History and Overview

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Government Travel Program: An Active Duty Perspective

»Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The history of the Government Travel Program from the active duty perspective is long and varied.  Knowing the history of where Department of Defense travel has been makes it easier to understand the changes being made now and the path to the future. When one examines travel from the active duty perspective you can see there are two major periods that have impacted travel payment processing: the pre and post Government Travel Credit Card era, and the pre and post Defense Travel System (DTS). Before the advent of the government travel credit card most Temporary Duty (TDY) travel was limited to a small cadre of individuals.  Service members often could not afford the added expense of traveling without an advance payment.  Travel advances created a series of...

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Changes in Government Travel

»Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in History and Overview | 0 comments

It is amazing how far the Travel Services and related services like hotels & rent a car have changed since the late seventies.  Government travelers used to buy their tickets from SATO with no choice of carrier or price given to them.  In 1978, deregulation happened.  Government officials realized that they have a very strong buying power as the single largest corporation to purchase airline tickets; thus, in 1980, the government started negotiations on a program called CITY PAIR in which they allowed airlines to compete between 2 points for the government business.  The progress was phenomenal from 11 city pairs to over 5000 city pairs now. Airlines developed Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) to help them manage their bookings and yields.  These systems...

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Travel Teamwork

»Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Business Practices, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

I work in the Travel Division of a Government Shared Service Provider (SSP). Under the Director’s office is a section for Division wide policy research and information. Travel is a broad subject; therefore, the Division is broken down into two Branches of travel expertise. One is for travelers relocating to a new city or country which is called Permanent Change of Station. The Branch in which I work is for travelers that are traveling on a temporary basis and is called Temporary Duty Services. This is for travelers that will be traveling for one day up to approximately a month. It can be more but generally, the time-frame is typically a week or less. Our Branch is then broken down into the following areas: Customer Service, Accounting, and Charge Card. In...

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Airline Deregulation To The Next Generation of Air Transportation

»Posted by on Jan 4, 2015 in Airlines, History and Overview | 0 comments

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 has changed the face (and faces) of air travel from the Government controlling the routes each airline flew and overseeing the prices they charged to today’s market-driven industry, where customer demand determines the levels of service and price.  After deregulation, millions of Americans began to fly for the first time and continue to do so today. However, crowded airports, overbooked flights, and delayed flights have travelers believing that our nation’s air transport system is not functioning very well. When in reality, it is evidence of how well deregulation has worked to substantially lower fares, provide better passenger service, and provide passengers with more flight options.  Today, airplanes are fuller than...

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Selling the Intangibles

»Posted by on Dec 30, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview, Hotels, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Tom Seaver (Major League Baseball Hall of Famer) once said, “The concentration and dedication to the intangibles are the deciding factors between who won and who lost.”  I firmly believe this statement is profoundly accurate, and I believe it’s applicable to several aspects of business, personal accomplishments and other areas of life.  Furthermore, I strongly believe the intangibles are particularly relevant when in comes to soliciting the U.S. Federal Government. As Director of National Sales for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, my subject matter expertise is hotels.  I feel some of the points made in this document could perhaps be the most valuable contribution I have given to my fellow SGTP affiliates.  As a result, the strategies outlined in this...

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Per Diem

»Posted by on Dec 27, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

Per Diem is the allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses.  GSA (General Services Administration) sets the maximum per diem allowances for areas within the Continental United States (CONUS).  The State Department sets the foreign per diem rates (for example, Russia, Aruba, Bahamas etc.)  The Department of Defense (DOD) sets the non-foreign rates such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  These rates apply to all individuals traveling on behalf of the federal government. These rates are published annually, adjustments to the rates are made throughout the year, and may change as often as monthly. A study is conducted every 3-5 years on Meals and Incidental (M&IE) expenses, in an effort to obtain more accurate prices charged...

