HRG Wins End-To-End Canadian Government Account

Hogg Robinson Group last week won a seven-year, CAD$211 million (US$206 million) contract with the government of Canada for travel, booking, payment and expense management services. Incumbents on a contract expiring this year include primary provider Accenture and subcontractors American Express Canada, Concur and Bell Canada.

HRG plans to offer its own HRG Online system for booking, expense management from subsidiary Spendvision and a card program with BMO Financial Group. The initiative looks roughly like the U.S. federal government's ETS2, won by Concur but disputed by Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

Public Works and Government Services Canada initiated a solicitation process after completing in 2011 a review of its Shared Travel Services Initiative, which as of 2010 supported more than 100 Canadian government agencies and departments, according to public records. As of its fiscal year 2010, the Canadian government spent more than CAD$1.5 billion on air, rail, lodging, car rentals, meals and incidentals. On any given day, the shared services group processed an average of 2,000 air and rail bookings, and supported more than 6,500 federal employees on the road.

The largest travel management account in the country also is a rather decentralized one.

While PWGCS has offered an end-to-end service since 2005, many government agencies still were authorized to use other providers, the 2011 review found.

Although American Express was part of the Accenture-led group serving the previous contract, other travel management companies that serve Canadian government accounts include Carlson Wagonlit, HRG Canada and Yukon Government Travel. Along with Amex, these three were listed this month in an unrelated travel document as service providers for online-initiated bookings.

"The use of STSI is mandatory for departments," noted the 2011 review. "Despite its mandatory status, some departments have not implemented all of the components, particularly the expense management tool. Overall, the performance of the program was mixed. Uptake of STSI tools varied among departments and has not reached the expected uptake." Many expense reports still are processed manually, the government noted.

HRG chief executive David Radcliffe called the account "one of the most prestigious" in North America and cited a "rigorous and professional" selection process.

HRG group commercial director Stewart Harvey said the agreement takes HRG further down the path of integrated end-to-end travel and expense management than the company's previous government contracts, for example in Australia and the United Kingdom.

"Each government appointment has been a step more challenging and aspirational," said Harvey. "We're building on those experiences for one joined-up process and experience for the traveler."