High stakes travel management procurement sees University ready to soar
Staff and students at the University are required to travel domestically and internationally to support academic studies, research and operations of the University. To ensure travellers are provided with efficient, reliable, safe and appropriate travel solutions, the University engages a travel management company (TMC) to provide travel management services.
The University’s contract with the existing TMC was due to expire shortly. To ensure the University continued to receive value for money and consistent travel services aligned with travellers’ and travel bookers’ needs and expectations, the University needed to reapproach the market in a formal tender process.
While the University has a highly capable internal team, it required additional resources and market expertise to manage the end-to-end procurement. Additionally, due to the high stakes nature of the procurement, a product not only of the total cost of travel services purchased by the University, but also the complexity of the services required and the large and diverse personnel who use them, the University wanted assurance that they had the right subject matter expertise, industry knowledge and capacity to make the most informed decision.
The University sought the assistance of Grosvenor to:
• develop procurement documentation, including specifications, to approach the market for the suite of travel management services
• prepare and consult on specifications for ITO, including specific TMC management plan and KPI development
• prepare procurement plan and associated documents
• provide strategic advice to the Evaluation Team, including preparation of evaluation materials, and report
• provide strategic advice to the University Travel Manager during contract negotiations with preferred TMC.
Grosvenor understands the best way to ensure the specific needs of the University and its personnel are captured and clearly communicated in the ITO document and Contract, is to thoroughly understand them. Simply blowing the dust off the previous ITO documentation and Contract or leveraging one from another organisation is a sure path to disappointment.
Grosvenor commenced the project with a focus on discovery. A series of workshops were conducted not only with the travel management team, but also travellers and travel bookers across the University, to ensure there was deep understanding of the services required, standards, complexities, challenges and considerations. Through broad consultation we were able to appreciate the diverse, often conflicting, needs of different stakeholders and agree critical factors for success. Engaging these stakeholders early in the process and subsequently inviting them to participate at different stages of the end-to-end procurement, enabled the University’s travel management team to gain buy-in to the change from across the University. Further, it mobilised change champions to assist with the transition of the incumbent to the new provider following Contract Award.
We overlayed stakeholders’ needs and expectations with our own subject matter expertise in travel management services and procurement to provide practical advice and solutions. By prioritising the University’s needs and distinguishing those which were critical from those which would be “nice to have”, we were able to develop a strategy and set of requirements we knew could be suitably delivered by the market.
Our consultative approach extended throughout the project. We worked closely with stakeholders from the travel management team, Finance, ICT, Legal and Procurement when drafting the procurement documentation to ensure operational and security risks were appropriately managed and all policy and legislative requirements were upheld. Feedback from all stakeholders and advisors within the University were always considered, tested and actioned where it was deemed it was in the best interests of the University.
In partnership with the travel management team we developed a contract and performance management framework to build the required structures, processes, culture and systems to ensure critical success factors were achieved long after the Contract was signed.
Grosvenor continued to support the University during the tender open period, assisting and attending the Industry Briefing and advising on responses to questions posed by the TMCs. We drafted an Evaluation Plan and ran workshops with the Evaluation Team, ensuring there was absolute clarity regarding roles, responsibilities, probity, effort and required actions well before the tender closed.
Grosvenor played an active role in the evaluation phase, leading the financial assessment of responses and coordinating workshops with the Evaluation Team to ensure all facets of Evaluation Plan were effectively carried out. Equipped with subject matter expertise in procurement and travel management services, we provided strategic advice to the Evaluation Team when considering best value for money and to the University Travel Manager during contract negotiations with the preferred TMC.
Grosvenor assisted the University establish a contract with a TMC that represented best value for money for the University, aligned with stakeholders’ needs and expectations and could be sustainably delivered by the provider. The Contract recognises the bespoke operating environment and service requirements of University travellers and travel bookers, successfully catering for both.
The contract and performance management model developed as part of the project has created a solid foundation to support effective, efficient and frequent communication and management. Roles and responsibilities of both the University and the TMC, including tasks, reporting and escalation, are clear, appropriate and agreed.
Following Grosvenor’s engagement, the University is confident the critical success factors for travel management services identified by stakeholders at the start of the project will be achieved.