Global Distribution Systems

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Airline Consolidation

»Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems, Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

People tend to get concerned when they hear the words consolidation or merger when used with the subject of Airlines.  Recent consolidations have created arguments from analysts, labor officials and consumers.  Some say mergers lead to efficient services while others believe this will lead to loss of jobs, less flight schedules and almost always higher fares. So, what does happen when two or more airlines decide to consolidate or agree to a merger?  The consolidation/merger will go through several steps that will ultimately lead to one operation.  Below is a brief summary of some of the steps they will need to partake in: The airlines involved will need to sign an agreement after all legalities have been negotiated. Integrate management, routing structures,...

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E-Travel Price Resistance

»Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

When e-travel first came to our agency, some of the strongest resistance came from this new database cost transparency; all the different fees were a significant point of stakeholder resistance and later an indicator of evolving cultural change.  Price sensitivity has been changing as people become more accustomed to e-travel. As E-travel came on line, some of the most vocal complaints that we heard from the program offices and individual travelers involved the sudden “appearance” of fees for booking online or going through an agent.  The fee schedule was confusing and could be complex.  Many claimed that they had never had to pay the fees before (they had, but often they were considered part of the ticket price), and there were a lot of complaints about...

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TDY Authorization Process from a Systems Perspective

»Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The majority of my experience and history while working in travel has been with Temporary Duty Travel (TDY).   In this posting, I will provide an overview of the TDY authorization process from a systems perspective.  Three systems are utilized to facilitate the Temporary Duty Travel (TDY) Authorization Process.  The systems are the EGOV Travel system, a middleware which provides communication between the EGOV Travel system and the Global Distribution System, and the accounting system.  The EGOV Travel system is used to create a travel authorization, select reservations, perform necessary pre-audits, and route the authorization through an appropriate organization approval chain.  The travel authorization contains specific details regarding trip including the...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The information in Section 2A on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) was very informative and interesting. It has been my experience that many Government travelers do not understand the GDS underlying our Online Booking Engines and E-Gov travel Systems. One improvement that would be extremely helpful to the Government would be if the General Services Administration could convince all airlines that want to participate in the City Pair Program, be required to be mandatory participants in the GDS. It is frustrating to our users when they follow all the Government’s mandatory requirements such as mandatory use of the city pair program, mandatory use of an E-Gov Travel system and are still charged a full service fee because the airline does not participate in the GDS....

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Global Distribution Systems (GDS)

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

How much do you know about the global distribution system (GDS) that is used by your E-Gov Travel System?  Maybe your E-Gov System uses Sabre, Galileo/Apollo, Worldspan or Amadeus.  Currently, these are the four major GDS systems. My agency chose an E-Gov Travel System that uses the GDS, Sabre. The GDS houses the necessary information that will allow travel agents to book and sell airline tickets, book hotel rooms, make rental car reservations, and reserve rail reservations and more. The first GDS, Sabre, was created by the airlines in the 1960s.  Sabre has been around a lot longer than its competitors; Amadeus was created in 1987, Worldspan in 1990 and Galileo/Apollo in 1993. These complex systems have numerous capabilities.  Besides what was previously...

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GDS System 2009

»Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The current GDS system platform remains relatively unchanged since it was first widely used in the 1970’s.  With all the advances in technology the GDS system continues to be DOS based requiring a series of commands to obtain information.  Even with the updated scripting and windows look the system continues to be antiquated compared to the new technology. This issue has become evident with Secure Flight the TSA passenger tracking system requiring the full name, date of birth, gender and redress number if applicable for every airline passenger.  The airlines and GDS systems have been scrambling in order to adapt their systems to accept the necessary fields.  This has become a long and tedious process as currently the systems have limitations on the number of...

