Travel Planning Procedure

Category Finance
Type Procedure
Approved by Chief Financial Officer
Date Procedure Took Effect 16 April 2002
Last Approved Revision 8 December 2014
Sponsor Chief Financial Officer
Responsible Officer Procurement Manager
Review Date 8 December 2019


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

All of Government (AoG) for Air Travel

Effective from December 2014, the University signed as a participatory agency to the All of Government (AoG) Agreement for Air Travel. Under this agreement, the University receives discounted airfares for travel on five major airlines servicing the New Zealand Market as follows:

Airline Domestic Shorthaul International
Air New Zealand X X X
Emirates X X
Lufthansa X
Qantas X X
Singapore Airlines X

Domestic  and Shorthaul 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 (Finance One or MarketSite), or
  2. Directly, online using the Airline’s Direct Connect Portal or Service Centre.

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.

When booking Domestic/short-haul 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.

Other Domestic/Shorthaul Airlines

Staff are still free to utilise low cost carrier airlines such (e.g. Jetstar) where this option provides a low-cost logical travel option.

Bookings made on alternative airlines not part of the AoG agreement (e.g. Jet star, Barrier Airways, etc) can continue to be made either via the University’s MTA or using a University Purchase Card.

International Air Travel Bookings

All International Air Travel must be booked using an MTA. MTA’s are required to provide staff with travel options that suit the requirements of the traveller in terms of budget and/or schedule.

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 members are encouraged to obtain quotes for travel from both MTA's.

Staff must book all international air travel using a University Purchase Order (Finance One or MarketSite) 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 at discounted rates is not offered by all the airlines under the AoG agreement. Staff members should check with the MTA's prior to making a booking.

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 Chief Financial Officer.

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 Purchase 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  can be found 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 Purchase 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. Using the University Travel Agents (MTA) or
  2. Directly using a Purchase 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.

Any questions regarding vehicle insurance should be directed to the University Insurance Officer on Ext 8175.

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 3 479 5554
Fax 64 3 479 8040