When I need to book travel online, I may go to an airline or hotel website or to Orbitz, Expedia, or Travelocity.
A small business can go to one of the major online travel retailers and have them set up a special portal customized to the business, implementing the company’s own travel policy. Depending on the volume of travel it may be free or a small setup fee may be involved. Employees of the company then book travel through the dedicated site.
Government generally approaches this ‘problem’ by working with GAO-approved vendors.
The Department of Defense, though, goes its own way. They’ve spent almost $500 million over the past 8 years on their own online booking system. And it doesn’t work.
Among its many problems, the system doesn’t properly display flight and fare information, causes duplicate payments for purchases, and permits premium-class travel when travel rules don’t allow it.
In theory, this half a billion dollar (so far) project is supposed to save money. (Compared to what?)
Senator Tom Coburn proposed killing the project but that vote failed by a 2-1 margin.
(Hat tip to Tripso Daily.)