Government Connections - Fall 2013 - (Page 11)

F E AT U R E Finding Contract Solutions and Savings The federal meeting industry is looking for middle ground in order to continue to host critical meeting and training during tight budget times BY ELIZABETH PERRIN FEDERAL HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS C an the government host meetings and cut waste at the same time? The federal meeting industry, hard hit by the budget cuts and scandal of the past few years, now requires further defense from sweeping budget cuts in order to host mission critical training and meetings. The outrage of the lavish spending at specific events have led to intense scrutiny and calls for draconian cuts in travel expenditures. New legislation continues to mandate spending cuts and transparency, adding multiple layers of approvals and reporting to an already cumbersome contracting process. These new regulations are causing increased confusion to all parties involved in hosting federal events as they have led to decreased contracting timeframes, cancellations in contracted events, and increased costs to the taxpayer for meeting charges with events that no longer can include food and beverage minimums to assist in offsetting the meeting room rental fees. To take a look at the current situation, we must look to the past. Long before the recent scandals, the Government Services Administration (GSA) acknowledged the need for simplified contracting procedures between the federal sector and hospitality industry. These efforts had culminated in multiple award schedules for both group and meeting travel, as well as long-term lodging. Sharing best practices from the corporate sector, these schedule awards are pre-approved, prenegotiated contracts similar to Master Service Agreements utilized by large corporations looking to standardize meeting expenditures. The meeting package pricing offers the government a confirmed meeting space, guest room, food and beverage, with basic audio visual requirements at unit pricing at or below per diem rates. The use of multiple award contracts throughout the federal sector currently account for 25 percent of all federal procurement expenditures. Of these contracting vehicles, the current utilization of GSA Schedules accounts for only 9 percent of these expenditures. GSA Administrator Dan M. Tangherlini has committed to increasing the utilization of these schedule vehicles to deliver common sense solutions and significant savings through interagency collaboration. The utilization of GSA’s Travel and Transportation schedules allow government contracting teams to easily identify those properties that have made the commitment to deliver the highest quality standards, training and accepted package pricing to the government meeting attendee. By adhering to these negotiated and approved standards, the government can easily identify the vendor, determine the size classification should their contract have set-asides, before they contact the property sales team to negotiate dates and space. Once the statement of work is approved and the funds are allocated, the contracting team is able to issue a task order to contract the space and have billing sent through the WAWF to simplify payment via electronic payment. The process meets all of the current executive mandates by offering a tremendous savings to the government and full transparency to the taxpayer. 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2013

President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going PlacesTee Off in Texas
Finding Contract Solutions and Savings
Three Rules for Working with Difficult and Nasty People
Meet a MemberNick Hussein, DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City-Riverfront
Conference ConnectionMeeting Planners by the Numbers
CGMP Corner
Question for Our MembersHow Have Changes in Government Meetings Impacted Your Company?
National Updates
SGMP Nation
Advertisers’ Index

Government Connections - Fall 2013