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Defence hotel reservation service.

Back to me not understanding the bee in your bonnet. You don't like the idea of a centralised booking service, MOD needs one, not everyone can book their own travel (not just hotels). We've done a very non-scientific test and theres little difference between CHBS and booking.com. You've then said you can get it cheaper using google which implies even more IT ability. It's also like saying the sky is blue. There will always be a cheaper way.
So based on the fact that some people are good at finding cheap rooms on the internet, and screw the MOD management information requirements, and because NATO does, we should bin any form of centralised booking service and let a theoretical maximum of 250000 people go it alone?
You are back to acting like a spastic if you think you need any major IT skills to book a hotel.

There you go again lying about 250000. That's like saying the army welfare system could have to deal with a theoretical maximum of 80000 soldiers.

Everyone I know who has used both systems says booking their own hotel is much simpler than using the CHBS. Obviously though, those people aren't spastics and know how to use Google.
 
Why does it need one and who is unable to book their own travel?
The MoD needs one because it and government have decided its needed.
In addition to just making bookings it provides the management information on rail & air travel plus hotel bookings. As a government department the MoD has to report to central government, focus on government targets such as reduce unnecessary hotel usage (both in quantity and in £), it has to show a governed process is in place and also has to respond to PQs and FOIs of which hotels are a media favourite

As a large employer the MoD requires/wants a travel booking service for a significant number of employees complete with a 24 hour helpline
It sets standards and requires the service to offer hotels that meet those standards

Some employees are unable to book (or see themselves as unable to book) due to lack or difficulty accessing the MoDs IT. (They don’t need MoD IT to use the service, but will need some form of access to the internal system to enable and validate their account - this can be enabled for them if necessary)
Some may not be permitted to self book due to local processes
Some may choose not to self book

However the CHBS service is not about phoning a contractor and getting them to make your booking (though it includes that option)
The CHBS provides the website/App that any member of staff in the MoD can use to search and self book trains, flights and hotels all in one place
An individual can book for themselves, on behalf of someone else or for a group
 
Everyone I know who has used both systems says booking their own hotel is much simpler than using the CHBS.
Were they using the website or like @fraudstar s clerk are they on the phone?
Were they after a specific hotel and didn’t like what was offered?
Were they making their own booking.com selections in extreme situations which is why they discarded the MoD mandated route ?


Using the CHBS is just like using booking.coms website.
The difference being that you log on to CHBS first.
On CHBS for hotels you are just asked for where you want to go and what dates - then select from the options
On booking.com you can do the same, but need to change the filters to get the equivalent standards
 
Were they using the website or like @fraudstar s clerk are they on the phone?
Were they after a specific hotel and didn’t like what was offered?
Were they making their own booking.com selections in extreme situations which is why they discarded the MoD mandated route ?


Using the CHBS is just like using booking.coms website.
The difference being that you log on to CHBS first.
On CHBS for hotels you are just asked for where you want to go and what dates - then select from the options
On booking.com you can do the same, but need to change the filters to get the equivalent standards
Those working in NATO were exempt. Those working at my sisters workplace had to use the MOD system until the workplace was taken over by a civvie firm.
I can't say if they were using the website or app.
 
Those working in NATO were exempt. Those working at my sisters workplace had to use the MOD system until the workplace was taken over by a civvie firm.
I can't say if they were using the website or app.
The website & app are the same thing, if they find either Booking.com or CHBS harder then the other then they are less believable - but they may have a preference.

It is just as easy to use booking.com as to use CHBS

Like fraudsters clerk, there are tales of people complaining how difficult the system is when they are trying to phone in - either delays on hold, waiting for the help desk to search and read out the options on screen or they aren’t getting the hotel that they have chosen due to other preferences. Fraudster now knows that it is possible to do things online that he has been told are difficult on the phone

The complaints I’ve heard don’t stand up to a difference between using the CHBS as it is meant to be used

There is a valid argument when suitable hotels aren’t found, but in the UK that is likely to be exclusion due to facilities offered, and abroad it may be more unusual requirements.
 
