Cost Reduction Strategies and Better Booking Practices

Ways to Reduce your Travel Spend


With ongoing and rapid improvements in technology and internet bandwidth - such as the increased availability of video conferencing streams such as webinars and virtual presence networks - the need for Australian Government officials to travel can now be reconsidered.

Do you need to Travel?

  • In the first instance, please consider using Video conferencing, Tele conferencing or Telepresence before undertaking travel. Virtual conferencing can be far more cost effective for your ;entity and will reduce your ;entities carbon footprint.

Better Booking Practices

  • Book like a private traveller – book cheaper, less flexible fares wherever possible.
  • Establish benchmarks for Lowest Practical Fare (LPF) [PDF document] ;and International Best Fare (IBF) [PDF document] compliance. Aim to increase your use LPF Code 1 (Cheapest Fare) month-on-month.
  • Do you know what baggage allowance the traveller requires? The absolute cheapest fare may not represent value for money if baggage has to be purchased at an additional cost. The Air Travel Guide provides guidance on fare types and included (where applicable) baggage allowances.
  • Where possible, use fares currently held in credit. Not sure about the pool of Credits, ask your entity travel manager or QBT. Share credits across cost centres to allow a greater uptake of credit within your branch, division, group or entity. It may be cost effective to pay a small fee to the airline in order to access an air fare credit rather than booking a brand new ticket. Remember, if credits are not used within 12 months (subject to airfare conditions), the value of the credit will be forfeited to the airline.
  • The condition for ‘No Shows’ (not turning up for a flight) varies from airline to airline and fare types. To avoid the possibility of forfeiting a fare, your travel itinerary will include timeframes for possible changes for your booked flights. Please ensure you are aware of these conditions before considering changes.
  • All official travel bookings must be made through QBT using the Online Booking Tool (OBT). QBT’s Travel Consultants can also assist you with travel bookings. The Transaction Fee for using a Travel Consultant is significantly higher (see next section). For information on Transaction Fees, please access the secure Travel Community on Govdex or contact TCMS.
  • Significantly reduce your QBT travel booking fees by using your OBT. For example:
    • The Transaction Fees for domestic Consulted-Assisted Bookings are four times more expensive than OBT bookings;
    • The Transaction Fees for Simple International Consultant-Assisted Bookings are 12 times more expensive than OBT bookings;
    • An OBT provides full fare visibility and generally people book cheaper fares when they can see them;
    • Plan your trips and make ‘bundled’ bookings on the OBT. Book all elements of the trip - such as air, car and accommodation - online and in one transaction.
  • Remember, when selecting a fare, it is NOT appropriate to consider:
    • preference for jets or full-service airlines;
    • access to airline lounges;
    • the accumulation of airline benefits such as loyalty reward points or frequent flyer points.
  • For international travel, use the International Online Quoting Tool to obtain an unlimited number of quotations. A minimum of three quotes should be obtained for all international trips;
  • Compare prices between Airlines offering the same routes;
  • Consider whether the fares and conditions in the lower fare categories will meet your business needs;
  • Use less flexible (and potentially cheaper) tickets for your outbound flight if the timing of your appointment is unlikely to change. Use a more flexible ticket on your return flight if the timing for conclusion of your appointment is unclear or likely to change, as meetings may over-run and if flexible tickets have been booked, changes can be made.
  • Fly in the cheapest class or a cheaper class where possible;
  • Depending on your entity's Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs), moving travel from Business fare class or fully flexible Economy to cheaper less flexible Economy fares can provide savings.

Access OBT via Secure Log on through Intranet or TMC. Establish Travel Enquiry Parameters: e.g time, destination and routing. Confirm Itinerary ensuring internal and WoAG travel policies have been met. Select your flights, accommodation and car rental. Complete booking and obtain itinerary. Charge applied to Diners Card

Fare Structure

Overview WoAG fare structure – Domestic and International

  • The Arrangements consist of have four domestic airlines and 18 international airlines.
  • Finance’s Air Travel Guide (the Guide) provides an overview and background of the travel arrangements. It also provides a step by step process and tips on how to make air travel bookings. The Guide is regularly updated. Please contact if you require a copy of the Guide. Note that this Guide is only available to participating NCEs and CCEs.
  • Entities ;are also able to select airfares from non-panel domestic airlines. For example, for travel to remote or regional areas of Australia that are not serviced by the larger domestic carriers such as Qantas or Virgin Australia or their subsidiaries.
  • Entities ;are also able to select airfares from non-panel international airlines where the airlines or airfare types meet the business needs of the traveller. These fares must meet the requirements of the IBF policy and value for money considerations.

What are the different domestic airfare ticket types and their conditions?

Domestic Airfare Ticket Type

Fare Bucket


Fully Flexible (Economy)

Semi-Restricted and Extra Restricted

Fare Conditions

  • Generous baggage allowances
  • Long TTL period
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted with short notice
  • Changes permitted with nil fees
  • Full refund available for cancellations
  • Full refund available for no-shows

* Ticketing Time Limit (TTL) are
deadlines set 
by the airlines by
which the 
time of the ticket(s)
must be issued. The TTL varies
from fare to 
fare but generally ticketing must be completed
within 24 hours or 72 hours, 
7 or 14 days after 
are made.

