If you're in the hospitality business, you're always looking to fill your hotel, conference center, restaurant or tour with new clients who will take advantage of all the amenities and services you have to offer. Hospitality businesses of all sizes want to sell room space and seats to prospective guests.
If your hotel includes meeting rooms or conference facilities as well as guest rooms, then you also want to market to groups looking for venues for meetings, conferences, parties, and other large gatherings. If your restaurant also caters events your market will be expanded. If you offer tours you can market yourself as a corporate retreat destination.
Odds are that you have a lot of competition in your area and you can't rely on clients finding you in the phone book or on the Internet. So, how do you persuade those new guests to book with you or land that contract to host the big convention? After you have identified the prospective clients you want to do business with, you need to write a proposal for them.
Don't panic. Creating a business proposal doesn't have to be a formidable task. Simply put, you want to introduce yourself, highlight your venues and services, explain your costs, and help your prospective clients understand that you are the right choice for their special event or visit. That doesn't sound so intimidating, does it? And you don't have to start by staring at a blank page on your computer. Using pre-designed templates and gleaning ideas from similar proposals will give you a head start on writing a winning proposal.
Inexperienced proposal writers sometimes make the mistake of sending out a form letter along with a brochure or a list of services and prices. Don't do that. A standard brochure or price list will never substitute for a real proposal. The goal of a proposal is to persuade potential clients to give you their business. To succeed at that goal, you need to gain the clients' trust and convince them that you can deliver exactly what they're looking for.
As a general rule, your first step in preparing to write any kind of proposal should be to gather information about your prospective client. That's because you want to present a proposal tailored to that client's specific needs. Yes, gathering the information might be a bit of work, but putting in that effort makes your proposal more likely to succeed. Nobody likes to receive a form letter; all clients are much more likely to accept a proposal tailored just for them.
Once you have collected some basic facts about your potential client, writing the proposal will be a fairly straightforward process. That's because all proposals follow a similar structure: first comes the introduction, then a summary of the client's needs, followed by descriptions of the goods or services offered, as well as details and costs. The conclusion of a proposal should be all the relevant information that helps promote your company, such as your staff's experience, credentials, and capabilities.
For the introduction section, you'll start out with a Cover Letter and a Title Page. Keep the Cover Letter brief: simply write a personal introduction and provide your contact information. The Title Page should be just what it sounds like: a title that introduces your proposal and provides a clear message about the project or scope of services you are pitching. Some examples might be "Proposal to Host the Science Education Conference", "Proposed Venue and Services for the September Investigators Seminar", “Eco Tour Packages for your Retreat”, or "Hosting Plan for the Benson Wedding Guests."
After the Cover Letter and the Title Page, add topic pages to show that you understand the needs of your client. Depending on how large or complex your proposal is, you may or may not need to precede the detailed pages with a brief summary - a page or two with statements of your most important points. For corporate clients, this summary is called an Executive Summary; in a less formal proposal, it's often called a Client Summary. After the summary, you'll flesh out this client-centered section by describing the needs of the prospective client and demonstrating your understanding of that client's requirements, goals, and desires. Be sure to mention any restrictions or limitations you are aware of, such as budgets or accessibility requirements. This is not yet the place to talk about what you want to offer. This section should be all about the client.
After the client-centered section, it's your turn to describe how you can satisfy the client's needs and desires. You'll add pages about your hotel, tours, packages, destinations, services, and costs, with titles like Facilities, Tours, Destinations, Activities, Schedule of Events, Services Provided, and Cost Summary or Discounts. Include all the topics you need to describe exactly what you propose to provide and how much your services will cost. For example, you might need specialized pages to describe aspects like Amenities, Recreation, Accommodations, Venue, Events, Conferences, Special Needs, Accessibility, Equipment, Transportation, Map, and so forth. Finally, at the end of this all-about-you section, you will persuade your client that you are the best choice for the job by adding pages like About Us / Company History, Capabilities, Our Clients, References, Credentials, Awards, and Testimonials. Your goal here is to close by convincing your client that you can be trusted to deliver everything you've proposed.
After you have all the text written for your proposal, spend some time making your proposal visually appealing. Incorporate your company logo. Consider using colored borders, or selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your business style. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
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After you feel your proposal is complete, proofread and spell-check every page. It's a good idea to enlist someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal to do a final proof, because it's easy to overlook mistakes in your own work.
Save your final proposal in a PDF file or print it, and then deliver it. The best delivery method will depend on your relationship with your prospective client. It's common to email PDF files to clients nowadays; however, a nicely printed, signed and hand-delivered proposal might be more impressive, because it shows you value that potential client enough to expend some extra effort.
To sum up, the specialized topics in a hospitality sales proposal will differ, depending on your goal, your prospective clients' needs, and on what you propose to offer them.
The good news is that all sales proposals follow a similar format and structure, and you can find all the templates (and contracts) you need in Proposal Pack. The templates contain explanations of what those particular pages should contain, and they will guide you in writing and formatting appropriate information for your proposal sections. Proposal Pack also contains a wide variety of sample proposals that will give you great ideas and give you a jump start on writing your own winning proposal.