The website & app are the same thing, if they find either Booking.com or CHBS harder then the other then they are less believable - but they may have a preference.

It is just as easy to use booking.com as to use CHBS

Like fraudsters clerk, there are tales of people complaining how difficult the system is when they are trying to phone in - either delays on hold, waiting for the help desk to search and read out the options on screen or they aren’t getting the hotel that they have chosen due to other preferences. Fraudster now knows that it is possible to do things online that he has been told are difficult on the phone

The complaints I’ve heard don’t stand up to a difference between using the CHBS as it is meant to be used

There is a valid argument when suitable hotels aren’t found, but in the UK that is likely to be exclusion due to facilities offered, and abroad it may be more unusual requirements.
I think you are confusing the ease of using the system (although Kroneit will tell you that soldiers would struggle to use any other system) and the ease of getting what you want.
I'll use granfenwohr again as an example, CHBS don't (or didnt) have hotels in the areas. They were content to stick me miles away with a hire car.

Second example, Op Active Fence, I was moving around Turkey in and out of hotels at short notice. CHBS again went into random mode and gave me choice of hotels that might as well have put me in Greece for the distance I have to travel.
I have a suspicion that they do the bare minimum and have hotels in the popular tourist and business areas, anywhere outside of that and you're fucked.
Even when there is a problem and the hotel doesn't have a record of your reservation, why do you (obviously Kroneit can't cope) need to phone their help line? Either rebook at the desk or find another hotel.
How many people do they have ready on that helpline?
Much more simpler all around to sort it yourself.
 
I think you are confusing the ease of using the system (although Kroneit will tell you that soldiers would struggle to use any other system) and the ease of getting what you want.
I'll use granfenwohr again as an example, CHBS don't (or didnt) have hotels in the areas. They were content to stick me miles away with a hire car.

Second example, Op Active Fence, I was moving around Turkey in and out of hotels at short notice. CHBS again went into random mode and gave me choice of hotels that might as well have put me in Greece for the distance I have to travel.
I have a suspicion that they do the bare minimum and have hotels in the popular tourist and business areas, anywhere outside of that and you're fucked.
Even when there is a problem and the hotel doesn't have a record of your reservation, why do you (obviously Kroneit can't cope) need to phone their help line? Either rebook at the desk or find another hotel.
How many people do they have ready on that helpline?
Much more simpler all around to sort it yourself.
I’m not confusing ease of use and getting what I want.
I actually pointed out that not getting what you want is often people’s problem - and that unusual areas could be the other problem

CHBS definitely do the bare minimum with online bookings, they do exactly the same thing as every other booking website by giving search results and their software connecting your selection to the hotels software

I did have the problem once of arriving at a hotel without them expecting me. It was my mistake as I was doing week long trips around regions and had booked today’s hotel in two weeks time and the other hotel today.
Hotel 1 that I had arrived at just switched, they didn’t have me today, could see my booking in two weeks and as a room was vacant swapped the bookings around.
While the receptionist was doing that I rang CHBS and they flipped around the other hotel - they also took note that I had a series of trains, flights and other hotels so did a quick run down my itineraries checking with me that the rest were correct.
I could have just as easily done the same myself directly and with one other hotel I had to make the same number of calls whichever way. If I had mixed up the rest then I would have been phoning around, and if the date changes meant rooms were not available I would have had to be looking for more hotels. With CHBS I could have have had them do all the donkey work. I wasn’t sat on the phone while they called the hotel, I just received an email with the updated itenerary
I could also instead of using the helpline log back in and amend my itinerary
 
Thanks for the detailed reply. I am still not entirely sure how it provides quantifiable efficiency though and nobody seems to have the figures to back it up.

The MoD needs one because it and government have decided its needed.

Not necessarily meaning it is needed. I don't need to wear my belt over my smock but I am told to.

