State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Division of Finance

Alaska Department of Administration, Division of Finance
Administration >  Division of Finance >  Travel > Contract / Audit > Survey Results > Category: E-Travel (Period Ending 12/31/2011)

E-Travel

Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

For Period of July 1 - September 30, 2011 (Quarter 1, Fiscal Year 2012)

Category: E-Travel

Note: Comments are unedited with the exception of the removal of names.

Communication

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Things change every other day. It's too hard to keep track of the copius amounts of emails telling what now NOT to do, what now TO do, what system is working now, what system is not working, which contract is being disputed, etc., etc.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

The ETMT and USTravel make every effort to provide up-to-date information that may affect the day-to-day activity related to state-funded travel. The travel industry is an ever changing environment including weather, flight delays, etc. Although not everyone needs all of this information, it is important to keep those who need it informed. We are not always able to determine who does or who does not need the information.

Return to list of subcategories

Costs

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

I could have made my reservations and purchased them in less than 5 minutes without central travel. I also could have saved both the 18.74$ fee and two hours of my labor.

I just don't understand why we have US Travel. Why can't we book straight with AK Airlines? Or wherever? We pay US Travel around $10 per booking. Given how much State employees travel, this adds up to a LOT of money. Again I ask...Why do we use US Travel? Everyone who I talk to said it was easier before we hired US Travel. US Travel doesn't add up to me.

My supervisor, as well as those on the way up the chain of command, always just say our hands are tied and we have no option but to use E-Travel and the State Travel Office. Us po-dunk offices fare much better just making the reservations ourselves, saving both time and money, but we are not allowed to. Why must we spend state money to do something we could do for no charge. It boggles the mind.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

It is beneficial to the state to have a managed travel program to monitor spend, for policy compliance, tracking and reporting, traveler safety, and to have the ability to negotiate contract savings. The savings gained by the state far exceeds the costs associated with having a managed travel program. See the cost savings document posted on the travel website. In the first quarter of FY12 the state saved a net calculated saving of $389,553.

Return to list of subcategories

Customer Dissatisfaction

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

As a state worker who requires specific and sometimes complicated itineraries, it is more efficient and cost-effective for me to book travel myself rather than have US Travel provide the service. USTravel may provide an essential service for other agencies, but I suggest making US Travel an option but not a requirement for state workers who travel frequently.

It was much less hassle when we could book our own trips and I wish that it was an option to go back to that rather than having to use ResX to book travel

Let us book our travel. At every step from traveler to local planner (clerk) to travel agent, time and money are spent and wasted and opportunities for errors arise. Even when I go online and find the trip I want and forward that to the clerk, the wrong flight as been purchased - fee to purchase, fee to change and time wasted. If I'm doing something as simple as going to Fairbanks for a day, I could purchase the trip myself at much less cost to everyone.

let us have the option of booking our own trips directly when we get fed up with the problems in the system. We wasted a half a day last week trying to book ONE trip for a staff member.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

It is beneficial to the state to have a managed travel program to monitor spend, for policy compliance, tracking and reporting, traveler safety, and to have the ability to negotiate contract savings. The savings gained by the state far exceeds the costs associated with having a managed travel program. See the cost savings document posted on the travel website. In the first quarter of FY12 the state saved a net calculated saving of $389,553.

Having a travel program allows state employees one-stop shopping opportunities. The majority of reservations can be made in E-Travel Online by yourself or you can call USTravel to book the entire reservation.

Return to list of subcategories

Fees

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Again charging for the booking when it was cancelled within minutes is wrong. Giving the travel arranger a place to explain certain situations that may come up and not be charged an extra fee because you have to call USA Travel.

I also object to the number of fees that are associated with booking travel when the traveler or his/her agency is doing most of the work. The fees associated with a phone call when the online system is not able to complete a reservation are unnecessary in my opinion. If US Travel is offering online reservations to the state, then why do we pay when the system cannot complete the reservation.

I don't see why we pay a travel agent fee, when we have to do the work. ie credit card confimation

It should not cost money to call USTravel for help when their system doesn't work on-line. If we have to send in all the forms ourselves (i.e. hotel/car rental), what is the point of having to book them through the STO?

Stop nickel and diming every employee for ridiculous "service fees"...IE applying a coupon code for commuter booklet should NOT receive an additional fee!!

When I find a seat available on AK Airlines website and then I can't find it on E-travel, later finding out when I have to call US travel, it's not listed because it's the last 1-2 seats. It doesn't seem economical to pay the agent fee to get the seat. I could have just got the seat off AK Airlines website for the same price with no fee.

Yes, they could allow us to book our own travel, like we used to do. It's ridiculous for us to pay US Travel a fee when we do all the work. Typical government waste.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

E-Travel Online is a self-booking tool and when the PURCHASE button is hit, a fee is automatically generated because a purchase was made without agent intervention.

Fees should not be charged when E-Travel Online is down or not functioning properly. If you are unable to complete a reservation, call the Help Desk so they can determine if the booking tool is at fault or if the user should try a different method to complete the process. If the booking tool is functioning properly and the user asks USTravel to complete the process, an agent assist fee will be charged.

It is the travel planners responsibly to provide the CTS number to vendors when the reservations are booked in E-Travel Online, or a request can be made to USTravel to provide the CTS number and the $4 surcharge will apply.

The savings gained by the state far exceeds the costs associated with having a managed travel program. See the cost savings document posted on the travel website. In the first quarter of FY12 the state saved a net calculated saving of $389,553. There are benefits for having a managed travel program, including discounted fares that are not available elsewhere. The Alaska Airlines contract offers the state a discount on all fares except web specials. USTravel offers the state "one-stop shopping" to save time from shopping on multiple websites.

Return to list of subcategories

Hotel Reservations

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Also you need to figure out a better system with hotels and state tax. I have been charged room tax on 90% of the booking I do through US travel site. This is extremely frustrating because the hotels lack responsibility in getting these charges taken care also they seem to care less about even noticing the tax exempt form I send every single time I book a hotel. Something needs to be done to improve the tax situation immediately. I book over 20 people's travel a month which results in quite a few hotel charges. I have spent literally days on just one charge in trying to get it removed.

Capt Cook in ANC informed that the STO did not inform that traveler is tax exempt. Is a hassel everytime he stays there & traveler pays with state charge card. Let hotel know not to charge tax to state employees

ETMT and USTravel Responses

It is the travelers responsibility to review their hotel receipt upon check-out to assure that tax has not been applied when using a state form of payment. Hotels in Alaska, except Petersburg (PSG), should not charge tax. We remind hotels as we receive complaints. USTravel can assist with removing the tax, but they have no control over what the hotel agents do.

Return to list of subcategories

Rural

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Rural travel, it's so time consuming having to go through US Travel to make a simple reservation. If we were able to call and make the reservations our self it would be done within minutes, including hotel, if needed.

I book a rural carrier on line, and still make my own call to the airlines for reservations, and STILL get charged $18.86.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

There are provisions in the Service Information and Standards that allow for some rural travel to be booked outside of E-Travel.

When a reservation is made by an agent or in E-Travel Online, an additional phone call should not be made to the carrier to request reservations. This will cause duplicate reservations and there is a risk of both reservations being cancelled by the carrier due to a duplication.

Return to list of subcategories