The following procedural standards issued by the UW System and are designed to advise and assist user in understanding the requirements and responsibilities associated with the purchase and payment of group airline tickets, block space and/or other group travel services. Following these procedures ensures optimal pricing, accuracy in ticket issuance and optimal services for University sponsored group travel reservations.
PRIOR TO MAKING TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
Prior to purchasing airfare or making other travel arrangements, travelers must obtain approval for business travel from the traveler’s designated approving authority. Pre-trip approval requirements vary by institution and often by division/department. It is traveler’s responsibility to follow all internal travel approval procedures prior to making trip reservations.
Out of state trips will most often include airfare as the mode of transportation. If the traveler is unsure of the most economical transportation choice, please review Determining the Appropriate Mode of Transportation prior to making arrangements. Only the most economical option will be paid or reimbursed by the University.
IMPORTANT FACTS FOR GROUP TRAVEL
- All group airfare must be ticketed and serviced by Fox World Travel
- Travelers that want to travel as a group should always consider Group Block Space for firm airfare pricing and consistent availability.
- Travel disruption, particularly with airlines is more prevalent than ever before. Therefore, UW System highly recommends a faculty member or other administrative staff person serve as a group leader accompanying student groups when possible for enhanced duty of care and to serve as the group’s financial officer in cases of travel disruption or other types of situations that can occur.
- Fox World Travel is the contract travel management company partner of the University of Wisconsin System and as such, the University is exempt from Department of Administration (DOA) procurement policy, which requires multiple bids/quotes for group travel arrangements when using Fox World Travel. Do not send Fox any requests for proposals or bid/quote documents as they will be returned.
- Each airline carrier will only provide one price quote for group air and will not allow multiple quotes for the same group.
- Individual ticket prices found in Concur or through any other web source apply to the purchase of a single ticket. This price cannot be used as a comparative for group block or group air ticket purchasing.
- Airlines control fares and availability and these will change multiple times per day.
- To obtain optimal pricing and availability it is best to book group airfare as far in advance as possible – last minutes fare savings and reductions are rarely available due to airline restructuring and consolidations. Groups should reserve airfare as soon as they have dates.
- Be mindful of airline supply and demand – peak travel times will significantly impact fare pricing and availability.
- It is strongly encouraged to use Fox World Travel for other group arrangements, such as out-of-state or international group lodging and/or ground transportation to have the necessary support for University sponsored reservations and access to UW System and Partnership Program discounts.
GROUP TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
Group travel arrangements differ from individual reservations in the way they are reserved/purchased and how they are paid for. Group travel arrangements are for travel needs that fit one or more of the following criteria:
- Need to use a single University charge card for multiple travelers (inbound or outbound) for ongoing use by the department – can be less than 10 or more than 10 travelers for this purpose
- Have been issued a University code by a UW department to use for reservations and payment
- Have 10 or more individuals traveling to the same location – including air, lodging, ground transportation
- May require a University signed contract to secure space, commit to utilization, payment terms, etc.
- May require alternative payment procedures or methods (wire transfer, check, etc.).
- Want group traveler monitoring for report/alert in emergencies
- Would like group reports, including total ticket/program costs, alpha manifest or arrival/departure passenger manifest
GROUP AIRFARE PURCHASING PROCESS
Group arrangements require the use of the UW Group Reservation Request Form.
With potentially thousands of flight options with differing price points and availability, it is important for UW group travel coordinators to be clear and concise about their group’s needs, including the flexibility threshold of what the group will do to get the lowest fare and/or best schedule (i.e. alternative dates, airports, etc.).
The UW group travel coordinator is responsible for providing the following information on the UW Group Reservation Request:
- Dates of travel
- If group requires departmental approval for ticket dates, pricing, etc. explain parameters and any flexibility for deviations from stated parameters.
- Departure and destination airports
- Number of travelers
- Indicate whether price or schedule is the deciding factor in choosing flights (Fox is committed to obtaining the lowest possible price for University air arrangements, your group’s schedule preferences may limit the ability to obtain the lowest available fare for your group).
- Other services required, such as air charter, hotel or ground transportation
- Method of payment
After submitting the University Group Reservation Request form you’ll receive a confirmation email with the submission of your request and an assigned confirmation number. A Fox Meetings & Incentives associate will be in contact with you within one business day to confirm your group travel requirements and discuss any questions you have. You will work with a Fox Meetings & Incentives associate who specializes in group and meeting/conference movement to identify the best options for your group. They will guide you through the booking process based upon the needs of your individual group.
