Build your RFP on integrity and transparency.

Secret to successful RFP - the importance of clear communication, mutual understanding, and empathy in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

Sandy Yi-Davis

4/2/20242 min read

Every day, we hear stories of contracts not being honored by either the vendor or the client. The purpose of a contract is to hold each party accountable. Both the customer and the service provider must be on the same page. Often, our expectations are not clearly communicated, or a vendor drops the ball and doesn't know how to rectify the issue. It boils down to basic customer service, care, and mutual understanding.

Relationships matter to me when I'm considering a partnership. I recommend partners to my clients based on personal experiences, reviews from my network, and my interactions with the potential partner. You can glean a lot from how a person responds to you via email, phone, or in person.

When I send RFPs to hotels, I always protect my client’s full identity. Why? Hotels might offer different pricing structures based on the end client's industry because markets and goals vary by sector. I aim to give my client a fair chance at securing the best pricing. I'll disclose information such as whether they're a non-profit, corporate, or association to allow for market segmentation assignment. Most hotels want to know the end client's market and the contract signer's location to direct the leads to the appropriate sales representative.

Be clear and upfront when you send your RFPs. Include all your requirements in the RFP, especially if the are non-negotiable items. Share information about who are the competition or destination you are comparing. When I worked in Group Sales, I always inquired about my competition. The city and level of hotel service can influence the offer. Flexibility is key to successful negotiations. Consider discussing adjustments to your plans or dates, but only after having done your research or inquire with professionals.

Negotiate with empathy. I firmly believe in conveying your needs and desires through positive negotiation. I want the best for both my clients and partners. I treat everyone with the utmost respect and bring integrity to the process, ensuring the best deal for all involved. I strive for a win-win solution, which can foster long-term relationships with my customers and partners. My integrity and how I represent my client mirror how I expect my partners to treat them. Acting as the bridge between the two parties, I find this approach immensely beneficial for both my customers and vendor partners.

My ultimate goal is to be the trusted advisor for both my clients and vendor partners.