Travel Management Centers

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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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Travel Management Centers

»Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) was set up for the accreditation of travel agents, standardized ticketing, a computerized system and a repository of information and data. An agency has several requirements to maintain accreditation. Failure to maintain these standards can lead to financial penalties or loss of the right to issue tickets. Receipts of weekly transactions are reported to ARC through IAR; data and funds are dispensed from the reporting. IATA defines the three letter airport codes, used for baggage routing and airport identification. Travel agents responsible for government travelers have training on a continuing basis for trip planning and ticketing. The GDS provides an information base which aids in higher productivity for the travel...

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Removing Humans From the Travel Equation?

»Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

I was struck by a comment in Section 3a.5 of the training materials, “TMC/CTO Support,” in which it is stated: “It was projected early in the development of the electronic travel systems that they would entirely replace travel agencies.” The expectations of computerization often surpass the realities of automated systems that are, first and foremost, designed and constructed by fallible human hands. Add to that the potential for system crashes, computer viruses, hacking, power outages, WiFi service disruption, and the myriad other possible crises facing modern technology on a daily basis, and any reasonable mind should be able to rule out the possibility of a system for governing any process that can be fully automated. When the anchor of a single ship can...

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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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ETS Customer Implementations

»Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The keys to a successful eTS implementation are open communication, documentation, and both parties being consistent and reliable. Our overall goal in eTS customer implementations is to assist in providing a smooth, timely transition by: Clearly defining conversion goals Mitigating risk issues that could result in monetary or time loss Optimizing/revamping current business processes the customer performs Administering end user training on the eTS Our eTS customer implementation process usually consists of four steps. We begin implementations with a project kick off meeting with the agency. These are normally on-site visits at the agency. During this kick off meeting several things are accomplished such as: Introductions A demo of the eTS Provide the...

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Federal Government Travel

»Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

As with any industry in today’s business times, the history of that industry is important to understand the direction it may move in the future.   Federal government travel and understanding the evolution of government travel planning is essential not only for federal travelers but those who plan travel for each specific entity of the federal government.  As we move into the future, all of the aspects of federal travel and the unique needs of travelers and their specific branch of the federal government must be studied, applied and followed accordingly. Government travel is regulated by numerous laws and regulations.  Understanding the laws and rules that apply to government employee travel and each branch they are employed by is essential to doing business...

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TMC Implementation

»Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

My agency selected an E-Gov Travel System (ETS) in June 2004.  Once the selection was made, we had to develop an implementation plan that not only included the ETS itself but also to switch to a new travel management center (TMC).  My agency decided to go with the imbedded TMC that is partnered with the vendor of our ETS. Throughout the implementation, we had to create business rules that the TMC would follow.  A couple topics that are included in our business rules are: Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA) Non-Refundable Tickets Some of the agencies that we service still use CBA’s for airline reservations.  Usually if the CBA is going to be used, the airline reservation is for a new traveler that does not yet have a government issued individually billed...

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TMC/Contracting for Travel Services

»Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

In sections 3b and 3c of the Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course, the areas of Travel Management Centers and Contracting for Travel Services are more involved than what I had thought. When I worked directly for the airlines, it seemed like a fairly easy process to understand how fares were created. The Postal Service contracts their travel needs to Omega World Travel. Our online system is called “Trip Manager for Government” and it is an easy and convenient system to make our travel reservations. We don’t normally use the hotel feature but occasionally use the rental car feature. My biggest issue is the current contacted government fares. The disparity between certain city pair fares is unreal. It is cheaper to travel to larger cities...

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Controlling Leakage in a Managed Travel Program

»Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

In order to manage business travel efficiently and maintain conformance with policy regulations, companies issue travel procedures that govern travel planning and cost reporting.  Owing to the many available travel options, the travel procedures provide detailed instructions for compliance. When making travel arrangements, employees are obligated to give primary consideration to the best interests of the company and any sponsors. The company expects employees to apply good judgment and professional integrity when planning business travel, in accordance with a code of ethics and to make travel plans at the lowest available cost. However, all corporate preferred travel programs experience some leakage at one point or another.   The loss of transactions through...

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It all comes full circle…

»Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

One of the most fascinating aspects of the ETS systems in place for government travelers is that they are not ARC accredited. The differences and similarities between the commercial GDS-like systems (such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia) and those designed for the government traveler and ARC accreditation are based upon who is doing the buying and how the tickets are purchased. Cutting a fine point, it seems that no GDS-like system is, in itself, ARC accredited. The GDS is only a tool to reserve seating and ARC accreditation is based upon the entity handling the funds. The commercial GDS-like systems probably do not require ARC accreditation as their business models are an attempt to ‘cut out the middle man’ by allowing the consumer to directly purchase...

