Conducting a competitive travel RFP (Request for Proposal) process can be tedious, time consuming and sometimes exhausting. But if you approach the process with a collaborative spirit and the right information, you can transform your travel program by sourcing the right tools and selecting the right partner.
After participating in hundreds of travel program RFP processes, here are CTM’s top 5 tips for creating an effective and engaging Travel RFP.
1. Know your objectives
What are the overall goals of the evaluation process and how can a travel partner help you achieve them? Do you need to demonstrate overall cost reductions? Do you need to address risk or technical program elements? Are you conducting annual due diligence for policy purposes? Knowing your evaluation objectives up front helps you focus on critical elements, streamline the process, and make the most of your effort.
2. Gather data and engage internally
Identify other internal stakeholders who have an interest in improving your travel program or processes. Be sure to include peers and leaders from finance, administration, and technology at a minimum to identify requirements and departmental expectations. Talk to road warriors and gather annualized travel data. The more data you can share about your current program and process will allow bidding agencies to tailor offers to your needs, address areas of concern and identify opportunities to create efficiencies or improve service. It will also give your incumbent agency an unfair advantage if they are the only bidder with access to program data to analyze.
3. Invite the right potential partners
Invite bidders who have a good potential to meet your needs. Do research by visiting websites, asking for general marketing collateral, and engaging with your local Business Travel Association peers for recommendations. Many travel managers will cast a wide net to be able to consider a diverse set of options. This can lengthen the process and keep you buried under proposals for months. By comparing your objectives to market information on providers, you can invite a smaller selection with greater potential to meet your needs.
4. Ask the right questions
We have all seen the sample RFPs with 500 questions. We have all answered them. But, did we learn what we needed to know? Sometimes fewer questions related to hard requirements or your key objectives can tell you everything you need to know to consider potential partners. Compare templates available from organizations such as GBTA, ACTE, any potential TMC partners. Read our Top Five Questions post for more ideas. Asking the right questions will help you identify the best potential partners to engage through the interview and presentation stage.
5. Financials: Compare Apples to Apples
Always, always, always include a financial offer template for all bidders to complete. With so many potential pricing models in the industry, this allows you to easily compare complex offers side by side against the same measures. Allow bidders to include creative offers to demonstrate unconventional approaches to meeting your goals, but include a set of core expectations and consistent pricing elements to assist in identifying your total cost of ownership with each offer.
Need more tips? Read our Top 5 Questions to Include or download a sample RFP below!
Request our SAMPLE RFP.
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