Travel Planning Procedure

Category Finance
Type Procedure
Approved by Chief Financial Officer
Date Procedure Took Effect 16 April 2002
Last Approved Revision 21 February 2013
Sponsor Chief Financial Officer
Responsible Officer Procurement Manager
Review Date 9 September 2015


These procedures  are to be read in conjunction with the various Travel associated polices and relate to the processes to be followed concerning the booking of air travel, accommodation, rental cars and other methods of transport for University of Otago staff. 

Specific information regarding the University’s approved suppliers can be found at:

Theses procedures aim to achieve a cost and time effective way of University of Otago staff arranging travel.


Policy Content

Domestic  and Trans Tasman Air Travel Bookings

University Staff are able to access two options for domestic travel:

  1. Using a Mandatory Travel Agent (MTA) either online or off-line (email/phone/in person). Bookings must be made quoting a University Purchase Order (Manual, Finance One or MarketSite), or
  2. Directly, online using the Airline’s official website. Bookings must be transacted by using a University Purchasing Card or via the travel providers Travel-card (whichever is appropriate).

Effective October 2012, the University receives discounted airfares for travel on Air New Zealand (including code share on Virgin) and Qantas for Domestic and Trans Tasman travel paid for using the respective Airline’s (UATP) Travel-card issued to the University and held by the MTAs.

Bookings made directly with the Airline using the University’s Purchasing Card for payment are not eligible to receive any discount.

Staff are still free to utilise low cost carrier airlines such as Jetstar or Virgin (Non Air New Zealand codeshare) where this option provides a low-cost logical travel option.

Staff should ensure that they book air travel via the most economical method (in-line with current policy requirements), to minimise the overall cost of travel to the University. The following table provides staff with an indication of the cheapest booking method.

Projected Total Airfare Cost:

Flight Domestic Trans Tasman
Purchasing Card MTA Online*  Purchasing Card MTA Online*
One Way <$215 >$216 <$270 >$271
Return <$113 >$114 <$300 >$301

* Utilises the lowest fee for the Online MTA booking tool as compared against the applicable credit card fee applied using the direct online booking method. Respective MTA booking fee charges are detailed within the Approved Suppliers listing for MTAs.

When booking Domestic/Trans Tasman travel (including any Land Content) via an MTA, University Staff should maximise where possible, the use of the respective On-line booking tools for either of the MTAs in order to minimise the applicable booking fee.

International Air Travel Bookings

All International Air Travel must be booked using an MTA. MTA’s are required to provide staff with up to three separate costed travel options that suit the requirements of the traveller.

MTA’s will provide a written quote for the cost of the travel along with confirmation of other travel options and costs that have been investigated for the staff member to consider. Booking Fees will identified at the time of booking and invoiced separately. Staff are encouraged to obtain quotes for travel from both MTAs.

Staff must book all international air travel using a University Purchase Order (Manual, Finance One or Market-Site) and quoting the appropriate GL/PL account code.

Private Travel

Where private travel is undertaken in conjunction with travel on University business (or where family members accompany staff on University business), the private part of the air travel and/or accommodation must be disclosed at the time the reservation is made and will be charged separately by the MTA.

Private travel or related costs are not to be charged to the University. This includes the charging of private travel costs to the University on a cost recovery basis. Any variation to this instruction requires the prior approval of the Director, Financial Services.

Internal (Domestic) Travel Bookings in Overseas Locations

For instances where overseas domestic travel has not been previously arranged via the MTA, Staff are able to book direct on-line within the visiting country using a Purchasing Card. For the purposes of clarification, internal travel within European countries and within North America is included in this definition.

Travel Insurance

All persons travelling internationally (including Australia and the Pacific Islands) on official University business must have approved travel insurance co-ordinated via the University’s Travel Insurance Officer. Further information on travel insurance within the Insurance Procedures.

Land Content Bookings

Land Content booking may or may not be associated with any flight bookings. Land content bookings can be made directly (using a purchase order or Purchasing Card) or via an MTA using a purchase order using online or off-line methods.

When booking via the MTA, land content bookings should be made at the same time as any associated flight bookings to minimise the booking fees where possible.

Rental Car Bookings

Bookings for rental cars should utilise the University’s Approved Supplier in the first instance. Where the Approved Supplier is unable to meet the booking requirement, the next most cost effective supplier should be selected.

Bookings for rental cars can be made by either:

  1. Providing a University Purchase Order (Manual, Finance One or MarketSite) or
  2. Using a Purchasing Card

To avoid a refuelling service charge including higher fuel cost, staff should ensure the Rental Vehicle fuel tank is full before returning it to the Car Rental Company. Staff should not select the pre-paid fuel tank option as there is no credit applied for any un-used fuel remaining in the vehicle at the end of the hire period.

Rental Vehicle Insurance

The University maintains insurance policies that provide coverage for the hire of Rental Vehicles used for University business purposes. When booking domestic vehicle rentals, staff are to decline the Rental Agency’s Insurance cover when hiring vehicles for Otago University business purposes.

In all instances where a vehicle is hired outside New Zealand, it is essential the traveller purchases comprehensive vehicle insurance from the vehicle hirer. As not all hire contracts are structured the same, the employee must ask the hire company to confirm that the insurance cover includes vehicle damage, third party, and public liability cover.

Note: It is often possible to pay an increased premium in order to reduce the excess applying to rental vehicle insurance. The University has insurance to cover such excesses up to $5,000 (NZ dollars), so there is no advantage in paying extra to secure an excess below this amount.

Road or Rail Bookings

University staff members needing to travel by road or rail should identify and select "best fare of the day".

Other Ground Transport Bookings

Staff booking other transport options must select using the best available pricing on the day.

Accommodation Bookings

Staff have three options for booking Accommodation (in order of preference)

  1. Book using an MTA (as part of an overall travel booking) or
  2. Book direct with the a University Preferred Domestic Hotel Provider or
  3. Book online using a reservation service

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms


© Financial Services Division
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Tel 64 3 470 5554
Fax 64 3 479 8040