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New website targets public sector travel

14th October 2010 Print

A new travel portal, borne out of a two-year university consultancy project, has launched exclusively for organisations and employees within the public sector in the UK and Ireland - is a one-stop website for booking cheap public sector travel.

The launch of the new business follows a two-year consultancy project between Barringtons International – the company behind – and a leading London University.  The university wanted to dramatically reduce travel spend, achieve travel policy compliance and show a demonstrable cost reduction.

With public sector expenditure cuts due to be announced by the Government within the week, the timeliness of the launch has to be welcomed as an immediate solution provider.

Through the application of best practice, extensive negotiation with airlines and monitoring travel agent fees on behalf of the University, savings of 58% – which equates to more than £500,000 – were achieved in 2009 alone. will apply the exact same principles of the consultancy project using extended, negotiated contracts to offer the same potential cost savings to the entire public sector.  This will cover not just education institutions, but central and local government, Army, Police, Ambulance and Fire services as well as the NHS. To date, is already being used by other Universities and research councils.

The site has been set up by former travel boss Mark O'Brien, ex-Director of Rosenbluth, Expotel and The Travel Company.  He said: “ is the first travel company in the UK to operate exclusively for the public sector with a website registration process that only public sector workers can take advantage of.

“We offer a completely unbiased and transparent approach which traditional travel companies cannot compete with due to the inflexibility of their own airline agreements, so we can offer the lowest air and travel fares available in the market.

“Our research and analysis over the last two years means we understand this market, know how to save money on negotiated contracts and this has enabled us to broaden our offer to the entire public sector – a market that has a critical need to reduce costs.

“As a whole the public sector has a combined travel spend of £3.43billion, but it’s suffering funding cuts and is under heavy scrutiny to reduce expenditure, so this is an ideal and opportune time to be launching a dedicated service and a genuine opportunity to make a positive impact.”

The proposition focuses on three key factors: the breadth of negotiated contracts; service delivery; and accessibility. It will give ‘all’ public sector employees and procurement departments the flexibility to book in a convenient way with the potential for savings of up to 58% via the online booking website.

The business has partnered with Key Travel, a travel management company with a 30-year heritage in the provision of specialist travel services for the not-for-profit sector. Key Travel is providing the operational support to the service including ticket fulfilment, customer services and emergency out of hours support. 

As well as low fares, has created a range of additional services to support the public sector traveller, which include: carbon offsetting; virtual conferencing; exclusive discounted personal holidays; and global partnerships in destinations where the public sector require dedicated international ground support.

The question arises: with savings of such magnitude achieved with just one university, what does this hold for the rest of public Sector?

* For more information see: