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August 2020

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UW System made travel planning, booking, and compliance easier by introducing new vendors, revised travel policies, a new rate calculator, and a new TravelWIse website. UW System moved from a single vendor to three vendors aligned to the type of travel. UW System also simplified travel resources to make it easier for travelers to find, understand, and comply with policies and reporting requirements.


The UW System needed to prepare for travel program changes in a short window of time and make sure that all vendors and employees were informed of new procedures. UW System also had to simultaneously adjust the scope and resources to accommodate the impact of the COVID19 pandemic.

PMO Services Provided:

The PMO provided project management, change management, and communications services to coordinate:

  • The transition of travel service providers, policies, and procedures
  • The migration and update of UW System’s TravelWIse website
  • Change management communication to make institutions aware of the new resources and procedures

Project Goals:

The project goals fell into four broad areas:

  • Service Provider Changes – Transition from one travel agency service to three service providers, with each provider dedicated to a specific travel category (individual, large groups, and athletics).
  • Policy Updates – Update and simplify travel policies. Create more consistency across institutions and make it easier to understand and comply with reporting requirements (delayed because of COVID-19).
  • Tech Resources – Improve the technical resources available for travelers. Redesign the TravelWIse website for easier navigation. Provide a new rate calculator for travelers to track meal and lodging allowances. Launch mobile applications for travelers to book and manage their trips.
  • Change Management – Increase awareness and minimize the learning curve prior to the changes. Engage travelers and travel arrangers throughout the project to enhance performance after the changes. Prepare Travel Champions to lead others through the change.

Project Results

UW System’s existing booking service partnerships were set to expire on June 30, 2020. Rather than renegotiate pricing, UW System Administration (UWSA) Travel Management Services reassessed the service needs of the services, relationships, and overall ease of travel. UW System completed an RFP and selected new travel vendors and services starting July 1, 2020. This change not only provided an anticipated annual savings of $379,260 but streamlined traveler experience by offering specialized booking services, traveler inspired policy change, and enhanced self-help material.

UWSA Travel reached out to the Project Management Office (PMO) for assistance with team engagement, change management planning, communications, and policy review coordination to successfully navigate the transition to three new vendors. The change management support encompassed the creation of a champion network, resistance and job impact education, online traveler service/policy training, and communication toolkits. Our partnership resulted in a vendor transition completed on time and within budget that minimized disruption, accelerated traveler awareness, increased travel manager engagement, and decreased participants’ learning curve.

Project Deliverables

  • Agent service for all three vendors available on July 1, 2020
  • Updated policy for more efficient, consistent and compliant policy administration
  • New TravelWIse website with fewer steps to find travel information
  • Network of Travel Champions to promote awareness and positive perceptions of the change
  • Toolkit resources to support campus communications
  • Survey of employees to increase awareness of travel support and resources
  • Quick Guide to Travel During COVID-19