Invaluable guidance for first time travel RFP

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If you’re creating an RFP, the first thing is not to panic. It’s not rocket science and there are plenty of resources to support you through the RFP process.

Having said that, it is important that you take the time to prepare and plan for your RFP. FCM UK has written a guide to creating the best possible TMC selection process. Over years of competing to win thousands of customers, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to RFPs - and we want to share what we’ve learned.

We’ve also assisted many clients with constructing their travel RFPs, helping to ensure they cover the full extent of their requirements for the short term and into the long term.

If it’s your first time creating and running an RFP, we have some top tips to get you through the process:

Timeline:

Make sure all parties are aware of your schedule, and the timeframes work with your overall business operation, providing enough time for a complete evaluation.

Survey your stakeholders:

Understand what your senior stakeholders, your travellers and your bookers want from a TMC. Survey each group separately because, for example, travellers’ priorities may be very different from those who manage travel.

Evaluation:

Ask yourself if you’ve included all the right stakeholders in the process. For example, do you need HR, IT, Risk/Security, Legal, Operations, Procurement involved, as well as travellers and travel bookers.

Collect data:

You will not achieve the right outcome from your RFP if you do not provide enough data to the prospective TMCs participating. Your incumbent TMC will be able to help with this information.

Refine and review:

Sometimes, the best RFPs are the shortest (in fact, it’s possible do an RFP in just 12 questions!). Particularly if you’ve conducted an RFI first.

An RFI can almost be viewed as ‘permission to play’ for the TMCs – allowing you to eliminate any company who doesn’t have the basic requirements to support your programme. Therefore, focus on questions each TMC will answer differently, not ones they will answer the same.

Research the market:

It really pays to spend time building relationships with a number of TMCs and getting to know them before inviting a final group to RFP. You can do this through networking, industry events and business travel trade shows.

Our final piece of advice is don’t rush. Based on long experience, we suggest allowing a minimum of nine months for the entire TMC process:

  • Three months to do your homework
  • Three months for the RFP and selection
  • Three months for implementation

Want to find out more? Download our comprehensive step-by-step guide to choosing a travel management company.

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