Some tenders for office items such as printers or stationery can be conducted using a fairly standard template, slightly updated from the previous version to suit your current needs. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a travel tender.
Not only is the landscape of corporate travel constantly evolving, but so are your requirements. This could be due to expanded markets, increased travel requirements and new technology expectations. So, a great deal of care and attention must be applied to the preparation, planning and process of going to RFP for corporate travel.
1. Using unreasonable timeframes:
You may have taken months to prepare your RFP, but don’t give your TMC vendors two weeks to respond. Rushing the process will detract from the quality of the proposal you receive.
2. Using a one-size-fits-all template:
Corporate travel is not the same as purchasing a low-value, high-volume commodity product so don’t use a commodity acquisition RFP template to find the right TMC partner.
3. Making your list of candidates too long:
The more TMCs you ask to bid, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to discern who the right partner is. Do your homework upfront and create a short-list who you can approach instead of sending a tender request to everyone.
4. Not taking the time to engage sufficiently with internal stakeholders:
To develop a solid strategy, and learn what your organization needs and wants from a TMC, it is vital to engage with internal stakeholders. Talk to your travel bookers, travelers and other departments. Ask what they like about the current set-up and what they would like to see happen in the future and be sure to reference this information in your RFP.
5. Lack of communication:
The quality of the RFP and the prospective partnership is enhanced when the communication channels are open between the corporate and the TMC. An upfront meeting with short-listed TMCs to clarify the scope of the RFP will assist in improving the quality of the proposal.
6. Focus on price over quality:
Short-term gains delivered through lower transaction fees do not necessarily translate into savings in the long term. Your TMC needs to add value in terms of delivering savings, but also by showing value in other areas, e.g. interpreting data to proactively inform your travel policy, supplier negotiations, delivery of technological tools, helping fulfil your duty of care responsibilities, and helping reduce traveler friction, among others.