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Per Diem Rate Guidelines

»Posted by on Dec 21, 2014 in History and Overview, Hotels | 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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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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History

»Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview | 0 comments

In this first section of the Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course, it was very interesting to read of the history of the whole travel industry. I have always had a love of travel dating back to 1974 when I attended and graduated from Weaver Airline Personnel School inKansas City, Missouri. At the time I worked full time at Michigan State University and completed a correspondence portion at home and then spent one month in residence at the school in Kansas City. It was an intense and informative time at the school. As it turns out, I did not end up with a travel industry position until 1985 when I became a part time reservations agent with Piedmont Airlines. Again, I was working full time at another job and the airline work in the...

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Travel Industry History

»Posted by on Nov 8, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

In 1948 the Department of Defense had a need to transport Military passengers and cargo more rapidly than by the railroad. The air industry had a desire to become a part of this industry but almost all military passengers traveled by railroad and the railroads enjoyed a preferential passenger traffic arrangement with the government. Although the commercial airlines provided major support to the government during World War II, following the war they were generally used as a last resort for emergency movement of traffic or when a senior officer insisted on using air rather than surface transportation. Airlines were struggling in their attempts to gain entry into this market and made significant headway in 1940. Most of the airlines serving Washington DC created and...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

There are numerous guidelines available to Federal travelers and the staff who administer the payment of that travel voucher. I feel that the most important of the tools available is the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapters 300 – 304. The FTR administers the laws governing travel allowances and entitlements for federal employees. The FTR covers travel from who is considered a federal traveler; to how travel should be booked, through the payment process. The FTR mandates that all federal travel should be made using a Travel Management Center (TMC), and paid for utilizing the government issued charge card. This means that the traveler is not permitted to charge official expenses on a personal card. This also allows for...

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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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CGTP History

»Posted by on Sep 14, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

When I was in school, I found history boring.  Memorizing names and dates of events seemed pointless.  This carried into my adult life and I gave history (whether of the U.S., the world or even the Universe) very little mindshare.  Recently, however, and possibly due to my “advancing years”, I’ve developed a keen interest in understanding how things have come to be as they are so that I can conjure how I/we can get them to be how I/we want them to be.  I find myself drawn to The History Channel on TV and am now listening to the audio book, “John Adams” by David McCoullough, on my way to and from work.  I find it highly educational, informative and entertaining and it gives me a much better context in which to view the world as I currently perceive...

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The Evolution of Government Travel

»Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Twenty years ago I was assigned to the office that was responsible for travel processing.  In 1989 very few employees had computers and most of the work continued to be done as it had been for decades – by paper.   At that time a traveler would work with their secretary to complete a multi-carbon copy travel authorization.  The per diem rates were looked up in a GSA published book and the secretary would complete the estimates after calling the airline and hotel to make reservations.  Once the paper authorization or voucher was completed it was sent to several people for signature and eventually ended up in the Finance Office. Once the Finance Office received the documents, a technician verified the per diem rates and quarter day calculations for first and...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Airlines, History and Overview | 0 comments

The City Pair Program began in 1980 with 11 City pairs and has grown to over 5,000 city pairs, both domestic and International.  The airfares offered under this program are discounted considerably off comparable commercial fares saving the federal government billions of dollars annually.  The City Pair Program is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all government travelers. The CPP is important to the government and the airlines though it only represents 2% of the airline business.     Each year GSA awards contract fares for air fare for travelers on official government travel under the city pair program.  These contract awards are based on the best overall value to the government, taking into consideration type,...

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Government Travel Management: A Summary

»Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Background: In the old days and before the 1978 Airlines Deregulation Act, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) used to decide the fares between any two cities. They decided which airline flew from/to cities and how much they should charge. Well, the 1978Airline Deregulation Act changed the dynamics and working ways of the airline industry. It allowed airlines to decide where to fly and how much they can charge. Competition was the name of the game. What was the government reaction to the deregulation act? In 1980, the government using the sheer volume of business it controls was able to negotiate and establish “government fares or CITY PAIR PROGRAM”. “Fly America Act” requires the use of US flag carriers or US Code Share flights. These fares were to become...

