Understanding A RFP For Travel Management Services

If you are looking to start the procurement process for finding a travel management company, you may want to create a RFP (request for proposal).

Understanding what is an RFP, what questions to ask in the RPF and whether you even need to complete one will be all important steps in your journey.

What is an RFP in Travel?

A request for proposal (RFP) in travel is a business document that enables an organisation to collate information surrounding the project of procuring a travel management company, and invites responses from interested parties.

The RFP process can be as simple or as complex as the business needs it to be, based on focus areas and key drivers.

Download our RPF template for corporate travel management.

What are the differences between an RFI vs RFQ vs RFP?

The difference between the RFI, RFQ and RFP is what information they provide:

  • An RFI educates ⁠— RFI responses explore how a vendor might solve a problem or fill a need
  • An RFQ quantifies ⁠— RFQ responses provide the cost of meeting a specific need
  • An RFP compares ⁠— RFP responses evaluate the merits of each vendor compared to others

Why is the purpose of a RFP?

Usually there are 3 mains reasons for running an RFP:

  • Sourcing either a new TMC due to poor service, lack of proactivity, insufficient technology  or if you are stepping into the TMC market for the first time
  • Your current contract is coming to an end and you are wanting to re-test the market. You are open to onboarding a new TMC should they meet and surpass your requirements.
  • A box ticking exercise. Sadly we do encounter this, when a business is happy with their existing supplier and have no reason to test the market but needs to satisfy a companies administrative requirements.

Do you need to have previous engagement with a TMC before inviting them to participate in the RFP?

The short answer is no, you can invite as many suppliers as you see fit without having any previous engagement.

However from a TMC’s perspective of having no previous engagement, we are only left with the information which you have provided within the RFP and the scoring matrix which you chosen to use to compare proposals.

This only leaves you comparing a spreadsheet with a spreadsheet.

On the other hand we recommend meeting with potential TMC’s prior to releasing an RFP. Not only could this save you time and money, but also give you an insight into the suitability, capability and cultural fit of that business which are key ingredients to finding your perfect partner.

Should an RFP contain a benchmarking exercise?

From a TMC perspective, we are asked to provide benchmark exercises within RFP’s, however there are so many deciding factors as to what pricing you will receive back.

These will be dependant on the timing that each TMC receive the RFP document, the availability, which is not always based on a first come first served basis due to the global world we live in and the fluctuation in availability.

We have had requests that the quotes all must take place on a certain date and time to create a level playing field, however this is difficult to mandate and quantify from an accessing perspective.

We live in world whereby quotes can be obtained within seconds online from various sources so providing competitive pricing is stage one of being a good TMC.

We recommend seeing a live demo of the TMC’ self booking tool will not only see the pricing but also see the booking platform and its capabilities that your bookers/travellers will potentially be using.

What questions should I ask the travel management company in the RFP?

The standard questions surrounding booking flights, hotels, rail and car hire should be a given for any TMC.

To seek value in the RPF, you should try to gain a deeper understand of how the TMC operates and ask questions around these topics:

  • Client retention and references – there is no better way than hearing from a existing client
  • Travel consultants knowledge and experience
  • Online technology and its capabilities and usability
  • Innovation –  What innovations they have and what is in the pipeline
  • Speed to change and flexibility – If something needs changing how quickly can it be done

What details should I give the the TMC?

  • Any current issues you are experiencing, the key drivers for change, the scoring matrix for each area, a timeline based on deadlines for submission, presentations, site visits and planned go live etc, also a breakdown of your current spend by travel type
  • What does your ideal solution look like, its your programme why not have it tailor made for you

We always recommend talking to a TMC before starting the RFP process, better still, arrange to meet them in person.

If you are on the search for a new travel management company, get in touch and let’s plan a meeting.

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson – Sales Director
Connect: LinkedIn
Email: pault@meonvalleytravel.co.uk
Telephone: 0116 264 5279