Note: Depending on the number of options that are required to be quoted, the complexity of the request and the air carrier’s response time, it may take 48-72 hours to obtain quotes.
SERVICE LEVEL EXPECTATIONS AND PROCESSING TIME
Below is an outline of the steps which will take place after the UW Group Travel Coordinator submits the UW Group Reservation Request to Fox World Travel:
- After submitting the University Group Reservation Request form, you will receive a confirmation email with the submission of your request and an assigned confirmation number
- Upon receipt of the University Group Reservation Request Form, the UW agent team will respond within one business day to confirm the request and to discuss any open questions.
- The UW agent team will then reach out to the appropriate air carrier(s) to receive the quotes. Air carrier response times vary depending on the carrier and typically range between 48-72 hours. Longer response times are more typical with smaller international carriers; however, Fox will provide a status update to the group travel coordinator to confirm space and pricing.
- Upon receipt of options from the carrier, the UW agent team will review for accuracy (dates, times, number of seats, etc.) and then expeditiously send the appropriate quotes to the group contact.
Please be assured Fox’s main goal is to return the quotes as soon as possible with an appropriate balance for accuracy combined with the need to rely on the carriers for prompt response.
Note: Any deviations from the initial request will require a new request form.
UW GROUP TRAVEL COORDINATOR ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Each group must have a primary travel coordinator (and backup). The group travel coordinator and backup will be the sole group contacts with the UW agent team at Fox World Travel regarding their group arrangements.
In order to expeditiously and effectively procure and pay for group travel the UW group travel coordinators are responsible for the following on behalf of their group:
- Providing all details of the group’s intended trip, including specific or preferred travel dates; budget and preferred routing, where applicable.
- If group requires departmental approval for ticket dates, pricing, etc. explain parameters and any flexibility for deviations from stated parameters.
- Providing payment information on behalf of travelers, except when individual credit cards are being used.
- When a services confirmation is provided by Fox, reviewing and understanding the requirements, noting and adhering to any applicable deadlines.
- Ensuring that a UW authorized purchasing agent signs all letters of agreement or contracts when necessary, and the approved documents are sent to Fox World Travel in accordance with deadlines provided.
- Meeting all provided deadlines for check payment and ensuring that checks are processed, mailed and received for suppliers well in advance of due dates.
- Coordinating with their institution’s Purchasing Card Administrator to raise purchasing card transaction limits to cover anticipated group costs well in advance of ticketing deadlines and until transactions are posted.
- For air block space, providing the following airline and TSA required information for all travelers in the group:
- full legal name as it appears on their photo ID (passport for international travel)
- date of birth
- group emergency contact name/phone number
- individual traveler emergency contact name/phone number
- In the case of international travel, passport number, expiration date and country of issue
All information must be provided in the formatted Excel spreadsheet as required by the University to serve as official documentation of the request and to insure accuracy.
Note: In cases where Fox World Travel has not been provided the required information or received payment in accordance with the supplier required dates and deadlines, Fox will be unable to hold your group’s pricing and available space which will result in loss of held space and/or will increase the cost of the fare and impact available capacity.
GROUP BLOCK VERSUS GROUP AIR
Group Block and Group Air are the two options when booking commercial airline tickets for your group.
Based upon the group needs and the consultation with your UW team agent, it will be determined if group block or group air is best for your travel needs. This choice will determine what is quoted for the group.
Group Block – Seats are held on an airline with only a small, or no deposit (depending on the carrier). Group Block is typically used when the below criteria is met and you do not yet have the traveler’s names and TSA information.
- 10 or more travelers departing from and returning to the same cities on the same dates
- All travelers will be on the same flights and will share identical itineraries (on one, master itinerary)
- Group Block is typically used when:
- The qualifications above are met
- You do not yet have the travelers’ names and TSA information
Advantages of group block:
- Guaranteed pricing for the entire group
- The airline holds seats for the group, deferring ticketing and full payment until a later date
- Fox World Travel discount applied to qualifying tickets
- Due to Fox World Travels’ preferred status with some airlines, the deposit is waived
- For other airlines, minimal deposit required at time of holding space
- Some airlines allow for name changes at minimal cost
- Allows group travel coordinators time to finalize number of travelers as the count may fluctuate up until the contract deadline without penalty
Group Air – Tickets are issued immediately. Group air is typically used when the below criteria is met and you have the traveler’s names and TSA information:
- 10 or more travelers either traveling from various locations to a common destination or flying out of a common location to various destinations
- Flights and schedules are individual to the traveler
Advantages of group air:
- No need to commit to the number of seats required
- Travelers can choose their own itineraries
- No deposit necessary. Full payment due at time of ticketing
- UW discount applied to qualifying tickets
Cancellation Policy: For any airline tickets cancelled after ticketing, reuse of the ticket value will be dependent on the carriers cancellation and penalty policy.