In addition to just making bookings it provides the management information on rail & air travel plus hotel bookings. As a government department the MoD has to report to central government, focus on government targets such as reduce unnecessary hotel usage (both in quantity and in £), it has to show a governed process is in place and also has to respond to PQs and FOIs of which hotels are a media favourite

I do not see, other than to be able to say which hotels were stayed in (which I am sure could be done on JPA) why this required an agency. I do not have to book a restaurant through an agency every time I am abroad or miss a meal. Why the difference?

As a large employer the MoD requires/wants a travel booking service for a significant number of employees complete with a 24 hour helpline
It sets standards and requires the service to offer hotels that meet those standards
Last time the hotels were messed up for me it was 2200 and the helpline took too long. Much quicker to put it on a credit card and claim back later when we had to be up at 0600 the next day. Especially as currently I have to claim it back on JPA anyway.

Some employees are unable to book (or see themselves as unable to book) due to lack or difficulty accessing the MoDs IT. (They don’t need MoD IT to use the service, but will need some form of access to the internal system to enable and validate their account - this can be enabled for them if necessary)
Some may not be permitted to self book due to local processes
Some may choose not to self book
Which employees are these? If I am asking a soldier to get on a flight unaccompanied and do a job at the other end, I would either hope they were able to book.

However the CHBS service is not about phoning a contractor and getting them to make your booking (though it includes that option)
The CHBS provides the website/App that any member of staff in the MoD can use to search and self book trains, flights and hotels all in one place
An individual can book for themselves, on behalf of someone else or for a group

Can they? My experience last year, and it may have been lack of training in the CHBS service, was that it took a long time to block book rooms and flights for a single trip where people came from different units and HQs and so it was easier to get each unit to book their own flights/hotels but this meant that unless everyone booked the hotel at the same time, it might fill up and someone would have to stay the other side of town. Again, if you tell me I can organise a trip and book a hotel for ten people from five different units without knowing their names/numbers etc then the CHBS might be better than I realised.
 
Thanks for the detailed reply. I am still not entirely sure how it provides quantifiable efficiency though and nobody seems to have the figures to back it up.


Not necessarily meaning it is needed. I don't need to wear my belt over my smock but I am told to.


I do not see, other than to be able to say which hotels were stayed in (which I am sure could be done on JPA) why this required an agency. I do not have to book a restaurant through an agency every time I am abroad or miss a meal. Why the difference?
JPA doesn't include civilians, they use HRMS
But with nights stayed and amount claimed you could get those statistics from a combination of JPA & HRMS. CHBS gives it in one, plus any other relevant information.
CHBS also provides flight and rail travel bookings - paid on MoD credit cards.
JPA and HRMS also will only have details of hotel claims once they have been submitted, CHBS has the details once the booking is made, and CHBS sets the process & selection criteria.

Last time the hotels were messed up for me it was 2200 and the helpline took too long. Much quicker to put it on a credit card and claim back later when we had to be up at 0600 the next day. Especially as currently I have to claim it back on JPA anyway.
Thats fair enough - and it fits he MoDs policy on reasons for not using the CHBS

Which employees are these? If I am asking a soldier to get on a flight unaccompanied and do a job at the other end, I would either hope they were able to book.
All staff can access CHBS, and don't need MoDNEt etc to do so.
However if they have never used the system before then they won't have a password to log in.
Those soldiers across units who don't work in an office and complain they can never access a terminal for JPA could have difficulty getting their log in details. But they can phone the CHBS or with enough notice get their account activated.

