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New Travel Program Flexibilities / Air Travel

As you may be aware, effective July 1, 2013, Wisconsin Act 32 (2011-2013 Biennial Budget) granted the Board of Regents the flexibility to establish a new travel program for UW institutions apart from the travel requirements prescribed in the State Compensation Plan.  The purpose of this memo is to provide you with information about the new program and let you know how it will impact the Madison campus.

The objective of the new travel program is to meet the needs of those who travel on university-paid business and contain travel costs.  Airline and lodging providers require a consolidation of booking channels and travel processes in order to access discounted programs and services.  Our peer institutions have realized such savings by leveraging their volume and obtaining supplier discounts of 20-25%, as well as other service enhancements.  By comparison, UW institutions have garnered 2-5% seat discounts from the major airlines serving Wisconsin.

Of particular importance to our campus is that savings generated by leveraging deeper supplier discounts will be used to offset anticipated higher travel reimbursement rates for meals, lodging and mileage.  Currently, we are working with our colleagues at UW-System and other UW institutions to develop a rate model that will more adequately compensate our travelers for their travel expenses.  A new rate model is expected to be rolled out in early 2014.

As a result of a recent competitive bidding process, Fox World Travel will have a direct contract with UW institutions for travel services, including both agent assisted and on-line self-booking services.  These services will also include full service agent assisted reservations, 24/7 support for travelers, group travel planning/reservations, international rate desk pricing review and a low price guarantee for airfare.  In addition, self-booking and agent assisted rates are now 20% lower than the prior contract.  The anticipated date of finalizing the agreement with Fox World Travel is August 1, 2013.

Highlights of the new travel program are:

Ø  Airline reservations should be booked through the contracted self-booking tool (Concur) or the contracted travel agency (Fox World Travel) if the travel is individual domestic or non-complex international airfare.  Please note that if travelers use an alternative (i.e., purchase tickets through internet sources or other travel agencies), the University will not centrally pre-pay the airfare.  (These statements exclude UW Madison Athletics, which operates an on-site agency under on-going delegation.)

Ø  People traveling on university-paid business may use a non-contracted travel agency that best meets their needs for multi-destination international travel and group travel.  However, use of the contracted travel agency (Fox World Travel) is recommended in these instances since it will allow UW institutions to further consolidate volume and leverage savings.

Ø  Airfare may be procured with University purchasing cards approved for travel or corporate travel cards, as these mechanisms generate rebates, thereby increasing our travel savings.

Our travel-related web site is in the process of being updated as the Fox World Travel contract is finalized and more information will be forthcoming in the future.  In addition, there will be campus wide self-booking tool training sessions scheduled soon.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope the information provided so far is helpful.  Should you have questions or concerns, please contact Rusty Haines, Director of Disbursements, at rhaines@bussvc.wisc.edu, or Dan Langer, Controller, at dlanger@bussvc.wisc.edu.  You may also e-mail us at uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu for further information or assistance.

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