Single Facility RFP
By Rob Wilson
This article is centered on the Single Facility RFP - the first module of the APEX Standards that hoteliers are now seeing on a daily basis.
Single Facility RFP
In short, the Single Facility RFP is the tool a planner uses to find a hotel. During this process many things happen:
1. The planner gathers meeting requirements.
2. The planner delivers the meeting requirements to hotels (online, e-mail, fax, telephone, etc).
3. Hotels respond back in multiple formats (online, e-mail, fax, telephone, etc).
4. Planner gathers all this data in whatever format they can
5. Planner decides where to have site inspection
6. A property is decided upon after site inspection
7. Contract negotiations begins
8. Contract is signed
Short and sweet, right?
Well not exactly. Behind all of this are a lot of man hours to filter, edit and manage the data on both sides (planner and hotel).
The goal of APEX is to make this process easier by using standards and technology. A panel of our peers defined the best practices for the Single Facility RFP regarding content. In the TAC, we developed the technology using XML, SOAP and web services to make the transfer of this information standardized.
Today, Meeting Sites Resource is the first company in the industry to be APEX compliant and is sending out all of their leads in the APEX recommended standard format for content and technology. This format has four different sections that outline each area of the RFP. The huge benefit to hoteliers is the information about the RFP will be in the same place every time. Currently, hoteliers get 20-30 different leads a day with each lead having the needed information in 20 - 30 different places. This is very inefficient and has a learning curve that never ends.
Sample APEX recommended standard format (short form)
- There are two different forms (short form and long form). The short form was the first to be put into production. The long form will follow.
Within the next six months the vision of APEX will begin to be fulfilled - systems will be talking to systems without the need for human intervention. When the meeting specs are sent out, they will go directly into the hotel system and the hotelier will be able to check availability and respond to the lead all within their own computer system. Today, hoteliers have to go to multiple places to get the specs, check availability and then respond.
This is a huge step forward in realizing the efficiencies that technology can bring to the hotel industry.
What does this mean on the Hotel Side?
Hotels understand the huge benefit that standardized RFP's will bring to them. Hotels, with representatives on the TAC, are moving to accept a message in the XML Format and then process it within their own computer systems. This could happen in one of two ways:
1. The hotel works with their IT department to build the interface capability based on the APEX technology standards.
2. The hotels work with their software vendors and their software vendors create this capability.
Through either path, the hotel will be able to accept the RFP information, process it, and send back a response without the need for human intervention.
I hope you have enjoyed these articles and please feel free to call or email me with any questions that you may have.
Have a great day!