New director to oversee Johns Hopkins travel programs

Amy Page knows that business travel feels very personal when you are the one on the road.

In her new role as Johns Hopkins' director of Travel and Expense Programs, Page is working to ensure that the travel program being rolled out over the course of this year offers the convenience, flexibility, and support that travelers need. At the same time, she will help the university and health system leverage millions of dollars in annual travel spending to get better deals and more benefits for their faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

"We want better savings, and we also want to take the complexity out of the process," Page says. "I am looking across the board at regular business trips and conferences, group and meeting management, bringing groups to visit, and student travel. It is very broad."

In January, the university announced it had chosen World Travel as its preferred travel management company, following the recommendation of a working group of faculty and staff. APL and University Administration are the first groups to use WTI's services. Other university entities and Johns Hopkins Medicine International will join the travel program throughout the summer and fall. The goal is to direct all Johns Hopkins–funded travel through the managed travel program and offer WTI's services as an option to those traveling on other funds.

Page says that one of her top priorities is to make travelers comfortable with the program by promoting its enhanced customer service (including emergency assistance around the clock), expedited booking through the Concur online tool, and improved central billing that eliminates the need to pay and then wait for reimbursement. She is also working with the travel team in the university's Procurement Office to build a user-friendly online travel portal with all the booking tools, policies, and information people need.

Page says one more advantage to having travelers book through WTI is that Johns Hopkins can more easily locate and support its travelers around the world if an unexpected or dangerous situation arises. When the travel program is fully implemented, Page says, it will provide a valuable asset: accurate information about how much the institution spends and where.

"The key to the program really is the data," she says. "We will see where we can negotiate better supply agreements for the community as a whole."

Already, WTI offers a low-fare guarantee for flights and hotels, and the travel team has negotiated discounts with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental for travel program users.

Page has more than 30 years of experience with travel management companies and corporate travel programs. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, she spent four years at McCormick & Co., where she globalized its travel program and spent plenty of time as a traveler herself.

In fact, her travel experience began in her childhood, when her father's work in the Peace Corps and later career in international marketing took her family from their home in Columbia, Maryland, to live in a number of other countries. The parents of two grown daughters, Page and her husband still call Howard County home.

While the Johns Hopkins Travel Program is being implemented, Page says she wants to hear about people's positive and negative experiences. "I am always interested in feedback," she says. "I want to know how we can make the program work for everyone."

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