SA companies get progressive with their RFPs

Some South African organisations are putting an innovative spin on the traditional RFP process in a bid to improve the culture fit between companies and their travel partners.

Speaking at a recent webinar hosted by FCM Travel Solutions, Lloyd Barkhuizen, sales director: South Africa and Africa for FCM, says generally, the company prefers not to enter into “cold RFPs” – those that don’t involve prior communication between the parties. He points out that, of late, FCM has seen some companies breaking with the old approach.

“We’re busy with an RFP at the moment where the organisation has stated that it would like to be more collaborative with its travel partners. For the upcoming presentation, the company has asked us to submit an agenda of questions we would like to ask during the session, so that we can learn what we need to about the business,” he says, adding that as a TMC, FCM welcomes the opportunity to get more of a culture fit with an organisation.

Another example Barkhuizen discussed was that of a big local organisation which had an RFP submission deadline on a Friday, with presentations set to take place just a few days later on the following Tuesday. Rather than reading through all the proposals received, the organisation went through the presentation phase and when they met with a TMC they thought could be a fit, they isolated that specific proposal and read it from beginning to end. This ‘back-to-front’ approach helps to ensure that organisations can get a sense of how the TMC operates before diving into all the paperwork received. 

For those not ready to make a radical departure from the set RFP process, Barkhuizen suggests creating a shortlist of TMCs and not sending the RFP out too widely. “To create the shortlist, look at how relevant the TMCs is, how active they are in associations in the country and speak to peers in the same industry to get their input,” he adds.

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