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Government Travel — Behind the Scenes

»Posted by on Dec 20, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

As the world turns, so has government travel.  In the beginning, completing travel documents meant using a typewriter and typing a paper form that had several carbon pages.  This form was mailed to various offices to be approved and ended up in the travel office to be processed.  In today’s world, government travel orders have evolved to a complete automation process.  The introduction of the electronic travel systems created an end-to-end travel service to connect travel authorizations, reservations and voucher processing. Today, the traveler uses an electronic travel system to complete the itinerary with dates and locations of the travel.  He also makes his reservations including any airline, train, rental car, and lodging.  He adds in any expenses...

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Communications “Effective Communicators Become Leaders”

»Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Effective communication is the challenge of all companies large and small.  We pride ourselves these days on our ability to answer an email and hit the response key within minutes of an email coming to us.  How many of us have been asked by a supervisor if we communicated an issue or resolution to our staff that report to us and we stated “Yes” Often I have witnessed a fellow staff member state” I sent an email out to all explaining what to do”.   Probably nothing disturbs me greater then this response for this is has taken the same process that in the last generation we sent a fax out to all offices advising them a change in policy or procedure. My response is do you realize first that each of these frontline agents receive numerous emails, faxes, or...

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The Advantages of One TMC

»Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

For those states that have a managed travel program, each state puts a different spin on how to contract for a Travel Management Contractor.  Some states will contract separately for an online and a traditional provider.  Some will contract for a single agency and others will contract for multiple.    Some states may have statutes or laws like the federal government where a portion of the contracts is required to be spent with minority or small business. Oregon has had a managed travel program for over 15 years.   The model was patterned after the GSA and has worked well.  One thing that Oregon does is it keeps the number of travel agencies who are authorized to provide contracted air fares, to one.    The State of Oregon partners with the...

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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 Importance of Understanding the Master Contract

»Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Civilian agencies have placed task orders under the GSA Schedule for their TMCs but, in my experience,  they may often lack an understanding of exactly what is covered in the TMC Master Contract.  This puts agencies at a severe disadvantage when questions do arise since the an agency’s acquisition personnel usually have no familiarity with government travel issues. It has been my experience that acquisition personnel are also not familiar with the details of the Master Contract when they place the Task Order for the agency.  The Task Order is not a complete contract and it does not have many of the specifics that are in the Master Contract.  And of course, the travel teams at various agencies are most familiar only with their own negotiated Task...

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Travel Management Centers

»Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

With the onset of ETS systems, the vendor of each system had to select an imbedded partner to act as the travel agent.  As referred to by GSA, the Travel Management Center (TMC) or Commercial Travel Office (CTO), had to be accredited by the Airline Reporting Corporation to sell airline tickets and other travel services.  The TMC/CTO is responsible for issuing tickets requested and approved through the ETS.  The TMC/CTO also had to provide full travel services along with 24/7 emergency services. Travel agents working on government travel accounts receive customized training on policies and procedures for official travel.  They also have experience with the GDS system and have access to the Federal Travel Regulations. The most common way of booking reservations...

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Airlines, Hotels, and the TMC

»Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To ensure the value a TMC can bring to government travelers and all governments agencies, a TMC must understand the regulations and rules and that influence airfare and hotel reservations on an ongoing basis.  CPP, City Pair Program, and understanding the difference between YCA, _CA, and _CB air fares is most important for TMC agents booking each government traveler with an air itinerary.  It is a TMC’s responsibility to know how to get the CPP contract, display the options in the GDS, and follow each specific government agencies rules for approval and ticketing.  Other essential knowledge for booking airfare for government travelers is interpreting and applying the Fly America Act, the Airline Open Skies Agreements, airline code shares, frequent flyer...

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Fees, Fees, Fees, – When Will They Stop

»Posted by on Oct 25, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Over the past ten years that I have been working in the travel arena, the one most common complaint I hear about from my travelers are fees. They complain that every time they turn around, another fee has been charged to their government charge card. But what about these fees, why do there appear to be so many fees on a travel voucher? Since TMC’s are no longer working on commission, they have to be paid somehow for their part in making travel arrangements, thus the fees begin. The TMC that my agency uses set there TMC fees into two categories, touched and non-touched transactions. Touched transactions are just what they sound like, reservations that need to be touched by a TMC agent before completed. Non-touched transactions are reservations that are made...

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Travel Manager Responsibilities

»Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Hotels, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

As stated in the training materials, the role of the travel manager is to facilitate travel in a manner to ensure compliance. In the corporate market, compliance is monitored via a series of reports designed by the travel manager to assess how changes in policy and process effect overall behavior (compliance). Although the federal government has plans to establish similar oversight, the capability from a data standpoint is not yet available. Once the data does become available, the government will not be left without challenges. The most significant remaining challenge is that the roles and responsibilities of travel manager must evolve accordingly. Currently the primary role of federal travel managers is to ensure travelers understand and comply with policy,...

