How do I build a better travel management company RFP?
Is your travel program RFP really accomplishing its mission?
Questions to ask yourself:
Are you really serious about change, not just testing the market? Don’t waste time on an RFP if what you really want is better pricing. Just press your current vendor with an annual price review.
Are you including all the right stakeholders in the process?
- Risk / Security
- Travel Managers
- Frequent Travellers
Are they helping you write the RFP?
Make your RFP specific to your company’s needs as much as possible. Too many RFPs are a template grabbed from an industry resource, with little attempt made to focus on unique challenges your company is facing.
Do you understand your travellers?
Why do they go rogue and book outside your current program? If you are not sure, send them a survey and find out – prior to writing your bid document.
Are you able to handle a large bid process?
If not, consider hiring a firm to help you manage the document creation, meetings, research and review processes for you.
Have you thoroughly analysed your data?
Provide granular transactional data to all bidders. If you want a different TMC, then you need to make sure it’s not just your incumbent with this type of extensive internal knowledge.
How will you partner with the TMC prior to the bid process starting?
Consider running workshops with three or four TMCs (including the incumbent) onsite at your offices. Invite your key stakeholders to attend. If you can’t do the workshops, provide plenty of opportunity for bidders to ask questions – especially the non-incumbents who will otherwise be at a distinct disadvantage. You will learn a lot about the TMCs just by listening to the questions they ask. Are they intelligent questions? Do they reflect a business acumen and savvy you are seeking in a travel program partnership? Be willing to adjust your questions in the bid document after you’ve spoken with all the bidders.
What format will your questions take?
Consider writing your RFP in the form of relevant cases and ask TMCs to react to your real-life scenarios. This will almost certainly assure that you don’t get “boiler-plate” responses.
Have you thought long term?
Include IT planning, data analysis, reporting and mobile requirements in your questions as a way to get the bidders to think long term. Challenge your vendors to speak not just about what they do today but also what they will have for you well into a three to five year plan. If you can’t get them to clearly articulate their “vision and strategy” in this section, they may not be the company for you. While all of these topics are subject to rapid change, if the TMC doesn’t have a clearly defined three to five year strategy, they may struggle to keep up with your company’s goals after you have signed the contract.