We asked European Convention Bureaus How to prepare a successful bid? and further asked them Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid?

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The Poland Convention Bureau prepares the bid in cooperation with regional convention bureaux, hoteliers, incentive travel companies, PCOs and other suppliers. Of course, it always depends on the character of the client.

Usually what successful means to us is content plus creativity. We want to show the true destination, the best aspects of Poland, Polish hospitality plus professionalism. Aside from that we want to ‘Move Your Imagination’ and this is often really crucial.A well prepared bid includes details about the destination, but also feedback from local people, those interested in hosting a particular event and those who are just helping another client.

A bid should include a feeling of the destination and at the same time demonstrate a professionalism of suppliers. This means not only thinking about organisers, but the CVB should also consider the attendees’ perception and their opinions. We need to be magicians of our jobs to also be able to show them something new, interesting and surprising.

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A successful bid contains many aspects and the Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau (CCIB) is preparing a positive image of the country as congress and incentive destination in international convention and incentive market.

We are trying to convince buyers to choose Croatia for their meeting or incentive, informing them of our facilities and in the end enticing them to Croatia.

It is up to them to choose the destination and location of the congress (congress hotel, university, etc.), the DMC and PCO and together with them and the logistic help of the Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau they create a bid.

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First of all, follow the basic rules – get to know the bid procedure, requirements in detail and selection criteria. Evaluate objectively whether you are able to meet all the requirements. Prepare a professional and attractive proposal document and presentation.

Follow the bid book providing exactly the information that is required. Do your homework – speak to previous organisers, familiarise yourself with the event you are bidding for, host organisation and local host. Find out who are your competitors. Make sure that your USPs are clearly stated and tailored to the particular event you are bidding for. Also, do not forget to include the wow-factor! As a final touch a CVB should brief and support the local host who is presenting the bid.

Cooperation of the host organisation, CVB and suppliers (venues, hotels, PCOs etc.) is essential for a successful bid and any support from the local stakeholders can enhance the chances of winning – partner organisations/universities, government or local municipality, potential sponsors etc. There should be one person or team, usually the CVB, leading the bidding procedure. Having a clear checklist of tasks that are distributed to the partners and a calendar of deadlines to be followed helps to communicate and keep focused.  And the focus of all involved should be on winning the bid first, then sharing the business.

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We believe this is a question without a simple answer. Each bid is a unique story. The winning bid has to be the most convincing to the decision makers and also have a bit of luck. Of course there are rules in preparing bids.The experiences of successful and unsuccessful bids make us better.

The golden rule of preparing a successful bid is a thorough analysis of the event we are deciding to bid for. We never really have enough time, but thorough research of the event as well as the client, their event history, their participants, decision making processes and the bidding process is key. To prepare a bid we must first put together a successful project team including Convention Bureau representatives, PCOs and the client. Bigger projects demand bigger teams. We have to be careful not to make them too big. It is important the bid team has a leader and clearly delineated roles. During the presentation of the bid we need to take advantage of all lobbying possibilities, since the competitive destinations will do the same. The presentation of the bid is key for its success and must as such be carefully planned. For success we also need a bit of luck too. We mustn’t forget: ‘Fortune favours the brave!’

Every bid is a unique story and should be treated as such. Depending on the scale and size of the event, the bid team can be very small, from three people, to a whole consortium when a large project is in planning. Imagine how many people prepared the London Olympic Games bid! Despite the team size it is very important to establish a leader and rules and responsibilities for each member. I think the smallest team should consist of at least three people, representing the Convention Bureau, the PCO and the client. They cover all key areas represented in a bid.

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In order to prepare a successful bid it is essential to have an appropriate strategy prepared. Every event has its own specifics, but some things are in common. It is essential to undertake all the research which will help in the process (previously chosen destinations, the good and bad from previous events, advantages of your destination and how to overcome disadvantages).

The process involves different institutions and agencies working together. The most important is close work between the local and/or national CVB, local host and appointed PCO at all stages of the process. The strength of local representatives/decision makers (if any) in the ruling body of international organisations (main organiser) can influence the final decision. Government/city support is very important because it sends a clear message that the event is welcome and that organisers can expect help at certain stages of event preparation. Support of transportation companies (e.g. airlines or railway) is a big plus. In the later stages of a bid, if your destination is shortlisted it is extremely important to organise a “HQ” site inspection involving all the key persons from the venues planned to be used.

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Research, understanding, ask and communication are major elements of any bid. Finding the right information in a suitable format is always the start of any bid, but you need to fully understand the information and the needs of a potential client.

If you are not sure about certain questions you should ask the client directly, if permitted, or start asking through the network you have built. And at the end client-specific information needs to be communicated in a user friendly format. It is important to be emphatic; no two bids should be the same.

2.) The idea of an event coming to a destination is to create benefits for all the stakeholders. However, you do not always need to include every stakeholder in bid preparation. This depends on the quantity of information you need to provide in a bid document. For a large scale conference it is a must to coordinate with the main venue because the requirements can be complex. For setting a budget it is necessary to involve a local PCO. For smaller events, working with a hotel will be just fine. A local contact must be included in the process, but at a level as defined by the bid specs.

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