Request for Proposal: Corporate Travel Services

Summary and Background

Strategic Capacity Group (SCG) is seeking a corporate travel agency to support its future travel arrangements. SCG is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in Virginia, and tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. With funding from U.S. government grants, as well as grants from other governments and private foundations, SCG engages in projects supporting its mission of building effective and sustainable security sector capacity worldwide. 

To deliver this mission, SCG employees and contractors travel to or deliver travel logistics in over 58 countries and purchase travel for delegates in more than 100 countries worldwide. SCG’s operational profile varies by project: 

  • Staff initiate travel arrangements from the Washington, DC metro area where SCG is headquartered and from overseas locations across multiple time zones. 
  • Staff and contractor travel originates from different U.S. states and from international points of origin (e.g., Canada, Colombia, France, Niger, Thailand). 
  • SCG supports training and meeting events on behalf of our donors by procuring meeting spaces and catering services at hotels, as well as lodging for participants at those events.
  • SCG procures travel and lodging for groups of delegates (who are neither SCG employees nor contractors, but foreign nationals nominated by SCG’s donors) from more than 100 countries around the world (e.g., Senegal, Thailand, Central African Republic, Colombia, St. Lucia, Liberia, Jordan). Group travel is usually for 30 travelers, but occasionally large events have numbered 100 travelers or more.
  • SCG procures airfare for foreign nationals to travel within their country of origin (e.g., from Bangkok to Phuket in Thailand) or from their country of origin to other countries (e.g., from Timor-Leste to the USA or from Colombia to the Bahamas). Many purchased flights never enter or transit through the United States.
  • Many of the purchased flights include at least one connecting flight. 
  • All flights must be Fly America Act compliant.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced travel related activities, SCG is projecting an increase in travel in the coming years.  Pre-pandemic, SCG spent $1.2 million annually in airfare, lodging, and hotel services around the world. SCG projects increased travel expenditures following the COVID pandemic.  Based on this information and SCG’s projections, SCG is seeking a corporate travel agency that can support its global travel requirements. 

Eligibility Information

All Vendors who wish to apply must (1) offer emergency and 24-hour travel services, 7 days a week, (2) provide a brief list of other clients, and (3) demonstrate experience serving as a corporate travel agent for multi-national companies and/or organizations.

Application Process

Eligible applicants must carefully review all instructions and criteria below to ensure that the application is taken into consideration.

  1. Intent to participate and pricing structure must be provided via email to: by June 2, 2023, COB EST with the subject line: SCG CORPORATE TRAVEL AGENT RFP. Via this same mean, vendors are welcome to attach additional supporting documentation. 
  2. Questions should be provided by June 9, 2023. All questions will be answered by June 15, 2023 and both questions and answers (excluding vendor’s name) will be shared with the vendors that have expressed a willingness to participate.  
  3. Presentations and Demos. SCG will work with selected vendors to schedule a time for either a virtual or in-person presentation/demo meeting. Vendors must provide a copy of the presentation at least 2 business days prior to the meeting. To demonstrate evidence in support of the selection/evaluation criteria, selected vendors will be invited to present their range of services through a presentation and demo. The demo section must include the following two scenarios: 

    Scenario 1: Self-Service Platform Demo:
    Round trip from Dili, Timor-Leste to Houston, TX for 30 delegates, including hotel selection and booking for layovers of more than 12 hours. 

    Scenario 2: Self-Service Platform and/or Agent Demo:
    Multiple origin/destination with the following requirements:

    Airfare and hotel bookings for 2 SCG travelers working as a team in the Caribbean for 12 days:

    Traveler 1 Origin/Final Destination: Colombia
    Traveler 2 Origin/Final Destination: Massachusetts

    Destinations for both travelers:
    Destination 1: Trinidad Tobago (4 business days)
    Destination 2: St. Lucia (3 business days)
    Destination 3: Bahamas (5 business days)

SCG may choose to delay the process to ensure proper competition and will notify all vendors in the event of a delay.  SCG reserves the right to reach back to vendors in the event of a close result to ensure a fair process. 

