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NIH Honored for Travel System Innovations

In June, six agencies were recognized for their success in government travel management. The 2003 Travel Managers of the Year award, sponsored by Government Executive magazine, honored NIH along with the Postal Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Secret Service, Veterans Affairs and the Food and Drug Administration. The award program encourages innovation and celebrates excellence in government travel management.

Historically, the General Services Administration contract provided NIH, like most government entities, with travel management center services. However, given the unique travel requirements at NIH, it was difficult to administer and measure the value and quality of service through this arrangement. Complaints escalated as NIH travel requirements increased and the Travel Management Center was unable to add needed staff and technology due to the structure of the contract.

Honored at the Travel Managers of the Year ceremony were (from l) Cheryl Shipe, Carole Harman, Belinda Cowling, Timothy Tosten, Mark Fryman, Ellen Grant, Patience Hadley (Omega) and Connie Forkkio (Omega).

NIH decided to go its own way for travel services, and sought a travel agency with experience serving patient and government travelers, advanced accounting and reservation systems, multiple methods for making reservations, lowest fare guarantees, upgraded telecommunications systems, 24-hour emergency customer support and other travel amenities. Since May 2001, these services have been provided through a performance-based contract with Omega World Travel.

In fiscal year 2002, 75,000 reservations were processed. That translates into $24 million spent on transportation. NIH will save approximately $150,000 this fiscal year through internal administration and oversight. Omega was also able to track unused portions of electronic tickets, resulting in $225,000 in refunds.

For more information on travel at NIH, contact Ellen Grant, 402-8180.

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