Penn State Intercom......October 24, 2002

Travel Services debuts new
online self-booking system
Travel Services Online has been under developmen

Travel Services' new online self-booking system, Travel Services Online, premiered Oct. 21 with a contest that will award one grand-prize winner two free, round-trip coach class United Airline tickets good for anywhere in the continental United States.

The contest, which runs through Jan. 31, automatically enters travelers and travel arrangers into a drawing each time they purchase a business trip through the system. The drawing will be held Feb. 3. There is no limit to how much a traveler must spend or how often they enter. Second prize includes dinner for two and one night's stay at The Nittany Lion Inn or The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, and third prize is a free car rental for a week through National Car Rental. Winnings can be used for business or leisure travel. Prizes are donated by the vendors and are subject to the appropriate taxes. Business Services employees are ineligible for the contest.

Travel Services Online, which is available for all University-wide faculty and staff, 24 four hours a day, seven days a week, offers the lowest available airfare, including University contracted rates, by simultaneously searching Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia.

This system "allows travelers and travel arrangers to search schedules and pricing on their own and to get a better sense of the lowest fare," said Marguerite Gustkey, manager of Travel Services. "It allows them to book from remote locations and at non-core hours, and gives them some autonomy in booking their travel that they didn't have previously," she added.

By visiting, travelers can create personal profiles by selecting preferred vendors, seat assignments and flight preferences. The system can be used to book multiple travelers and visitors to the University. Those booking international travel can select the appropriate currency to calculate the correct fare and have up to two passports on file.

Travelers receive e-mail notification of itineraries, gate assignments, delays and cancellations. The only charge is a $6.70 per-transaction fee on any combination of air, rail, car or hotel reservations for one or more passengers.

According to Russ Rossman, senior procedures specialist in Administrative Systems, Travel Services Online is the only authorized self-booking system for which the University Purchasing Card may be used to book air, rail and cars. Travelers also may use their purchasing card when planning business travel through Travel Services, Centre for Travel and Omega World Travel. When paying with a purchasing card, there is no need to complete a Direct Bill Authorization Form (DBAF). Cardholders may book hotel reservations at The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater. Purchasing cards are not permitted at other Web sites, hotels and non-authorized travel agencies.

University policy TR14 Travel Self-Booking provides guidelines for using the online system and other travel policies have been amended to include the new system. Policy BS14 Penn State Purchasing Card has been revised to reflect the new card uses. Visit for more information on these two policies.

Travel Services Online has been under development for the past year and the pilot program began last September.

Training is available for anyone interested in learning to use the service. To register, visit and choose one of the free sessions offered from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 29, Nov. 5 or Nov. 19 in 112 Kern Building on the University Park campus. For more information, contact Marguerite Gustkey at or (814) 865-0395.