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FTR Workshop

»Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview, Payment Methods | 0 comments

In January of this year I had the privileged opportunity to attend a FTR Workshop, which was hosted by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). GSA & DOD collaboratively enlisted the help of an outside contractor to assist with the task of researching the feasibility of creating a streamlined and updated Federal Travel Regulation draft. Any new draft of the FTR would need to be approved by various high-level government entities, including OMB, and the US Congress on Capitol Hill. During the FTR workshop, the brainstorming sessions became very interesting, as we discussed various possible directions we could take with regards to the FTR. One of the options mentioned (and the most favorable) was to eliminate a lot of the...

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CGTP – Some Thoughts

»Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview, Industry Postings | 0 comments

To be honest with you, I was so nervous, I am afraid to fail. I do not even know where and how to start completing the requirements of this certification but glad I had the guts to start the program. I procrastinated since the time my agency paid the dues last year but I spoke with Rick Singer and convinced me that I can easily pass and complete the program in no time. Being in the travel industry for so long, when I say long, it means that the airlines back then use Raytheon computers with green screen and computers were primarily used to assist in getting load factors – seats and cargo, that’s all.  I was fortunate enough to be on the first year class at the University of Santo Thomas in Manila, Philippines when the Dean of Education decided to put a...

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Government Travel & Best Practices

»Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in Business Practices, History and Overview | 0 comments

The various points in this section were not only concise conclusions to the topic of government travel but this section also included a brief history of the travel industry. As one would expect, the changes to move into an electronic travel system were uncomfortable in the beginning for many. Now that time has passed, the systems are in place, and the ideal functions have been achieved, government travel management personnel have an easier time in the day-to-day operations. One positive aspect of working through all the changes is that there is now an extensive resource of training available to help to keep professionals and government financial managers current. All the work and training is for one end result – to ensure the traveler receives approval for a...

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Initial Thoughts on CGTP Course

»Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

I took the first two modules of the CGTP certification, and it appears to be pretty complete.  I did notice one flaw between the study material and the exam.  The study material indicates that the GSA experimented with its first city-pair program in 1980 with 11 city-pair contract air fares.  The exam asks how many airlines the GSA contracted with in 1980. It almost reads as a trick question to help define the differences between and city-pair and an airline.   As we know, a city-pair is a pairing of cities.   Either the reading material should indicate how many airlines, or the exam question should be written to say how many city-pairs were originally contracted. The first two sections seem to be a 30,000 foot view and what the GSA and Federal...

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The Travel Industry and the Government

»Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, History and Overview | 0 comments

As the government spends about 2.5 billion annually on business employee travel expenses, the travel industry and the government have created a well- rounded partnership. This partnership explains in depth the understanding of the contracting requirements, acquisition rules and travel regulations. Communication on this information is essential between the two partners. The travel industry initiated different methods in order for government employees to have a thorough understanding of the travel industry and its regulations, etc. These methods were presented to the employees by means of conferences and educational sessions. These educational events are very informative for people to learn and expand their knowledge inn this industry. Educational conferences are...

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Paper or Electronic Tickets

»Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

Today’s technology (whether you like it or not) has now given the traveler two types of tickets available when making a reservation with an airline:  One, there is the paper ticket, and two, there is the electronic ticket (e-ticket).  This new automation has also brought along with it a few pros and cons concerning an electronic ticket versus using a paper ticket. Paper tickets are so named because the actual piece of paper contains the exact flight information and is labeled as a flight coupon in paper form.  With an electronic ticket, information is stored within the airline’s reservation system.  The person traveling on an electronic ticket is given a copy of his or her itinerary, which does includes the contract carrier name.  However, this is...

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Utilizing SGTP Resources

»Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, History and Overview, Hotels, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Overview:  The largest membership base within SGTP are smaller companies such as travel agencies, individual hotels, and or other industry suppliers that are currently or looking to enter or increase sales revenue within the government travel sector. Challenge: To communicate effectively with our membership in a two way dialogue of the SGTP resources and have them utilize them to better understand the government travel marketplace.  And to assist in creating developing increased sales for their organization in his $20 billion annual spend by arena. Issue: New members are continuously joining SGTP on a year round basis.  And though we would like all to be successful immediately with positive results we are aware of the lengthy process, time commitment and...

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Travel Industry Experience

»Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview | 0 comments

I have played a major role with the travel industry and can relate because of my more than twenty-four years in working in the industry.  At the very beginning of my travel career, I worked with a company called CATO (Combined Airlines Ticket Office).  Very similar to SATO, CATO was owned by fourteen different airlines and we supported such federal agencies as The Department of State.  I was responsible for reviewing airline charges on a large printed report that would deliver to our office from Diner’s Club, the excitement of moving to a paperless and automated travel process was very much welcomed by me. Even though General Services Administration (GSA) establishes policy and guidance for travel, agencies still struggle with internal guidance which allows a...

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The Good Old Days of Travel…Good Riddance?

»Posted by on May 4, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

Were the old days of travel processing considered the “good old days?”  It doesn’t quite seem that way to me.  While people are usually reluctant to any type of change, I find that most of my colleagues think things are better now than they were in the past.  Over the past few years there has been much progress in the tools used in processing travel for Government employees.  I admit that I was not part of the “good ol days” of travel.  As a relatively young travel administrator in the Government I hear many stories about the old days, back when employees had to write out their own travel authorizations, when everything was done on paper, and employees knew nothing about electronic ticketing. When you think about it, it’s quite amazing how far...

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Travel Purpose Identifiers

»Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Business Practices, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Federal Government spending is a major topic in the news these days.  Managing resources efficiently and responsibly is among the federal financial manager top priorities. Congressional reporting requirements ensure agencies’ account for their spending activity in fulfillment of their missions.   Focus is frequently on an agency’s travel program.  What types of travel does an agency perform using federal funds?  Is the type of travel and cost necessary to accomplish the agency’s mission?  To answer these questions the federal government needs standardized reporting criteria for all its agencies. In the mid-1970s, the federal government implemented the use of travel purpose identifiers to categorize the types of travel conducted by its...

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Travel Professional Resources

»Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Communication is essential to the success of the Government Travel Professional and its agencies. The Government Travel Professional’s responsibility is to clearly communicate with the agency and its peers of any new updates, transitions, policies, and procedures.  Special attention is placed when a new system is implemented.  In addition, the Government Travel Professional keeps daily communication through phone or e-mail with TMC/CTO.  Communication is transferred in various means in which keeps the government organized while keeping their employees informed. The government ensures all stakeholders are informed of a new system/s. They cover all aspects when a new system will be taking place this is accomplished through the successful communication...

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The FAR and How It Came About Where It Went

»Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

To understand how the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) came into being you have to remember how our country lived in its earlier years. Those who ran the country were predominately plantation owners, small manufacturers or were involved in shipping. When they needed to buy something they simply went to the source and made the purchase. They may or may not have gotten pricing from several sources, but knew where their dollar went the furthest. Now introduce a new element, the Federal Government Employee. Their basic method of being paid and running an administration was based on the British Colonial model which resembled the British Federal Systems, but with a few changes. Remember that initially being sent to “The Colonies” was not always a reward and...

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History of Travel

»Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview | 0 comments

History. I always hear how things were better in the past. When things were slower, and less advanced. Where things took a lot longer to accomplish and where people took time to visit with others because televisions and computers were not invented yet. But as time has shown, not all things are better in the past. Travel in the old days took whole days just to travel a few miles, and now you can be halfway around the world in just a few hours. Technology is not a bad thing. Advancements in vehicles and computer systems have opened the travel arena to heights never imagined in the past. And as technology continues to advance, the travel industry will also advance with it. Government travel began as a small portion of the government budget but has grown to play a...

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Going, Going, Gone — Going Green

»Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Have you completed a GSA Form 87, SF 1012, or SF1164 lately? If you have traveled for the federal government then you have used these forms for obtaining authorization and reimbursement for official government travel. Even though these forms are still valid today, the forms numbers themselves are not nearly as recallable or visible due to the use of electronic travel systems. Several laws and initiatives over the past decades have been put in place to move the federal government toward a paperless and green environment. All of these initiatives are focused on a common goal of saving the environment and reducing government spending – saving taxpayer dollars – while securing and protecting information. The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)...

