Embedded vs Accommodated

» Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

Prior to moving to an eTS in 2006 our agency placed task orders off of the GSA Travel Services Solution (TSS) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) 599-2 for three separate TMC’s.  As a cross service provider we wanted to provide options to our customers.  Most of our customers selected a mid-sized TMC that provided the best price and also was well know for outstanding customer service.    We rarely had issues with the TMC and knew we could always count on them when our travelers where in a bind.

Once we moved to an eTS we considered continuing with one of our current travel agencies as an accommodated TMC.  However, the one TMC, which partnered with our eTS and was embedded, offered a lower price for both traditional and on-line booking and came with a great reputation as a travel agent.   In addition, we avoided additional costs that the eTS vendor would charge us to accommodate our current TMC.  We also had a short time period for implementation and needed a solution that was already in place.

The first year of our eTS implementation was filled with TMC issues, both from the TMC and from the interface with the eTS.  Our travelers would arrive to the airport without reservations, reservations would get stuck in queue and agent international expertise was non-existent. Both the eTS vendor and TMC were willing to work with us to improve service.  We developed logs that tracked every issue and had standing weekly conference calls with the TMC to address each issue.  Many of the issues were due to lack of training for the agents as well as a lack of communication between the eTS and their subcontractor TMC.  Over time the logs reduced in size and travelers stranded at the airport became a thing of the past.

Looking back I believe we made the right decision by going with the embedded TMC.  Since we were the first to fully deploy an eTS I believe many of the issues would have surfaced regardless of the TMC we chose.  The vendor has continued to add additional embedded TMC’s to provide options to our customers.  Although we have more options now, most of our customers have decided to remain with the original TMC and are happy with the current level of service.

by Diana Bonnell

Disclaimer: The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.  Use of this equipment is consistent with the agency’s policy governing limited personal use.

Submit a Comment