Travel Management Service

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» 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 in-house system, an electronically available system, or other methods of arranging travel, appropriate to the agency’s travel needs.  In the Note to §301-73.106, it gives the government agency the option to use the contracted travel agent services of the agency’s choice through ETS or other contract vehicles.  However, the travel agent services must compliment and support the ETS in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Although it was projected early in the development of the electronic travel systems that they would entirely replace travel agencies, it is unlikely to be realized anytime soon.  The travel industry is in a constant state of change and there are certain types of travel and travelers that need the personal service they receive from a TMC in order to meet their own mission requirements.  Changes in flight times, delays, cancellations, and over-booked accommodations have become everyday occurrences that demand the knowledge and experience of an expert in travel.  The ETS/DTS contracts require TMC/CTO support, not only for ticketing, but also for full service, 24/7 travel emergency services, quality control, traveler tracking and notification to ensure official TDY travel is successful and cost effective.

ETS vendors each selected a travel agency imbedded partner when proposing their particular services.  However, Federal Agencies have the option of selecting their own TMC through the GSA Travel Services Solution Schedule or through their own contracting.  The ETS vendor must accommodate the TMC in order to provide fulfillment of full travel service for the client.

Whether the TMC is imbedded or accommodated, it is responsible for issuing tickets ordered and approved through the ETS and/or full travel services.  The DoD Defense Travel Management Office places an emphasis on the need for full service as the DTS is being deployed around the world.  They recognize that some travelers will not have the connectivity, access to financial systems or job tenure to book their own trips in the foreseeable future.  Although use of the ETS/DTS is increasing, the role of the TMC/CTO will continue to be an important feature in electronic travel systems for years to come.

By:  Ian Petrulli

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