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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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Per Diem

»Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in History and Overview, Hotels | 0 comments

Per Diem rates are published annually for Conus and change infrequently. PDTATAC published rates for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and lastly, the State Department establishes per diem for overseas travel and change as needed. We see three governing areas within our government that need to collaborate and establish a best practice for Per Diem calculations that are uniform, suitable to both industry and government and include like components such as taxes. Standardization of the process could eliminate significant costs related to training and education as well as errors in calculations by the traveler or agency.   Additionally less time would be spent on preparing for these trips and more time allocated to the mission and the goals to...

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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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Government/Contractor Travel – An Overview

»Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview, Industry Postings | 0 comments

As the role of the United States has changed over the last two hundred years, so has government travel.  Government prohibition against the use of travel agents, originally enacted in the late 19th century when civilian government travel was likely mostly over land and agents were representatives of the railroads (one of two main forms of travel at that time), would have to be amended with the emergence of the United States as a world superpower.  Government employees and contractors now need the full services of travel agents and their world-wide connections to service providers.  The influence of the United States now reaches to the farthest points of the globe.  Necessarily this means that the cost of government travel will expand along with that...

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Travel Policy and Compliance

»Posted by on Dec 1, 2013 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Travel policy for official Government travel is governed by the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and those areas within the FTR that require/allow agency-specific policies to be instituted.  While travel policy has always been an integral part of the Federal travel process, travel policy became more visible with the advent of the current generation of E-Gov Travel systems, and continues to be very critical and visible as we progress towards the next generation of these systems. This is mainly due to the automated systems forcing travelers and approvers to be more in compliance with the FTR and agency policy. While a step in the right direction, this also seemed to generate even more travel policy questions and was a key factor in reorganizing our travel support...

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What’s Missing From This Course?

»Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in History and Overview | 0 comments

What’s missing from this course? I just got asked by Steve Losey what I would improve and I was at a loss. Overall – great information, good coverage and students get a good overview of the government’s travel system and the main participants….except for one! The traveler is missing from this course! All of us in the business understand that under normal circumstances government travel is usually similar to corporate travel. However, what happens when you have go to a meeting, and the city is full? What hoops do you go through to get enough to pay for a room? What’s it like for a young airman never out of Texas to be assigned to Diego Garcia and how the hell do I get there? When a tank backs into my rental car who should I call, and how do we get...

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Waste in Travel Expenditures

»Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in History and Overview | 0 comments

As a Government worker, I would like to respond to aka1979′s posting. Let me start by saying that I agree that $2.5 billion dollars is a lot of money. However, the Federal Government is very large and performs a lot of functions. This figure covers subsistence expenses for both civilian and military employees. It would be interesting to know how many trips by how many employees are included in this figure. The Government does a lot of training on-line and does training and performs functions using teleconferencing. It is my experience that most large facilities have teleconferencing capabilities and use them. Aka1979, seems to presume that all or most of this travel is for training, but this is not the case. While some travel is for training or to attend...

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How Far Government Management Travel Has Come

»Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Airlines, History and Overview, Travel Management Centers, White Papers | 0 comments

Government travel management stems a long way back with initiatives lunched after the enactment of the “Airline Deregulation Act of 1978”. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry (of new airlines) from commercial aviation. The Civil Aeronautics Board’s (CAB) powers of regulation were to be phased out, eventually allowing passengers to be exposed to market forces in the airline industry. The act, however, did not remove or diminish the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) regulatory powers over all aspects of airline safety. The stated goals of the act included: the maintenance of safety as the highest priority in air commerce; placing maximum reliance on competition in providing air...

