Find out how to book business travel, accommodation, car hire and travel insurance.
The University’s Travel and Expenses Policy applies to all staff and students travelling on University business or for study requirements.
Know before you go - the latest updates on business travel
Interim Business Travel Policy
As Covid-related travel restrictions are lifted, staff are naturally enquiring about travel for business purposes - this is the University's interim policy.
Whilst Government restrictions on travel have eased somewhat, University travel is still constrained by our travel insurance policy and other factors such as our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and realise the efficiencies we need to achieve as an organisation. Accordingly, the University will now allow travel that is essential to normal University operations such as fulfilling commitments to external funders and students, business development activities and key/high level attendance at meetings with partners. Attendance at conferences will also be permitted as essential but staff are encouraged to combine conference attendance with other essential activity where practicable. These are examples of essential travel, not an exhaustive list.
Before approving business travel, HoDs/HoPS should assess whether or not it is essential, whether the travel can be deferred or carried out in any other way to avoid travel and having due regard to value for money, our carbon footprint and remaining Government restrictions.
This interim policy applies to UK and overseas travel and advance travel bookings, whether funded by the University or external bodies. This interim policy is effective immediately and will be reviewed in December 2021. Current University processes for booking travel, COVID-19 and claiming expenses continue to apply.
How to book business travel
We strongly recommend that you book business travel using the University’s preferred travel suppliers: NYS Corporate and Selective Travel Management.
1. Create a Traveller Profile
Before you can make a booking, you will need to register with NYS and Selective Travel Management by emailing your Department's Travel Rep with your name and title, exactly as they appear on your passport.
Once you have submitted your profile information, you will receive confirmation within 48 hours along with your login details. You will then be able to make a booking.
We recommend registering with both suppliers so that you can compare prices to find the best value.
2. Make a booking
To check prices or make a booking, either login to your chosen supplier’s travel portal, or contact their respective travel desk team
The online booking tools cover UK rail and London Underground, flights and hotels. They are comparable to other internet comparison sites for travel and find the most competitive prices for your travel and accommodation.
The supplier’s travel desk team can also provide you with a quotation for your travel. This is a good option if your itinerary is complex or if you can’t find suitable options online. If your preferred hotel is fully booked online, please contact the travel team.
Both suppliers offer a price match policy. If you find a cheaper price elsewhere for the same transport or accommodation, let them know.
Both suppliers charge a small booking fee for using their services. The fee will be added to the invoice for your trip cost or in the case of rail bookings only will be recharged via Agresso. Your booking confirmation will provide a breakdown of the travel and booking fee.
Changes to business travel booking fees
The University's Travel and Expenses policy has recently been updated. Although it strongly recommends using our contracted travel suppliers, this is no longer mandated.
As there is now some flexibility when booking travel, it is appropriate that any booking fees are paid from the relevant department budget or grant as well as the actual cost of travel. Therefore from 1 August 2020 if you book with NYS (Capita) or Selective Travel the relevant booking fee will be added to your invoice. For any bookings made before 1 August, the Finance budget will pay those booking fees.
What is the booking fee?
A travel agent's booking fee covers the cost of providing staff to check the options and book the trip, any online booking tools and the wraparound services such as invoicing, account management, out of hours emergency support, traveller tracking etc. Online booking agents (such as Expedia or Trainline) also charge fees but often hide them within the overall trip cost or only add them on the final payment page.
How do I pay the booking fee if I book travel after 1st August?
If you make a booking with NYS or Selective on or after 1 August 2020, the correct fee will be included on the invoice for the trip cost. The only exception is rail tickets, which come through as an Agresso recharge to departments - the booking fee will be included in the recharge. The fees are set out in the table below and will be included on the booking confirmation.
We still strongly recommend that you book with NYS and Selective, particularly in view of COVID-19. Both suppliers have been instrumental in helping us to obtain refunds for cancelled trips and we can rely on their help and support when things go wrong. You can also minimise their booking fees considerably by booking online - all staff can register to use the online booking tools.
If you do choose to book with other suppliers, be aware that their booking fees may be higher. Please also ensure your booking terms and conditions allow for cancellation, refunds or date changes as our insurance provider is no longer covering us for cancellation, curtailment or changes related to COVID-19.
Appendix: Current booking fees for NYS (Capita) and Selective Travel
|Offline Transaction Fees (TMC staff make the booking)||NYS fee per booking (ex VAT)||Selective fee per booking (ex VAT)|
|Air - UK / European||£11.00||£7.00|
|Air - Low Cost Carrier UK / European||£11.00||£8.00|
|Air - International||£15.00||£12.00|
|Hotels - UK||£2.00||£7.00*|
|Hotels - Overseas||£2.00||£7.00*|
|Rail - UK||£2.00||£4.00 per ticket|
|Rail - European||£10.00||£5.00|
|Rail - International||£10.00||£5.00|
|Ferry / Coach / Taxi||£10.00||£7.00*|
|Overseas Car Hire||£10.00||£7.00*|
|Group Bookings (Hotels only, nine or more people)||Hotel's own fees apply||£25.00|
|Admin fee for rail ticket amendment / cancellation (full / part refund)||£5.00||Free of charge|
|Admin fee for hotel booking amendment / cancellation||Free of charge||Free of charge|
|Admin fee for flight ticket amendment / cancellation (full / part refund)||£10.00||Free of charge|
|Online Transaction Fees (client books using online tool)||NYS fee per booking (ex VAT)||Selective fee per booking (ex VAT)|
|Hotels Online||Free of charge||£5.00**|
|UK Rail Online||Free of charge||£0.95 per ticket|
|Eurostar Online||£ 10.00||£5.00**|
|Overseas Car Hire Online||£ 10.00||£5.00**|
|Fees for other Core Agency Services||NYS fee (ex VAT)||Selective fee (ex VAT)|
|Visa and Passport Service (excluding cost from embassy)||£ 10.00||Free of charge***|
|Emergency / Out of Hours Travel Desk Support||£25.00 per call****||Free of charge|
|UK rail ticket collection from campus ticket printer||Free of charge||Free of charge|
|UK rail ticket collection from railway station machine||£2.20 per booking||£3.00 per booking|
|UK rail ticket - post out via Royal Mail||£2.00 + postage cost||Not quoted|
|Billback for commissionable hotels (online and offline)||£1.00 per booking||Free of charge|
|Billback for non-commissionable hotels (online and offline)||£2.00 per booking||Free of charge|
* If booked in conjunction with a flight, only the flight transaction fee will be charged
