Draft RFP outlines e-Travel goals

eTravel Web site

The General Services Administration released a draft solicitation Oct. 7 for the governmentwide e-Travel initiative, which is intended to provide a single, Web-based system for all federal travel needs.

The draft request for proposals outlines the goals for the initiative, one of 24 overseen by the Office of Management and Budget as part of the E-Government Strategy. Those goals all focus on procuring a system that is based as much as possible on commercial off-the-shelf products and services. The system should be ready for full deployment at one to three federal agencies by December 2003.

The system will cover every aspect of federal travel management, from the user interface to the back-end payment and approval processes. The contractor will be expected to provide many services, including:

* Web hosting.

* The e-Travel portal and Web-based booking engine (reservation service).

* Help-desk support.

* Independent verification and validation of system function as well as compliance with computation and approval functions of the Federal Travel Regulation.

* Change management and deployment support for federal agencies.

* Training.

Although many commercial travel management portals and services exist, it is not clear that any of them can meet all the back-end requirements in the Federal Travel Regulation and other government mandates.

The GSA-led team working on the initiative released a request for information this summer to take an initial look at what solutions are available from industry. GSA received multiple responses from companies as diverse as Expedia Inc. and American Express Co., according to one official on the GSA team.

The team is evaluating many commercial Web-based booking engines to provide agencies with an initial system this year. Should a booking engine be deemed appropriate, the final contractor solution will need to integrate the chosen engine with the proposed complete solution, according to the draft.

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