I have to admit that I was pretty much underwhelmed by most of the innovations at this year’s Travel Innovation Summit at the PhoCusWright Conference.
In a nutshell, here is why I like what SpeedRFP has done.
The “DUH” factor. During their presentation, SpeedRFP was the only presentation that I watched that caused me to wonder why this hadn’t already been done.
It seemed like such a common sense solution for an overly complex and tedious task.
I discovered afterwards that no one has created a shared RFP platform that allows the planner to manage and control their RFPs across multiple hotels and simplifies the process of submitting an RFP directly to a hotel.
The innovation is not technology dependent.
By this I mean that it is less of a technology innovation and more of a business automation innovation.
SpeedRFP is just using some very simple and well executed technologies to optimize and simplify the meetings and planning segment.
Looking at the technology and the administration, it is a fairly straightforward and rudimentary structure.
That is not a bad thing but rather a confirmation that this is not about WizBang gadgets or new fangled widgets, but good old fashioned process automation.
By applying some smarts to an online form, SpeedRFP hopes to save hours of time and increase transparency for both planners and hotels.
SpeedRFP is serving a very specific market need that is well defined and barriers to entry for the solution should be relatively low.
Again, this tells me that when SpeedRFP starts aggressively marketing their solution, there will be a lot of hands slapping foreheads.
The only resistance I can see might be some resistance from hotels who don’t want to make it easy for planners to submit RFPs to their competitors.
If SpeedRFP can show that planners are actively using their tool and are more likely to submit an RFP if the hotel uses the tool, then this may reduce the resistance to adoption.
From my discussions with SpeedRFP, this resistance doesn’t seem to be an issue and they expect to have over a thousand hotels using the platform within the next four months. In my experience, the timing may be ambitious, but the opportunity is certainly strong.
The greatest challenge that SpeedRFP faces is that now that they have launched, there is a low barrier to entry for potential competitors.
Although they have a patent pending for the specific technology, my experience has been that there are many ways to skin a cat in any industry, especially when it comes to using technology as an enabler.
If they are able to move quickly to secure a critical mass of hotels and planners, then SpeedRFP could be a real game changer for a segment of the industry that is mired in complicated manual processes.