From complexity to simplicity: How tech revolutionizes RFPs

The relocation process is never a completely stress-free experience for employees – and it often proves equally straining for relocation professionals.

And while the very purpose of a Request for Proposal (RFP) process is to establish the best, most streamlined outcomes possible, it often becomes a time-consuming and resource-intensive slog. In fact, research indicates the process typically takes over three months, with 81% of managers and relocation professionals being heavily involved throughout. Given the immense amount of work required, such a lengthy average turnaround time should come as no surprise. From sourcing and vetting suppliers and negotiating rates to securing travel arrangements and ensuring compliance, it is rarely a slapdash process – and nor should it be.Yet, despite the huge amounts of time and resources invested, many travel managers often end up dissatisfied with the overall outcome for employees. One significant hurdle that is often cited is the general lack of support and guidance offered to relocation professionals throughout the process. This challenge becomes even more pronounced for smaller organizations, many of which still rely on manual processes for managing their relocation programs.But regardless of the size of the organization, the tools, platforms, and services available to relocation professionals today mean help is very much at hand. By leveraging modern solutions that keep up with the pace of change in a rapidly-evolving industry, relocation professionals can streamline the relocation process, reduce stress, and achieve better outcomes for their employees.

Sourcing the best suppliers

There’s no getting around the fact that RFPs are complex undertakings. Relocation professionals must identify the specific needs of their employees, research suppliers who can meet those needs, prepare and distribute the RFPs, compare and select the best proposals, negotiate terms, and – eventually – finalize the contract. But, without the right tools, this multi-step process can be protracted for even the most seasoned professionals.Access to a comprehensive supplier database, which includes their capabilities and performance history, significantly streamlines the process. For example, 3Sixty utilizes a global network of over 1 million accommodations across 60 countries. This effectively means relocation professionals don’t need to start from scratch with every RFP, enabling them to swiftly pick and choose the best options for their employees from a vast range of options.Integrating a tech solution like 3Sixty can also help managers by automating tasks, centralizing data and providing advanced tools for better decision-making, ultimately saving time and avoiding costly errors. Our platform, for instance, offers features such as automated RFP distribution, real-time tracking, and analytics that highlight the most suitable suppliers based on historical data and requirements. This supports managers in efficiently identifying suitable proposals.With the right tools and a sufficient volume of available accommodations, relocation professionals can accelerate the completion of their RFPs – while also realizing substantial cost savings.

Faster and more efficient RFPs

Relocation professionals juggle multiple priorities when handling RFPs. They must navigate a diverse range of needs, communicate with a long list of vendors, manage tight deadlines, and ensure compliance — all while remaining within budget. Balancing these tasks demands a robust, intuitive and agile approach that effectively navigates the complexities of the RFP process.Client-specific portals, tailored to a business's unique relocation needs, offer real-time booking and compliance tracking, simplifying the management of travel and relocation programs. By consolidating all relevant information into a single and easily accessible platform, these portals enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability. Leveraging powerful technology, they support custom fields and include a company's preferred suppliers, negotiated rates, and rate caps. This significantly streamlines the traditionally lengthy RFP process, making it more efficient for relocation professionals.For instance, 3Sixty’s own comprehensive reporting – powered by Microsoft Power BI – enables dynamic data sharing and insights, facilitating data-driven decisions. Travel managers can quickly generate detailed reports that highlight compliance rates and other critical metrics, enabling them to make informed decisions that align with their organization’s goals and budget constraints.

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Keeping employees safe

The ultimate objective of RFPs should always loop back to safeguarding the well-being of employees. Employees, quite rightly, have exceptionally high expectations when it comes to finding safe and secure accommodations. Moving can cause a lot of anxiety, especially if it is to a new place or a location that is perceived to be unsafe. So, when reviewing RFPs, it is crucial that relocation professionals go above and beyond to ensure employees feel safe and secure.The ability to quickly assess the safety of numerous accommodations is vital for relocation professionals tasked with ensuring employee well-being and efficiently evaluating potential suppliers. For instance, 3Sixty’s extensive network of over one million accommodations across 60 countries offers managers a wide variety of vetted options. Our strategic partnership with Dun & Bradstreet Risk Analytics further guarantees these properties' safety and security. This AI-driven service enables us to monitor our supply chain weekly, identifying any red flags related to safety, security, financial health, and business practices.Moreover, our partnership with GeoSure provides real-time, hyper-local safety ratings for locations around the world. It assesses a huge number of parameters that can have a real impact on an employee’s overall well-being, measuring everything from potential health risks and risk of violent crime to LGBTQ+ safety and political risks. This incredibly granular approach ensures that employees are placed in safe and secure environments while assuring travel managers they have reliable, comprehensive data to make informed decisions.

Ensuring satisfaction

In today's climate of economic and geopolitical instability, the need for more efficient RFP processes has never been greater. Relocation professionals have faced unprecedented challenges in recent years, from navigating unexpected travel restrictions due to COVID-19 to managing the impact of inflation on travel costs. Such an unpredictable and, at times, volatile landscape is why it’s so important that relocation professionals use all the tools at their disposal to remain agile and responsive to these changing conditions.By integrating advanced technology for global mobility and travel management, they can streamline the cumbersome RFP process and provide best-in-class travel and relocation experiences for their employees. Embracing these innovations not only enhances efficiency but also ensures that employees feel secure and satisfied throughout their relocations and travels. Ultimately, leveraging modern solutions leads to better outcomes, making the relocation process smoother and more successful for everyone involved.
Carrie Hartman, CCHP, is President at 3Sixty, helping companies better manage the global employee relocation experience via over one million quality, cost-effective rooms and properties around the world.

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