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Comprehending the GDS

»Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

I never knew how complicated the GDS was – or what booking tickets entailed.  On the surface, booking a plane ticket on your typical website seems so easy.  Only after reading about the many layers and authorizations/regulations involved in the process did I appreciate all the work that can go into booking a plane ticket. The Global Distribution System (GDS) evolved from the Computer Reservation System (CRS), used as far back as the 1950’s.  Unlike the airline-owned CRS, the GDS is operated by non-airline companies, and the airlines are not required to use the GDS.  Perhaps the reason that some travel services or airlines choose not to participate in the GDS is because the GDS charges fees for its usage.  Currently there are three major GDS vendors:...

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Getting the Traveler Compliant

»Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

When the government deregulated the airlines in 1978, it was based on the premise that it would improve the industry and offer travelers more options and better prices.  One area  that seems to be a sticking point is the global distribution system.  For us travel professionals who know there are differences and that every airline has the option to choose what they want to do, we adapt.  It is the occasional or green traveler who suffers the most. One of the challenges I face is travelers feel that they can get a better deal searching themselves on the internet, rather than using the States TMC.  One reoccurring theme is that travelers are unaware that different  pricing models exist between the airlines, the 4 GDS’ and the  internet booking tools and that...

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What is PNR????

»Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

What is a PNR and do I need one?  In the travel industry, PNR stands for Passenger Name Record.  PNR is a record in the Computer Reservation System (CRS) database that contains your itinerary and other information about you.  If you have traveled by air, then you needed one and was assigned one whether you knew it or not.  PNRs were developed by airlines so they could exchange reservation information since passengers frequently use more than one airline to reach their destination.  In the electronic travel system we use, the travel management center (TMC) creates a PNR in the Global Distribution System when an airline reservation is made.  The PNR contains various information such as the traveler’s name, contact and ticketing details, itinerary, fare...

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The Sabre Global Distribution System within our e-Travel System

»Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

Our E Travel System uses the Sabre Global Distribution System as an integral part of the overall travel system. The GDS is a legacy data based system that is used by all travel suppliers such as airlines, hotels and rental car vendors to automatically book travel. The GDS is separate from the commercial internet booking sites, although some booking sites will use GDS information to offer information to their users and to assist with bookings. Not all airlines and hotels use a Global Distribution System as the GDS charges travel vendors to display inventories. If a supplier uses a GDS, it is the airline carrier, hotel, or rental car company’s responsibility to keep the GDS updated with current information. In some instances some small airlines do not use the GDS...

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The Evolution (Revolution) of Government Travel

»Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview | 0 comments

Government travel for civilian agencies has changed greatly over the years, going from a manual system to an electronic one. This paper will show how government travel has evolved over time, the direct impact from my agency’s perspective, and possible future directions of federal travel. Manual Model Initially, civilian travel processing was a paper-based system where travel orders and travel vouchers were manually typed and hand-carried or mailed to approving officials for signature. Transportation was procured by means of a Government Transportation Request (GTR). The accompanying financial transactions were then manually posted to the accounting system. Transportation reservations were obtained through travel agents (now called a travel management center...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The existence of multiple Global Distribution Systems presents challenges for United States Government agencies’ efforts to manage travel.  One such challenge involves determining which Global Distribution System an agency’s Travel Management Center should use, although my sense is that most agencies do not direct their Travel Management Center on which Global Distribution System to use.  (Contractually, an agency may or may not even have the ability to determine which Global Distribution System their Travel ManagementCenter uses.) Some Global Distribution Systems do not allow for the booking of tickets for certain airlines – although this is often driven by which airlines choose to participate in which Global Distribution Systems.  In...

