RFP Best Practices for Best Results

What are some of the best practices surrounding RFP’s (Requests For Proposal) that will yield results?

These days, there are no official ‘start’ and ‘stop’ dates as it can happen year-round. However, the bulk of negotiations typically take place between August and January so it’s good to be prepared to approach this time with a solid strategy and best practices to ensure positive results.

The following ‘best practices’ will help you make sure you spend your time effectively and with a strong strategy so that you see a return on your investment.

First, let’s dispel a common myth:
Myth: Getting accepted into an RFP program is the finish line. You have succeeded and there is nothing left to do!
Truth: Getting accepted into an RFP program is just the beginning, it is the starting line.

Are you taking a passive approach to RFP’s or are you taking a proactive approach?

BEST PRACTICE: It is important to shift your mindset so that you understand that being accepted into an RFP program is just the beginning of an important relationship-building journey, not the finish line. If you invest more time and energy into being proactive in your involvement you will start to see an increase in room nights and revenue. If you remain passive, you will not see the same return.

A common belief with hotels is that once they are accepted into an RFP program, they don’t really see any immediate results, so they feel it is a waste of time. However, the reality is that there likely many hotels in your market that have also been accepted into the program.

Travel managers that manage National or Global Hotel programs are going to select a certain number of hotels based on the volume in that market. They’re also going to want to make sure of two things:

  1. They have enough hotels in each city where they have travel
  2. They’re giving their travelers a wide variety of choice

The first important step after getting accepted into an RFP program is:

Decide How you are going to actively manage that account (Be Proactive) Ask yourself and your team the following questions and investigate with the right contact person:

  • How many offices book travel?
  • Is there an office in your backyard?
  • Who is a person that I can connect to from that office and let them know who I am and what hotel I represent – begin building a relationship? The following is a sample of what you could say:
    • “Hi there! My name is ________ from ________ Hotel. We’re thrilled to be preferred in your program and would really love to know more about your role and your involvement in booking hotel rooms and how we can make our hotel your travelers’ home away from home.”
  • Then, do they work with a travel agency?
  • Do they have an online booking tool, like Concur? If they do, those travelers are going to directly book online within their company – which eliminates the middle person, so, how do you reach those people?

When activating an account, it is like a ‘thousand-piece puzzle’ and you need to continuously look for those pieces and put them in the right place to create the finished result you’re looking for – generating room nights.

For more detailed examples and actions, you can take, as well as what you can do if you are not accepted into an RFP program – listen to our Sales Podcast: Knowing Enough to be Dangerous, RFP Best Practices for Best Results. Tammy Gillis explains:

  • How to build relationships.
  • Who to build those relationships with.
  • How to find out all the information you need to know to have a clear and detailed strategy that results in a positive ROI.
  • What you can do to be proactive even if you are not accepted into a program initially.


In summary, getting accepted into a program is the starting line not the finish line. You need to sit down with your team and develop a strategy on how you are going to activate those accounts and share the responsibility of working in them, so they work for you.

The big mistake that many hotels make is they treat the RFP process as a transaction where all you need to do is login to the brand portal and enter a rate. There is a much bigger strategy to it, and you need to establish if there is a good fit – your success relies on how you approach it – as passive, or proactive. This is the difference between being in the driver’s seat and being in control of your destiny versus taking a passive approach and being in the back seat waiting for the business to come.

We wish you much success during this RFP season and encourage you to take a closer look at what is currently working in those programs and what is not working so that you can experience greater success in 2020 with these global accounts.

Some of Our Clients

Proudly Serving Clients throughout US & Canada

“Before working with Gillis Consulting, the sales efforts were left to the responsibility of each hotel general manager. With daily and continuous competing priorities, our general managers were not always able to complete consistent efforts in prospecting for new business. Since introducing with Gillis, we have a consistent, full-time sales efforts! This pressure has been removed from our general managers giving them more time and energy to focus on continuing to run award winning properties and taking care of our team and our guests. The biggest benefit to partnering with Gillis is we do not have to manage our sales personal. In the event of vacations, turnover, as an example, Gillis ensures someone is available to our hotels to continue our sales efforts and cycle with no down time. We also don’t have to manage training, expense accounts, or reporting and software. We have recommended Gillis’ sales solution to three other hotels who since have also successfully joined the program.”
Tyson Ghostkeeper -