SCG foresees a final decision by July 9, 2023.

Evaluation Criteria

Vendors will be evaluated through the demo as well as the presentation of their services as they relate to the following criteria: 

24/7 Global Travel Booking (60 points)

  • Mechanisms and systems Vendor has in place to provide seamless 24/7 services (15 points). 
  • If Vendor relies on subcontracted local or regional travel agencies or platforms, demonstrate how Vendor ensures reliable and responsive travel services with full 24/7 coverage.
  • Availability of a user friendly, self-service platform allowing SCG employees to book flights on behalf of other SCG employees, contractors, or delegates (15 points). Platform should: 
    •  Show seat availability.
    •  Offer the option to add checked luggage to a flight booking.
    •  Offer ability to filter by refundable / non- refundable tickets and show if there are penalties for changes and cancellations. 
    •  Include a search function/filter for Fly America Act and Open Skies Act Compliant flights.
    •  Offer a filter for flight duration (total flight and connecting flights) and price.
    •  Allow for group booking).
    •  Show and include flights for purchase originating and terminating in a foreign country (e.g., Thai airline that only operates in Thailand).
    •  Include filter for layovers of 2-3 hours. 
        Provide information about refund policies on flights and about charges for changes/cancellations.
  • Ability to contact a representative 24/7 to quote and arrange travel services for SCG employees, contractors, or training participants and support travelers enroute by email and phone (15 points). Vendor must provide:
    •  Average wait time during regular office hours (and specify those hours).
    •  Average wait time during off-hours (and specify those hours).
    •  Confirmation that representative will support all requests up to and within 24hrs of travel (specify booking cut off time, if any).
  • Additional requirements for both platform and agent bookings (15 points):
    •  Ability to produce a list of flights purchased, track unused e-tickets resulting from cancellations by travelers, (including their value) and provide a detailed report.
    •  Ability to apply corporate credits for cancelled bookings to other corporate travelers.
    •  Ability for the traveler (or an SCG employee acting on behalf of the traveler) to input personal travel information/complete a travel profile online. 
    •  Ability to incorporate SCG’s Travel Authorization (e.g., procurement approval) and records of expenses per Travel Authorization. 
    •  Ability to place airfare tickets on hold for up to 24hrs. 
    •  Access to a booked itinerary that can be viewed by SCG staff and shared with travelers. 
    •  Access to reliable sources regarding visa/entry requirements. 

Booking Hotels and Local Transportation (15 points)

  • Availability of a self-service platform allowing SCG employees to book hotels on behalf of other SCG employees, contractors, or delegates. Platform should:
    •  Include ability to search hotels in a country based on proximity to a specific address. 
    •  Offer ability to filter by nightly rates.
    •  Include option to view range of hotel services and amenities, such as free Wi-Fi.
    •  Include option to view If breakfast is included in the quoted rate.
  • Ability to book trains and busses.
  • Ability to book rental cars. 

Finance and Compliance (25 points)

  • Pricing structure of the fees charged by the corporate travel agency. Both cost and simplicity of the structure will be evaluated. 
  • Experience providing services under Fly America Act and Open Skies rules, and how these regulations are integrated or embedded into flight selection protocol; this includes routes where American Carriers are not available. 
  • Compliance with Federal and European Union regulations as they apply to the management of Personal Identifiable Information (PII).

Desirable but not necessary: 

  • Integration with ERP systems, in particular, Sage Intacct. 
  • Ability to enter project codes, GL codes, and other fields for memo information. 
  • Ability to produce a list of refundable flights bought (including the paid price) against the price of nonrefundable flights that SCG could have bought.
  • Service option for Vendor to handle customer service needs with airlines during surge travel (e.g., ticket changes by the airline during travel, lost luggage, accommodations for lost flights).
  • Knowledge of travel regulations as it pertains to Federal awards and 2CFR200. 

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