UK Business Travel Management Tenders
Tenders For Travel Agency Services
Tendering for a new TMC (Travel Management Company) or for business travel agency services can be an expensive, lengthy and complex task. However, the final choice of agent will have an enduring impact on your business effectiveness and costs.
So try to always see the sometimes tedious call to tender process as being wholly beneficial to your business. After all, it’s important to get it right, as your ultimate goal is procure a provider who can demonstrate understanding and one that will deliver efficient travel so your staff are ready to do the business.
Then it is essential that you select what your key needs are and focus queries on these aspects. This means that the answers you receive will be entirely appropriate to your business.
The Open Business Travel Tender Process
Business travel management completely tenders vary in duration, complexity and value, but like in any other industry, will involve a fairly lengthy process over several stages. Some tenders will be for full travel management, other times it may be divided according to service (travel, hotel, passport & visa procurement, etc).
Invitations To Tender / Calls to Tender / Calls For Tender / Calls For Bids are typically sent out to the existing travel provider, if applicable, a selection of other reputable suppliers and may be made openly available for numerous vendor applications. Restricted calls for tenders or invited tenders, however, are only open to selected prequalified vendors.
Procurement sites where business travel service tenders are posted include Tenders Direct, B2BQuote and Oppex.
Companies or organisations will typically add most of the following details to their pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) in the tender notice:
- Organisation Name
- Contract Length
- Organisation Category/Industry
- Category of Tender (e.g. Travel Management’, ‘Business Travel Services’, ‘Travel Agency Services’, ‘Hotel Accommodation Bookings’, etc)
- Tender Title
- Tender Reference Number
- Description of services required
- Registration of Interest Date Deadline
- Closing Date/Submission Date Deadline
- Shortlisting Date
- Award Date
- Address to send documents
- Contact email
- Contact telephone
- Website address for tender documents
- Additional Documents (e.g. Q&As)
Questions will usually be asked about the capabilities of each business travel agency to serve the client and what tools and resources can be allocated to deliver a satisfactory service. Scoring matrixes will often then be used to shortlist candidates.
What you may need to know about a business travel agency during the tender process?
- Is this travel provider sufficiently experienced?
- Can they demonstrate sufficient knowledge of your type of business?
- Can they adapt their travel service to meet precisely what your business needs?
- Does the provider have the experience and contacts to gain the best possible deals for you in such as flights, hotels and car hire?
- Will the agency assign one dedicated travel consultant or team to manage your travel management?
- Is it a simple and swift process to make your travel requests? What turnaround time is guaranteed in a service level agreement.
- Is the agency transparent in what it does for you and its transaction fees? You need to see this.
- Crucially, can you trust the agency?
Technology, Traveller Safety & Location
Have a look into what technology the prospective business travel agent uses. For instance, its online self-booking tool can be of utmost importance to the outcome of the travel booking process you require. You need to feel entirely confident that the TMC knows its stuff.
Also be aware that it is not just about the financial aspects, such as which agency looks to be the most cost effective – but also that safety has to be considered. Whenever travelling takes places, there will at some point be issues. So it’s vital that the TMC has a reliable traveller tracking system. Make sure you know what process the TMC has in place should a crisis arise.
When you are close to deciding on which travel management company to choose, there’s nothing better than a meeting – at their office is best. That way, when you are down to choosing between the best three or four you can see their set-up and get a feel for who you trust the most.
While it might take a lot of initial time to choose the best agency for your business travel, it’s worthwhile. The right company will save you time as well as money, and be there right alongside your business on all its journeys.