms for the following year. But as you can tell, the process is lengthy and often time consuming. Imagine you’re an independent city-centre hotel and how many RFP requests you could receive in that three month period!
Sabre have three solutions aimed at helping the process, so if your involved in RFP’s and haven’t heard of this, the take a look. I’;ve taken some of the text below from Sabre’s website, which also hosts short video presentations on the products, which you can access by clicking here.
Sabre Hotel RFP – For Hotels: This is an automated notification service that generates qualified leads from hundreds of Fortune 500 companies aimed at unlocking new opportunities for hoteliers of all sizes. More than 700 corporate travel managers and agencies use Sabre Hotel RFP, representing more than 4.5 million room nights in 2009. Today, you only respond to RFPs if the corporation specifically requests your property. But with Hotel RFP, you can compete even if you weren’t selected. 90% of corporate Hotel RFP users choose to receive responses from qualified hotels not initially considered.
Sabre Hotel RFP – For Corporations & Travel Agencies: Travel professionals can quickly and easily assemble an RFP package that is compliant with the standards issued by the National Business Travel Association. As a corporate travel buyer, you can source and map hotels in proximity to relevant travel destinations, deliver the RFP package, interactively negotiate rates and create final contracts.
If you have personal experience of using Sabre’s tools or any other you have to help with this process, please leave a comment, it would be great to share experiences. How has the process worked for you this year?