Meeting managers now have a comprehensive guide to soliciting vendor bids for their strategic meetings management programs, the result of a long-term effort by volunteers from the Global Business Travel Association.
The SMM RFP Guide, just released by the GBTA Foundation, is based on information gathered both from organizations with SMMPs in place and from known subject matter experts in the field. The project took a year and a half to complete and included focus groups, online bulletin boards, and a full-day meeting last summer to review a draft request for proposal outline.
The guide begins by defining the differences between a request for information and an RFP (see below), then outlines the topics and questions that an organization could include in each. Nine chapters cover such topics as the roles and responsibilities of suppliers; metrics to evaluate the supplier’s performance; technology requirements; payment procedures; and more.
The SMM RFP Taskforce was comprised of individuals from the following companies: Active Network|Starcite, American Express Meetings and Events, Key Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett-Packard, Bondurant Consulting, Accenture, Cisco Systems Inc., BCD Meetings & Incentives, and Experient.
RFI vs RFP?
• A request for information—less specific than a request for proposal—is a first step in the buying process, giving prospective buyers an opportunity to learn about the capabilities of numerous suppliers and to discuss possible models for moving forward with a solicitation.
• An RFP is typically sent to a smaller number of potential suppliers known to have the resources for providing the desired services. In addition, an RFP is usually more detailed with respect to the services being sought and the information prospective suppliers must provide.