Planning a large meeting requires excellent project management and people skills. However, sometimes one of the last items for consideration is Audiovisual (AV). Whether you are a novice or an experienced planner, sending out a complete Request for Proposal (RFP) is essential. Here are some dos and don’ts regarding the RFP process.
The key DON’TS:
- Don’t send out RFPs to the world. Make sure the companies you are considering are solid choices and given the option, you would do business with them. Sending out 25 or 30 RFPs takes a lot of work, not to mention the time it takes for you to read each response. Choose 2 to 5 companies you will consider.
- Don’t send it to a company that cannot meet your client’s needs. Make certain you know your conference services requirements. Understand the listing of equipment the AV company has to offer and that they have everything you need to make your event a success.
- Don’t use a RFP to "shop" your current AV provider or determine your in-house budget. First of all, this is highly unethical. Second, the AV company is going to lose respect for you if they think they have been shopped. On the other hand, it is okay to "kick the tires" with other AV companies. Just make sure you are communicating with your present provider as to what you are doing. As long as everything is out in the open, there is no foul play. With regards to budget, I recommend you turn to the history of the event or look for peer advice, from such sources as, LinkedIn groups and Twitter.
Here are the key DOS:
- Give the AV Company your basic information. Your name, title, phone, fax, email and web address. Tell them which way you prefer to be contacted and let them know what your normal turnaround time is with communications (1 day, 3 days, etc).
- Let them know the date(s), times, location, and meeting sizes of the event. This will tell the AV firm right away whether or not they can do it.
- Give them ALL your AV requirements at the same time. If you don’t know them, wait before issuing the RFP. Check with all the speakers and facilitators.
- Let them know if a green meeting is a priority. Ask about certifications (LEED, EnergyStar, Green Seal). Ask if they will be sourcing their services locally or subcontracting the business out.
- When renting audio visual equipment, give the company a budget range. You don’t have to be perfect here, but a high and low range is going to tell the AV Company whether or not they can do the job.
- Let them know about your payment schedule. Do you pay your invoices net 30, 45, 60 days? Let them know how you pay. Don’t be surprised, if you are late payer, that the company asks you for a hefty deposit up front.
- Answer all their questions, before they submit. Most organizations are going to have questions because you may not have thought of everything. Take the calls and answer the questions. You can always email all questions to the other vendors and let them know your responses.
- Let them know when you are going to make a decision. Call the winner and the losers. Let them know why they won and lost. If your date is slipping by a week, call all the vendors and let them know.
AV Event Solutions provides association and corporate audio visual equipment in California and the Western U.S. Give them a call today to start your RFP process. They guarantee a response within 4 business hours.