Government plans DIY bookings

Treasury is requesting information from the travel trade for its plan to centralise all government bookings under a one-size-fits-all online travel booking solution.

Submissions closed on October 5 and next there will be tender to build the new system.

The online travel solution must provide a fully integrated, complete, easy-to-use and scalable platform to create, approve, book, manage, integrate and distribute all types of travel products and services, says the request for information (RFI).

The RFI also states that the system should be fully owned by government, offering B2B, B2C and B2B2C booking options.

While TMCs have responded positively to the development, the document is somewhat critical of TMCs. It says the conflicting priorities of TMCs are one of government’s major concerns due to undisclosed revenue streams that are earned through incentives, rebates and commissions. 

“Uncontrolled travel spend is largely caused by the reactive manner in which government departments manage travel. In most cases, departments request third-party TMCs to arrange their travel requests without being able to effectively assess the efficiency of the services being rendered by the TMC before expenditure takes effect,” the RFI reads.

According to the document, government aims to use the tool to reap economies of scale for the estimated annual R10 billion spent on travel. The system should also reduce unauthorised and wasteful expenditure, reduce outstanding industry debt, improve compliance with Treasury regulations and offer more data spend visibility.

Government travel and subsistence make up an average of 17,7% of government budgets and is currently growing at 5,5% per annum. Government wants to slow the annual growth to 2,7%.

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