Online booking system chosen for e-gov travel initiative

TRX Inc. was picked to provide the online booking system for the Bush administration's e-travel initiative, federal officials announced Dec. 18. The booking system is the first component of the initiative.

The e-Travel initiative is managed by the General Services Administration. When fully implemented, the e-travel service will offer end-to-end travel planning, from making travel authorizations and reservations to claims and voucher reconciliation. The entire system is slated for completion by December 2003, said Tim Burke, GSA project manager for the e-travel initiative.

TRX's online booking engine, FedTrip, is a self-service, online booking reservation system that provides federal travelers with 24-hour access to reservations, profiles and itineraries. The system also allows travel managers to control specific variables such as travel policy, supplier preferences, negotiated airfares and hotels, car rental supplier agreements and traveler supplier preferences. Atlanta-based TRX developed FedTrip for the Department of Transportation. TRX also provides travel processing solutions to travel agencies, airlines, hotels and corporations.

"DOT has a very good contract with this vendor that is usable governmentwide," Burke said. The contract runs through fiscal 2004. Burke estimated that the service could save the government $4 million in its first year of governmentwide use. The cost of the governmentwide contract was not immediately available.

"FedTrip will provide federal agencies with a cost-effective, interim booking solution while at the same time giving federal travelers much greater control and flexibility over their travel planning. This first step will begin to lay the foundation for how the federal government will use e-government tools to improve its travel operations," Burke said.

Agencies not currently booking travel online will have to make FedTrip their first choice if they go online in the future, Burke said. A plan for accelerated adoption of the solution for agencies currently booking travel online will be in place in January. Five online booking engines are currently in use in civilian federal agencies, he said.

A request for proposals for the end-to-end travel offering will be released in January. Vendors will have 30 days to respond, and award will be made in mid-2003, Burke said.

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