History of Government Travel Management and GDS

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» 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 as the agencies would be responsible for upfront costs and would have to wait for payment after the completed travel. To help alleviate this burden on the agencies, in 1983, a credit card system was established for government workers to finance their travel. A more balance approach to this program for private industry and a closer working agreement with the government agencies was established. This eventually was expanded into the “SmartCard Pay” program and continues to be used today.

By 1986, Congress had agreed that through competitive pricing, the majority of contracts should be awarded to small business, which has always been established as the backbone of working America. At this point, a per diem base was established, including lodging, travel, meals. This is regulated by two separate agencies – GSA sets the maximum allowances in the lower 48 states; PDTATC (Per Diem Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee) regulates the allowance on all other U.S. positions and territories and can be changed as often as once a month. Based on this flux this could be a determent to those who have not been kept in the know of the financial changes for per diems as well as continued cost of publication information to the many difference agencies. A consideration of perhaps once a quarter or bi-yearly might be a more acceptable position for this agency.

GDS (Global Distribution System) houses an infinite amount of information to provide unlimited data to insure an equal opportunity for not only the traveler but for the travel agents as well by allowing for fair trade practices for the travel and hospitality industries as a whole and a maximization for revenue and cost effectiveness for government agencies.

By: Brandy Webber

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