Events often take a long time to plan and they can are often ruined by the smallest of details. So why would anyone want to spend longer than they need to on the venue briefing process (RFP)? Even more importantly, why would you want your venue to only have half of the details?
Firstly, lets get back to basics – what is a request for proposal (RFP)? A RFP is the document you send through to a venue or supplier when you are requesting a quote from them. The RFP outlines the details of your event so that the supplier or venue can quote accurately. A well written RFP will save time and ensure you aren’t caught out by unexpected costs.
1. Date & Time
The first detail you need to provide for the venue is the date (don’t forget to include the year!) and time for your event.  You should double check the calendar to ensure you have the correct day (stops the “do you mean Tuesday 5th July or Wednesday 6th July as you have written Wednesday 6th July” discussions!).
When considering the time for the event you need to include bump in and out times in your request for proposal. This could mean the difference between the venue being able to fit your event or not. Make sure you detail Bump in time, Event Start Time, Event Finish Time & Bump out concludes.
Getting the details correct in this step is extremely important. If the venue has another event happening at a similar time, they may decline your event due to congestion in the shared foyer areas. When in actual fact your guests don’t arrive until well after the other event concludes. You just needed extra time for bump in.
2. Venue & Function Space
This seems like a no brainer but some venue operators work across multiple venues. This makes it important to stipulate the venue that you are considering as well as the particular function space you prefer. If you prefer one space but are ok with another if the first choice is unavailable, then say that.
You also need to stipulate if you require multiple function rooms. For example you may have a plenary session and then the group splits into breakouts. In these cases, it is best to provide the venue with a brief overview of your event schedule. This allows them to see exactly when you need the extra rooms.
3. Number of Guests & Setup Style
The venue will need to know how many people you are expecting. And if this number fluctuates for different sessions you need to include this too. However, saying “we need a function space for 100 guests” is not helpful. There are many different setup styles that can be utilised in events. The same room will have a different maximum number depending on the set-up style. For example theatre style seating fits far more people than boardroom. If you aren’t sure on which set up style will work best for your event then head over to our Event Capacity Charts blog to find the best fit for your event.
4. AV Requirements
Many venues have in-house AV companies. Requesting an AV quote at the same time as your venue quote can be valuable for more than one reason. Firstly, some venues charge quite low room hire charges, their catering charges are reasonable but their AV quotes are out of this world! When comparing the proposals of your top venues, the one with the higher F&B and room hire costs actually comes out cheaper overall because of the AV.
We wanted to add here that just because a venue has an inhouse AV company doesn’t mean you have to use them. Most of the time you are free to bring in your own external AV company. Some venues will charge you a fee however to have their technician onsite to “oversee” the AV installations. Events Outsourced can also assist with your external AV requirements, please contact us for a quote.
Outlining your AV requirements in your initial request for proposal is also helpful. It allows the venue to determine if your event will fit in the designated function space. Some AV elements take up space that would otherwise be used by seating. This can reduce your maximum capacity for the space.
5. Accommodation Requirements
It is always a good idea to outline your accommodation requirements in your RFP – if the venue has onsite accommodation. Even if you do not need accommodation please include that on the request for proposal. This will save a phone call or email from the venue checking whether you need it or not.
When outlining your accommodation requirements for an event it is important to outline a few basics. These include the number of rooms, whether they are single/twin/double configurations. You also need to provide the number of nights and whether you would like breakfast included. Any special requirements (i.e. VIP’s requiring upgraded rooms etc) is also good to disclose at this point.
Some events will provide accommodation for staff but require the attendees to book their own accommodation. In this case it is a good idea to ask the hotel if they can provide a discounted rate for the attendees. We don’t recommend holding a room block for attendees if you aren’t paying for them. Unless you have negotiated the terms so that you are not stuck paying for accommodation rooms you don’t need if your guests don’t book them.
6. General Event Overview
It is important to give the venue a general overview of your event – they will often have recommendations for offsite activities and meals (and can let you know which ones not to use!). The overview also allows them to have a better understanding of your event and how they can service you better.
7. Budget
This one is a frequently debated one. Some prefer not to give the venue a budget as they feel the venue will price the elements up to meet your budget. Other times, the venue may be able to allocate discounts and other complimentary items to meet your budget requirements.
In the end it’s a personal decision. But if you choose not to disclose your budget and the quote is too high, we always recommend giving them an opportunity to revise their proposal. If the venue really wants your business, they will generally do what they can to work with your budget. Another factor that may assist the venue to provide your proposal is knowing who they are pitching against. We generally only recommend disclosing this if the other venues are of a similar calibre.
Next time you are putting together a request for proposal for your event venue, make sure you use these tips. This will result in a far more accurate quote. It will also make the process much more efficient and will assist you to prepare a successful event.