Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Booking Conferences and Travel

The University approved travel agent is Key TravelLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window.

The approved travel agents are appointed annually by the University. These arrangements offer some administrative savings and in the longer term will allow the University to negotiate more favourable rates for air travel. The quotes from the agent include a transaction charge. When weighing up the cost quoted against another provider, do not underestimate the cost of your time in finding and booking the flight and the admin team time in processing and approving the expenses claim. Also bear in mind that the travel agent provides 24 hour support and will organise and bear the cost of making alternative travel arrangements should that be required.

Steps in booking travel and conferences

  1. Book in plenty of time, flights and hotels are more expensive and availability limited the later you leave it.
  2. Make sure you know where you need to travel to, you have a valid cost code and there is sufficient budget.
  3. Travel and accommodation MUST be booked via the travel agent if more than £500, or to a destination outside of Europe. Travel and accommodation of less than £500 in the UK or Europe can be booked direct or with a departmental credit card. Any exceptions need FinRegs approval (contact and
  4. Find the flight/hotel you want. Use the online or offline options to find and if possible hold the travel options you need. You can do this via the approved travel agent: Key TravelLink opens in a new window.
  5. You will need to obtain the support of your supervisor and approval of the HetSys Directors before booking any travel. Email with full details of your journey and preferred accommodation, along with some about the conference\event and what you will be presenting.
  6. Once approved, for bookings via Key Travel you should raise a Purchase Order (PO) in Opera and use the PO number to book your travel via the portal. Follow the instructions at Travel: How to raise a Purchase order to raise a Purchase Order or take a look at the notes from the Expenses and Purchasing workshop.
  7. You MUST complete the Notice of Overseas Travel form before travelling outside of the UK. Each student is responsible for submitting their own form for each trip involving travel outside of the UK.
  8. Complete a pre-travel risk assessment for the trip, and have this signed by your supervisor

Using the Departmental Credit Card

For other bookings, including conference fees which need to be paid via the departmental credit card, please email

You will need to raise an Non-Opera Vendor order in Opera first and you will be notified when we are able to proceed with the booking. You will be required to make the order at that point either in person with a member of the administrative team or via email, as you cannot take the card away with you.

Please remember to book in plenty of time as the process requires input from departmental approvers, and there are spending limits on departmental credit cards.

Please note...

With changing requirements around overseas travel, please build the following steps into your travel preparations

  1. Check you are covered by the University's travel insurance policy and are aware of the exemptions;
  2. Ensure you are only taking items of IT to be used for University business which comply with minimum University IT security requirements;
  3. Ensure you are clear on UK export control regulations.
  4. Check your Visa requirements and particularly the rules for the USA and China. Visa applications can be processed through the travel agent or directly (and less costly) through CIBT.


Please note that Airbnb bookings are not permitted on UKRI funded awards due to Health and Safety concerns and should not be booked under any circumstances.

How to get in touch with Key Travel

The dedicated booking team can be contacted as follows:


Tel: 0161 819 9812

Standard business hours are 8.45am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

24/7 Emergency Assistance

The emergency out of hours number is 0207 8439602 - travellers should take this number with them on all trips noting that it should be used for emergency queries only.