How to make sure your RFP will attract the right Travel Supplier.

Posted: 1st Jul 2018

Writing an RFP (Request for Proposal) can be a tiresome process. Where do you start? What questions do you ask? How detailed should you be? But most importantly, how do you make certain you’ll attract the right Travel Supplier for your business? We’ve pulled together our top tips to help you make the RFP process as smooth and successful as possible.

1. Allow the necessary time for a complete review
Deciding to review your travel supplier can be a lengthy task – one that requires a dedicated team to see it through to completion, so before you even start, make sure you have allowed enough time and resource to do a thorough job. It makes sense to build an internal business case to truly understand the goals of the RFP and what the desired outcome will be.

2. Make sure they key aims of a travel review are communicated early on
It can be tempting to roll out a 300 question RFP to potential suppliers, just to be ‘thorough’, however, it makes more sense to spend time focussing on what’s a priority to your business and providing the most accurate information you can on those specialist areas. You may want to consider an initial RFI (Request for Information), to identify the TMC’s that are a better fit earlier on.

3. Give the bid team a good window to provide a complete response
It typically takes 2-3 weeks to provide a comprehensive response to an RFP, so make sure you have allowed for this. If you are short on time, it can make sense to focus your RFP on pricing and save the detailed questions for a face-to-face conversation with the prospective TMC – this often results in a better understanding of what the TMC has to offer.

4. Let TMC’s show you why they are different
Pre-tender meetings are an excellent way of working out if a TMC is the right ‘fit’ for your company, but be aware that you will likely always gravitate towards the companies you have met, so completing an RFP can be a futile exercise for those who haven’t engaged with you. Meeting early on cuts down the time spent answering and responding to hundreds of questions, in addition, workshops, bid presentations or even ‘qualifying’ phone calls can all give you a much better sense of what makes each TMC unique.

5. Be open to alternative and innovative travel solutions
TMC’s are the experts – keep an open mind to new ideas and approaches. A Travel Management service is no longer just about issuing tickets and providing duty of care – it’s about travelling smarter and spending smarter. Technology in travel is moving at such a fast pace that it’s wise to future-proof your travel management by embracing short-term change for long-term progression.

6. Get to know the company – are they a good cultural fit?
A lot of companies overlook culture and prioritise price when looking for a travel partner. This is possibly one of the biggest errors you can make. No one TMC fits every customer, it’s essential to look for shared values and approach to service alongside cost to ensure your partnership will be a long and successful one.

For more information on managing the RFP process, or if you would like to discuss your Travel Management requirements with one of our team, please visit www.bfp.travel to get in touch.