  • Generous baggage allowances
  • Reasonable TTL period
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted with short notice
  • Changes permitted with nil or minimal fees
  • Cancellation refund available for some fares
  • No-show refund available for some fares
  • Reasonable baggage allowances
  • Same-day TTL
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted 24 hours prior to departure
  • Fees applicable to changes
  • Cancelation credit available for some fares
  • No-shows result in fare forfeiture
 Extra Restricted
  • Limited baggage allowances
  • Instant TTL
  • Changes, including name changes, not permitted
  • Cancellations not permitted
  • No-shows result in fare forfeiture

Notify QBT in writing as soon as practical when travellers move out of your entity.

Airfare Conditions

Are you aware of the conditions of the airfare you are booking?

Some key points to consider every time you need to book travel:

  • Familiarise yourself with the Lowest Practical Fare and International Best Fare Policies and comply with the conditions of the LBF and IBF policies.
  • Check your ;entity's travel policies and associated Accountable Authority Instructions, including approval processes.
  • Check all fares that are available and ensure that they meet the business needs of the traveller.
  • Book fares as early as possible for greater access to a range of discounted fares.
  • When selecting a fare, start by looking at the deeply discounted fares and work up through the fare categories from there.
  • In general, there is greater certainty about a traveller’s arrival time at their destination. Book the cheapest airfare possible on the outbound sector. If the traveller’s schedule at the end of the day is more fluid, consider an air fare with a greater degree of flexibility that will allow a change to an earlier or later flight. Again select an air fare that provides the necessary flexibility and suits the business needs of the traveller at the lowest possible price.
  • Be flexible with your times;
    • Demand is higher at the most popular times to travel and therefore seats may not be readily available, which means prices may generally be higher than at less popular times.
    • Peak times for travel are Monday to Friday – 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm.

Fares are cheaper outside of these times. If a traveller can be flexible and travel outside peak times, then there are savings to be made.

Tips for Managing Fares held in Credit

  • Understand the fare condition before booking travel.
  • Request regular Unused Credit Reports from your QBT.
  • Reduce future travel costs – elect to use available credits when booking new trips on the OBT.
  • Seek refunds for all refundable fares wherever possible.
  • Request the use of credits wherever possible.
  • Monitor closely the accumulation of credits and be aware of credits at risk of forfeiture.

Notify your QBT in writing as soon as practical when travellers move out of your entity.

Booking Channels

  • Use the OBT to book your travel. The OBT is the cheapest and most efficient booking process for domestic and international travel.
  • Consider your traveller’s entire schedule. Is a rental car or hotel required? Book all travel elements at on the OBT in one transaction – a ‘bundled’ booking.
  • Save fees – go online whenever possible.
  • Need to a make a change to a flight? Log onto your OBT and process the changes – pre or post ticketing. In most instances, you do not need to contact QBT by phone.
  • Need to add an element to a trip? Log onto your OBT and add the new element or create a new booking (subject to points of ticketing for airfares – see point below).
  • Has the flight been ticketed? Check the airfare’s conditions included in the itinerary for important information on the points of ticketing.

Travel Arrangements Phase 2 (TAP2)


  • Under the one-stop-shop requirements of the Deeds, QBT will facilitate bookings for all TAP2 providers accommodation and car rental.
  • Use ;the OBT to make bundled bookings – this is the most cost effective form of booking The OBT will provide the traveller with a single itinerary capturing all elements of the trip.
  • Accommodation can also be booked directly on the AOT portal and via the AOT call centre. QBT may also contact AOT on your behalf to arrange accommodation reservations. This method of booking accommodation may attract a land-only transaction fee.

Tips for making Accommodation Bookings

  • Book as early as possible to maximise inventory availability and savings opportunities.
  • Use a contracted accommodation provider wherever possible, to streamline the booking process.
  • For locations where there are no contracted accommodation providers, use the online non-contracted booking tool on the portal.
  • Be flexible with your accommodation options - the usual hotel you stay in may not be the best value, keep your options open and consider other accommodation providers that may provide better value for money in a similar location.
  • Cancel bookings as early as possible - ‘No Shows’ and cancellations may attract a cancellation fee.
  • Consider authorising AOT to identify the entity name of the traveller(s).
  • Notify AOT as early as possible of any cyclical or regular regional/remote travel and accommodation needs.
  • Notify AOT as early as possible of any preferred non-contracted accommodation providers and if available, any known rate or booking information.

Car rental

  • Use your OBT to make bundled bookings that include car rental from either Thrifty or Europcar. This is the most cost effective form of booking and can provide the traveller with a single itinerary capturing all elements of the trip.
  • Car rental can also be booked directly via Thrifty or Europcar’s call centre or website. Booking your car in this way – directly with the suppliers - does not attract a booking charge.
  • Book the smallest sized car practical for your needs.
  • For rentals of more than a few days, consider picking up the car from a city location rather than an airport location to avoid paying additional fees.
  • Consider renting a car rather than catching taxis if it suits your business needs.

Last updated: 29 January 2018