Presented by FCM Travel

How to structure an effective travel RFP

For many, corporate travel seems to be complicated, as it often requires you to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP).

But it’s also quite important when the wellbeing of your staff on the road comes into play. However, what many companies don’t realise is that the structure of your RFP strongly determines what you will get out.

The better your RFP is structured, the better the proposals you’ll receive and the more likely you’ll make the right decision on which partner to appoint.

To know how you should structure your RFP, you should consider what to do and what not do.

Common pitfalls in Travel RFPs

Here are some of the common pitfalls that Travel Management Companies (TMCs) like FCM Travel Solutions have come across in Travel RFPs.

  • Unreasonable timeframes: While you may have taken months to prepare your RFP, it’s inadvisable to rush the TMC vendor, as this will detract from the quality of the proposal you receive.
  • Using a one-size-fits-all template: Corporate travel is not the same as purchasing a low-value, high-volume commodity product, which means that you should rather not use a commodity acquisition RFP template (such as one for office equipment) to find the right TMC partner.
  • Making your list of candidates too long: The more TMCs you ask to bid, the harder it becomes to discern who the right partner is. Do your homework upfront and create a short-list of who you can approach.
  • Using too many open-ended questions: It may be difficult for you to compare apples with apples without including a range of more simply yes or no questions. This will also ensure that your timeframes and requirements are properly thought out and stipulated upfront.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How to create a great RFP?

To create a great RFP there are certain steps that need to be followed:

Step 1: Determine who should be involved  

Identify who the stakeholders are who will help to plan and write this RFP. The better the RFP defines your specific requirements, the better the proposals you will receive from prospective partners.

Your RFP should be developed by anyone who has a vested interest in your travel management, even HR and senior management. Also consider who will evaluate the proposals and how they will go about doing this.

Step 2: Get the right format

A lengthy RFP isn’t necessarily the mark of a successful RFP. Short and simple is best, defining the key requirements of your business.

Also, ask questions which prompt creative answers. Your question quality is key to a really good RFP.

Step 3: Stick to a structured approach

RFPs, when done properly, take time. Be prepared to invest some time in putting one together and give prospective TMC partners enough time to put prepare a robust proposal that specifically addresses your travel management requirements.

The better structured your RFP process, the better the proposal you’ll receive from bidders, and the easier it will be to make the right decision to appoint the right TMC partner to help make your future travel management efforts a success.

For more assistance download your step-by-step guide to structuring an effective travel RFP.

By taking the time to identify your own requirements as an organisation and having assessed your travel and the technology gaps, you can easily choose a TMC that is the best fit for you, your travellers and your organisation.

FCM Travel Solutions

FCM is a single global brand providing a comprehensive range of corporate travel and expense management solutions, and is responsible for the travel programmes of some of the world’s most successful corporate brands.

Contact FCM today to find out how they can elevate the performance of your corporate travel programme.

This article was published in partnership with FCM Travel.

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How to structure an effective travel RFP