What to include in your RFP (Request for Proposal)
Before you send out an RFP for your trade show booth, there are a few critical factors that you need to finalize. This includes your budget, booth size and exhibit needs. Sending out a very general RFP will either turn contractors away, have them chasing you for details or end up with a pile of proposals that don’t match your needs.
Next you need to decide if you want to hire a design company to create the final concept then send it out to contractors to build it for you (this helps when comparing costs) or if you want to receive design/build proposals from contractors.
Next, decide which contractors you are going to contact. If you don’t already have a list of reliable companies, ask the show organizers for recommendations. You can also ask your industry peers for contacts. Read here for tips on choosing a reliable trade show contractor.
Things to include in the RFP
- Your RFP should include as much information as is needed for the designers to understand your company’s style.
- Name, date and location of the exhibition
- Size of your booth
- Your company logo, brand guidelines, website URL and other marketing materials that you think would be relevant when designing a concept for your trade show booth
- Who your competitors are and what differentiates you from them. Also, who your customers are
- Your show objectives – sales, product and communication objectives for the show
- What you liked and disliked about your previous exhibits
- Special elements that you would like to see in your exhibit display
- Be specific – if you have certain requirements for flooring, furniture, meeting rooms, etc. be specific from the beginning of the process
- The services required from your contractor – do you want a full show campaign including marketing, PR, swag and your exhibit or just the booth? Do you need a member of their team present at your booth throughout the show?
- Areas within the booth – how many people do you need seating for? Do you need a kitchen with a sink and fridge? Do you need meeting rooms? Will you have products on display and do you need a demonstration area? Think about your reception, storage areas and anything else you might require.
- Lighting, audio-visual equipment and graphic requirements – you can ask for their suggestions if you don’t have anything specific in mind.
- Timeline and budget – your budget is probably the most important thing to include in your RFP. Without this, it is close to impossible to design a suitable exhibit display. Also include the deadline for submission of proposals.
To ensure that you remember to add in the details every time you send out an RFP, create a template that you can follow. Some contractors send you their own template to fill in so that they can ensure they receive all the necessary information from you.