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Travel Management Service

»Posted by on Oct 5, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Federal Travelers are required to use a TMS or risk responsibility of the costs for not using the service.  The TMS is defined in the FTR, Chapter 301, Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel Allowances as, “A service for booking common carrier (e.g., air, rail, and bus confirmations and seat assignments, lodging accommodations, and car rental services; fulfilling (i.e. ticketing) reservations; providing basic management information on those activities; and meeting other requirements as specified in §301-73.106 of this title.  A TMS may include a travel management center…” Society of Government Travel Professionals, Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course, 80 (2007-2010). Also, §301-76.106 says that the TMS must include at a minimum a TMC, CTO, an...

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Travel Management Centers

»Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Travel Management Centers (TMCs) are travel agencies approved and contracted by GSA to provide transportation reservations and ticketing services to government travelers for official TDY travel.   The TMCs must be accredited by the airline reporting corporation (ARC).  The airline reporting corporation provides four primary services for the travel industry.  An accreditation program for designating competent, responsible travel agents in the us for the sale of worldwide air transportation. Uniform, standard tickets and other traffic documents necessary for the issuance of tickets and other ancillary services (tour packages, surface transportation, hotel accommodations, other ground arangements, etc). A computerized system through which arc-accreditied...

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The Travel Management Center

»Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The Travel Management Center (TMC) is the name designated by General Services Administration (GSA) for accredited travel agencies under contract to the government to provide travel services for official Temporary Duty (TDY) travel. Travel agencies are professional organizations accredited by the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) to sell airline tickets and other travel services. Airlines have numerous requirements that must be sustained in order to maintain their accreditation. The TMC must work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) who defines the three letter airport code identifiers throughout the world. These codes are also used by baggage systems to facilitate correct routing of luggage. The Global Distribution System (GDS) contains...

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ETS and the TMC

»Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To be a viable Travel Management Company contractor for the federal government a TMC must understand the impact ETS has on it government clients, as well as the relationship it needs with ETS vendors.  The projection in the early stages of the ETS development and its capabilities suggested this technology would replace the TMC and the need for contracts to secure their services.  Understanding the complex requirements of government travel and its special needs ultimately positioned the TMC for a long viable relationship due to the services it can provide.  Federal agencies have the option of selecting their own TMC through GSA Travel Services Solutions schedule or through their own contracting vehicles. This requires TMCs to be an imbedded partner or...

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Roles and Responsibilities in Travel Management

»Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Not long after graduating college, I became a travel specialist. At the time I saw it as just a stepping stone to my career that would eventually lead me to a job more closely related to my major.  I now realize that when I started I had no idea how large the travel field was, and all of the parts involved.  I thought it was simply learning how to use the ETS system and being able to read a few regulations, with no regards to the other pieces involved.  It takes a great deal of cooperation from a number of individuals, teams and offices to effectively manage a Government travel management program.  These different components work together in varying degrees.  Some may not work directly at all, yet they indirectly have an affect on the work of others.  These...

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Travel Transaction Fees

»Posted by on Aug 23, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Hotels, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Domestic or international, request assistance or book on-line are all factors of how much a traveler will be charged for their government travel reservations. Government travelers are still struggling with the different fees that appear on their travel documents. First there are the Travel Management (TMC) fees. The TMC fee is charged at the time the ticket is issued for airfare and when the hotel reservation is booked. The rate of the fee is based upon the service that is provided to the traveler. The TMC fee is significantly lower if the traveler books reservations on-line rather than calling an agent for traditional service. Also the fee for international reservations is higher when the traveler requests assistance due to the complexity of the travel. The...

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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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Travel Authorizations – Travel Agent Perspective

»Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

At the travel agency in which I am currently employed I work in the call center of our government department.  I am the government client services representative for all government accounts and I oversee much of the travel authorization procedures on a daily basis.  From my perspective it is simple to see the benefits of producing travel authorizations on-line for the government agency, the TMC and all employees and travelers involved. Although we service many different government agencies there are two specific ones that come to mind when comparing the benefits of authorizations being created on-line versus manually. Our two largest government accounts are very different in the way that travel authorizations are provided for ticketing.  Client A is completely...

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Matched Versus Unmatched CBA Transactions

»Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Each month I am involved in the CBA (Centrally Billed Account) reconciliation process for our largest government client.  This client’s current bank card vendor is JP Morgan Chase. Each month our agency receives an electronic file from JP Morgan Chase for this client’s 19 CBA accounts.  This file is generally received by our accounting department around the 8th of each month for the previous month.  After receiving the file we have approximately 3 to 5 days to match transactions in the data file to information in our back office.  Our reconciliation team works relentlessly to match all data as accurately as possible in order to provide the information to the client in a timely manner so that they may pay their bill which is due around the 20th of each...

