Breaking Down Hotel RFPs (Request for Proposals) [2024]

Patricia Driscoll |
Table Of Contents

A request for proposal, or RFP, is one of the key components of event housing management. Hotel RFPs are business documents that detail the requirements of a specific event, asking hotels for a proposal that includes a block of rooms and any other additional concessions from potential hotels. 

This comprehensive guide breaks down this Hotel RFP process for industry professionals and first-timers alike. We look at the definition of Hotel RFPs, why they’re so important, and how you can overcome any challenges throughout the process. 

What is a Hotel RFP (Request for Proposal)?

A Hotel Request for Proposal, or Hotel RFP, is a formal document used to coordinate hotel services. Corporations, organizations, event producers or tournament organizers often use this process to procure hotel rooms for conferences, meetings, tournaments and other events. 

The RFP outlines the specific needs and expectations of the event, such as the number of rooms required, the desired amenities, and the event dates. It will also include selection criteria and the date by which they need a response. 

Hotels then respond with proposals that detail how they can meet these requirements and at what cost. The business will compare proposals and select the best hotel that fits their needs and budget.

Benefits of Submitting Hotel RFPs

Submitting Hotel RFPs offers several advantages to businesses or event producers: 

  • By outlining their specific requirements and expectations in detail, businesses ensure they receive tailored proposals that precisely meet their needs.
  • A well-structured RFP allows for an easy side-by-side comparison of the responses from potential venues, making the selection process more efficient. 
  • Vendors are also encouraged to compete not just on price but on the quality of their facilities, the variety of their services, and their commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Creating and submitting an RFP can help businesses clarify and refine their objectives and priorities. 

Ultimately, submitting Hotel RFPs provides a structured method for identifying the best venue for a business's needs while saving them time and money.

The Hotel RFP Process


Let’s look at this step-by-step breakdown of the Hotel RFP process. 

1. Determine Hotel Requirements

Before starting the RFP process, the company or individual should identify their needs, such as location, amenities, number of rooms, dates, budget, and other special requirements.

Then, create a detailed RFP that includes specifics about what is required from a hotel, including the room types, layout of meeting rooms, food and beverage services, technology needs, budget, room rates, etc. It should provide enough details for hotels to create a thorough proposal.

2. Find Hotel Options 

Factors such as location, hotel size, availability of rooms, amenities, services, cost, and the hotel's reputation are to be considered. 

If you have guests that need special accommodations, factor that into your search as well. Remember, some hotels may not offer all the resources that guests with disabilities and medical conditions may need. 

Pro Tip: Speak with any possible attendees and ask what they want and need to have an enjoyable stay during the event. 

You also need to search for a hotel that is close to the event and in a safe area. 

Available channels for this research may include:

  • Previous events
  • Online research
  • Hotel directories
  • Recommendations from colleagues or other businesses

EventPipe’s event housing management platform with various hotel options.


3. Submit RFPs 

Submitting proposals is easier said than done. Depending on the size of the event, some producers might need multiple hotels to house all their attendees. On top of that, not every hotel is the same. Contact hotels about the proposals so you can properly send all the paperwork over. 

Alternatively, you can take advantage of a modern event housing management software like EventPipe to streamline the RFP process. 

With EventPipe, you’re able to specify which amenities are a must-have like free breakfast, for example. You’re also able to specify any commissions or rebates that you expect to be a part of your proposal as well as other concessions like comp rooms. 

Pro Tip: If you are contracting comp rooms, EventPipe makes it super easy to keep track of how many you’ve earned to ensure you’re getting the credit you contracted for!

Producers can submit and manage proposals to multiple hotels from one place. Hotels can also review requests and respond from their portals, and vice versa. Additionally, hotels can view all pick-up and reservation data in real time, confirm reservations, and more using EventPipe! 


EventPipe RFP platform

With EventPipe, you can also: 

  • Create customizable booking sites for attendees
  • Generate additional revenue using advertisements, fees for cancellation, and more
  • Access and manage all group block and reservation information from one place
  • Designate a room block manager
  • Provide instructions and booking links for attendees

And much more. Want to find out for yourself?


4. Review Proposals & Negotiate 

Once you receive proposals from the hotels, they’re assessed based on cost, amenities, services, availability, and location. If a certain hotel's proposal is attractive but could use some changes or different pricing options, negotiations would then take place.

Key areas of negotiation within a hotel RFP can include room rates, cancellation policies, complimentary services, potential upgrades, and other value-added services such as free Wi-Fi, parking or shuttle services. 

