In the ring with the chains

Any hotelier who fulfils a corporate customer's requirements in a HRS tender and is invited to do so can submit his tender on the corresponding eRFP platform. On that platform, only the best bid counts in the end – whether it is a hotel chain or a private hotel. A great opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to reveal their full potential.

Text: Astrid Schwamberger 

Individual hotels often draw the short straw against chain hotels. For instance, in classical invitations to tender, many of them lack the resources to approach corporate customers at all, not to mention negotiate with them. The result: Individually run hotels frequently don't come to the attention of travel managers in companies at all. Furthermore, in many cases, the companies themselves have no capacity to negotiate with individual hotels either.

Yet small and medium-sized businesses frequently offer a better cost-benefit ratio than chain hotels. After all, they do not have to price any fees for marketing and franchise into the rate, and they can frequently position themselves more efficiently because of leaner structures and thus invest more in furnishings and fittings, as well as service. Moreover, private businesses can often keep up with respect to parking spaces, Wi-Fi, breakfast and location, and likewise score points with corporate customers who are looking at the total cost of their business trip.

Any hotelier who puts good content into their HRS portal presentation (see Check-in 1/2017) will increase their chances of being selected and invited by HRS. Hoteliers receive the good news, with the request to submit a tender on the eRFP platform (electronic request for proposal), by email.

We received this type of invitation. What do I have to do now?

Congratulations! You have now scaled the first hurdle already. Now click on the link and log in with your hotel number and password. A list will appear with all the tenders to which you have been invited. Simply click on "Tender", enter your contact details and you will see a new screen. The first step on this screen is to answer questions about your hotel; the second step concerns details about your rates.

How many questions must be answered in step one?

That depends on the corporate customer's requirements in each case. You select the questions that are relevant to you from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) questionnaire. These are the only ones that will subsequently appear in the HRS eRFP – no more and no less.

What are the most frequently asked questions?

It is particularly important to corporate customers, for instance, to know whether credit cards are accepted or when the last refurbishment took place. GDS codes and number of rooms are also frequently requested.

What particulars must be provided in step two?

You enter your currency in this step, as well as the rate and the price of breakfast. In this step, you also state whether Wi-Fi and parking spaces are available and included in the price, or how much you charge for these services. Furthermore, you can select seasonal periods, enter trade-fair periods and exclusion times and provide information on taxes.

So that's everything?

No. When everything has been completely filled out, the customer's general terms and conditions – which can also be downloaded – still have to be accepted. You only have to click on them to do this. And then the submission of the tender is complete.

What happens next?

All hoteliers that have submitted a tender appear in an anonymous list. Alongside the price, you can only see the category and a reference as to whether it is one of the customer's contract hotels. Thus every bidder can see where he stands.

And if I'm not satisfied with my ranking?

You have the opportunity to update your tender as many times as you wish before the deadline.. After that, however, the tender you have submitted is binding. The countdown at the top of the web page shows how much time is still left until the deadline.

Can the price be adjusted in all directions?

Not quite. You can only re-adjust your offer by entering a lower price. Tip: If you are not sure, it is better to go in slightly higher, watch your competitors and then adjust downwards if necessary. Then you are on the safe side.

What happens once the deadline has passed?

When the deadline has passed, HRS prepares the assessment and agrees a target rate with the corporate customer. Any hotelier whose tender is still above that target rate receives an automatic invitation from HRS by email to renegotiate. Bidders then have two weeks' time to respond to this. After that, the corporate customer makes their decision.

Assuming the corporate customer accepts our offer: What do I have to do then?

You will receive an email from HRS with the good news – and you should put your champagne on ice already. Because immediately afterwards, HRS will automatically load your rates, and then bookings from the corporate customer could already start flowing into your HRS account.

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