Top tips for your next corporate travel RFP
Organizations invest a lot of time and effort into the request for proposal (RFP) process when selecting a travel partner. So you’ll want to make sure your RFP for travel management services is working its hardest for you, and that the end result is truly aligned with what you set out to do.
We asked FCM team members around the world their top tip for anyone due to embark on a travel management RFP.
Global Sales Director
“RFPs increasingly include questions or ask for examples of TMC capabilities. These are usually related to very specific challenges and gaps in business travel programs. We often see solution-based questions from organizations, as they want to understand if a TMC that can fix or support a specific requirement.
When asking these questions, give prospective TMCs clear and honest indications of what is and isn't working in your current program. It’s also useful to include some examples of what you’re looking to achieve with your travel management company. It sets your business up with the best chance to get a response that really hits on all of your goals.”
Alexandra de Vaux
SVP Sales, FCM Americas
“When it comes to RFP trends in the Americas, we’re seeing less 2019 data and more 2022 figures, which is great – it means travel is back, and we have the numbers to prove it. It also makes it much easier for us to gauge costs and resources. The other thing that seems to keep popping up is a focus on value-driven partnerships – buyers aren’t looking for a purely transactional working relationship with their TMCs anymore. They’re looking for collaboration and innovation. Because of this, it makes sense that ESG alignment is also such a sticking point. All-around culture fit is more important than ever.
My advice for any buyers going out to RFP right now is to provide as much 2022 data as possible to find the best operational fit, and the most competitive pricing. Since service and SLA compliance is still such an important factor, it doesn’t work to base your numbers on 2019 anymore…2019 is long gone. Also, consolidate, consolidate, consolidate – getting your transient, MICE, and consulting services under one roof makes for greater efficiency and saves money in the long run.”
Bid Manager, Asia
“RFP/tender issuers and responders have a common goal: a partnership fit for purpose. After all, clients would like their needs met, and service providers want to meet those needs effectively.
To that end, the best RFPs communicate objectives and expected outcomes in a clear, concise, and accurate manner. So share a table, for instance, rather than long prose for key requirements; or bullet points in place of essays. Too much information encourages content-heavy responses, as bid managers want to cover all bases. But a concise RFP document ensures bid responses are trimmed of irrelevant information, making it easier for you to evaluate."
Head of Sales for UK and Ireland & Enterprise Sales Director
“Travel has seen such dramatic change over the past three years. The things that were important to you and your travellers pre-2019 are probably no longer the key considerations.
My advice would be to really step back. Think about what's changed and what your new "now" looks like - everything from your cost savings strategy to booking tools. And it's not just about the "now" but the future of your travel program too. Are the questions in your RFP and the format you’re using really addressing what you need to future-proof your travel program?”
Bid Management Team Leader, APAC
“My biggest advice for a successful RFP process is to spend some time before issuing your RFP thinking about what your goals are. Make sure that your RFP template sets the respondent up for the best chance to respond. Include thoughtful questions that allow you to compare respondents effectively so that you can really get a sense of what makes each respondent unique.
Also, we see quite a few RFPs that are a copy and paste from another product or service. Rather than using the tender you've issued four times over the past 20 years, start from scratch and reduce the number of questions to those that really matter to you. You won't want to read 100+ pages from each of the six or seven responses you get.”
Managing Director, Middle East & Africa
“Share your company’s culture where possible. This empowers TMCs to respond in a way that demonstrates how their culture aligns with your company. And if they don’t, well, maybe that partnership is not the best fit. This intangible human factor is often overlooked.”
Bid Manager, South Africa
“Set reasonable timeframes for everyone involved, from your internal team to the response time from travel management companies. You may have taken months to prepare your RFP, so don’t give your TMC vendors two weeks to respond. Rushing the process will detract from the quality of the proposal you receive.”