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TMC

»Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The Travel Management Center (TMC) is an accredited travel agency that is under contract with the Government to provide travel services for official Temporary Duty (TDY) travel. The TMC issues tickets that are requested and approved through the E-Gov Travel Service. Travel agencies are professional organizations that sell airline tickets and provide other travel services. The TMC needs to be reimbursed for their portion of making travel arrangements. This is done by charging a TMC Fee for online booking in the E-Gov Travel Service. The online booking feature initiates automated contact with the TMC’s booking, reservation, and ticketing systems. Travelers are encouraged to use the online booking because it is the most cost effective for the government. ...

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Travel Management Center Experience

»Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

It is very interesting how different agencies interact with their Travel Management Center.  My first experience as a travel administrator was while working for a bureau at the Department of State.  It’s there that I initially learned the relationship between the TMC, the administrators, and travelers.  We had our TMC actually on-site, located on the first floor.  If travelers had problems with their tickets, or making reservations, they could just walk into the TMC office and get immediate assistance.  This was a very convenient arrangement as a travel administrator.  With travelers going directly to the TMC for reservation issues, more of my time as an administrator could be focused on solving problems travelers were incurring using the ETS system. My...

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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 Management Centers

»Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

In thinking about how to improve the government travel system(s) and the amount of work that goes into running and contracting Travel Management Centers / Commercial Travel Offices, it occurs to me that all-in-all, the taxpayer is getting a lot of “bang for their buck”. Government travelers expect and receive travel benefits equal to most commercial travelers, at greatly reduced rates. In some cases, the government’s deal is much better than the commercial equivalent. Where can this be improved upon? What can be done to make it better? I would make two suggestions. First, find ways to reward travelers to save money. Much of the course has discussed the systems and regulations in place to force compliance and keep costs in line. While “doing the right...

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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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Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)

»Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 1 comment

Following the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, domestic airline members of the Air Transport Association (ATA) operating the Area Settlement Plan (ASP), that had agreed to and signed the ARC Carrier Service Agreement, created the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).  This Arlington VA based, self-governing corporation, appoints travel agencies to sell airline tickets and oversees the financial details of tracking payments to airlines and the disbursement of commissions to travel agencies for the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  It processes approximately 150 million ticket transactions per year for its customers, which now include approximately 30,000 travel agents, and more than 150 domestic and international participating airline and...

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Some Interesting Questions About GSA’s Best Rate

»Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

According to the text, Travel Management Centers (TMCs), applying for the GSA Schedule are expected to offer prices better than those offered their best customer. This raises some interesting questions. Does GSA truly get the best rate? First, were this truly the case, it would be of no advantage for agencies to negotiate non-schedule TMC arrangements. They presumably could not get a better rate and presumably the $1.50 transaction fee is not enough to make the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) and competition, an expensive process, a profitable alternative. Why than would an agency choose to run its own competition? Is it solely to add additional requirements not available under the schedule? Does GSA require that TMCs on the schedule offer services in...

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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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TMCs and the SmartPay Programs

»Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Since the inception of the federal regulation, public law 105-246 on January 27, 1998 which mandated the use of a government furnished travel charge card, TMC’s and TSS agencies had many benefits from this program.  Most importantly, TMC’s could process payment for travel services and their fees immediately, processing ticketing and reservations for government employees. A TMC receives this payment through either the CBA, centrally billed account, or IBA, individually billed account, and sends payment to ARC.   This eliminates the risk of the TMC/TSS not being paid.  Government travelers are required to reconcile their bills, confirming the services provided, and submit a voucher for payment internally, as they are individually responsible for payment to...

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Commissions & Transaction Fees

»Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

For more than 20 years, travel agencies had a monopoly on two aspects of air travel: Information and Ticketing Now they have lost these monopolies due to deregulation; information is plentiful and tickets are more and more irrelevant. By cutting agents’ commission, airlines decrease their dependence on travel agencies as a distribution channel. The process started in the United States (U.S.) in 1995 when seven airlines, (American, Delta, US, Trans World, United, Northwest and Continental Airlines) joined forces to put a cap on commissions paid to travel agencies. They set an upper limit for travel agents’ commissions fixed at 50 USD for domestic flights, and at 100 USD in 1998 for international flights. In October 1999, airline commissions were reduced to 5%...