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The Old Days

»Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview | 0 comments

When I started working in travel in 1996, our agency was using the paper method of filing authorizations and vouchers.  Travel planners picked up the phone to make common carrier reservations with a small, dedicated TMC and called hotels directly.  Back in those dinosaur days, we kept a binder with paper copies of the per diem rates for various locations and would have to use those to ensure that travelers claimed the correct rates on their vouchers.  That was before the 75% M & IE allowance for the first and last day of travel.  Travelers actually recorded their beginning and ending time per day on paper.  We calculated per diem based on the number of quarters a person was in travel status.  Let’s say an individual started the first day of travel at...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Airlines, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The GSA City Pair program has helped save millions of taxpayer dollars since it’s inception in the early 80’s.   This program allows government employees to travel on negotiated flat airfares in most markets with up to 70% discount on refundable airfares.  Government contractors, however, are not allowed to participate in the CPP with GSA, but can negotiate with airlines on their own. Working for an FFRDC proves to show significant differences between GSA CPP rates and corporate rates.  As airlines continue to struggle to make profit in today’s world due to fuel hikes, competition, union employees, airport fees, mergers, etc., corporate contracts have been revamped to tiered programs which provide small discounts on published airfares with heavy...

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FedRooms

»Posted by on Sep 7, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Finding hotels that meet government standards and the travelers’ needs has historically been a tedious process for travelers and document preparers alike. Numerous searches would be made to find and compare hotels that were in compliance with per diem rates and travel regulations. In 2004 the General Services Administration (GSA) partnered with Carlson Wagonlit’s Hotel Solutions Group to redesign the government’s lodging program. The program has undergone several significant changes–one of the most obvious is the transition from the legacy program’s name, Federal Premier Lodging Program (FPLP), to the new program name, FedRooms. Additionally, the number of participating properties in the FedRooms program has increased from just over 600 in 2004 to...

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Code Share FAQ’s

»Posted by on Aug 30, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The implementation of our E Travel System brought about new challenges in understanding the travel industry. One of the first airline practices that we had to identify and share with our travelers was the practice of code sharing. The following is the guidance we created from the list of frequently asked questions we received on our customer service help desk. What is Code sharing? A code share is an agreement between airlines that allows the sale of seats by a partner airline on another airline’s flight as if the flight were its own.  Code shares can provide a cost-effective way for a carrier to enter new markets by using the facilities and operations of a partner carrier. This can be misleading for travelers who believe they have purchased a ticket on...

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Airlines- _CA Fares

»Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

One of the most misunderstood and under advertised benefit to Government travelers is the _CA fare. This is the capacity-controlled coach class fare mentioned in Section 2B Airlines. During regular training classes on our E-Gov Travel System, I continue to be astonished at the misperception and fear of choosing these _CA fares. These fares are still fully refundable, fully changeable; but they are not last-seat availability. If travelers can make their arrangements far enough in advance, sometimes airlines will offer a certain number of seats at the lower _CA pricing. This can save an office $20.00, $40.00, even hundreds of dollars per leg off the full YCA fare. Travelers misunderstand the capacity limit to mean that they either will not get a seat on the aircraft...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The existence of multiple Global Distribution Systems presents challenges for United States Government agencies’ efforts to manage travel. One such challenge involves determining which Global Distribution System an agency’s Travel Management Center should use, although my sense is that most agencies do not direct their Travel Management Center on which Global Distribution System to use. (Contractually, an agency may or may not even have the ability to determine which Global Distribution System their Travel Management Center uses.) Some Global Distribution Systems do not allow for the booking of tickets for certain airlines – although this is often driven by which airlines choose to participate in which Global Distribution Systems. In addition, the various...

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GDS

»Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The Global Distribution System (GDS) is an integral part of the E-Gov Travel System (ETS).  All three of the possible ETS solutions access the GDS and allow travelers to select and reserve their own airline, hotel, and rental car accommodations.  This concept was new to many of us in 2004 when we started implementing ETS and we also hadn’t realized the challenges that it would present. Up until this time, we relied solely on the Travel Management Center (TMC) to provide service for all aspects of reservations, ticketing, and any other general airline question.  Since the reservations are now integrated, travelers began calling our help desk with the questions that they use to ask the TMC’s.  At this time, we began to realize how little we really...

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Where Do We Go From Here?

»Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Let’s take a look at where government travel will be in the future. To see what a government traveler will experience, we’ll need to look at the various aspects of the travel system covered in our course, and extrapolate the current trends ten years down the road. The major trends in the Global Distribution world are connections across the internet and controlling distribution costs. In the next few years we are likely to see suppliers using focused distribution channels rather than the GDS to control their costs. By distributing on more effective channels, the suppliers not only safe, but gain more control over their inventory. No doubt, these channels will be internet based as the new systems coming online now are all web riding. This trend will impact...

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Travel Agency Reservation Process

»Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

In making a reservation with a TMC/CTO travel agent, the traveler first provides their name to the agent. Upon learning the name of the traveler, the agent will pull up the traveler’s profile, which pre-populates the relevant fields in the Passenger Name Record (PNR) or travel record. The traveler then tells the agent the basic requirements of their trip, including, but not limited to: origin; destination; time preferences; dates; lodging preference; car rental; and any other requirements the traveler may require. Upon gathering the aforementioned basic travel information from the traveler, the agent will use the GDS to search for the appropriate air, lodging and car rental. The government rules and regulations are scripted into the GDS in a master profile...

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E-Verify and the Travel Industry

»Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

On November 14, 2008, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a final rule (73 FR 67651), amending 48 CFR Parts 2, 22, and 52, to change the rules on Employment Eligibility Verification.  These new rules require Government contractors to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government to use the Federal E-Verify system to confirm the immigration status of employees working on Government contracts performed within the United States.  Prior to the effective date of the new regulation, January 15, 2009, the use of the E-Verify system was voluntary. Government contractors, as well as businesses in general, have long been obligated to check...

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The General Services Administration E-Travel Project

»Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

Two of the best decisions made by the General Services Administration, when developing and implementing a customized on-line Electronic Travel System for their civilian agencies, were to award the E-Travel contracts to more than one vendor, and to work closely with the Department of Defense to learn from their ‘experiences’. When the GDS were first introduced to the public by American Airlines (Sabre) and United Airlines (Apollo) in the 70′s, it was a very basic reservation system. In fact, often times, the determining factor of which product a customer finally chose was the air carrier that had the majority of lift out of the airports from which the agency served its customers, since the agency only had last seat availability to offer their...

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GDS 2009

»Posted by on Apr 27, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The current GDS system platform remains relatively unchanged since it was first widely used in the 1970’s. With all the advances in technology the GDS system continues to be DOS based requiring a series of commands to obtain information. Even with the updated scripting and windows look the system continues to be antiquated compared to the new technology. This issue has become evident with Secure Flight the TSA passenger tracking system requiring the full name, date of birth, gender and redress number if applicable for every airline passenger. The airlines and GDS systems have been scrambling in order to adapt their systems to accept the necessary fields. This has become a long and tedious process as currently the systems have limitations on the number of...

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City Pair Fares and GSA Statistics

»Posted by on Apr 26, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 1 comment

There is a statistic cited in the training materials that I find interesting, which is that City Pair air fares save 50 – 70% off unrestricted coach fares. I have seen a similar measure of 72% savings off unrestricted coach fares published directly by GSA. This measure raises two questions: 1)    What data did GSA use to determine this measure and when was the analysis conducted? 2)     Is a better measure of program savings available? Section 2a discusses yield management tools and how airfare prices change continuously. To accurately measure savings off unrestricted coach fares, GSA would need a database of unrestricted coach fares that were purchased at the same their traveler purchased the ticket to the same destination. A second option would be to...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The existence of multiple Global Distribution Systems presents challenges for United States Government agencies’ efforts to manage travel. One such challenge involves determining which Global Distribution System an agency’s Travel Management Center should use, although my sense is that most agencies do not direct their Travel Management Center on which Global Distribution System to use. (Contractually, an agency may or may not even have the ability to determine which Global Distribution System their Travel Management Center uses.) Some Global Distribution Systems do not allow for the booking of tickets for certain airlines – although this is often driven by which airlines choose to participate in which Global Distribution Systems. In addition, the various...

