The Johns Hopkins Gazette: August 6, 2001
August 6, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 41


Deal Is Set for Hopkins Travelers

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The university's Office of Purchasing and Johns Hopkins Health System have negotiated an agreement with WorldTravel BTI to serve as the primary travel services partner for the Johns Hopkins Institutions.

The agreement, effective immediately, is the result of an effort by the Business Processes Improvement Committee's travel subcommittee to provide university and health system employees with reduced costs and dedicated support for travel-related services.

WorldTravel will service both business and personal needs. While using the travel service for business-related trips is not mandatory, Gary Ostrander, chair of the BPIC travel subcommittee, says the associated cost savings and convenience should make WorldTravel the preferred choice.

"I would encourage Hopkins employees to look at these discounts and services very carefully. We would not have negotiated this agreement if we could not present significant discounts to all employees," Ostrander says. "It is also important to keep in mind that the more volume we give WorldTravel, the better our discounts will be."

The Johns Hopkins/WorldTravel partnership enables travelers to obtain discounts on United Airlines and US Airways, select northeast AMTRAK routes and Avis car rentals, and at various hotels. For booking and other travel needs, WorldTravel as part of the agreement will provide a dedicated team of agents--operating under the name Johns Hopkins Travel Center--located at both The Johns Hopkins Hospital and at the company's reservations center in Falls Church, Va. In the coming months, a Johns Hopkins Travel Center Web site will be unveiled to offer Internet-based reservation services.

WorldTravel will also provide access to local and toll-free numbers for travel support during normal business hours and for after-hours emergency service.

In light of the WorldTravel agreement, the contract with the travel services firm Navigant International has been terminated. Navigant's office at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has been closed, and its office in the hospital now houses the new Johns Hopkins Travel Center. The travel agency in Homewood's Gilman Hall, Council Travel, is primarily for the use of students and is not affected.

Ostrander says that for an institution whose total annual expenditures for travel-related services exceed $30 million, this agreement is both significant and long overdue.

"Johns Hopkins is the largest employer in the state but has always operated as separate entities, never taking full advantage, until now, of its combined buying power relative to travel," says Ostrander, who is associate dean for research in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Paul Beyer, director of Purchasing, says securing a dedicated travel services provider and discounted travel pricing has been the primary goal of the BPIC travel subcommittee, which during the past year had negotiated discount-pricing agreements with United and US Airways as an interim measure.

As part of its search, the subcommittee solicited bids for services from 11 major travel providers, four of which formally submitted proposals. Ostrander says WorldTravel was ultimately chosen because of its ability to meet Hopkins employees' unique travel demands.

"We are a large private university which conducts activities and sends people all over the world," Ostrander says. "We simply felt WorldTravel was the one who could best address these needs."

WorldTravel is the third-largest travel management services company in the United States and for the past eight years has served as APL's travel services partner. The office at APL remains open.

The travel center located at the hospital will be staffed by six full-time agents, including a leisure agent who can service domestic and international travel needs. In addition to airline, hotel and car reservations, the Johns Hopkins Travel Center will provide visa and passport services. Travelers are required to provide an individually billed charge card number to agents so that airline tickets may be issued and hotel reservations guaranteed.

Beyer says the hospital was chosen as the site for the Johns Hopkins Travel Center because of its available large office space, the extensive travel needs of JHMI personnel and the convenience it offered hospital patients and their families. Currently, no Homewood travel branch is planned, but Beyer says the university would consider opening one if volume reached high enough levels.

For additional information, contact Purchasing at 410-516-8383.

Johns Hopkins Travel Center

136 Nelson Bldg., JHH
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. to Fri.

MP1-S117 Montpelier Bldg., APL
8:30 to 5 p.m., Mon. to Fri.

Reservation center in Virginia
866-225-7610 or e-mail
After hours: 877-614-7043
After hours from overseas: 770-486-2783