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es Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspective each style. However, wouldn’t the food be better if the restaurant specialized in Mexican or Italian, and didn’t try to offer too much?

2. RFI, RFP or both?

“Select a third party that

works the way you want to and doesn’t make you conform to their standards.”

Once you have selected a variety of companies based on your research, you need to determine if you will send them a request for proposal (RFP) only or provide a request for information (RFI) first. An RFI lets everyone know what you are trying to accomplish and asks simple questions about the company’s scope of work. Can they provide all the services you need, or would you have to work with more than one company? An RFP is much more complex. An RFP asks specific questions regarding a company’s scope of services, pricing, and contract terms and conditions. Other questions you can ask in an RFP include: Does the company utilize service level agreements (SLAs)? Do they work with a variety of partners to get you competitive bids for services? Are they familiar with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and other regulations within your particular industry? And, who are their clients? You can find sample RFPs online, and I would also recommend contacting companies you know have implemented an SMMP to see if they are willing to share their RFP with you. In addition, consider creating an RFP template, which keeps you from having to start from scratch, and allows you to tweak an existing document so that it asks the questions you want and supports your company culture.

4. Go at your own pace. There is no set timeframe to complete the process of finding a third party. If you are going to invest the research time to find a company, make sure to review the information, ask follow-up questions of the vendors, and do Webinars or face-to-face meetings so you can see their work. Implementing an SMMP is a lengthy but rewarding process, and it is important to surround yourself with the right people for the task.

Deborah Borak, Director of Global Accounts with Littleton, CO-based ConferenceDirect, works with a variety of clients in the corporate, association and SMERF sectors. She is an active member of PCMA, GBTA, ASAE and MPI, and has served on committee and board positions throughout the meetings industry. In 2010, she earned her Strategic Meetings Management Certification as part of the inaugural group of GBTA graduates to do so.

Dynamic. Diverse. Distinct.

3. Consider the human element. Relationships are paramount within the meetings industry. Working with a partner you trust is critical. You need to make sure they understand your end goals, as well as your organization’s culture. It is also important to select a company that works the way you want to and doesn’t make you conform to their standards. For instance, some third parties provide one person to source all of your meetings, regardless of whether the meeting is for 10 or 10,000 attendees. Other organizations have different individuals or departments work on meetings of different sizes. Therefore, you could end up working with several people implementing your programs and sourcing your meetings. If you prefer to have one person to work with, make that known up front, at the RFP stage. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review  

F&D's mid-market review, providing an in-depth examination of value-driven second and third tier destinations, columns from industry leaders...

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