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Going somewhere? Concur Refresh makes take off easier

Travel Services is excited to announce Concur Refresh, a project that will implement several updates to Concur Travel, the University of Utah’s preferred online booking travel tool. After considering input from partners across campus, the department made adjustments to ensure a more streamlined, user-friendly experience.

SAP Concur made the decision to create a new user interface on their site, which will take effect on Wednesday, April 10. Travel Services seized the opportunity of this system-wide change to create university-specific updates that will be in place by June.

These changes address system enhancements, offer an improved support model, streamline existing processes for the user and will offer comprehensive, easy-to-navigate training resources.

“We launched Concur right as COVID hit so we didn’t really get the chance to test it out until travel resumed,” said Senior Director for Procurement and Supply Chain Services Terri O’Toole.

When travel did resume, the Travel Services team listened to concerns from individuals across campus and decided to go back to the drawing board to generate solutions to the challenges that arose.

“We’ve reimagined our service structure and Concur as a whole to better serve campus. We want to make sure traveling is as safe, simple and comfortable as possible,” she said.

Part of ensuring that simplicity involved creating a way for travel arrangers to submit an Event Request, allowing them to generate one pre-trip request for all individuals attending an event. While the travelers will still need to update and submit the request, this functionality is expected to reduce the amount of time arrangers spend booking travel for multiple people on their team. Travel arrangers will also be able to book online travel for guests who are not employees of the university.

The Concur enhancements will make self-booking easier for travelers. As more members of the campus community use the system, they will notice an enhanced support model from the Travel Services team.

“We’re implementing a new ticketing system to help answer questions that travelers may have when using Concur,” said Manager of Accounting and Finance for Travel Services Melaney Mckellar. “This means that when people have questions, they can submit a ticket and their question will go directly to someone on our team who can answer it. We are also creating a [Microsoft] Teams channel for Concur users where they can have questions answered in real time.”

Travel Services made it a point throughout the process to make existing systems more efficient. Arrangers will no longer always be required to complete the “Expected Expenses” when requesting trips that are booked using Concur’s online booking tool. While there will still be certain instances when these are required – like when travelers use the agent assisted employee travel booking and cash advances – it will not apply to every case.

One particular highlight of the refresh will be the updated trainings provided by Financial Services. These will cover how to navigate Concur, as well as travel policy and procedure. They will also explain the overall process of traveling on behalf of the U. These role-based, online courses are currently in development and are expected to be available by the start of the 2024 – 2025 academic year.

Though not part of the Concur Refresh program, arrangers who prefer to work with Christopherson Business Travel will soon have access to a larger pool of higher education travel agents. Beginning May 1, this will allow for faster response times for those who choose to use the U’s contracted travel agency.

While most of the changes are happening behind the scenes, there is one crucial aspect that all travelers at the U need to be aware of. Before booking travel through Concur, users will need to be sure that their full, legal name is correctly reflected in their Concur profile. If that information is incorrect or changes need to be made, the individual traveler will need to take their updated social security card to their department payroll reporter or HR Analyst. The HR Analyst or department payroll reporter will then submit an “Update Personal Data ePAF” by correcting the name and attaching documentation.

To help support members of the campus community through these changes, Travel Services will host a Travel Arranger Symposium on Tuesday, May 28 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium. This in-person event is open to all travel arrangers and will feature a panel discussion from individuals who took part in the pilot program, as well as a hands-on training. Look for more details – including how to register – in an upcoming edition of @theU.