ITC travel outsourcing takes flight

The International Trade Commission has outsourced its travel management, choosing a Web-based solution that should eliminate paper almost completely and make booking easier.

ITC selected Zegato Solutions Inc.'s Zegato online travel management system to simplify the agency's paper-intensive, redundant process, said Queenie Cox, travel and transportation management officer at ITC.

The agency was looking to "improve and streamline its travel processes by eliminating paper, saving precious resources and simplifying travel policies for ITC travelers," Cox said.

Using Zegato, an ITC staff member can type in the dates and destination of an itinerary, and that information is automatically routed to an agency official for approval. After approval, the traveler can choose from a pop-up menu listing government-accepted air carriers and then book flights and make hotel and car rental reservations.

Zegato will be integrated with ITC's financial management system, which will further cut down on paper and inconvenience, Cox said. Today, ITC travelers have to re-enter much of the same data they do on travel forms into the agency's accounting system, she said.

"Re-entry of this data is redundant, unnecessary, time-consuming and labor-intensive," she said.

Zegato also can be integrated with a traveler's government travel charge card to enable split payments of travel vouchers directly to charge cards or to a traveler's own bank account.

As a Web-based system, Zegato offers more flexibility to users, said Don Bailey, Zegato Solutions' chief technology officer. ITC travelers can make plans anytime using handheld devices and phones with Web access, for example.

ITC has about 125 staff members who travel, Cox said. In fiscal 1999 — the most recent year for which figures are available — agency travelers booked 291 domestic trips and 44 international trips.

ITC's contract with Zegato Solutions is for five years, including four one-year options following a one-year base period. The company is paid based on fees charged on each travel reservation made. Cox said ITC plans to convert to the new system within 30 days.

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