The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

25 Transformations in 25 Years: A Presidential Campaign Requires a Fast Moving Travel Procurement System Built From Scratch

Posted by Mike MacNair on Feb 18, 2014 9:55:00 AM

Campaign_Travel_procurement_systemsPresidential campaigns are among the most demanding travel accounts on the planet. Without fail you can absolutely bank on last minute changes becoming a way of life, a campaign staff constantly in flux, the operation running around the clock, no history to plan and negotiate with, and the volumes going over the top. For these unique customers, every nickel is critical, and impressions mean everything. Mistakes? Don’t even think about it. They could cost a campaign dearly. To be successful, the travel management system has to be established with great care and then of course follow through has to be perfect.

A great deal of collaboration and advance planning took place at MacNair Travel for the Bush/Cheney '04 Campaign that resulted in the development of first rate travel management systems and procedures that delivered the powerful results listed below. Strong airline partnerships were established with preferred carriers without the benefit of a track record; a credit card relationship was developed to improve cash flow and earn benefits, the lead travel consultant was relocated to the campaign’s travel office and was equipped with an enhanced communication package that provided remote access and after-hours support. More importantly, policies and procedures were defined in order for cost saving systems and authorization processes to be implemented. These policies also ensured the tracking of travelers, accurate and timely reporting, time savings, and compliance with campaign finance/travel laws. 


  1. $140.42 savings per ticket, or $662,641 total saved on airfare. The campaign’s average ticket cost was $328.89 versus a national average of $469.31 for the same time period on 4,719 tickets. We assisted in negotiating the airline agreement.
  2. Over 260 free tickets issued against American Express Membership Rewards Miles to eliminate high cost itineraries, saving over $274,000.
  3. Car rental reservations booked below ceiling rates and on supplier relationship that included direct bill, great rates, and under-aged drivers.
  4. Prepaid Hotel  blocks were made across the country on a shoestring.
  5. Constant changes were managed 24/7 by our dedicated team with help from our after hours team. Many travelers only used one way tickets as they had no idea where there next destination may be.
  6.  Traveler confidence was at an all time high. Safety and security issues were addressed. 
  7. Candidate wins.