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 funded an entity called Combined Airlines Tickets Offices (CATO) to provide service to government accounts.

The CATO offices were also formed in other cities to service specific government markets. These programs were never part of the industry program that would eventually become Joint Airline Military Traffic Offices (JAMTO) 13 years later. On November 4, 1948, frustrated air industry decision makers concluded that getting into the military and government market was an industry problem.

They authorized M.F. Redfern, Vice President of Traffic and Executive Secretary of the Air Traffic Conference to negotiate with the military agencies on their behalf. As a result of these negotiations on April 20, 1949 the ATC Military Bureau, forerunner of the SatoTravel Troop Movement Section, today the oldest branch of Satotravel, came into existence. By January 1951, Joint Military Air Transportation Offices represented 31 airline carriers.

With ATC releasing a draft of the first Military Representation Resolution the way was paved for the establishment of joint airline offices on Military installations. The first Military bases to have JAMTO’s Offices were at Lackland AFB, Great Lakes Naval Base, and San Francisco-Oakland.

As a result of the Transportation offices opening on the military basis SATO Scheduled Airline Traffic Offices travel became a name that just about every Military person recognized as the travel office for the Military. This is just a small portion of the SATO history from 1940-1990, from the beginning to the early years of incorporation.

I have been employed with Satotravel for 15 years and the history for the company which originally was wholly owned by the air carrier is steeped in tradition. The “can do” attitudes, devotion, high standards and professionalism displayed by the air carrier employees and the guiding principles of the program have carried over to today’s CWT/Satotravel, and they continue to be evident in our work force.

Having worked in a Full service travel office, I have been a part of the Implementation of several government accounts, but it was exciting to learn the GSA Travel Services Solutions portion of contracting. I have worked with both the GSA TSS and full and open competition contracts that are conducted by a government entity and find them both a challenge. They are both handled basically the same except with the TSS contract the rates have already been set so that the rate isn’t as much as a factor.

You can always negotiate less than the rate posted in order to secure the business if necessary. The subcontracting plans that the large businesses are required to provide contracts to small companies makes it possible for small and minority companies to get a piece of the pie.

If this wasn’t part of the GSA service the smaller companies would become non existent and the larger TMC’s would have a monopoly on the money we pay to run our government. I know in our company there have been several times when business was awarded to a small business because of the 23% minimum small business participation goal requirement.

I was fascinated to learned that 90% of travel agencies are small businesses in communities throughout our country which was very surprising to me. In the previous chapters when I learned how the Hotel reporting worked and reported to ARC the reservations made, I wondered how they could possibly have accurate accounting of rooms and hotels that were booked for travel. Working with groups you have better control of the number of rooms blocked, but transient usage would be almost impossible to capture.

Even with groups, I have had scenarios where some of the groups who work with our homeland security may contract to go into a hotel 2 weeks from now and 2 days prior to arrival the group is cut in half or the group cancels completely because their security expertise is needed in another city. Since we move groups into very obscure locations in Alaska, the weather plays a big part on whether the traveler arrives at his destination as planned or is stranded and we have to book a hotel where they become stranded. I don’t think there will ever be a system to capture all the hotels booked and the length of stay.

One good tool that can be used is if the group has a credit card that will capture the hotel property number into a separate data base. This still would not give you an accurate number of nights used because the rate charged to the Individuals credit card may include taxes and other state/hotel charges. It would also be very difficult to capture information from some the Bed and breakfast properties that we have used in remote locations because the charge may be connected to a restaurant and not the actual property that the Government employee stayed in.

I realize that the government can’t use the Non traditional travel agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbits but what a blessing they are to the hotel, car, air and cruise companies. The fact that they are able to sell rooms that the hotels have determined would be unoccupied at a very cheap rate puts heads in beds and will keep the rooms from being empty.

I myself have used their services to book travel to a quick weekend vacation by looking to see what was really cheap at the last minute and heading to the airport to take a vacation at a preferred location at rates that are cheaper than the travel agent rate. I have had co-workers who book their cruises 2 weeks prior to the cruise and they get a suite with a balcony at rates that would normally place them in the bottom of the ship in an inside room. I say hooray for these companies that are selling the distressed inventory and helping to keep the hotels, air and car rental companies profitable. The Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course has been a lot of information that I will use it in planning and assisting my Government groups.

I have a better understanding of how the Airlines, Hotels, Rental cars, Electronic Travel systems and Payment systems work. I especially found the section on the US Government Ethics Standards of interest and have printed all the reference materials and read it and I know I this information will help me in guiding my clients to make informed decisions. I also understand what their limitations and abilities are.

I think the program is very informative and gives you tons of web sites and referrals to sites to assist you in making informed decisions for your government accounts.

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