Despite budget cuts and cancellations, the federal government continues to spend $5.9 billion in travel, according to GSA Smart Pay 2013 data. In order to help hotels get a piece of that business and better understand how to do business with the government, HSMAI, in partnership with Federal Hospitality Solutions, has launched the HSMAI Government Insider program, a comprehensive training and resource program exclusively for hotels working with the federal government. The program addresses not only the sales process but also how the nuances of federal procurement affect each business unit in a hotel long after the contract is signed. “We partnered with Federal Hospitality Solutions to design an educational program that could not only help hoteliers better understand the federal government’s travel policies and requirements, but also be “the place” for them to exchange best practices and create discussions and standards through all departments – finance, revenue management, catering and sales to do this business right, avoiding audits, fines and unnecessary expenses,” said Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI. The first two webinars are scheduled for this week and will be led by moderator Elizabeth Perrin, founder of Federal Hospitality Solutions, and a 29-year veteran in the travel industry. “Understanding the Federal Bid Process,” the first of the 11 webinars, is scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, March 18. The webinar will be joined by Robert Knauer, CPCM CPPO and founder of The Acquisition Institute Inc. Knauer is an experienced government consultant, professional trainer and former senior federal contracting officer. The webinar will deconstruct a federal RFP and explain the critical differences properties must understand before submitting an RFP. “Representations & Certifications,” the second webinar in the series, is set for 2-3 p.m. Thursday, March 20. The webinar will be comprehensive overview of the representations and certifications required to work with the federal government and will walk participants through the System for Award Management. Each month, HSMAI’s Government Insider will gather market experts to review one portion of the sales cycle. Other planned topics include: Prospecting Federal Business; Representations and Certifications; Guidelines to Pricing a Government Meeting; Working with Third Party Vendors in the Federal Space; Contracting & Billing; How to Be Audit Ready; Ethics in the Federal Marketplace; and ROI ~ Selling a Government Meeting to your Internal Hotel Staff. Participants can select and buy a specific topic, which will be discussed in a webinar, or buy the full 11-month webinar series. Participants also can sign up at a discount for the full Government Insider package, which includes: - Eleven 60-minute educational webinars led by industry experts. - Quarterly 60-minute conference calls with industry expert to share regional best practices in this market and learn new business practices or legislation. - 24/7 access to a new HSMAI Government Insider online Knowledge Center & Best Practice Exchange. Government Insider Program package options also include subscriptions that contain a GSA Schedule Preparation Guide and GSA Schedule Application Preparation. Related Link HSMAI