Should something be done about it? And if so, what?

Requests for quotations for events are a cause for concern. Hotel groups, individual hotel managements, convention bureaux and conference centres have noticed a decline in the rate of conversions.

This is only partly due to poor economic times. It is mainly due to the ease with which Requests for Quotations (RFQs) can be created and distributed via email and the internet.

It appears, evidence suggests, that once the work has been done to create an RFQ, the organisers say to themselves: ‘Why not send it out to more venues. You never know what rates you can be offered’.

One MICE Co-ordinator for a large group of hotels tells ITCM that whereas they used to work on the basis of a 1-in-10 success rate, that proportion has declined to be more like 1 in 30. ‘It is now very much a cost centre’, he says. ‘An organiser can prepare one RFQ and send it to 10 hotels in each of five different cities. But each of those 50 hotels has to tailor a costing to reply to that request.’

The question is: ‘What can be done about it?’

Would it be possible, for example, to set a maximum figure for the number of venues that can be approached for a single event and build it into a Code of Best Practice that organisers and agencies agree to adopt?

How could such a system be monitored?

What would be the come-back if someone was discovered to be abusing the system?

And, anyway, is it a bad thing? Should the MICE sector be obliged to swallow these overheads and continue giving organisers the multiple quotations that they seek?