Last week, I had a rather unusual phone call from a CVB executive. She was enquiring as to whether her CVB should include the budget in the Request For Proposal (RFP) for destination branding they were preparing to send out. The person went on to enquire as to whether including the budget might actually deter “the big companies from bidding”. My reaction was instantaneous. Firstly, you might not want “the big companies” bidding. But by telling them the budget they would then know whether they should even bother bidding.
Secondly, I told her that I thought knowing the budget or budget range for the project is extremely important to prospective bidders and that I guessed that most of our competitors would think so as well. I asked the CVB exec, “Would you walk into a car dealership and not tell the salesperson approximately how much you are looking to spend? How is the salesperson to know if you want a luxury or standard model?”
The equivalent of this happens every day when cities do not disclose their budget and this leaves the consultancy to play a guessing game in trying to estimate the budget and scope of services that they should include in their response. A better approach is to disclose the budget and then evaluate the proposed deliverables according to their appropriateness, quality and value.
The RFP process is frustrating enough. At least disclosing the budget will save many of us the frustration of “guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar.”