back icon Back Insights 03/20/2024

Loyalty Program RFPs: Key Elements and Best Practices

From points-for-perks programs like Delta SkyMiles to paid subscriptions like Amazon Prime, the largest loyalty program in the world, every successful loyalty program has to start somewhere. When global business leaders first sit down at the drawing board to plan new customer loyalty initiatives, most begin with the same thing — loyalty program Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

Whether a business lacks all the resources necessary to execute program goals in-house or has yet to nail down a program vision, a loyalty program RFP helps connect leaders with vendors who can take their ideas to the next level. In this helpful guide to the RFP submission process and management, we’ll look at the best practices for writing RFPs to elevate your loyalty program. 

What is a Loyalty Program RFP?

A loyalty program Request for Proposals (RFP) is a critical document in the vendor evaluation process in which companies crafting loyalty solutions seek to solicit proposals from potential partners. Loyalty program RFPs are directly drafted by businesses, membership associations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations actively creating or updating loyalty initiatives.

The primary purpose of loyalty program RFPs is to collect proposals from as many vendors as possible. This process not only helps to align organizations with qualified partners who possess the expertise and assets for the job but also works to trigger competitive bidding. Competitive bidding through RFPs ensures organizations find the best vendor for the most optimal price. 

Benefits of Having a Loyalty Program RFP

We all know the general benefits of loyalty programs for supporting and scaling customer loyalty. However, there are far more benefits to RFP development for loyalty platforms than meets the eye. The RFP submission process and management contribute to the ultimate success of the final loyalty program. Even better? Both the business owner and the selected program partner can benefit. 

Loyalty Program RFP Benefits for Business Owners

While it may take time to draft a loyalty program RFP supporting your vision, it can save you from double the legwork involved with market research and comparing vendors. On the business side, the primary benefit of loyalty program RFPs is that you will receive proposals detailing each vendor’s service offerings, experience level, and, most importantly, potential rates.

Beyond providing a simple way to compare vendors, competitive bidding through RFPs allows businesses to compare price points easily. For instance, if Vendor A presents a price of $75,000 for program preparation and Vendor B offers a price of $50,000 for similar services, the business can opt for the more cost-effective Vendor B or attempt to negotiate with the costlier Vendor A. 

Loyalty Program RFP Benefits for Vendors

Not only do businesses benefit from RFP development for loyalty platforms, but vendors also benefit directly. Because RFPs expose business owners to a wide variety of market options, vendors can get creative to capture the owner’s attention, like offering additional ideas and unique elements that could expedite program preparation or enhance future engagement.

Loyalty program stakeholder team celebrating their choice for the Loyalty Program Partner of first choice.

Not to mention, loyalty program RFPs allow vendors to review a business owner’s needs and expectations without ever meeting in person or over email. With the best practices for writing RFPs and creating standard, transparent documentation, vendors can assess everything from potential service requests to project timelines and budgets to ensure complete confidence in chosen partners. 

Writing a Loyalty Program RFP

So, what are the critical elements of a successful loyalty program RFP? Better yet, how do you structure a loyalty program RFP? Realistically, there’s no singular loyalty program RFP template — each document should be crafted to align with each business’ goals. However, every document needs clear sections and fillable tables that include these ten (10) elements of a successful RFP:

  1. Overview of the Company helps to define your industry, offerings, and customer base, along with the current state of your business. 
  2. Project Background is an overview of your desired loyalty program initiative, including the potential structure or rewards program name.
  3. Business Objectives encapsulate the goals of your loyalty program, such as enhancing customer engagement or capturing more of the customer wallet share.
  4. Critical Success Factors define what will make the business-vendor partnership successful, such as a provider with a white label rewards system or AI capabilities.
  5. Evaluation Criteria explain how each potential vendor will be considered, such as by experience level, service offerings, or anticipated return on investment (ROI). 
  6. Company Fact Sheet is a detailed list that provides vendors with an overview of the essential loyalty technologies or retention initiatives your company already deploys. 
  7. Desired Loyalty Mechanisms refer to the type of loyalty program your company would prefer to offer, such as tiered or point-based, as well as the desired rewards. 
  8. Loyalty Program Vision and Mission details your high-level ideas for the finished loyalty program, which vendors can supplement with their unique rewards
  9. Overview of the RFP Process explains how you would prefer vendors to submit their proposal documents, including the desired format (i.e., PDF) and required response items. 
  10. Schedule of Events outlines the timeline for the loyalty program RFP process, including the date and time for submissions and the potential date for vendor follow-ups. 

Arrivia as a Loyalty Program Vendor Partner

When developing or upgrading your loyalty initiatives, an RFP is the place to start. Not only can loyalty program RFPs help to nail down potential program ideas, but the subsequent proposals can elevate the program’s execution and ensure your business receives the best bang for its buck. Fortunately, if you’re hunting for a program vendor, you’ve already come to the right place!

Arrivia has been at the helm of travel loyalty and rewards programs for some of the world’s most respected brands, ranging from travel and hospitality providers to membership associations and financial brands, for over 25 years. Is there no loyalty program RFP to send us? No problem! Simply request a demo for a first-hand look at how arrivia travel loyalty and rewards solutions work.