** If any of these elements are booked together using the online tool, only one fee will be charged
*** Selective's online travel portal links out to the online CIBT Visa system free of charge.
**** NYS provide two free calls per month, thereafter they charge £25.00 per call
How to book UK car hire
Car hire is booked through the University’s preferred supplier, Enterprise.
Enterprise offers a range of vehicles for hire from compact cars to commercial vehicles. It is possible to hire vehicles by the day or by the hour.
The University also have an Enterprise Car Club short term hire car, parked at Market Square.
1. Register as an Authorised Driver
All staff who drive on University business must register as an Authorised Driver. This applies to hire vehicles. For more information on motor insurance,visit the Health and Safety web page.
If you need to hire a vehicle for yourself
Complete and submit the Authorised Driver form and DVLA licence summary.. If your licence was issued outside the UK, please submit a copy of both sides of your driving licence. Holders of non-UK licences must also complete the second page of the form.
If you are an administrator booking a hire vehicle for a colleague
Please check that they are currently registered as an Authorised Driver.
2. Pick your rental type
Vehicles are supplied by the local branch of Enterprise and can be delivered to the University (free of charge) or to your home address (charge applies). One-way hire is also possible. The minimum rental period is one day and vehicles can be hired for a number of weeks if required. Vehicles must be booked using the business-to-business (B2B) online booking tool. All hire rates include insurance cover.
Car Club vehicles are available across the UK. Use the online booking system to check where the closest vehicle is. Vehicles can be hired for a minimum of one hour. Significant cost savings can be made using the Car Club if the vehicle is required for just a short time.
3. Making your booking
Once you have decided which option is best, email your Department's Travel Rep to request access to the booking tool. Please confirm whether you need access to the B2B tool (daily rental) or Car Club tool (hourly rental) in your email.
You will receive confirmation within 48 hours along with your login details.
Obtaining travel insurance
Staff and students travelling overseas on University business will normally be covered by the University’s business travel insurance, provided they register the details of their trip on the Travel Log.
The Travel Log asks you to confirm that you've assessed any risks associated with the destination or activities undertaken during your trip.
Find further details about our travel insurance, any cover restrictions and risk assessments on the Health, Safety and Security website.
Claiming overseas travel expenses or a cash advance
If you travel overseas on University business for a longer period of time, you can apply for a cash advance to cover incidental business expenses you incur on the trip.
Cash advance rules
- the minimum amount for a cash advance is foreign currency worth £250
- you will need to account for expenditure against your advance when you return, so keep receipts for all expenditure incurred
- the advance must not be used for any personal expenditure
- you need to give a minimum of three days notice (preferably longer) before your trip, for foreign currency as this needs to be ordered as cash.
- please consider your personal safety when carrying cash with you. University travel insurance only covers up to £1,000 in cash. If you require a higher limit for a specific trip, contact the insurance team via email@example.com. The limit increase should be documented in your travel risk assessment, including security measures you will take when carrying cash
- we recommend keeping cash to a minimum and paying advances into your bank account instead, so you can draw this out in smaller amounts or pay for business items using your bank card. We recognise that this will incur some charges, but these will be covered by the advance
- our insurers (via +44 (0)1243 621556) can arrange for an emergency cash advance to replace cash which has been lost or stolen overseas. Any emergency funds provided will be deducted from any subsequent claim, or must be refunded to the University.
How to apply for a cash advance
If your department has a finance team, please contact them first.
- Complete and sign the Overseas Travel cash advance application form (MS Excel , 100kb). Employee number or student number must be filled in.
- The departmental authoriser will sign the form to authorise the application.
- Once completed, scan and email the form to:
- firstname.lastname@example.org - applications less than £5,000
- email@example.com - applications more than £5,000.
If you requested the cash advance to be paid directly into your bank account,it will be paid in the next payment run. The deadline each week for receipt of authorised cash advances is 5pm on Friday, with payment being made on the Friday of the following week. Contact the Accounts Payable team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any bank payment queries.
What to do when you return from your trip
- All cash advances must be accounted for within four weeks of your return
- Send a copy of your 'Overseas Travel cash advance application form' to your department's finance or admin team together with all receipts attached and coded to where you want to charge the costs of your trip, ie account or work order.
- They will check and agree it, and then forward it to Finance for processing.
- Exchange rate losses or gains should be coded to account code 2908.
- Pay any surplus money left from your advance into the Cash Office in sterling (convert the foreign currency at a bank or post office) using a Cash Receipt Form. Code to account 9138 for staff or 9136 for students and note the amount paid back on your original application form.
If you have spent more on business items than your cash advance, claim for the excess using an expense claim form.