The University of Wollongong implements new travel program
Following a two-year transformation journey, the University of Wollongong now operates a market-leading travel program that is delivering ongoing efficiencies to the university and made travel easier for staff.
When the University of Wollongong (UOW) took its travel program to tender in 2017, the university had ambitious plans. The organisation was looking to transform its travel program and appoint a new travel provider to guide them through the rollout of a restructured travel program, enhanced with new technology, processes and systems.
The travel change management required for the university to achieve its program objectives was significant.
After a two-year transformation project supported by academic travel specialists from FCM, the university now operates a market leading travel program.
In partnership with FCM since 2017
University Travel Program
Travel program background
With three different organisational entities, a team of more than 150 travel bookers and 1500+ travellers, UOW’s travel requirements are unique and complex. Travel for academic purposes takes its diverse team of travellers to destinations around the world. The university’s mix of travellers includes highly experienced and regular international travellers to academics that travel once annually, student group travel, VIPs and executive travel.
Prior to going to tender, the university managed its program via a travel panel including two different travel management companies (TMC). Trip approval was done on paper manually, online booking tool usage was below 10% and there was substantial booking leakage.
Following the tender process, FCM Travel Solutions was appointed as preferred TMC because of its university travel management experience, and ability to fulfil and support UOW’s complex technology requirements.
UOW’s travel objectives
UOW was looking for technology that was specific to their needs and a TMC that could effectively manage a high-touch change and implementation process for their travellers and travel bookers. UOW’s vision for program transformation included:
- Program consolidation: shifting from a panel environment with two TMCs meant the university needed to consolidate all bookings and travel requests through a single TMC.
- Increased visibility: UOW was keen to increase visibility of where its travellers were at any given time to strengthen its reporting and duty of care capabilities.
- Increase policy compliance and reduce booking leakage: prior to appointing FCM, UOW had significant air and accommodation booking leakage and a panel environment meant policy compliance was challenging to maintain.
- New trip approval process: new policy and processes were required to make trip approvals more efficient
- New online booking technology: UOW sought an easy-to-use OBT that could be customised to suit their requirements.
- Enhanced travel risk management: UOW was keen to strengthen its duty of care program.
- Broader reporting and better data analysis: the university was looking for more consolidation and visibility of its data, enhanced analysis and business intelligence to enable strategic program change.
- Streamlined expense and reconciliation processes: UOW was keen to increase productivity and visibility in this area.
The FCM approach for program transformation
To ensure the change management process was well supported, senior staff from across FCM’s account management, implementation, operations and management team were involved.
FCM helped UOW to implement a suite of new travel technology including:
- Travel Hub
- Pre-trip approval tool
- Online booking tool
FCM provided UOW with high-touch support during the implementation of the new systems. This included in person and webex training sessions. Ongoing training is provided monthly and FCM’s team is always available for immediate support.
Expense and reconciliation
FCM provided advice on payment options for the university to reduce the demand on the resourcing required to reconcile central credit card transactions for travel expenditure. An FCM trading account with enhanced data was put in place.
A dedicated UOW Travel Expo was held for the first time in 2018 and showcased travel industry suppliers and technology partners.
$1.1 million+ in savings achieved since go-live in July 2017
Significant savings annually from improved productivity due to UOW’s new payment and expense management process
Zero leakage of travel expenditure on airfares
50%+ increase in OBT uptake
UOW has transformed its travel program with amazing results. With help from FCM, the university has rolled out a new travel program, policy and technology to reform their travel process, create productivity efficiencies for booking, approvals and reconciliation.
Additionally, the university has developed a strong and effective partnership with FCM that is built on trust and a commitment to progressively work through challenges for greater outcomes.
"FCM has been instrumental in providing expertise in the overall rollout of the travel program across the university. Most significantly, the partnership between key university and FCM stakeholders was strong and everyone worked tirelessly and seamlessly to ensure a smooth implementation and ongoing success.”
John Da Fonte
Procurement Manager Financial Services
University of Wollongong