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GDS

»Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

My agency uses the program, FedTraveler.com E-Gov Travel Service (ETS), for travel services for its federal employees.  This is an example of a Global Distribution System (GDS).  The ETS can be used to book flights, hotel lodging, and rental cars, as well as reimburse employees for travel services.  ETS is primarily a self-service system whereby employees enter their travel plans and budget authorizers approve or return plans.  Overall, the ETS is convenient and user-friendly.  I have entered dozens of travel plans for my job as a facilities inspections officer.  One of the biggest benefits I have found is that the ETS automatically calculates the correct government per diem.  My major complaint with the ETS is the transaction fees.  As stated on page 43...

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GDS and Contracting

»Posted by on Mar 30, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

I am proud to be working for a travel company that has been around since 1948. This company has been sold several times and the name has changed, however, the one thing that I am proud of is how loyal the employees are. We have employees who have been with the company for more then 15 year and they are dedicated to making and keeping this company #1 in the travel industry. Today we are known as Carlson Wagonlit /SatoTravel and are now the number 1 leader in the travel company. As a meeting planner I do not work with the Global Distribution System (GDS) to book meetings. All our meetings/room blocks for groups are handled thru the National Sales Representatives for each Brand. I do, however, use the GDS to look for hotels near a specific zip code or to check the...

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Business Practices

»Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The travel manager role, as this chapter mentions, does require great talent in multi-tasking. During implementation, a good project plan is vital to make sure all tasks are accomplished. The travel manager has to ensure all TMC profiles are loaded, lines of accounting are loaded, and that the routing chains for all travelers are established. Charge card information has to be loaded and correct so that tickets are issued timely as a self-service transaction. An organization with thousands of travelers causes this type of workload to grow exponentially. Normally, the travel manager is not only responsible for all the E-Gov Travel tasks, but has to provide policy guidance as well. Although the E-Gov Travel system has automated many aspects of the travel document...

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What Is IATA?

»Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

What does having an IATA mean? Do you need one to book a reservation on your own? Do I need to use the DTS to book my reservation? What amenities come with my room? It is not easy to get an IATA number but IATA numbers are basically the Travel agent’s ID number; this is also used to identify individual travel companies so that they will receive a commission check once the person has traveled to the destination.  When you put the IATA number in, it’s not for the discount…it’s so the companies know which travel agent to pay the commission to. To get the travel agency rate, you generally need to get the right rate codes (at least with rental cars & hotels – not sure how airlines interact with the GDS systems since they do not get paid...

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FedRooms

»Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview, Hotels | 0 comments

Working for a Federally Funded Research and Development organization for the last eight years has been a great foundation for understanding government travel and its’ idiosyncrasies.  As I fought my way through JTR language and GSA restrictions, I’ve learned a lot about government travel policy, eligibility and procedures.  Although my organization is not eligible for all government specialties, we must follow many of the GSA and JTR regulations when arranging travel. The downside of not being eligible for many of the special discounts that government travelers are entitled to is our costs are much higher and constantly questioned by auditors.  FFRDC’s and government contractors are no longer eligible for the GSA City Pair Program or car rental programs,...

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History of Government Travel Management and GDS

»Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview, Industry Postings | 0 comments

The value of travel management began shortly after the deregulation act of the airlines of 1978 and the value to government workers was to help not only with the financial concerns but also to glean data that would benefit the government agencies but also those working to establish a better financing within the government. This opened up flexibility for pricing and scheduling for government workers. Once a trial testing program in 1980 was launched, now known as the GSA (General Services Administration) program, was established and cost cutting as well as time efficient scheduling for travel became extremely beneficial. This continues to be a cost cutting benefit to the government. However, on it’s initial run, the GSA program had concerns for the travel agents...

