A Deeper Dive Into the Hotel Systems RFP
By Deborah MacDonald
Who should be involved in an RFP process? What is the risk of too many people being involved? Too few?
Before determining who should be involved the scope needs to be defined; such as whether the RFP is for a standalone property vs. city center vs. resort. And is this a multi property solution requiring an umbrella approach for the setting of standards that would subsequently apply to all thereby increasing the participant list. However, the RFP Committee should be comprised of key stakeholders to include: IT, DORM, DOS, GM, Finance/Accounting, Food and Beverage (where a POS will be integrated) Convention Services (where Group Management system would be integrated), Spa/Activities (where a Spa management/activities management to be integrated). Finally if pursuing a PMS integrated solution, a Reservation Manager and Front Office Manager should also be included.
The risk with too many being involved is that departments (silos) tend to focus on their specific needs vs the overall solution thereby bogging down the process. Too few participants run the risk of exclusion resulting in the push back by the excluded departments resulting in resistance during the implementation process
What is the single biggest misconception that hotel tech buyers have going into the RFP process?
The main misconception is that a one size off the shelf solution would be applicable to the organization’s needs. The reality is that every property or organization has unique needs and priorities that any system selected will need to have the flexibility to address through seamless interfaces, if not, internal solutions
What is the most common mistake that you see hotel tech buyers make in RFPs?
The most common mistake is failing to do extensive reference reviews with similar type properties that have successfully implemented the considered solutions and proposed integration.
What is your approach to identifying the scoring matrix and feature set ? How do you decide which features are truly important for clients ?
It would vary for each client. For us, independent hotels tend to be more cost sensitive, and have less staff. So an ability to help fill our RFPs in an efficient manner whilst keeping it customized.
By nature, organizations request copious amounts of information through their RFPs. Some of it is highly relevant (must have) and some less so. Items are usually categorized in to functional silos. Within the totality of the RFP, certain priorities will required for the greatest chance for success and therefore be prioritized in the rating scheme. There will always be secondary and tertiary items (nice to have) included and in turn those items need to be rated accordingly to their importance.
Through collaborative discussions with the organizational leadership pertaining to the current situation and the long term goals, the must have and nice to have items are determined by the RFP Committee in alignment with the leadership vision.
What characteristics, traits or approaches separate your clients
Successful properties have absolute buy in from organization leadership. A fully established SOP on sales processes. Namely that they have people who are fully trained to respond to RFPs and know exactly what they want to convey and the unique selling points for their property that relate to who is requesting the pricing.