RFP trends spotlight the priorities of business travellers

pexels-ono-kosuki-6000157 (1)
3 min read

JOHANNESBURG – An exciting evolution is underway in the world of business travel if the latest corporate travel requests for proposals (RFPs) are any indication. These documents offer an exclusive glimpse into the technological innovations, sustainability goals, partnership models and safety priorities that will define the future landscape of corporate travel management.

“We see RFPs as crystal balls, offering a sneak peek into the innovations and transformations ahead,” explains Bonnie Smith, GM of FCM. As companies articulate their ideal vision for travel management services, the trends they spotlight reveal where corporate travel is heading next.

Smith highlights some of the key solutions companies are looking for in travel management.

Tech innovations: beyond the SMS

Forget SMS updates; the future is about AI-driven insights and real-time data dashboards. Smith explains: “We’re moving beyond SMS to a world where your travel updates could be as innovative as your morning coffee order.”

But even in this high-tech world, there’s still a touch of the past. “You’d be surprised; some are still asking for SMS,” highlighting the juxtaposition of old and new demands. This tension between past practices and futuristic technology underscores the need for TMCs to offer advanced solutions and cater to a range of client maturities.

Sustainability: Green is the new black

Sustainability is no longer a checkbox; it’s a core value. Smith shares: “Clients now want to know not just how we can save them money, but how we can save the planet while doing it.”

This pivot towards eco-friendly travel options signifies a broader corporate shift towards responsibility—where carbon offsetting and sustainable accommodations become the norm, not the exception.

Strategic partnerships take the wheel in corporate travel

Gone is the era of simple vendor-client transactions in the corporate travel arena. Smith points out a trend towards something more substantial: “It’s less about procurement, more about partnership.”

Today’s RFPs are casting for a TMC that’s less of a service provider and more of a travel savant, able to navigate the complexities of modern corporate travel. They’re seeking allies who are adept at unveiling hidden travel programme glitches; even those the companies haven’t spotted themselves. The modern RFP doesn’t just seek answers — it’s looking for a TMC that questions the status quo and delivers beyond the brief.

Personalisation – opting for tailored instead of off-the-rack

In the world of corporate travel, one size fits no one. “Travellers want experiences that are as unique as their preferences,” says Smith. The demand for personalisation will drive the development of more sophisticated AI and machine learning technologies, offering tailored travel experiences anticipating needs and preferences, much like a well-informed personal assistant.

Security and duty of care: non-negotiables in a shrinking world

The globe is shrinking, or so it seems in the business world. As corporations stretch their reach across continents, the RFPs they’re issuing echo a non-negotiable demand: robust security and unwavering duty of care. The call for advanced risk assessment tools, real-time tracking, and responsive support is loud and clear in the corridors of global commerce. No longer a mere feature, these are the bedrock of any travel management proposal that wants to be taken seriously.

This shift towards comprehensive safety nets in travel RFPs isn’t just about ticking compliance boxes. It’s about acknowledging the realities of a globalised marketplace – where travel is as common as conference calls and the safety of employees zigzagging across time zones is paramount. Companies are scouting for TMCs that can master the art of global traveller safety, ensuring that their people are as secure as their data, whether in Singapore or Santiago.

A glimpse into tomorrow

As we look towards the future, it’s clear that the evolution of corporate travel management is both a challenge and an opportunity. “The future is for the bold and innovative – the travel partners willing to evolve alongside their clients to pioneer the next era of safe, sustainable, and personalised corporate travel experiences,” Smith concludes.