Request for proposals (RFPs) in the serviced apartment sector are still fairly convoluted and they don’t have the simplicity they should have. The insistence on providing too much irrelevant information is confusing the process. One of the main problems is that people are trying to squeeze serviced apartments in to hotel criteria when they should be treated separately.
So how can an organisation who’s tendering for an RFP make the process as smooth as possible when finding a preferred service provider?
- Keep things simple and decide whether your preference is to go with an agent or direct to the provider. This is so a business can tailor the RFP accordingly. Consider the parameters that are normal for what you’re tendering for. For instance, apartment rates reduce with the length of stay. Most RFPs don’t allow for this, so try not to be overly restrictive.
- Look for proof of quality – do potential suppliers have affiliations with associations such as the HBAA (Hotel Booking Agents Association)? This will ensure trust between all parties, as the HBAA only associate with property partners and agents who are safe, reliable and adhere to every aspect of their code of conduct.
- This is primarily a service industry, so go out and meet the prospective agents and see what they’re going to do to offer an outstanding service. We also always encourage people to come to our offices so they can get a feel for how we operate, what we are about and where we want to go.
For companies considering relocation and mobility programmes, there are still things that need ironing out for RFPs to be fully adequate. Visiting every department of a business and seeing the inner cogs close up is an important part of the evaluation process. It’s vital for the future of RFPs that businesses realise that the less they ask of an agency or provider, the more they’re going to get. Face to face communication during the process of an RFP could make the process a whole lot easier.