Preferred Travel Agencies and Revised Travel Policy
Gerald Schaffer, Vice President for Administrative Affairs
For the past several months, the University has been pursuing the establishment of preferred travel agency contracts. These contracts will assist the University in minimizing the costs of travel expenses by guaranteeing the lowest available airfare on domestic and international flights. The procedure for selecting preferred agencies was to issue requests for proposals, determine the most advantageous proposal received and then provide an opportunity for all proposers to meet the best proposal specifications. At this time, we have ten travel agencies which meet the required criteria. The travel agencies are committed to providing professional customer oriented travel service to the University, including flight, hotel, car rental and other travel related arrangements. A number of management reports will also be available to assist administrators in managing travel costs.
In order to obtain the best possible travel prices and services, the University has agreed that all airfares to be paid by the University, or reimbursed by the University to travelers, must be obtained from one of the contracted agencies. By concentrating our travel business with these agencies, we were able to negotiate the most advantageous contract for services. In addition, the travel contracts include a schedule of commissions which will be returned to the college or unit generating the commission.
The University will provide employees with training and assistance in the implementation of these contracts. All of the contracted travel agencies, known as preferred travel agencies, will be invited to participate in travel workshops which will allow them to explain their services and provide information to the University community. The dates and times of these sessions will be announced in the near future.
We anticipate implementing the travel services contracts during August 1998. Prior to the effective date, travel arrangements may be made with any travel agency. After the effective date, all travel services must be obtained from a preferred travel agency. Administrative Affairs will work with the campus to ensure a smooth transition to the preferred travel agencies.
A list of the preferred travel agencies and the implementation date will be provided once contracts are finalized. The new University of Florida policy regarding the procurement of travel services is enclosed. I believe that this innovative approach to travel will save the University money, provide better service and allow our staff to better manage their travel budgets. We welcome any suggestions or comments you might have regarding this endeavor.