Request for Proposals: Travel Management Services

Making Cents International ( is accepting proposals from travel management companies (TMC) to provide international and domestic travel reservations that meet the needs of our travelers and adhere to our client’s requirements.

We invite your company to submit a proposal to us by November 22, 2019.


Making Cents International (Making Cents) is a woman-owned small business established in 1998. As a results-driven international development firm founded on the principles of social entrepreneurship, Making Cents works with partner organizations in 60+ countries to build their capacity to support the people they serve—from the smallholder farmers who feed the planet to the young leaders and entrepreneurs who shape our communities. The company’s headquarters is in Washington, DC, employing 20 US-based employees.

Making Cents Travel by the Numbers

The selected TMC should expect a similar volume of ticketing and ratio of international to domestic tickets, but should also have the capacity to support additional travel bookings.

  1. Average Annual Air Spend Approximately: $100,000
  2. Average Annual Domestic : International Air Spend: 5% : 95%
  3. Average Annual Number of Ticketed Transactions: 25 to 40 depending on events

Detailed List of TMC Requirements


  1. Experience complying with the Fly America Act requirements.
  2. Already existing negotiated supplier discount programs that would benefit Making Cents.
  3. Negotiate additional discounts on our behalf with airlines and other agencies.
  4. Recommend frequent flyer programs at both the corporate and traveler level that allow both to earn frequent flyer miles/points and facilitate the sign-up process.
  5. Book and ticket domestic and complex international air, rail, and other travel by Making Cents staff and associates.
  6. After-hour live phone support around the clock, 365 days a year.
  7. In conjunction with Making Cents staff, conduct periodic reviews of information related to TMC performance and booking practices, and suggest policy/process adjustments.


  1. Provide itineraries within the restrictions of the Fly America Act and Making Cents policies. Advise travelers of the exception when a non-US carrier option is provided.
  2. Provide more than one ticket option to travelers.
  3. Review/Monitor cost effective alternatives.
  4. Offer unlimited changes before a flight is booked.
  5. Book tickets with excellent attention to detail.
  6. Guide travelers with industry-specific expertise (e.g. baggage and split ticketing).
  7. Advise of baggage and ticket restrictions, travel times, and other relevant trip details.
  8. Excellent customer service and response times during usual business hours (9 am – 5 pm).
  9. Manage ticket changes, including those made directly by airlines.


  1. A dedicated account manager, who is proactively engaged in problem solving, cost and time savings proposals, and providing guidance in best practices and industry benchmarks.
  2. Ability to accurately track unique trip information throughout the life of the booking.


  1. Simple solution for creating, modifying, and archiving/removing traveler profiles.
  2. Able to link an itinerary to a traveler’s frequent flier accounts and to the company-level airline benefit programs.
  3. Controls to ensure airlines booked meet necessary security and safety requirements.
  4. Ability for Making Cents staff to change tickets independently without having to go through the TMC.
  5. Ability to send automated notifications (such as trip requests, itineraries or out of policy notices) to Making Cents employees, supervisors, or approvers. Notification contact information may be stored in travelers’ profiles or may be an established internal email address.
  6. Clean, easy to read itineraries (ideally provided in PDF) to aid in client approval processes.
  7. Link to or direct usage of a travel management application (such as TripCase) for travelers.

Proposal Requirements


  1. Name, address, telephone number, and email address for principal contact.
  2. Executive summary of the reasons why Making Cents should engage TMC to provide travel services. Describe TMC’s experience in providing services to companies in the international development industry bound by the Fly America Act, as well as businesses of comparable size to Making Cents.
  3. Background of the firm, including years in business, number of employees, and industry specialty. Is your firm considered a small businesses, minority-owned, or women's business enterprise? If so, please include.
  4. Describe the mix of clients you currently have. Explain any experience with small businesses, especially organizations that do international development work and/or have the United States government as a client.

Account Management and Operations

  1. Describe the primary duties of the account manager and how many accounts the account manager handles simultaneously.
  2. Describe your basic operations including, but not limited to, location of call center(s), operating hours, average length of agent experience, agent turnover rate, automation, and quality control.
  3. Describe your after-hours emergency service.
  4. Explain the options for a backup/floater agent in cases of emergencies or absences. Is it possible to keep the same person as the floater for all scheduled absences?
  5. Describe any backup/overflow options for when Making Cents has a short term increase in travel.
  6. Describe any negotiated supplier programs in place that would benefit Making Cents.
  7. Explain the process, response time, and tracking for customer service issues.
  8. Please provide your standard traveler profile form. Do you have an automated traveler profile system? Can travelers access it and update it online? Where are the profiles stored? 
  9. Are unused tickets automatically tracked and refunded? Are unused non-refundable tickets tracked automatically? If so, does the agent see a reminder so that they can try to apply the credit toward another flight?
  10. Explain how you address situations in which a traveler (or travel arranger) has found a lower fare or more optimal itinerary through an alternate source.
  11. What process do you use to notify travelers of a delay or cancellation?  Do you own or use a technology that would automate this process? 
  12. Do you offer automatic notifications of travel incidents around the world (i.e. airport closures, airline worker strikes, etc.)?

Cost Estimates

  1. Please provide detailed pricing including any additional or ancillary costs that Making Cents would incur. Provide reasoning as to why the proposed pricing model is best for Making Cents. Include fees for:
    1. Domestic ticketing (air and train)
    2. International ticketing
    3. Refunds
    4. Changes
    5. After hours services
    6. After hours emergency services
  2. Outline any other additional services or amenities, include additional costs.


  1. Provide the names and contact information for three clients similar to Making Cents.

RFP Costs

Any resources expended by the TMC in responding to this RFP, including any costs incurred in proposal preparation, presentation or site visits, are the sole responsibility of the TMC.


Inquiries concerning this RFP should be emailed to [email protected] by 5 pm Eastern Time November 6, 2019. Include “Travel Management Inquiry – (Firm name)” in the subject line. Responses will be provided by 5 pm Eastern Time November 8, 2019.

Proposal Deadline

The deadline for receipt of your proposal is 5 pm Eastern Time on November 22, 2019. Please email your proposal to [email protected]. Include “Travel Management Proposal – (Company name)” in the subject line. We would appreciate a response if you decline to submit a proposal.

Evaluation of Proposals

Making Cents will evaluate all proposals on a qualitative basis.  Criteria will include:

  • Experience with organizations of similar size and complexity.
  • Completeness and timeliness of response to this request for proposal.
  • Interviews with account manager to be assigned to our engagement.
  • Results of discussions with references provided.

Proposals will be reviewed in-house as they are received. One or more TMC may be contacted to present its proposal to senior management. We expect to make a final decision by December 13, 2019.


Making Cents International