24 APRIL 2017
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE JUST RECEIVED A RFP
for a multi-day corporate meeting with the potential client
expecting bells and whistles that wow. Now, it’s times to
crunch the numbers.
One of the biggest issues among independent meeting
professionals has traditionally been in knowing exactly
how to structure fees to assure a bid will be well received.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula, template or one-size-fits-all rate card for easy reference.
When planners receive an identical RFP from the same
potential client, the bottom line is anything but straight across
the board. Visions for an event are as unique as the individual
meeting professionals submitting their plans.
Even before the actual bidding process begins, it’s
imperative to do your homework. Find out what the client has
done in the past — ideally within the past three years. Make
certain you understand the expectations and boundaries.
“When it comes to the bidding process, your budget
obviously needs to fall within the client’s perimeters,”
says Linda Spelling, founder of Buzz Corporate
St. Clair formatted the workshop to guide
independent planners on competitive pricing and
having confidence when determining the value of their
“It’s interesting to see the different price ranges
by planners for the same RFP,” says St. Clair. “There
are many reasons that pricing varies — your years of
experience, location, staffing, the market segment
Enhanced offerings also come into play. “A RFP
may not include the element of a speaker coach,” says
Spelling. “However, the meeting planner may throw
that into the bid as a service.”
While the resulting price might be higher, the
overall bid will reflect more value than a competitor’s. On
the flip side, a basic package may be lower in cost while
lacking important features that add quality to the program.
The Proposal Punch List
Regardless of the industry, first-time business owners
often fail from inadvertently pricing their services too
low. This is especially true with sole proprietors and
independents, including meeting planners.
The goal is to price services properly for optimal
sales, cash flow, profit margins and branding.
According to St. Clair, factoring in these five elements
should help direct planners along a more accurate
How to win the bidding game
By Dawna L. Robertson
Flavia St. Clair, Principal,
PCM & Associates