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Planning a Government Business Trip

»Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Government travelers within my agency are required to use an electronic travel system to book business trips. The first step a traveler must take after being hired into a position with the government is to provide their direct deposit banking information to the office that will be issuing their travel payments. If required by the agency, the traveler should apply for their government issued credit card before traveling. This information is stored in the traveler’s profile and his/her travel reservations, along with some other expenses, will automatically be charged to their government issued credit card. Based on the automated travel system my agency uses, the first step is to gain access to the travel system by a one-time registration process. A first time...

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Yield Management for Hotels

»Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Global Distribution Systems, Hotels | 0 comments

In chapter 2 I read with interest about Yield Management and how it relates to the hotel industry and our property. Yield Management is very important.  Our own Revenue Manager plays such a large part in the daily success of our property.  She takes care of reservations and plays a part in assisting the Sales Department with duties such as rooming lists, deposits, and helping us to figure out if we are able to take groups on certain days and what rates to quote to maximize sales and drive occupancy.  She does all of this on top of her regular duties such as working with the General Manager as to where we stand for the month and year for our budget.  She looks at our rates compared to other properties in the area to determine if we need to make our rate lower...

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The Sabre Global Distribution System

»Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

During my many years as an employee in our travel office, I have conducted many training sessions for our various government agency customers.  The reservations section within our electronic travel system (ETS) is by far one of the most ‘inquired about’ sections during my training sessions.  The reservations section within our travel system houses the capability for users to book their hotel, rental car, rail and airfare via the Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS). The Sabre GDS allows access to government negotiated rates, policy compliance at the point of sale, and automation of reservations and ticketing, which improves the efficiency of the overall government travel booking process.  The Sabre GDS provides access to preferred government rates such as...

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Line of Accounting Enhancement

»Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview | 0 comments

One of the most significant projects I participated on while working with an EGOV Travel application was the planning, design, and development of an update line of accounting module.  This was an eighteen month project in which we worked in conjunction with the EGOV Travel vendor to redesign the line of accounting module.  The enhanced line of accounting  module offered several improvements over the prior module of which the most significant would include enabling travelers to more easily identify and select accounting, provide additional security by limiting accounting available to travelers, and improve the accounting conditional routing options. The prior accounting module housed each line of accounting under a unique accounting label for each...

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Global Distribution Systems — Information Flow

»Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

Section 2a discusses Global Distribution Systems. Although I am sure that it must exist somewhere, I have not seen a recent diagram that shows the flow of information throughout a travel transaction. By a travel transaction, I am referring to the following components: Vendors (airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, other) GDS Travel Agencies Traveler (or end user) The data flow used to be rather straightforward, in that the vendor supplied data to the GDS, the GDS to the travel Agency, and the Travel Agency to the traveler. However, through technology and financial tightening there are now myriad other methods for securing travel. Those include: Vendor-direct call centers or websites Alternate GDS (ITA, G2, Farelogix, INS) Corporate Travel Departments, On-line...

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E Gov Travel – The Transition and Training Process

»Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Beginning in September of 2004, our agency began converting our customers from the legacy travel system to the new E Gov Travel system.  With approximately thirty agencies to convert, we completed the transition within a twelve month time-frame.  Even though this schedule was quite intense, we were able to complete this transition successfully due to the cooperation of everyone involved, the organization of a well thought out project plan, and a detailed training plan. For each customer to convert from the legacy system to the new one, there were two people in our agency assigned to lead each team.  We were responsible for performing all of the background maintenance tasks, such as routing lists, the people table, and security groups. We also trained all...

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There’s No Such Thing as a Magic Bullet

»Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels | 0 comments

Open most newspapers and you will probably find that many experts are predicting a bleak economic forecast for 2009 and financial uncertainty.  Due to inevitable declining market conditions, several hotels are now refocusing their efforts and targeting the government market as a primary sales initiative for the upcoming fiscal year. As a national sales director, one of my primary functions is to manage global RFPs for government key accounts on behalf of a hotel community compromised over 1,000 hotels.  Recently, I was in rigorous task of managing RFP negotiations when it occurred to me that hotels in general seemed to be putting too much of an emphasis on program history. In my opinion, this rationale strongly reinforces that educating hotels in terms of how...

