Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course Section 1 government Travel Management SGTP 9/8/2009
Introduction Section 1.1 History First Government Travel Initiatives
Government travel management initiatives were launched shortly after the enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
U.S. Government officials understood that as the single largest purchaser of travel in the world substantial savings of travel costs could be achieved and determined accredited travel agencies could assist them to compile travel data through airline computer reservation systems (CRS) for leveraged negotiations with travel vendors.
Airline Rates and the CAB
Prior to deregulation the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) controlled airlines rates and city pairs with little flexibility.
Government travelers purchased tickets through Scheduled Airline Ticket Offices (SATO), a joint venture of airlines with anti-trust immunity given by the FAA.
Deregulation created greater competition, new airlines, widespread use of CRS, and frequent flyer programs resulting in increased flight choices and lower ticket prices.
In 1980, the government launched a pilot program to test the volume purchase of air line tickets through a sample of 11 city pair contract airfares. This highly successful program exclusively for official government travel is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) and now claims over 5,000 city pairs, domestic and international, with savings of up to 70% off unrestricted coach fares.
Government Travel and the GAO
A General Accounting Office (GAO, now Government Accountability Office) ban on the use of commercial travel agencies by the federal government dated back to 1899 when the most common modes of transportation were rail and water.
Also in 1980, GSA and the Department of Defense (DoD) received authority to contract with several travel agencies to test travel agency capabilities. An expanded pilot program determined that travel agencies could meet the government’s official travel needs. The GAO published a final rule in the Federal Register on April 25, 1984 which removed the prohibition against using travel agencies to procure travel services.
Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History GSA’s Travel Management Center Program
GSA expanded the travel agency program, named the Travel Management Center (TMC) program, by competitively bidding for travel services.
A flaw in the TMC program caused travel agencies to be paid after a trip was taken while the travel agencies had to pay the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) for tickets issued each week.
This financial gap was corrected by GSA with a 1983 contract with Citicorp Diners Club for a charge card to be used by government travelers for official travel.
The charge cards allowed immediate payment to the TMC and provided the airlines with a means of controlling the use of the city pair contract fares by requiring the tickets to be charged to the government issued card.
This program expanded to the SmartPay and SmartPay 2 program now in place.
Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History SATO SATO began expanding services to compete with travel agencies and to comply with the requirements of the GSA TMC contracts. At that time, DoD did not seek competitive bids for travel. DoD continued to work under Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with SATO to procure all DoD airline tickets. SATO and Anti-Trust Issues On October 4, 1985, the Department of Transportation (DOT), partially in response to the GAO removal of the ban on travel agencies, issued an order which terminated the antitrust immunity for the airlines to operate SATO, effective April 30, 1986. The loss of antitrust immunity meant that the airlines could not create cooperative pricing agreements and SATO would have to operate independently of the airlines. An independent corporation was formed, without anti-trust immunity, to create SatoTravel, a travel agency with ARC accreditation. Airline personnel served on the SatoTravel Board of Directors, but they were not permitted to discuss prices. Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History CICA Act and Travel Services Procurement Travel industry groups held that the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) of 1984 applied to travel services procurement. They recommended that “no contract or MOU be entered into by DoD without soliciting, receiving and fairly evaluating competitive proposals and that a ‘fair proportion’ of the contracts be awarded to small businesses.” Congress agreed in principle in Section 1464 of the DoD Authorization Act of 1986, P.L. 99-144, November 8, 1985 which stated: “It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of each military department should provide, in the establishment of travel offices or the acquisition of travel services for official travel, for free and open competition among commercial travel agencies, SATOs and other entities which provide such services.” GAO supported the travel industry position when they ruled on December 10, 1985: “...the GSA’s business arrangements for travel management centers are not distinguishable from those noncompetitive SATO arrangements where the SATOs perform services substantially similar to those performed by the GSA Travel Management Center contractors. Consequently, such business arrangements with SATOs or travel agencies are subject to applicable procurement laws.” Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History CICA and the DOD Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Les Aspin (D) WI, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Defense affirming that travel service procurement was subject to CICA and committed the Services to initiate competitive travel procurements in 1986. The activities leading up to this resulted in full and open competition for the substantial DoD travel service contracts. Government Rental Car Agreement Government Travel and the GAO In 1986, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), formerly the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) was tasked with managing the rental car program for all federal government travelers. SDDC implemented the U.S. Government Rental Car Agreement. The Rental Car Agreement offers discounted rates and other benefits such as unlimited mileage, reduced age restriction and collision damage waiver insurance for official travelers with government travel orders or a GSA charge card. Responsibility for the Rental Car Agreement has been assigned to the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO). SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History Recent Changes to Travel Process & Procedures
The Hotel & Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 put conditions on the type of property that could accommodate government travelers. Hotels accommodating government travelers must be approved “fire safe” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Changes precipitated by the airlines decreasing and then eliminating commissions to the TMCs required contract and policy changes in order to pay TMCs transaction fees. Commissions paid by hotels and rental car companies continue to decline, especially for the discounted government rates.