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E-Gov Travel Partnerships

»Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

E-Gov Travel is a Government-wide initiative that is mandated by the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) for all federal travelers and is one of 24 E-Gov initiatives outlined in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). The E-Gov Travel vision is to deliver a unified, simplified service that delivers a cost-effective travel experience, supports excellent management and results in superior customer satisfaction. The E-Gov Travel goals are defined as follows: develop a government-wide, web based, world-class travel management service; establish a cost model that reduces or eliminates capital investment and minimizes total cost per transaction for the government; and create a policy environment based on the use of best travel management policies. The E-Gov Travel...

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Non-Traditional Travel Companies

»Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

With so many systems, policies and programs in place, the use of unapproved channels for booking air travel, hotel lodging, or rental cars results in lost data and incomplete reporting. In the private sector, many companies readily admit to not being able to accurately track travel spend and trends due to travelers who either utilized non-traditional travel companies, such as Travelocity or Priceline, or make reservations directly without providing necessary information to identify themselves as part of a negotiated program. Even if they do contact the vendor directly, the vendor providing the service might not be able to assign the correct discount to the traveler because the traveler has not proceeded through proper channels or provided the necessary credentials...

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Developing Relationships with the Travel Management Center Team

»Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

It is imperative that Travel Administrators develop a good working relationship with their Travel Management Center (TMC) and the E-Gov vendor’s TMC team. As a matter of fact, it is a must.  You will find that it nearly impossible to administer your agency’s travel program without their assistance. My agency has developed a mutual friendship and good working relationship between both parties.  The TMC has been very helpful in assisting us with resolving issues and creating guidance for educational purposes.  The same also applies to the E-Gov vendor’s TMC team. The majority of our travelers were used to using an automated system.  However, the reservation module was new to them, so they experienced quite a few problems in the very beginning.  Of...

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Secure Flight and the Impact on ETS

»Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Secure Flight is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) traveler pre-screening program that matches limited traveler information against government watch lists to identify known and suspected terrorists, prevent known and suspected terrorists from boarding an aircraft, facilitate legitimate traveler air travel, and protect individuals’ privacy. The Secure Flight program added data elements that airlines were not previously collecting. The airlines must transmit the data, no later than 72 hours prior to flight time, to TSA for clearance to issue a boarding pass. If a reservation is made within 72 hours of the flight, the data is transferred at the time the reservation is made.  Secure Flight is intended to improve...

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ETS/DTS Imbedded vs. Accommodated TMC

»Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

ETS or DTS after the federal agency chooses an Electronic Travel System it must interface with the TMC or Travel Agency.   One may notice that there are many travel companies listed on the TSS schedule offering accommodated services. Know that each of these agencies has gone through a fairly rigorous test to be available for use by federal agency states credibility these companies.  Their financial health, the evaluation of the staff, key employees, and their ability to know their clients’ needs and work with them on a daily basis. If the purpose of the ETS or DTS system is to provide a seamless approval and reservation system that can operate quickly and efficiently all while providing rapid reimbursement to the federal traveler for their out of pockets...

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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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Implementation of a TMC/CTO Contract

»Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Once a contract is awarded to a TMC/CTO and the papers are signed by the government contracting and travel company officials, the TMC/CTO has to act relatively quickly to implement the contract, sometimes in just two months with multiple new onsite locations. However, the proposal will provide for the contract implementation process or schedule, from the day the contract is awarded to the official start date of the contract. Usually, a schedule or timeline chart will be submitted for use by the contracting staff and the TMC/CTO to ensure implementation. The TMC/CTO Project Manager or Contract Manager serves as the single point of contact and will organize and oversee all activities, and will report to the Contracting Officer or designee. Implementations of...

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Benefits of DTS and CTO Services versus using Other Sources for Travel Arrangements

»Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Government agencies are faced with reduced budgets in recent years due to the economy.  At our agency, employees have been asked to submit suggestions to improve processes and save money during this time of limited resources, and several suggestions have been submitted that relate to government travel.   One suggestion was to allow travelers to make their reservations and arrangements through a commercially available online travel search engine rather than through the Defense Travel System (DTS) or the Commercial Travel Office (CTO). It is our policy that all travelers use an available CTO for all official transportation requirements.    While online ticketing may initially appear to be less expensive and a way to save taxpayer dollars, these fares are...

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Employed by a TMC

»Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

I have been employed in the travel industry for almost 3 years. Although I didn’t have any previous travel experience at the time I was hired I was given a position on the agents support team and learned about the aspects of travel authorizations, profiles, working queues, schedule changes and ticketing. Later, still with relatively little experience I was given the opportunity to serve our clients as Client Service Representative and point of contact for our government accounts.  This position has allowed me to increase my knowledge of aspects of the travel industry in areas such as the new account set up and implementation, quality control procedures, premium class travel, debit memo’s,  government travel contracts, and account credit card...

