New Government-Wide Travel System Based on "Priceline" model.
The Federal travel system is an archane system even in newest form in my agency and in many other federal agencies regardless of platform. In my agencies platform, FedTraveler, we pay large fees that seem to reward the contractor well above what myself and other employees consider fair. For example the charge in FedTraveler for processing a l"local voucher" for something as small as a 5 dollar offical parking expense is close to 6 dollars. Processing costs for just the authorization and voucher when there are no changes in official trave amount to about 21 dollars, that does not include possible change fees or the ticket fee of approximately 24 dollars for a domestic flight.
I feel in this internet era, the government should do away with contract rates in most area and implement a model such as the commercial system used by "priceline.com" and many other internet based systems.
The traveler would sign on to the system and input the itinerary and desired departure times, hotel preferences and specific hotel choices if necessary, rental car and other services needed. The traveller would then send the message and companies could compete to put together the travel package. You could require, like it is now, for fares to be fully refundable and changeable and have like requirements for flexibilty in in other areas of travel such as the ability to change days and lenght.
I feel that if true market competition enter the federal travel market we will se a marked decline in the costs of federal travel. I find it outrageous that the government contract air fare is usually at least double and sometimes triple if not more, the market rate fare for like itineraries. Competition and not contracts for government travel!