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Sourcing with Innovation

By: Rachael Riggs, CMP | Mar 21, 2017

In my first article, we talked about what to think about before you build your RFP. The five questions to start with were:

  1. What is the vision of the program and what are the goals of the meeting?
  2. What innovations do you want to bring to this meeting?
  3. Do you really need to consider 10 destinations?
  4. Do you send the RFP to both the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)/Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and the hotel Global Sales Offices?
  5. Do you think you are providing too much detail?

We started by exploring the vision and goals and now we are going to dive into innovation with Question #2.

What innovations do you want to bring to this meeting? 

You now need to reflect on the vision and goals of the meeting that you and your client defined previously, to start developing strategies an tactics to achieve these. This includes what you are going to do at the meeting and how you are going to make it happen. The most important questions to ask you client is “Do you want to change anything with the upcoming meeting?”. If this is a new meeting, then you will already have a clean slate to work with.

Innovation can look different in many ways, such as logistics, to programming and schedule, networking, etc. In order to be successful, you need to ensure that you do not bite off more that the organizing/planning team can chew! Completely changing the entire meeting always sounds like a great idea, but can it really be done? Do you have enough manpower to get it all done, and done well? If the answer is yes, then that’s great! If not, then maybe focus on changing two to three aspects of the meeting. This can also help the attendees slowly get used to changes with the meeting and not be overwhelmed by the fact that the meeting is completely different.

Innovation can include anything from having no printed materials on-site to put on a more sustainable meeting, further automating the on-site registration, changing how education is delivered, incorporating unique networking opportunities, providing new sponsorship packages, plus much more.

Once you decide on what type of changes are going to be made, you now need to think about what venues are going to help you achieve this and what how this impacts how much space you are looking for. If it does impact your space needs, ensure you include these changes in your RFP so that the potential venues can understand what you are looking for, especially if they have been considered for this meeting in the past. Many suppliers have resources to look at the previous meeting specifications, which could skew the way in which they put together their proposal if the changes are not fully explained.

Essentially, the more accurate information you can provide on the RFP, the better the responses you receive will be.

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