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Federal Agencies Partner with the Travel Management Center

»Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

A professional travel agency, the Travel Management Center (TMC), is the federal agency’s link to the travel industry.  The TMC agent is experienced in the use of the Gobal Distribution Systems (GDS) and is specially trained in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) to assist the federal traveler. As a partner with E-GovTravel Services (ETS), the TMC facilitates the federal agency in reserving and booking transportation and hotel services in compliance with the FTR. How does the TMC assist in arranging for travel accommodations?  The federal agency and the TMC establish a written agreement or ‘Business Rules’ defining their relationship for reservation assistance, automated and full service. The on-line booking feature of ETS initiates automated...

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“How do I know whether or not there is a contract fare?”

»Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To keep the City Pair Program (CPP) strong and viable, it is the government traveler’s responsibility to use the contract carrier. The government’s delivery of market share drives the program. The discounts that the General Services Administration (GSA) receives are based on the contract carrier’s expectation of receiving the bulk of the Government air passenger volume. Failure to provide Government business to contract carriers would have an extremely detrimental effect on the CPP. CPP contract noncompliance would expose the Government to the risk of contractor claims, in which could result in costs being passed on to the traveler. However, with all this in mind, there are many times a government traveler may not know how to identify a contract...

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TMC Selection

»Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

My government agency not only uses the imbedded TMC in E-Gov Travel, we also use an accommodated TMC.  In addition, we also have a task order on the GSA TSS Schedule (Travel Services Solutions) with a TMC that is used apart from E-Gov Travel for telephone reservations only. We have a mechanism to still prepare the authorizations and vouchers for travel in our E-Gov Travel system and record the transportation expense. We are glad that our chosen E-Gov Travel vendor recently allowed more TMCs to participate in E-Gov Travel. Prior to E-Gov Travel, we created our own independent contract for travel management services, since the existing GSA contract was non-mandatory. One thing the travelers find cumbersome is the fee process. It’s difficult for the...

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GSA Travel Service Solutions

»Posted by on Dec 25, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The GSA TSS program (Travel Services Solution) was implemented in 2003 in direct response to the Presidents Management Agenda announced in the summer of 2001 to improve the management of the Federal Government.  The TSS schedule is used to acquire travel services to assist Federal employees in meeting their travel needs.  One of the goals of this program was to increase the participation of small business in obtaining Federal Travel contracts.  Two years after the program was implemented the GSA had reached their goal having 34 small business in the subcontracting program compared to 13 with the previous program. When GSA began implementing ETS, they established provisions in the master contracts in order to ensure the participation of the small business...

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Travel Management Centers

»Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Travel agents are accredited by either ARC in North America or IATA in other parts of the world to sell airline tickets and other related travel services. ARC provides the airlines involved with services like accreditation of travel agents, uniform documents like air tickets, a computer system to report sales and remit the proceeds and finally a repository of information and data. On the other hand accredited Travel Agents have to follow ARC & Airlines rules in providing the services to the passengers. IATA by the way is the organization that established the 3 letter codes for airports that is used to identify to make bookings (PNRS) in GDS or facilitate bag connections. The FTR are accessible through the GDS. Those agents that wish to work with the Government...

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Travel Management Center

»Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The Travel Management Center (TMC) is an accredited travel agency that is under contract with the Government to provide travel services for official TDY travel.  These travel agencies are professional organizations that sell airline tickets and other travel services.  They are responsible for issuing tickets requested and approved through the Electronic Travel System, (ETS).  The TMC also must provide full travel services along with 24/7 emergency services. The TMC provides help desk support to assist federal travelers with travel arrangements that require manual handling, such as changes in reservations, emergency travel, and combining business and personal travel. Travel agents working on government travel accounts receive customized training on policies and...

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Transaction Fees

»Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The various transaction fees associated with Government travel are a source of confusion for travelers.  Whether using an embedded Travel Management Center (TMC) from the ETS Master Contract, or an accommodated (third party) TMC – usually from the Travel Services Solutions (TSS) Schedule 599 – there are multiple fees that need to be understood. If an agency’s TMC services are provided via the ETS Master Contract, there are two primary fees to be concerned with in the most common domestic Temporary Duty (TDY) travel scenario which includes air and/or rail.  First is the TDY voucher processing fee, ranging from $10.28 to $13.50 per voucher.  I have heard users of my agency’s E-Gov Travel system wonder why they now have to pay to process travel...

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Big Change in Travel Management

»Posted by on Nov 2, 2013 in Government Traveler Comments, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Seeing the travel industry unfold right before my eyes, it has come a long way how Travel Agencies’ role changed in performing their duties. Travel Management Centers, whether “imbedded” or “accommodated” not only make sure the tickets are issued anymore, they became proficient in making use everything is under control with limited errors and good tracking, expertise, access to content, etc on an end-to-end solution capability. The whole aspect of the reservation is no longer the core of their job. The most important factor now a days is to make sure that the travel manager of the account assist and optimize the “spend” and see it as an investment. An investment that is not wasted with aspects of spend from processing to control, compliance, privacy,...