Public Law 105.264 required that by the year 2000 government agencies must pay the traveler no later than 30 days after submission of a claim for reimbursement.
The Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) 301-73.102 mandated all government agencies to utilize a Travel Management System by January 2001.
Travel services contracting moved, in most cases, from direct contracts with federal agencies to the GSA Multiple Award Schedules using the Travel Services Solution Schedule. Three areas of contracting include travel consulting, travel agent services and new products and services. Additional schedules are being added.
Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History Recent Changes to Travel Process & Procedures (Con’t)
DoD contracts with travel agencies (Commercial Travel Offices – CTO) were adapted to include the interface with the Defense Travel System. There are separate contracts for small business set aside CTOs and large business CTOs.
The introduction of electronic travel systems, an outgrowth of the global distribution systems (GDS, previously known as computer reservation systems (CRS)) first occurred with the DoD Defense Travel System (DTS) 2000 release of DTS-Limited. This system accommodates over 30 different financial systems within DoD, a booking system and voucher processing tool. Deployment of updated versions continues to over 12,000 locations.
GSA introduced a booking engine available for government-wide use at the end of 2002, the year in which a Charter was established giving GSA the authority to implement an electronic travel initiative called eTravel.
In 2003, the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) amendment 2003-07, FTR Case 2003-303, E-Gov Travel Service, was published in the Federal Register. This rule requires agency-wide use of the eTravel Service now known as E-Gov Travel.
Government Travel and the GAO SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.1 History Recent Changes to Travel Process & Procedures (Con’t) In November 2003, three competitively bid, E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) contracts were awarded to: CW Government Travel Inc. (CWGT) of San Antonio, Texas; Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) of Fairfax, Virginia; and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (NGMS) of Fairfax, Virginia. The Travel Industry and the Government The travel industry and government have worked to achieve contracting and working relationships in order to enhance government travel management’s progressive evolution. Communication was initiated to create better understanding by industry of the complicated government contracting requirements, acquisition rules and travel regulations. The travel industry held forums, conferences and educational sessions to enlighten government personnel about the complex and very dynamic world of travel. SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.2 Regulations Section 1.2 Government Travel Regulations The rapid, constant change in the travel industry continues to present unique challenges for all participants in government travel management. Impact of the transformation of travel was addressed in the rules and regulations governing travel processes, accountability and payment. Travel procurement and travel regulations directly affected by modifications include the following: Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) The FAR has the force and effect of law and governs procurement activities by government agencies. It is issued jointly under the statutory authorities granted to the Secretary of Defense, Administrator of General Services and the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Defense Acquisition Regulations (DFARS) The DFARS is the source for regulation, implementation of laws as well as DoD-wide contracting policies, authorities and delegations. SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.2 Regulations Travel Regulations Cont’d Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapters 300-304, (“the FTR”), administers the laws governing travel allowances and entitlements for federal employees. It implements provisions and statutes pertaining to per diem, travel or transportation allowances. FTR amendments are officially published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FTR has the force and effect of law. Joint Travel Regulations, Volumes 1 & 2 (JTR) The JTR is promulgated by the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee. The Committee is chartered under DoD and its members are at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level from each of the military departments and the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (NOAA), the Commandant of the Coast Guard (USCG), and the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (USPHS). SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.2 Regulations Travel Regulations Cont’d The JTR Committee Chairman is the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy (MPP). Volume 1 regulations pertain to Uniformed Service members (including both regular and reserve components). Volume 2 pertains to civilian employees of DoD. Standardized Regulations (DSSR) Issued by the Department of State, these regulations contain the per diem rates and rules for foreign travel and apply to all civilian and DoD travelers. The FTR The Federal Travel Regulations (the FTR) is updated to address change in the travel process and brought about by the modifications to the various travel programs, including: TMC/CTO; Airline CPP/electronic tickets;DTMO (formerly SDDC rental car program; Changes in per diem rules and calculations; Lodging programs; Fly America Act; and more recently the FTR inclusion of electronic travel systems (for authorizations, reservations, ticketing, vouchers and local vouchers. SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.2Government Travel Regulations Section 1.3 Per Diem Section 1.2Government Travel Regulations
The government spends approximately $2.5 billion a year for employees on official travel for subsistence expenses.
The per diem rates include lodging, meals and incidental expenses and apply to all individuals traveling on behalf of the federal government (civilian, DoD and those on invitational travel orders).
GSA sets the maximum per diem allowances for travel in the 48 contiguous United States (CONUS), established by county.
The per diem rates are approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and published annually.
Occasionally adjusted rates are published during the course of the fiscal year.
The Per Diem, Travel, and Transportation Allowance Committee (PDTATAC) at the Department of Defense prescribes the maximum per diem allowances for travel in Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and territories and possessions of the U.S.
These rates are changed as necessary and may change several times a year. The Department of State establishes the maximum per diem allowances for overseas travel and those allowances are published in the Standardized Regulations. These per diem rates can change as often as monthly.
Specialized training for changes, updates, and other travel related processes are offered by the government through various agencies.
Section 1.3 Per Diem Section 1.4 FAR and TMS Contracting The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) sets very specific requirements for the purchase of goods and services by government agencies. Contracting officials must incorporate extensive language or references to the FAR in requests for proposal (RFP), solicitations for services, request for quotes or information, task orders and other procurement tools. Details of the goods, or in the case of travel – services – must be clearly explained so the contractors or offerors can submit comprehensive and responsive proposals that qualify for consideration, evaluation, and ultimately contract award. There are contracting forms attached to proposals that bind the contractor to the offer made. The instructions in an RFP will provide a date, time and place for delivery of the documents or electronic transmissions. The due date and time are mandatory to the minute with minimal exceptions. SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.4 Contracting Request For Proposal/Solicitations Solicitations or RFPs for any travel management system, whether it is a travel agency or end-to-end authorization/booking/voucher tool, contain standard sections required by the FAR.
Section 1.4 Contracting RFP Objections Objections to a solicitation or contract award can be protested by potential contractors that identify problems within the RFP or award process. The RFP or solicitation document plus any amendments and the proposal become the contract with the government. Solicitations are placed on a procurement portal for access to interested contractors: http://www.fedbizopps.gov/ All contractors need to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) www.ccr.gov and must have a DUNS Number. The CCR collects, validates, stores, and publicizes data to support government procurement. SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.5 Government Travel Resources The availability of nearly infinite information is available through the Internet for all topics related to government travel. The Society of Government Travel Professionals (SGTP) web site, www.sgtp.org contains virtually all of the pertinent resources available regarding government travel. In addition each of the federal government agencies and departments have extensive information available to the public through the Internet. Some recommended sites include: Defense Travel System: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/ GSA Regulatory Reference Overview: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=8199&channelId=-13342 SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.5 Resources Government Travel Resources (Con’t) GSA Travel Program Overview with links to Travel Services Solutions, Airline City Pair Program, Lodging, Travel Charge Card, and Travel Training: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=8211&channelId=-13028 Airfares (City Pair Program): http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=8211&channelPage=%2Fep%2Fchannel%2FgsaOverview.jsp&channelId=-13029 E-GOV Travel Service: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=8211&channelPage=%2Fep%2Fchannel%2FgsaOverview.jsp&channelId=-15901 Travel Charge Card: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=8211&channelPage=%2Fep%2Fchannel%2FgsaOverview.jsp&channelId=-13032 SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.5 Resources Government Travel Resources (Con’t) FedBizOpps: http://www.fedbizopps.gov Central Contractor Registration: www.ccr.gov SGTP 9/8/2009
Section 1.6 Terms and Acronyms The SGTP and government web sites have links to the terms and acronyms significant to understanding the government travel management processes and procedures. The world of government and travel industry abbreviations can be confusing, sounding much like a foreign language. The most commonly used terms are in the CGTP text book and online course material. “FedBizOps released a notice that the ITEC4 issued RFP W86QUZ-06-R-0101 which read in part: This RFP is issued to solicit proposals for the DoD Worldwide CONUS/OCONUS DTR 7. This RFP is restricted to CCR awardees of the DoD Worldwide contracts who were awarded CONUS/OCONUS travel area CLINs. Proposals are due by COB NLT 12/31/2007.” SGTP 9/8/2009