Ohio University

Travel Services: new travel provider fee structure and cost scenarios

As announced in October 2018, Ohio University has partnered with Christopherson Business Travel (CBT), to implement a comprehensive travel program with goals of implementing user-friendly processes, improving service to the traveler, and providing access to discounts that save the University money. This program will launch on April 1, 2019 and will include an updated travel policy and procedures, and options of paying for travel.

The University must switch to CBT on April 1, 2019, as the current travel provider’s contract will not extend beyond March 31. As with any preferred supplier implementation, there is no expectation that the University will be 100% compliant on day one. Compliance happens over a period of time and Planning Units will need time to adjust their internal business practices to align spend activity to the new supplier.

Cost Savings & Comparisons

CBT has a slightly reduced fee structure and the fees are associated with each trip, not each booking. Based on the data available in Concur and the new fee structure available with CBT, the University can expect to recognize some cost savings related to fees. The Travel Services Fee Structure outlines both the current and new fee structures.

The Travel Cost Scenarios document outlines common travel scenarios and associated costs when comparing the current travel management company, CBT and internet based tools.

How is campus involved?

To get a better sense of how CBT and the travel policy can meet the needs of those that travel, a series of conversations and focus groups were held in December and January. This provided an opportunity to draw on the experiences and gather input from those that will be most impacted. More than 100 faculty and staff, representing sixteen Planning Units, participated. Their feedback, along with direction from the Travel Services Workgroup, helped inform changes to the travel policy, define travel procedures and develop FAQs.

Next Steps

After being reviewed and edited by various groups, the travel policy was presented to the Executive Staff Policy Committee (ESPC) on January 25. The draft policy will be sent to the final reviewers group the week of February 11, followed by at least a 30-day comment period before it is again presented to the EPSC for final approval. Highlights of the updated policy include:

  • The preferred supplier for travel, CBT, is required to be used in booking most travel scenarios
  • The policy allows for payment of travel through the use of approved payment methods. This change allows the University to remain flexible with payment options that may become available in the future.
  • Meal reimbursements for travel will move away from a mix of per diem and actuals to per diem only (for individual travel). The policy still allows for business meals.
  • Procedures have been removed from the policy. They will be referenced as links to documented procedures on the Finance website.

An overview of the Travel Services Project is available on the Finance and Administration website and thorough travel web pages will be released in the coming weeks that will include FAQs, training and reference materials, as well as travel procedures and processes.

These topics were discussed at the Business Forum on February 6, 2019. Please direct comments or questions to travel@ohio.edu or the Travel Services Workgroup