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The Future of Government Travel and Customer Service

»Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, White Papers | 0 comments

The future of government travel and travel planning depends on the successful integration of the Electronic Travel Systems (ETS) with the Travel Management Center (TMC) in order for the government traveler and the government as a whole, to achieve ultimate satisfaction in customer service and price. In 1998, the Defense Travel System (DTS) was developed. The system was designed to provide end-to-end authorization, travel reservations and the voucher filing processes in compliance with the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) and, a number of financial systems. The system was designed to accommodate up to 3.5 million DoD military and civilian travelers with distinct travel requirements. In 2002, GSA introduced the ETS for civilian agencies. Like the DTS, it was...

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Rail Reservations

»Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The number one question that we receive concerning rail reservations is how to identify the type of trains in the eTravel system.  The train number is the key in identifying the type of train selected.  When a traveler requests rail reservations in the eTravel system, the Travel Management Center (TMC) will book a courtesy reservation, which means the traveler will actually have to pay for the ticket at the kiosk.  Unfortunately, the TMC fee associated with rail reservations booked through GovTrip will always be a full service fee.  This isn’t the TMC’s fault but rather falls on Amtrak not allowing reservations to be booked outside of their own system. There are three different types of Amtrak trains.  The Amtrak trains that make the most frequent...

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Travelers Responsibility for Partially or Unused Tickets

»Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Millions of dollars are lost to the government and taxpayers each year because travelers do not initiate the refund process.  Holding onto a totally or partially used airline ticket costs your agency money.  Unused tickets have a monetary value; therefore any adjustments in your ticketed transportation that pertains to an unused segment must be promptly processed to prevent a loss.  The definition of an unused ticket is Tickets purchased for Government travel, but never used. Travel is terminated short of the authorized destination. Return portion of a round-trip ticket is not used. Services actually furnished are different or of a lesser value than those authorized. The traveler dealing with an unused ticket that was purchased with their individually billed...

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To Embed or Accommodate: That’s the Real Question

»Posted by on Sep 21, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Since the mid-1980s, federal government civilian agencies have had the freedom to contract directly with commercial travel agencies for Travel Management Center (TMC) services.  These contractual relationships were typically established via GSA’s Travel Services Solutions (TSS) schedule or through full and open competitions conducted by the agencies. Beginning with the introduction of the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) in the early 2000s, agencies were presented with the option to procure TMC services as part of the integrated solutions offered by the ETS contractors.  The TMCs offered by the ETS contractors are referred to as “Embedded TMCs” while those contracted directly by the agencies are called “Accommodated TMCs” (because the ETS vendor must...

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CTO Contracting

»Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Contracting for Travel Services allows the government to solicit for a company under contract with an agency to arrange travel services for Federal employees on official travel, including tickets and transportation, and reservation of accommodations. Until recently what has been the challenge with most agencies contracting for services is getting the same standard of service at all facilities. Most of the Central Travel Office (CTO)’s have provided good customer service, the challenge has been getting the same standard for all CTO’s. Some of the anomalies that existed were the variances across a broad spectrum.  Problem area of customer service included: the number of times the phone would ring before it was answered; how long a caller would be on hold; how...

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TMCs and Contracting

»Posted by on Aug 31, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

A TMC must understand the entire process of being eligible for the RFP process to obtain a contract and or task order for travel services from any state or federal government institution.  This process starts with being accredited by the Airline Reporting Corporation, ARC, to sell airline tickets and other travel services.  IATA, the International Air Transportation Association also endorses travel agencies and provides an IATA ID card which identifies travel agents as aUSbased travel sales professional.  In addition a TMC must also incorporate standards set by local and state licensing boards in established travel agency principles in order to be competitive and qualify for government contracts. There are two contracting methods used for contracting travel...

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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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Special Services Available from Travel Companies

»Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Business Practices, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

With all of us trying to do things ourselves, sometimes what seems like a time saver can actually be time waster. If you use the services of a travel company properly, you find a huge amount of information from someone who is an expert, rather than guessing on our own. To take this to the simplest level, imagine you have just been “asked” to travel to a foreign country for business. Now some destinations may seem exciting, but you need to understand the local rules and what is required of you prior to your travel date. The first thing is to remember that the entire world does not speak English, so choosing where you will stay and how you will travel in that country make a significant difference. You also need to understand what travel documents will be...

