But, once opened, you’ll see the inside reveal a cheerful blue sky dotted with nice fluffy clouds. This whimsical design not only created a best selling product, it still sells after being on the market for more than twenty years.
Why? Because it stood out among all the other generic umbrellas
Much like the Sky Umbrella, we should make our group proposals stand out too
And yet, most hotels respond with extremely group proposals. Rather than sending something that would wow the planner, they are sending the equivalent of a generic black umbrella.
As you already know, generic does not stand out
No one wants to read a boring proposal. They have twelve other boring proposals to read and if yours is not any different, why would you expect them to focus on it. By sending the same generic template to everyone, you’re telling the planner that there is no difference between you and any other hotel.
So how can you create a proposal that is different from your competitors?
Start by making sure you have the following four things in your proposal.
Sending a proposal without a cover letter is like giving a gift without a card. You have an opportunity to speak to the group planner so why not use it. Why not put together two or three paragraphs about the benefits that your hotel has to offer to their group.
Not many hotels include reviews from other groups in their proposals. And you have to wonder why. After all, a review is a great way to relay success stories. And by putting them in your proposal, they will do exactly what they are meant to do. Sell your hotel to future groups.
It seems obvious to have images, doesn’t it. And yet, most group proposals don’t. Having images in your proposal saves the group planner from having to look them up online, saving them an extra step in their research process.
List of things to do
Almost every group will need a list of things to do or places to eat when they are in town. Why not take the hassle of doing research out of their hands and give them a ready made list.
Including the four things above will make your proposal very different from just about everyone else. And if you were to send a proposal that incorporated the above, you’d see a nice increase in the number of groups that want to do business with you.
But a slight increase is not what we want
We want to blow away the competition. And the way to blow away the competition is to personalize every one of those items above to the type of group that you are sending the proposal to.
For example, let’s say you were creating a proposal for a basketball team
- Your cover letter should describe how sports teams are always welcome at your hotel. It would stress how you have an indoor heated pool, offer a full breakfast and free wifi. And if you can, include a bonus like a free team meeting room that they can use for a pizza party.
- Wouldn’t the proposal be so much more relevant if the testimonials you include were from previous sports teams that loved their experience at your hotel.
- Add some images of a sports team outside your hotel to the standard room and lobby images you already have.
- Include a list of things to do/ places to eat that is specific to sports teams (cheap, lots of open seating, quick service etc). You could include restaurants that can accommodate large teams, or put together a list of fun things that they can do during down time.
Personalizing the proposal this way is how you’re differentiating yourself from everyone else. It’s your version of the blue sky umbrella. It’s how you wow the group planner.
But won’t a proposal like this take forever to create
After all, there are days when you have to respond to a half a dozen proposals. So how can a hotel sales manager reply to all the RFP’s in a timely manner and have each one be personalized.
The answer is to create a template. The next time you get an RFP, create a personalized proposal and save it as a template. It will take a long time to create the proposal for the first time, but it’s a one time investment. Once created, you can reuse this template for the same type of group over and over again.
As you get new RFP’s from other groups, continue to create more proposal templates based on that specific group type. Before you know it, you will have a library of proposal templates that are super personalized, ready to help you stand out from your competitors.
Rain or shine.
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