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Per Diem Rate Guidelines

»Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Business Practices, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Rental Cars | 0 comments

One of the distinct challenges the hotel community continues to encounter are the criteria set for establishing the areas to be surveyed and how the data from Smith Travel is used. The Data used to compile the rate and occupancy information tends to focus on all the area within the city limits, but does not focus on the main areas of where government or business travel is concentrated. A good example is to compare Boston and San Francisco as these two cities for corporate travel rates are rather similar. Boston with seasonal rates of $203-$256 is a concentrated area with a large downtown and does not contain a suburban area containing many hotels. The majority of the hotels within the city limits are located in the downtown area. San Francisco has a similar...

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Global Distribution Systems and the Federal Traveler

»Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) require that all federal travel be booked using a government travel agent, also known as a Travel Management Center (TMC).  Reservations can be made on-line using an e-Gov travel systems or via a phone call to the TMC.  When you use a TMC, your reservations are booked using one of the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) such as Sabre, Galileo, or Worldspan.  The GDS were previously known as Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) and were created by major airlines to aggregate the schedules, pricing, and inventory of the world’s airlines that could be used by travel agents to make reservations. The GDS eventually began including hotel, rental car, tour and cruise inventory for those companies that wanted to pay to participate....

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

My agency uses the program, FedTraveler.com E-Gov Travel Service (ETS), for travel services for its federal employees.  This is an example of a Global Distribution System (GDS).  The ETS can be used to book flights, hotel lodging, and rental cars, as well as reimburse employees for travel services.  ETS is primarily a self-service system whereby employees enter their travel plans and budget authorizers approve or return plans.  Overall, the ETS is convenient and user-friendly.  I have entered dozens of travel plans for my job as a facilities inspections officer.  One of the biggest benefits I have found is that the ETS automatically calculates the correct government per diem. My major complaint with the ETS is the transaction fees.  As stated on page 43 of...

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“Is there really a savings, or are we headed full circle”

»Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Government Traveler Comments, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I can remember years ago, when a federal employee, that was authorized official travel, would receive their travel authorization from the typewriter of the secretary, take that piece of paper to the ticket counter of the in-house TMC and make all of the travel arrangements.  A few days later, you would receive days later a GTR would cover the cost of the ticket and the ticket printer would produce your itinerary, along with your information regarding your trip.  It was nice to see a face, get to know your internal travel agent, as well as  have the hands-on person available there to ask any questions and to make any changes, if necessary.  Today, everything is done by the booking engine, we have become accustomed to booking our travel via our PC’s, pads or...

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Making Better Use of Profiles

»Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Global Distribution Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

As soon as it is determined that a government employee will be traveling in order to fulfill specific official missions it is time for that employee to create a level 2 profile.  The level 2 profile is assigned specifically for the traveler and pertinent information within the profile can be copied over into the GDS (Global Data System) by the booking agent at the time of booking. When working with travel plans for federal government employees it is important to understand that arriving safely to and from their destination is of utmost importance and is generally only a small percentage of the employee’s job duties.  The government employes responsibility to travel is only necessary to accomplish a greater mission.  Therefore, I hope to continually be of...

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Data Collection Under the TRX MIS Contract: Implementation, Deployment, and Strategic Sourcing Issues

»Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The GSA (General Services Administration) often enters into City-Pairs negotiations hampered by a relative lack of hard data on Government travel.  Where substantive data has been available it has not been as detailed or as encompassing as the Government requires to effectively support negotiations.  This lack of effective data caused the Travel Program management Office (PMO) of the GSA to conduct an Full and Open competition for a vendor that could provide services to make up for this lack of information.  The solicitation requirement was to obtain the best travel data aggregation and reporting solution that satisfied government requirements at the best value.  A trade-off analysis was performed between technical and cost and past performance to make the...

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