Can they? My experience last year, and it may have been lack of training in the CHBS service, was that it took a long time to block book rooms and flights for a single trip where people came from different units and HQs and so it was easier to get each unit to book their own flights/hotels but this meant that unless everyone booked the hotel at the same time, it might fill up and someone would have to stay the other side of town. Again, if you tell me I can organise a trip and book a hotel for ten people from five different units without knowing their names/numbers etc then the CHBS might be better than I realised.
The website bookings are focused on a UIN and a name for each traveller. I have not booked for more than a group of colleagues, so don't know if you can have different UINs in one booking.
For 10 people you are directed to a group booking form, and I don't know if you can use that with TBC in the names.
It is physically possible for CHBS to block book numbers in a hotel without names, particularly as it is one of the examples Stacker showed the other day as a reason why he couldn't access a hotel.
Have you put that into feedback for the CHBS?
 
A point to note here is that the system includes travel clerks/offices that can book travel on your behalf. Also note that there is something in place to support staying in hotels that aren't on CHBS. As pointed about above, an itinerary change on the move if you've booked hotels directly is going to be onerous, especially on mobile phone.

I'm not sure why @Stacker is saying that all soldiers will struggle with CHBS and should use google instead?

However, the product used is irrelevant beyond the fact that it is centralised, provides the required access and management information. Noting that the Treasury dictate the availability of the MI, MOD isn't in a position to question it or suddenly withdraw themselves from the equation.

There will always be better apps/services out there which is why Facebook/twitter et al spend vast amounts to stay ahead of the game. The current interface has improved greatly since I first used it.

I remain unconvinced that UK SP are exempt from using CHBS, rather the TLB that fund them either aren't aware, or "it's on the list to get to" or the cost is passed back to NATO by the TLB so is not subject to the same MI.
 
I remain unconvinced that UK SP are exempt from using CHBS, rather the TLB that fund them either aren't aware, or "it's on the list to get to" or the cost is passed back to NATO by the TLB so is not subject to the same MI.

Don't embarrass yourself further if you don't know who pays for hotels when working for NATO.
 
So which TLB is it?
Fucked if I know, I'm not an RAO, just so we are clear on this NATO pays **** all for the hotels (or food costs) for those in uniform. Thats why you tend to see the richer nations doing most of work that involved using hotels.
 
Fucked if I know, I'm not an RAO, just so we are clear on this NATO pays **** all for the hotels (or food costs) for those in uniform. Thats why you tend to see the richer nations doing most of work that involved using hotels.
I’m not an RAO and I know that My TLB is UK Stratcom, JFC before that and AIR before that. Anyway it’s not relevant to wether or not we need a centralised booking service primarily because most people will have used one anyway to book the hotels, just not the MOD mandated one. Apart from the annoyance of not being able to find the hotel you wanted you haven’t given a counter to the Need for automated provision of management information. What’s your take on that?
 
I’m not an RAO and I know that My TLB is UK Stratcom, JFC before that and AIR before that. Anyway it’s not relevant to wether or not we need a centralised booking service primarily because most people will have used one anyway to book the hotels, just not the MOD mandated one. Apart from the annoyance of not being able to find the hotel you wanted you haven’t given a counter to the Need for automated provision of management information. What’s your take on that?
Good for you knowing something totally irrelevant.
So "apart from the annoyance" and "apart from the cost" and "apart from the waste of time" and apart from other people saying its shit no I've got nothing.
You excuse is governance (which doesn't seem to need a civvir company in other areas of expense so a want excuse) and the fact you are a bit of a spastic and can't do anything yourself.
 

Buddy!

War Hero
The MoD needs one because it and government have decided its needed.
In addition to just making bookings it provides the management information on rail & air travel plus hotel bookings. As a government department the MoD has to report to central government, focus on government targets such as reduce unnecessary hotel usage (both in quantity and in £), it has to show a governed process is in place and also has to respond to PQs and FOIs of which hotels are a media favourite

As a large employer the MoD requires/wants a travel booking service for a significant number of employees complete with a 24 hour helpline
It sets standards and requires the service to offer hotels that meet those standards

Some employees are unable to book (or see themselves as unable to book) due to lack or difficulty accessing the MoDs IT. (They don’t need MoD IT to use the service, but will need some form of access to the internal system to enable and validate their account - this can be enabled for them if necessary)
Some may not be permitted to self book due to local processes
Some may choose not to self book

However the CHBS service is not about phoning a contractor and getting them to make your booking (though it includes that option)
The CHBS provides the website/App that any member of staff in the MoD can use to search and self book trains, flights and hotels all in one place
An individual can book for themselves, on behalf of someone else or for a group

A very sensible answer, which actually is more on less common sense.
 

