Travel / Meetings / Conferencing / Events
Widespread adoption of Treasury’s travel policy
1 Jul 2018 - by Zia Taylor
In October 2017, a government-wide travel policy was put in place, limiting hotel spend, and setting out which employees are eligible to stay at certain levels of hotels.
Implementation of this policy has been widespread, and Sailesh Parbhu of XL Nexus Travel attributes this mostly to the government-appointed TMCs: “Your service level agreement in your induction and implementation meetings are cast in stone, and therefore you will need to ensure that you comply with this because the last thing you want in parliament is for various political parties to ask questions scrutinising government spend and seeing departments not complying. There is definitely adherence from government’s side and very strict rules that are set out that the TMC needs to enforce.
Government, in its cost containment efforts, negotiated preferred rates for bed nights with the Marriott Group, Tsogo Sun, Premier Group of Hotels, and City Lodge. While government travellers are allowed to stay outside of these four groups, it must be within the confines of the same budget. Parbhu notes that, “If government travels into rural areas where those four hotel groups don’t feature in th, they then utilise B&Bs as well as guest houses that are as closely linked or as reputable as they need in terms of fulfilling their responsibilities from a government perspective.”
Nadine Clarke, regional director at ABTA, says the most profound impact from government’s travel policy has been felt by suppliers. “The hotels were really squeezed to the max in terms of preferred room rates,” she said.
Liné de Wit, reservations manager of Mandela Rhodes Houses, says that while they have had an increase in government travel this year, it has been at a lower room rate than for the same time period in 2017.
Samuel Nassimov, md of Premier Hotels, says the group has noted only some reduction in a few of their hotels.
Clarke adds that while the reduction in the travel hasn’t been significant, possibly due to the reduced rates, more cost cutting should be anticipated in the future.