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Travel News

We’re the 21st fastest growing company in Utah

Christopherson Business Travel was named as the 21st fastest growing company in Utah by Utah Business Magazine at the Fast 50 event.

Categories
Travel Management

The Beauty of Full Service Travel

If text messaging while driving has been, or will be outlawed, do you think that means no laptop use while driving as well?  How many times are you driving in your car and you begin to create that mental list of things you need to accomplish, you know, the list that never actually gets written down on paper?  We’ve all been in those situations where we may not have a laptop at our fingertips, but 90% of us will have our cell phone with us.  This is one of many benefits that come from using a full service travel agency for your business and leisure travel.  The next time you are stuck in traffic and your mental list of ‘things to do’ comes to mind, and booking your next trip has surfaced to the top, you can take care of it easily using your Bluetooth and speed dial to call your favorite travel coordinator at Christopherson Business Travel.  There are times for on-line booking and on-line booking tools, but there is also savings to be gained by using your full service agency.
Using a full service travel agency can, in the long run, save time and money.  This savings can take place before, during and after your trip.  Though on-line booking tools can be convenient and are often known for obtaining low fares, your travel coordinator can provide you with those same fares and at the same time, give you hundreds of options for saving money that an on-line booking tool is unable to do.  Many times you are required to scroll through long lists of options and flights which can be very time consuming, and as the saying goes, ‘time is money’.  A travel agent also has the ability to add comments to your air, car and hotel reservations when you have special requests to ensure that your travel experience is a positive one.
Have you ever finished business early and haven’t wanted to spend Friday afternoon in a crowded and noisy airport?  If you have booked your travel arrangements with your full service travel agency it only takes one call to a familiar voice to make the necessary changes to your reservation so that you can avoid wasted time and enjoy more time at home.  I’ve always said that Dorothy penned it so well, “There’s no place like home”.   On-line booking tools at this time do not allow changes without contacting the airlines or a travel agent directly.
During your trip, when you may encounter problems with your air, car or hotel reservation, if you have used your full service agency, you have an advocate on your side.  There is nothing like having someone to call when a crisis arises and letting a seasoned travel coordinator resolve any issues that may arise with your travel arrangements.  This allows you to focus on the real purpose of your business trip, once again, saving time and money.
Truly, a computer will never be able to replace the human touch, but don’t say this out loud near the IT team.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

How HotelPrepayLogicTM saves you money

HotelPrepayLogicTM does more than catch incorrect billings on prepaid hotels, it prevents it!
Here’s an example chain of events and how HotelPrepayLogicTM can save you money on your prepaid hotel transactions:

  • Hotel punches in credit card number from the automatically generated fax (check out here for how the fax is generated and sent).
  • They enter in an amount over the agreed upon rate in the travel agency reservation system (the traveler can’t keep the hotel honest, he doesn’t know the rate, nor does he care in most cases – he’s the client).
  • The card is denied.
  • Hotel calls the travel department number listed on the fax (in big bold numbers on the fax – in three places).
  • Hotel explains the card is denied.
  • Travel department looks up what they tried to charge and compares to the booked GDS rate.
  • Travel department informs that the booked hotel rate in itinerary was $65 less.
  • Hotel (sheepishly) admits it was wrong and knows that it needs to charge the agreed upon amount in the future.

Before HotelPrepayLogicTM, you don’t find out until you try to reconcile your travel reports with your credit card statements. By that time you may have to write off the difference.
To see a description of what HotelPrepayLogicTM does, check out this blog entry.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Halloween at Disneyland save $400

For a ‘scary’ twist on you next visit to Disneyland here’s a ‘frightfully good deal!
Halloween Time at the Disneyland® Resort is coming! Spend all day playing in the Parks – enjoying special seasonal excitement, like the new Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy and new nightly fireworks show- then spend the night in the middle of the magic at one of the Hotels of the Disneyland® Resort.  You’ll have so much fun, it’s almost scary!  Package Includes:

  • 4 Nights at one of the  Hotels of the Disneyland® Resort
  • 4 Day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper * souvenir ticket
  • Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness ** – A special hour with Mickey and his pals!
  • Preferred Seating *** at select shows in Disney’s California Adventure Park
  • EXCLUSIVE! Collectible pin, lanyard and luggage tag (one per person)
  • Disney Character Call-Receive a “Welcome” call from a Disney Character when your Travel Agent books your package online (one per package)
  • Halloween decor Sept 25 to Nov 1.