GROUP HOTEL, GROUND TRANSPORTATION AND CHARTER AIR SOURCING
The UW group travel coordinator is encouraged to share as much information as possible regarding their group’s needs in order for the UW agent team at Fox World Travel to obtain the most customized and accurate quotes possible. A charge card must be provided to Fox World Travel for reservation guarantee purposes.
For hotel, ground transportation and charter air needs, Fox World Travel commits to the following service level expectations. Exceptions may apply due to service provider availability limitations.
FOX WORLD TRAVEL TO PROVIDE
|Hotel Sourcing||5 hotel quotes|
|Ground Transportation||3 ground transportation quotes|
|Charter Air||2 charter air quotes|
Cancellation Penalties, Sourcing and Minimum Commitment Fees
Hotel blocks, ground transportation and charter air contracts cancelled after the execution of the contract will be charged for any cancellation penalty in the contract, as well as the minimum. Group travel coordinators are responsible for the payment of any penalties associated with contract cancellation penalties. NOTE: Service, Sourcing and Minimum Commitment (groups sourced but not utilized) Fees paid to Fox World Travel are centrally paid by the institution and are not passed to the customer on their transaction.
REQUIRED CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS
When sourcing of hotel, ground transportation or charter air, a letter of intent must be reviewed and signed by staff within your institution’s purchasing office prior to quotes being provided by Fox World Travel. In addition, most hotel, ground transportation and charter air suppliers will require the UW institution’s purchasing office to sign a contract outlining the services to be provided and their terms. University group travel coordinators should plan for additional time for contract or agreement review and signing. Additionally, group travel coordinators as well as other administrative staff are reminded that they do not have the authority to sign these contracts and agreements.
All payments must be made by University Purchasing or Corporate travel cards. It is the responsibility of the card holder to ensure credit limits have been raised well in advance of ticketing dates and to ensure the higher limit is in place until transactions have posted to the card. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the loss of held space and/or increase in fare. These additional fees will be the responsibility of the University’s arranging department.
The UW group travel coordinator must provide all necessary charge card information to the UW team agent at the time of arrangements. Required payment information includes: card holder name and billing address, charge card number, expiration date, and security code. This information must be shared by phone and will be securely encrypted for transmission to the airline and/or depending on UW department preference, securely stored in a group travel profile for future use by the UW group travel coordinator. For UW group travel coordinators that have charge card information stored in Concur, Fox World Travel is unable to utilize Concur payment information so the group travel coordinator will have to provide the information listed above to UW team agent.
Note: Do not pass charge card information through email or fax. The most secure way is to CALL in the information and provide verbally. Once received by Fox, it will be securely stored.
In cases where airline reservations must be paid with two or more forms of payment (i.e. split between University and personal card, etc.), the minimum amount to be charged is $25.00.
- In the case of group block space, split payment is not an option, as all travelers have to be booked using the same form of payment.
- Due to carrier limitations, split form of payments are not available when purchasing tickets on instant purchase or ticket-less carriers (i.e. Southwest, Frontier) or on some international carriers (i.e. British Air).
- Many International carriers will not allow split payment
By setting up a default charge card payment method, Fox World Travel is authorized by the University to charge any additional costs beyond the original airline ticket to the default card unless the group travel coordinator makes alternative payment arrangements at the time of original ticket issuance.
In the cases where an air carrier requires payment by check, the group travel coordinator will be advised by Fox World Travel. The group travel coordinator will have the option of sending a university issued check, paying by ACH fund transfer or using a charge card. All check payments must be received by Fox World Travel by the given due date to guarantee your space.
Note: A 3% convenience fee will apply for all payments requiring a check, but made via charge card. The convenience fee covers the costs that Fox incurs to issue a check on the University’s behalf.