Director of Operations, Mouallem Management Group

“We had the good fortune of engaging Gillis after years of managing our sales effort inhouse. They came highly recommended through brand leadership and seasoned sales professionals – and they haven’t disappointed. Despite only a few months into our relationship, they have had an immediate impact on our hotels and key account relationships. The Gillis team has already established themselves as one of our most valued and trusted advisors and partners. They have always displayed the professionalism, passion and accountability demanded by their profession. The Gillis team is well prepared, highly engaged and goal orientated. To this end, they have solidified accounts, delivered new bookings and helped to diversify our business drivers. As a result, they have earned the deep respect and trust of our organization. I would not hesitate to recommend Gillis for any organization that requires the highest levels of sales performance, execution and professionalism.”
Perry Batke -

CHA, General Manager, Denham Hospitality Organization

“When we made the decision to lock arms with the Gillis Sales team, we were a relatively new property in a rural tertiary market. In the midst of an economic downturn, with limited ability to attract a qualified onsite sales manager, we decided to try this sales approach to increase our revenue. Once we found the right staff fit from the Gillis team we were able to experience greater success in sourcing out and securing business for the hotel. Some of the advantages of using Gillis has been the quality of skilled individuals that have been able to support our onsite sales team. I have greater confidence in knowing that sales efforts are happening and being executed in a professional manner and above all have appreciated the learning that has transpired because of this association. I would certainly recommend this program if you have experienced any of the challenges that we have. The management team is committed to ensuring the success of the program and have given our property the best that they have to offer.”
Jacquie Corkery -

Owner/General Manager, Best Western Plus

“When we made the decision to give Gillis a try we were struggling, particularly with getting groups to stay at our hotel. However, since we teamed up with Gillis, we have not experienced any problems. We have been using Gillis for almost two years now and we have seen a huge impact on our business. It has been such a pleasure working with Gillis. I absolutely love our salesperson; we have a great connection. I know I can reach out to him anytime I need to, he knows my goals, where I need to go, what budget I must meet, and he works hard to help me meet them. No matter who we work with on the Gillis team, they are always understanding of what we are looking for and trying to achieve. They really work with our goals. I would absolutely recommend their sales support services. We came into the program willing to give it a try and see if we can get a return on our investment. We were able to get our ROI and then some, resulting in us making the decision to stay in the program. I am not sure how we did it so many years without Gillis.”
Nicki Moser -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Before working with Gillis, we were not in a good situation. We were not able to respond to many of the leads that came through RFP, Nexus or hotel direct.  As a result, we lost a lot of business. After we joined Gillis, they took charge of everything. They have helped us understand our market and obtain base business in terms of groups. This really helped us to be #1 in the market, which we will be closing the year as such. The Gillis sales support services are customized and tailored to the needs of hotels. We are a hotel that has a HIGH volume of direct leads, and we tailored the program for a lead only model. This has allowed me to focus my time in other areas, such as operations, yielding rates, better understanding my market, training and coaching my staff, and ensuring that our revenue is in line with our strategies and goals. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone! It is very cost-effective. If I had to hire a Sales Manager to do the same work that Gillis does, it would have been at a much higher salary. In addition, we are receiving the same level of commitment and service from our Business Development Manager that we would from a Sales Manager.”
Vandana Kumari -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Tammy Gillis and her organization have been nothing short of amazing! We have seen an approximate ROI of 10x at our BW PLUS hotel as well as a ROI of 4-5x at our BW hotel. The sales team is so dedicated, passionate and driven to deliver revenue to hotels. I just wish we started sooner with Gillis!”
Hitesh Patel -

President, Colorado Hospitality, Inc.

Contact Us for a Complimentary Sales Consultation

800.296.2962 | sales@gillissales.com


Sales is the life blood of your organization.

No business has ever succeeded without sales. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming.

The good news is, we can teach you how to do it OR we can do it for you.

Our services will help you sell more rooms, stand out and succeed in a competitive market, and train your staff to implement sales more effectively.

Interested to learn how this applies to you? Contact us for a complimentary consultation.