Good negotiations are based on mutual understanding and defining a win-win solution for both parties. Providing clear, comprehensive information about your organization's needs and budget in the RFP and demonstrating flexibility where possible will help foster a productive negotiation process.

5. Sign Contracts

After the selection process, both parties draw up and sign a contract. This includes final agreed-upon terms, rates, cancellation policy, etc.

Pro Tip: Before you accept and sign any contract review, ensure that everything needed to accommodate guests (for the event) is included.

6. Make Hotel RFPs Easy With EventPipe

The RFP process can be time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, software tools like e-RFP platforms and event management platforms can help streamline and simplify the process. 

With EventPipe, users can generate, distribute, and handle RFPs and contracts, set up personalized booking websites, manage room blocks and sub-blocks and perform other event management tasks–all from one platform. 


Challenges of Creating Hotel RFPs


If you’re still working through the RFP process manually, be prepared for these challenges: 

Finding Hotels

Finding a hotel that meets all your attendees’ needs can be time-consuming: ultimately, you need to make sure you have enough rooms in the right locations on the right dates. 

The perfect hotel is out there, but it may take some time to find. If you’re producing a larger event and have guests with particular needs that can narrow your search by a lot. Hotels have their own policies and may not be able to provide all the accommodation you’re looking for or have enough room available during the dates of the event. 

You also need to find reasonably priced hotels that check off all the boxes for the event and attendees. But as a busy event producer, you most likely don't have time to call multiple hotels, inquire about their RFP process, and negotiate room blocks, amenities, dates, and times. 

However, with EventPipe, you can select from thousands using filters for room types, locations, amenities, etc. Easily eliminate unnecessary hotels so you can review the ones that offer your needed locations, dates, and room types. 

Rate Negotiations 

Negotiations can take some time, but they’re worth it! Good negotiations are based on mutual understanding and defining a win-win solution for all parties. Providing clear, comprehensive information about your organization's needs and budget in the RFP and demonstrating flexibility where possible will help foster a productive negotiation process.

Managing Proposal Submissions

Managing hotel proposal submissions for an event might be one of the most difficult tasks for event producers. Some event producers may receive a large number of proposals that need to be looked over thoroughly. Each proposal has to be reviewed for room blocks, amenities, pricing, location, and more. 

Platforms like EventPipe can make managing numerous proposal submissions easier by reducing the paperwork and using end-user portals to view and accept hotel proposals. Event producers can send out requests with details regarding nights, room types, concessions, and more.

Hotel RFP Template

Ready to get your RFP set up? Here’s everything that you need to include:

Company Introduction 

The introduction should also include you and your company's name, contact information, and other details to help hotels understand who you are and why you're writing to them.

RFP Purpose Statement 

The main objective is to invite hotel bids and get their proposals to see how they plan to satisfy your event housing needs. Whether it's centered on organizing an event or accommodation needs, the purpose statement outlines the exact services required, the expected quality, and the criteria for evaluating the proposals.

Create an Event Profile

The event profile should list all the requirements needed for attendees during the event, such as: 

  • Dates for the stay (and event if needed)
  • Number of attendees
  • Room types
  • Amenities
  • Concessions
  • Transportation 
  • Meeting spaces or conference rooms

Include Attendee Requirements 

Attendee requirements are any accommodations needed for specific guests. For example, if you have any attendees with disabilities, they may need a special room type, help with transportation, or can only eat a select few foods. 

Pro tip: Take time to speak with attendees beforehand so you can add their needs to the RFP.

Provide Your Budget

Your budget indicates the financial limits your organization is prepared to spend on hotel services. It should factor in different expenses besides the room costs, such as food and beverage costs, hidden fees like local taxes and service charges and extended services like conference rooms or gym facilities. 

Add a Deadline 

Try to send your proposal to hotels as early as possible and set your deadline with enough time for hotels to respond to you. Hotels will need time to handle and coordinate complex bookings. 

In fact, the more space and services you need, the earlier you need to draft and send your proposal. 

Optimize Your Hotel RFP Process

If you're struggling with endless negotiations, confusing contracts, or complex vendor comparisons, it's time to revolutionize your RFP process with EventPipe.

EventPipe specializes in managing event housing and is committed to linking you with the ideal hotel for your occasion. We simplify your RPF process via our hotel portal, allowing you to view, request, or approve proposals from your preferred hotel. 

Sending detailed proposals with EventPipe streamlines the RFP process because hotels can see your statement, budgets, necessary amenities and services, and more. You can also compare proposals side by side to choose the best hotels for your event and future participants. 

Additionally, our software enables you to conveniently manage all your room blocks from a single location or delegate this task to a designated room block manager for the event.

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