GSA Travel Services:

Small Disadvantaged Businesses Seldom Receive Contracts

GGD-91-58BR: Published: Apr 26, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 26, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) contracting practices with travel agencies to provide government employee transportation, focusing on: (1) GSA procedures and practices for selecting travel service contractors; (2) the extent to which small businesses (SB) and small disadvantaged businesses (SDB) have received GSA contracts; and (3) options that could increase small and small disadvantaged business participation.

GAO found that: (1) GSA compared bidders' ability to provide travel services by using such evaluation factors as equipment capability, personnel qualifications, offeror qualifications, project management, rebates, and any special requirements; (2) from fiscal years (FY) 1988 through 1990, GSA awarded 88 travel service contracts with a total estimated value of about $253 million, of which GSA awarded 90 percent of the total estimated value and about 69 percent of the total number of awards to large businesses; (3) from FY 1988 through 1990, GSA awarded 9 percent of the estimated dollar value and about 27 percent of its total number of awards to SB; (4) from FY 1988 through 1990, GSA awarded three contracts, with a total value of about $2.9 million, representing about 1 percent of the estimated value and about 3 percent of its total number of awards to SDB; (5) GSA did not and had no statutory obligation to require subcontracting plans from its contractors, since travel service contracts did not result in direct payments from the government; (6) GSA could still request subcontracting plans and use them in the evaluation process; (7) military services generally awarded large regional contracts to large travel agencies, but attempted to increase SB and SDB participation by offering alternative procurement methods; and (8) such alternative procurement methods were also available to GSA.

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