Buddy!

War Hero
Which employees are these? If I am asking a soldier to get on a flight unaccompanied and do a job at the other end, I would either hope they were able to book.

I meet a plethora of Soldiers on a regular basis who refuse to learn how to conduct basic administrative functions like this and refer to it as 'one of those clerk lizards' jobs. It does raise the question on how people lead their personal lives (booking holidays etc). A lot of it is laziness in my opinion.
 
Good for you knowing something totally irrelevant.
So "apart from the annoyance" and "apart from the cost" and "apart from the waste of time" and apart from other people saying its shit no I've got nothing.
You excuse is governance (which doesn't seem to need a civvir company in other areas of expense so a want excuse) and the fact you are a bit of a spastic and can't do anything yourself.
Annoyance - that’s personal opinion
Cost - we haven’t established that one route is more expensive then another
Waste of time - it was quicker for me to use CHBS then booking.com
Civvie company - Civilian companies provided JPA, HRMS etc.
In CHBS if you use the tool then the contractors people don’t actively do anything (and the MoD doesn’t pay them to do anything). They get their cut just as any other service like booking.com does
If you phone and interact with a person to do your booking for you then I expect there will be a cost
(This depends on the terms and structure of the current contract)
Without CHBS we had central teams buying air and rail travel - so the MoD saves on their costs

You have asked me a few times why the MoD should use CHBS today just ‘because that’s the way it has been done in the past’
The same could also be put to the above arguments

Booking.com dates back to the mid 90s
From memory CHBS contracts date back to the late 2000s, so you could argue booking.com is the old way

Booking.com offers effectively the same service in finding and booking a hotel as CHBS
The difference being that CHBS offers a selection as defined by MoD, provides the reporting asked by the MoD and goes by the process required by MoD
CHBS also provides a rail and flight service, along with making payment against MoD GPCs

CHBS doesn’t do what you want, but your argument is with MoDs policies on how CHBS operates
 
Annoyance - that’s personal opinion
Cost - we haven’t established that one route is more expensive then another
Waste of time - it was quicker for me to use CHBS then booking.com
Civvie company - Civilian companies provided JPA, HRMS etc.
In CHBS if you use the tool then the contractors people don’t actively do anything (and the MoD doesn’t pay them to do anything). They get their cut just as any other service like booking.com does
If you phone and interact with a person to do your booking for you then I expect there will be a cost
(This depends on the terms and structure of the current contract)
Without CHBS we had central teams buying air and rail travel - so the MoD saves on their costs

You have asked me a few times why the MoD should use CHBS today just ‘because that’s the way it has been done in the past’
The same could also be put to the above arguments

Booking.com dates back to the mid 90s
From memory CHBS contracts date back to the late 2000s, so you could argue booking.com is the old way

Booking.com offers effectively the same service in finding and booking a hotel as CHBS
The difference being that CHBS offers a selection as defined by MoD, provides the reporting asked by the MoD and goes by the process required by MoD
CHBS also provides a rail and flight service, along with making payment against MoD GPCs

CHBS doesn’t do what you want, but your argument is with MoDs policies on how CHBS operates
Why is it everyone I know who has used both systems, civvie and military, prefer booking the hotel themselves? Coincidence?

I'm pretty certain the army has been using one form or another of centralised booking since the early 90s at least. Well done for looking up bookings origins, did 99% have the internet back then? Like a lot of other things in the Army it probably had a point once, but the world moves on.

You also don't seem to see any problem with the CHBS paying for travel directly but the individual still pays for the hotel upfront. Not exactly joined up is it?
 

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