Elite Meetings International, a provider of integrated technology solutions for meeting and hospitality professionals, announced at The Motivation Show in Chicago last week a new electronic RFP process, called SpeedRFP, which allows meeting professionals to create, submit, and track RFPs from a central dashboard.
The free tool, launching in the first quarter of 2010, is designed to be portable—that is, planners can send SpeedRFPs to any hotel Web site that integrates with the tool, regardless of the brand. They can also send their own RFP forms to hotels that are not SpeedRFP enabled.
The SpeedRFP form is APEX compliant, meaning that the data fields on the RFP form are standardized and adhere to the Convention Industry Council’s accepted practices exchange initiative. On the hotel’s side, the result is that RFPs can seamlessly integrate with sales management systems, such as Delphi or MeetingBroker. The hotel does not have to rekey RFP data.
Planners can compare and manage all RFPs in one place and don’t have to rekey their information for each new RFP. And, said Amanda Armstrong, CMP, meetings manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car who spoke at the press conference, when planners update or change an RFP, the software automatically updates the information and sends it to the hotel.
The service, www.SpeedRFP.com, is aimed at simplifying hotel-buyer communication and is not acting as a middleman between the two. There is no site-search database integrated with the system. The product is free to planners and commission- and transaction-free to hotels. Any hotel can integrate with SpeedRFP for free, but Enterprise and Pro versions will be sold to hotels and hotel chains for a monthly subscription fee.
Kelly Foy, CEO of Santa Barbara, Calif.–based Elite Meetings, compared SpeedRFP to the popular PayPal online banking system, which allows users set up one online account that can be used when they shop almost anywhere online. With SpeedRFP, the planner sets up an account once with a user name and password and can log in and work from his or her dashboard from any computer or Internet-enabled device.
Foy says that Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Convention Collection and Destination Hotels & Resorts will be the first SpeedRFP-enabled hotel groups and that he hopes to announce a number of other chains as partners when the tool officially launches next year.