As members of a truly international university, McGill faculty, staff and students travel to every corner of the globe to attend conferences, carry out fieldwork and conduct research. But maintaining an international presence and profile has a cost. Each year, a significant sum of money is spent on air travel, accommodations, food, ground transportation and other travel-related expenses.
Based on McGill’s global travel spend, McGill Travel Services negotiated agreements with some of the more popular airlines used by McGill travelers. As a result, when travelling for University-related activities, you have the potential to save money if you book your flights on any of these airlines. But to have access to the discounts you must book through one of McGill’s three designated Travel Management Companies (TMCs):
• Vision Travel, which also provides online booking via VisionLink
• Uniglobe Lexus
• House of Travel
• Directly with Air Canada on the Air Canada Corporate Rewards site
The following is a Q&A with Gloria Bachar, Travel Program Manager, who explains the benefits of including one of the McGill TMCs when planning a university-related trip.
Why use a McGill TMC?
It is always a good idea to shop around for airfares to see where you can get the best value. However, if and when one of the McGill airline suppliers is being considered, then it is a good idea to check out McGill’s discounted price through one of our TMCs. Furthermore, these TMCs have access to all market fares and airlines and will offer you several options based on your request. And as a best practice, we recommend that McGill travelers use a TMC for international destinations and multicity itineraries.
What should a person do if they find a comparable flight for a better price elsewhere or a cheaper flight on another airline?
Go for it! The goal remains to book the lowest logical airfare. However, when you find a flight that suits your needs and happens to be on one of our airline suppliers, you are encouraged to check the price for this flight through one of our TMCs. If the price for that flight is better, then book it through the McGill TMC.
Please keep in mind that even though our agreements offer McGill-specific discounts, their rate may not always be the very lowest available at the time when you are making your booking.
Why do prices vary?
For air travel, there are a series of factors at play: supply and demand, the number of seats left on the flight at the time of booking, the flight schedule and the number of connections – just to name a few. In short, the fluctuation of airfares is similar to that of the stock market – in constant flux.
But one thing is for sure – McGill will be able to negotiate better discounts if we have more purchasing power.
And here’s the point, it is only when you book through one of our TMCs that we are able to track the volume of business McGillians are bringing to all the airlines. The more bookings you make through our TMCs, the greater our ability to track volume and, ultimately, negotiate better discounts with airlines and with others suppliers down the road.
Any other perks?
In addition to McGill-specific discounts, booking with a TMC may give you access to a McGill-negotiated ‘perk’ – currently a complimentary lounge pass for travel on WestJet. You can use the TMCs for all airlines (not just for the McGill-contracted ones) and when you use their services you benefit from their 24/7 worldwide assistance line as well as the Government of Quebec Consumer Protection. Plus, if it’s more convenient for you, when booking through one of our TMCs you can pay with your FOAPAL.
These arrangements are part of an overhaul of McGill’s travel and expense reimbursement processes.
As members of a world-renowned University, McGillians have commitments literally all over the world so the end-goal of this overhaul is to make your booking of travel more economical, smoother and safer.