Army automates travel with GetThere travel system

GetThere LP announced Jan. 21 that the U.S. Army has deployed the new version of its online booking technology, specifically designed for government travel. GetThere is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sabre Inc. of Southlake, Texas.

Carlson Wagonlit Government, the Army's travel services provider, has rolled out the GetThere DirectGovernment online travel reservation system to 11 Army locations and is expanding the deployment. The Army is one of the first government organizations to move government travel programs online, according to Menlo Park, Calif., GetThere.

Under the five-year agreement with the Army, GetThere will earn $5 to $7 per transaction. The Army spends more than $500 million annually on about 600,000 travel bookings. Half of all those trips should be booked through the DirectGovernment online system after its first year of use, according to GetThere, resulting in $1.5 million or more in revenue for the company.

Online bookings often result in savings of more than 50 percent on service costs, and 15 percent lower average ticket prices than those booked over the phone, according to GetThere. Costs are less because paperwork and phone calls to a travel agency are reduced, and because travelers tend to choose less expensive fares when presented with all available options.

"Corporations have already reported significant cost savings resulting from online booking, and now the government has a great way to save taxpayer dollars," said Mark Orttung, vice president of product marketing at GetThere.

When personnel traveling on official government business plan their itineraries through GetThere DirectGovernment, special government rates for airfares, car rentals and hotel stays are highlighted to encourage compliance with government travel policy. The system also enables the display of commercial "me too" rates for government agencies that authorize their use.

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