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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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Domestic Temporary Travel (TDY): The Basics

»Posted by on May 25, 2013 in History and Overview | 0 comments

In an effort to gain a better grasp on Temporary Duty (TDY) as an industry professional with no direct government experience, I have tried to create an easy to read and understand document based on the Chapter 301 regulations for this type of travel. An Official Duty Station or Permanent Duty Station is defined as the designated post of duty or official station, the limits of which are the corporate limits of the city or town in which the employee is stationed or the established subdivision thereof having definite boundaries within which the permanent duty station is located. Temporary Duty (TDY) is defined as duty at a location(s), other than the permanent duty station of a military or civilian US federal government employee. This includes: Official assignments...

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Changes in Government Travel

»Posted by on May 24, 2013 in History and Overview | 0 comments

It is amazing how far the Travel Services and related services like hotels & rent a car have changed since the late seventies.  Government travelers used to buy their tickets from SATO with no choice of carrier or price laid to them.  In 1978, deregulation happened.  Government officials realized that they have a very strong buying power as the single largest corporation to purchase airline tickets; thus, in 1980, the government started negotiations on a program called CITY PAIR in which they allowed airlines to compete between 2 points for the government business.  The progress was phenomenal from 11 city pair to over 5000 city pair now. Airlines developed Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) to help them manage their bookings and yields.  These systems...

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Travel Document Overview

»Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The travel process is pretty involved and involves many different individuals including the traveler, possibly a document preparer, approving official and the processing staff.  Each person that touches the document has a role in ensuring that the traveler has a successful trip.  This is going to explain the process a travel document follows from the time the traveler is requested to go on travel. Travel authorizations are manually entered by the traveler or a document preparer in the eTravel system prior to taking a trip for the agency.  During the creation of the authorization the reservations are made for air, hotel and rental car.  Any estimated miscellaneous expenses such as parking, taxi or hotel taxes are input so that funds can be reserved in the...

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Jiminy Cricket Had It Right

»Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview | 0 comments

As Director of National Sales for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, on an annual basis I am required to comply with our company’s policies on business ethics.  Our leadership team firmly believes that fostering strong and consistent standards here is paramount in terms of creating a successful and trusting culture based on accountability. I agree with this philosophy.  Furthermore, it reminds me of something one of my mentors taught me about business practice in general – He said, “How you get there is just as important as getting there.”  That concept left a deep impression on me, so on certain occasions I would find myself revisiting that same mentor when faced with difficult decisions.  Consequently, he would always tell me the same thing, “I advise...

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Government Travel Programs

»Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in History and Overview, Industry Postings | 0 comments

Due to the deregulation act of 1978, the airline markets opened up for more choices, better pricing, more schedules to choose from. Competition became more evident. However, the down side to this change is fuller flights, tighter security and baggage concerns. From the airline industry side, many small carriers were unable to keep up to the constant changes and many carriers found themselves in bankruptcy and mergers. Several large carriers were also forced into mergers in order to continue with the every changing demands of the public. Where this deregulation has been the best for the industry is still being debated. Government spending for airline travel is reported to be $3.4 billion in 2006. And as Corporations became more watchful of the pricing changes, the...

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Travel Agencies First Government Contracts

»Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in History and Overview, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Once the GSA and Department of Defense received the authority to contract with travel agencies to test travel agencies’ capabilities in 1980, a new customer was born for travel agencies in the United States.  In 1984, when the GAO removed the prohibition against using travel agencies for the federal government’s travel, travel agencies realized that government travel management could be a new business venture. Although there were a few flaws in the initial program, namely the that the TMC program caused travel agencies to be paid only after a trip was taken, while the travel agencies had to pay the Airline Reporting Corporation weekly, this was ameliorated by the introduction of a charge card to be used by government travelers.  However, it was not until...

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Travel

»Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 in History and Overview | 0 comments

This will be a interesting course for me to complete.  I am already amazed that $2.5 billion dollars is spent on official travel a year, and more I’m sure with fares changing daily.  This makes us the largest purchaser of travel in the world. It is my hope that we will look at ways to curtail some of the spending, with so much new and improved technology available now this should be possible.  There are ways of live broadcasting for training classes, conference calls, etc.  I feel a majority of this training could be on line, which I am a big supporter of that.  I don’t think there is anything better than on-line courses, and especially when companies are trying to cut costs. A lot of costs can also be cut, with just encouraging travelers...