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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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Transition to Smart Pay 2

»Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

November 30, 2008, marked the beginning of the new Travel Charge Card Program called Smart Pay 2 (SP2).  Federal Government travelers are encouraged to apply for an individual Government charge card in order to pay for their travel expenses.  The previous 10-year contract, also known as Smart Pay 1 (SP1), expired on November 29, 2008.  Various individuals from my agency were extremely involved in the selection of our credit card vendor.  As it turned out, the incumbent charge card vendor was awarded the new 10-year contract. Internally, our credit card team conducted weekly meetings with the individuals from each section who were assigned to the project so that the conversion would be completed accurately and timely.  In addition to working with the credit...

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Small Business Utilization Goals, Challenges of Entering the Government Travel Sector for Small Travel Agencies

»Posted by on Mar 10, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Federal Agencies are required per contracting law to set aside 23% of their contracting funds for small and small disadvantaged businesses. If the government believes that small business is essential to this country as most of us do agree with this that small business is the backbone of our communities throughout this country. Each week I meet travel agencies that would love to get into the government travel business.  However most are discouraged before they even get started.  They hear the challenges and the difficulty of new entrants in to the market.    For our industry to thrive we must attract new travel companies and a younger generation to become interested in our industry. The federal agencies need to put substance behind the initiatives and not just...

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Travel Agency Transactions

»Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The travel agency in which I am employed holds contracts for several large government accounts. I work as the Government Client Services Representative for our government department and I see the daily frustration that our employees experience in having to call in ticket transactions on ticketless carriers. For our government accounts we have approximately 10 employees that are members of our government support team. These employees work daily behind the scenes helping travel agents and managers with queue rolls, schedule change queues, preparing records for ticketing and then finally ticketing. We have one support team member in particular whose responsibility is to ensure that all tickets have been issued with carriers such as Airtran, Jetblue, and Southwest...

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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 Management Center History

»Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Travel Management has grown with leaps and bounds.  It has grown from a struggling infant to a fully automated system capable of providing all your travel and travel payment needs. 1989 a survey conducted by American Express shows that corporate travel management is a career opportunity. 1993 the Clinton administration thought it could eliminate the entire White House travel office staff and replace it with a cousin of the president and the help of a midsized travel agency in Little Rock. Hal Rosenbluth of Rosenbluth International proclaims time is right for the automation of travel management. 2001, Sato began specializing in providing travel management services to government agencies. 2002 “The ETravel initiative was one of President Bush’s 24...

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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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Transaction Fees

»Posted by on Dec 6, 2011 in Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The various transaction fees associated with Government travel are a source of confusion for travelers.  Whether using an embedded Travel Management Center (TMC) from the ETS Master Contract, or an accommodated (third party) TMC – usually from the Travel Services Solutions (TSS) Schedule 599 – there are multiple fees that need to be understood. If an agency’s TMC services are provided via the ETS Master Contract, there are two primary fees to be concerned with in the most common domestic Temporary Duty (TDY) travel scenario which includes air and/or rail.  First is the TDY voucher processing fee, ranging from $10.28 to $13.50 per voucher.  I have heard users of my agency’s E-Gov Travel system wonder why they now have to pay to process travel...

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Air Ticket Selection Options

»Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

This posting will be a discussion regarding the air ticket selection methods along with the pros and cons for each method.  The traveler can select and book tickets through one of the following methods: (1) accessing the EGOV Travel application and selecting the air tickets directly through the application or (2) calling the travel management center directly to book the tickets. Generally, tickets for any domestic trip can easily be selected by using the EGOV Travel application. Travelers are always encouraged to select air tickets through the EGOV Travel application as this is the most cost effective method for the government.  Selecting the ticket through the EGOV Travel application ensures that all the detailed information regarding the air ticket has been...

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Government Sabre

»Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Government Sabre is a product that enables travel agencies to streamline the travel booking process for government travelers.  Government Sabre delivers access to government negotiated rates, policy compliance automated at the point of sale, and automation to improve efficiency in the government travel booking process. Government Sabre includes access to government negotiated rates, policy compliance automated at the point of sales, automation to improve efficiency of overall government travel booking process, and provides access so the agent will only see government approved rates. Government Sabre offers the following features: Access to Preferred Rates. CONUS and OCONUS rates for lodging and transportation, which are approved government per diem rates. Rates...

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Transaction Fees

»Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

There various fees which can be added to the trip total of a traveler when using an eGov Travel system.  Some of the fees include the TMC, IFF and eGov Travel contractor transaction fee. The TMC (Travel Management Center) fee is paid to the travel agency under contract with the Federal Government to provide reservation services for airline tickets, hotel reservations and car rentals.  The fee is determined by using comprehensive economic models and approved by GSA.  Travelers are always encouraged to select air tickets through the eGov Travel application as this is the most cost effective method for the government.  Due to the complexities of the some foreign travel, it is appropriate at times to contact the travel management center directly to obtain...

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