In terms of procurement, choosing the right travel management company is, and should be, a very different process to choosing other suppliers of equipment and services for your business. Travel is an emotive subject and how it is managed directly impacts the productivity and happiness of your travelling employees. Your people may not care much which printer they use but they will care about their experience in planning, booking and travelling for business.
The key to successful RFPs for corporate travel lies largely in preparation and planning. Time invested at the beginning of the process saves time, and money, in the end. It will also greatly improve your chances of choosing the TMC best suited to your needs and the right fit for your company’s culture.
Do you really need to go to tender?
Conducting an RFP for your corporate travel is time consuming, so the first thing you need to evaluate is whether you genuinely need to go to market.
If you are experiencing problems with your incumbent TMC, ask yourself whether you could fix the issues less disruptively by resetting your relationship. Are they really under-performing or does your programme/policy simply need an overhaul?
With that said, if the relationship is broken, or your travel requirements have substantially changed, then it’s a good time to make a change.
Lay the groundwork for your RFP
One of the most overlooked, yet vital steps in the RFP process, is your own preparation. Before you begin to construct the RFP itself, undertake the following actions to streamline the process for maximum efficiency:
- Consider an RFI - One of the best ways to save yourself a mountain of work is to conduct an RFI (request for information) before you go to RFP. This is where you establish whether a TMC meets your minimum criteria to make it worth further consideration. At this point you are looking for simple yes/no answers.
- Map out your travel strategy - Review your entire travel programme and decide what it should look like. Without communicating a clear vision to them, it will be very hard for TMCs to propose a service that delivers in line with your needs.
- Listen to employees - To determine your travel strategy, and what you want from your TMC, engage your internal stakeholders. Talk to bookers, travellers, other departments and, most critically, the different countries making up a multinational travel programme.
- Start collecting data - Providing the most precise data available enables TMCs to create the most tailored, relevant and creative proposals. The less data you provide, the more vanilla the competing TMCs’ responses will be. Without full disclosure of data, TMCs are also less likely to give their best price because they will be unsure how high their costs might be.
Want to find out more? Download our comprehensive step-by-step guide to choosing a travel management company.