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Contractor’s vs. Government Employees

»Posted by on Oct 7, 2012 in Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview | 0 comments

Why aren’t I able to use the Government CTO/TMC to booked my rental car and lodging for official travel as a contracted employee? Contractors are NOT Government employees. Therefore, any travel rates offered by transportation carriers, negotiated by the Government for “employees or uniformed personnel” (such as the city-pair air fare contracts negotiated by GSA and the rental car rate agreements negotiated by the (Military) Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC)) for official government business) do NOT apply to contractors or contractors’ employees. (Commercial car or hotel vendors may voluntarily offer-discounted rates for contractors’ employees at their discretion or contractors can even negotiate rates for their employees with...

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Electronic Tickets

»Posted by on Apr 8, 2012 in History and Overview | 0 comments

I contend that electronic ticketing was the single most significant improvement made during the 1990′s by the airline industry to regain control of their product. Up to this time the airlines were losing thousands of dollars daily. Savvy passengers were literally running wild taking advantage of points beyond, hidden cities, etc. This single enhancement stopped revalidations and itinerary changes without add collects; eliminated lost tickets; caused passengers to stay with their scheduled airlines during irregularities, eliminated paper waste and handling, and made security so much easier to be enforced. When this enhancement was first introduced the public was very leery. No one wanted to make the change. Compliance was minimal because many passengers were...

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Understanding the History of Government Travel

»Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

As a travel agent, understanding the history of government travel and how it has affected the importance of adequate travel planning is monumental to a TMC’s success as a government contractor.  Some of the most influential changes to government travel affecting travel agencies have been: 1980, GSA and DoD received authority to contract and test several travel agencies capabilities. October 4th, 1985 DOT issued an order which terminated the antitrust immunity for the airlines to operate SATO, effective April 30th, 1986.  This meant the airlines could not create cooperative pricing agreements, and SATO would operate independently. November 8th, 1985 section 1464 of the DoD Authorization Act, P.L. 99-144, stated free and open competition for government travel...

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How the Federal Travel Regulations Affect Our Agency

»Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in Business Practices, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations are an important part of the work we perform in our office on a daily basis.  We provide other agencies with a full service travel help desk in which our personnel is often asked to quote the FTR and clarify any confusion the government traveler may be experiencing while traveling for business purposes. However, in order to answer more complex questions, we have two policy experts within our office who research issues and respond to the traveler in a timely manner. We also perform post-payment audits of travelers’ vouchers on a monthly basis.  We must ensure that travelers are complying with the FTR in areas in which the E Gov travel system isn’t capable of verifying.  For instance, the FTR requires that a traveler...

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Changes in the Travel Business World

»Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in History and Overview | 0 comments

The travel business is constantly changing which makes my job interesting and challenging.  When I first started working for my agency, the travel software was a simple program with limited capability.  The software we are currently using is much more complex with features enabling the traveler to access airline, hotel, and car rental reservations all within one program.  Specializing in one particular area is very helpful and having a team of people to work from every aspect makes a travel team complete.  As an analyst in the Accounting area of our office for five years, I acquired knowledge of the E Gov Travel system.  Even though the main objective was to reimburse the traveler in a timely manner, many factors entered into the equation.   A lot of...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

All federal employees on official travel are subject to Federal Travel Regulations, more commonly known as the FTR.  These regulations cover nearly every aspect of travel including, but not limited to:  POV mileage, per diem, airfare, and other miscellaneous expenses.  The FTR does not cover every possible scenario, of course, but it does, at the very least, clearly define which expenses are reimbursable.  A good example is the allowance for Meals and Incidentals (M&IE).  Travelers are entitled to 3/4 of the allowance on their first and last days of travel, but are entitled to the full amount on days in between.  Exceptions to this are meals that are provided or if leave is taken.  If any meals are provided, the traveler must note this in their voucher...

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