GSA picks second vendor to provide e-travel services

Friday - 9/13/2013, 5:46am EDT

The General Services Administration decided two travel system providers were better than one after all.

GSA announced Thursday it awarded incumbent CWTSatoTravel a contract to compete with the initial winner Concur Technologies for task orders to run more than 90 agency electronic travel systems.

This is the end to another contract saga that took three years to complete and included multiple protests.

"In keeping with GSA's core mission to deliver high quality services at the lowest price possible, ETS2 technology is designed to deliver efficient, cost-effective travel management strategies," said GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom Sharpe, in a statement. "GSA saves federal agencies millions of dollars each year by negotiating lower fares and reducing administrative costs around travel. ETS2 is positioned to transform travel savings and management across the government."

GSA said ETS2 will build upon the success of the first systems to help agencies consolidate online travel booking services and expense management platforms.

The agency said since the launch of ETS, civilian agencies consolidated more than 250 independently managed travel systems and increased the government's use of online travel services by 63 percent, saving more than $20 million annually.

Agencies use ETS to book travel and track spending, approvals and vouchers.

GSA initially wanted to go with a single travel system provider, Concur. In June 2012, it awarded the company a 15-year contract worth as much as $1.4 billion. That was a major change from the initial contract, which GSA awarded to CWTSato, EDS (now HP) and Northrop Grumman in 2003.

At that time, GSA hoped three companies would compete, but most agencies ended up going with CWTSato.

The initial contract expires Nov. 11.

CWTSato protested to the Government Accountability Office, which denied the initial filing in September 2012. CWT took its case to the Court of Federal Claims, arguing Concur would have a monopoly and GSA used unfair evaluation criteria to rate them.

The court ruled in March that GSA must re-evaluate bids because the agency failed to follow procurement regulations that forbid agencies from awarding contracts worth more than $100 million to single vendor, unless they are the only one qualified. CWT argued because it already was providing agencies with travel management services, there is more than one vendor able to do the work.

GSA relooked at the bids and decided to go with both vendors.

The agency said under the terms of the contract, Concur Technologies and CWT will compete for task orders to provide travel planning, authorization, reservations, ticketing fulfillment, expense reimbursement and travel management reporting. It is a performance-based, firm fixed price contract with a maximum 15-year-period of performance, with a three-year base period and three four-year options.

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