A request for proposal, or RFP, is an invitation to submit a competitive bid soliciting hospitality services and/or products. It specifically details the major needs and requirements for meeting services or provides description of products to be procured. The document typically lists specifications and application procedures to be followed and serves as a precursor to a legal agreement.
Depending on the scope and purpose of the RFP, it may include information such as: meeting and organization name, key contacts and decision makers, preferred dates and arrival/departure patterns, meeting goals and objectives, historical information and data, expected attendance and guest profile, number and type of hotel accommodations, meeting space needs, food and beverage requirements, exhibits or special events, tentative meeting schedule, specific contract considerations, transportation needs, proposal deadlines, and anticipated decision dates.
Recent technology advancements have allowed planners to submit RFPs directly to suppliers via the Internet. Response time and efficiency have greatly improved, allowing the planner additional time to make an educated decision. Notably, organizations such as the Convention Industry Council (CIC) and Accepted Practices Exchanges (APEX) have supported initiatives to implement an industry wide standardized RFP to streamline process, resulting in less duplication of efforts and time and cost saving. Related terms include invitation to tender, request for quote (RFQ), bid solicitation, bid manual, bid specifications, and invitation to bid.
Ramsborg, G. (Ed.). (2006). Professional meeting management (5th ed.). Chicago: Professional Conference Management Association.
Fenich, G. (2007). Meetings, Expositions, Events and Conventions: An Introduction to the Industry. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Prentice Hall.