Hurry! Packages can book up fast – purchase yours today!
*$400 savings is based on the non-discounted price for the same 4-night package, with 4-Day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® souvenir tickets, at a Disneyland® Resort Hotel for a family of 4 (3 adults and 1 child (age 39)). Offer is valid for bookings from 8/12/09 through 12/19/09 and for arrivals from 8/23/09 through 12/20/09 with travel being completed by 12/24/09. Not valid for previously booked rooms or for suites. Check for offers associated with different package lengths of stay. The Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® souvenir tickets expire 13 days after first use or 12/30/09, whichever occurs first, and each day of use of a ticket constitutes one full day of use. Tickets may not be sold or transferred for commercial purposes. The number of rooms allocated for this package may be restricted and subject to the Blockout Dates of 11/25/0911/27/09; advance reservations required. Not valid with group rates or any other discount or promotion. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. **Entitlement available for one morning throughout the length of your ticket on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, and days and times are subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply. ***Preferred seating and show capacity is limited and subject to availability.
Walt Disney Travel Company CST# 1022229-50 Disney DLRSWDTC-09-11890

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

Introducing HotelPrepayLogicTM

A lot of our clients need to send credit card form of payment information to hotels for travelers who don’t have corporate cards. In travel speak this is called “prepaid hotels.”
There are a lot of reasons our clients do this – contractor or interview travel, an employee doesn’t have enough personal credit to put on their own card, they’re paying for a client and don’t want to bother the traveler with reimbursement, etc.
Prepaid hotels can be problematic in a couple areas.

  • First, hotels often require a front and back copy of the credit card to be charged. This requires a lot of manual work. You have to copy both sides of the card, manually add all the traveler’s information from the reservation system, find the fax number, print it out, and walk over to the fax machine to send it. Very time consuming.
  • Another problem is the credit card often will sit on the fax machine, at the hotel in a high traffic area (say the lobby). That can be bad if you’re using a corporate travel card with a $20 million dollar limit. It opens you up for a lot of fraud.

That’s why we built HotelPrepayLogicTM. We automatically (some would say automagically!) pull all traveler and hotel information from the GDS (global distribution system) APIs, create a one time use credit card through your credit card company (if we support them – but our list is growing), generate a PDF that includes an image of the front and back of the one time use credit card and then finally fax it. The fax is monitored and when determined successful it sends an email notification and documents the itinerary history in the GDS. It’s like science fiction, right?
The one time use credit card is locked down to a credit limit of just over room and tax and set to expire a few days after the traveler checks out. This limits fraud exposure. It also makes the travel agents or housing departments much more efficient. Both really good things.
If you want HotelPrepayLogicTM you have to become a client (but I promise, that is also a very, very good thing).
Check out an example PDF that is automatically faxed to a hotel (yah, we blacked out some of the information).

Categories
Travel News

Coming to the Skies this Fall

As we are fast approaching the autumn travel season, the one where family vacations are over and it’s back to business travel, let’s take a look at what we can expect.
This autumn I expect that we will see a continuation of the current trend of the airlines reducing capacity and slowing increasing the average airfare. Yes, there will still be deals and there will be some markets that see increased capacity however overall I expect that there will be a decrease. This decrease will show up in a couple of ways. First, elimination of some flights and fewer frequency of flights in some markets. For example, Delta has already announced that they are eliminating the Salt Lake City to Tokyo nonstop for the season. At the same time and not as widely heralded, they have reduced the frequency of the Salt Lake City to Paris nonstop from 7 days a week to 5 days a week, starting September 1st. Equally surprising is the reduction in the frequency of flights on the new route between LAX and Sydney Australia, which started at daily service and is already being reduced to 6 times a week. It’s not just Delta that is doing this, United has reduced service between Denver and London Heathrow and the other airlines are doing the same thing.
The second way that the airlines are reducing capacity is by switching to smaller aircraft. For example, United used to fly nothing but 737 or A319’s between San Francisco and Salt Lake City, now they are using regional jets for most of the flights. On the international front you see it where airlines like Qantas and Emirates have stopped flying their new A380, double deckers to and from the US and replaced these aircraft with 747-400s and 777s. Taking that step reduces the number of seats available on any flight by as much as 35%.
What does that mean to the business traveler? It means that the already crowded skies will become even more crowded and that getting your advance seat assignments will be more important than ever. Additionally, it will mean that business airfares will increase as the number of empty seats decreases. It will benefit travelers to plan ahead in terms of cost and availability.
This autumn will see an increase in the rates that travelers pay for car rentals. Additionally, the number of hidden surcharges will continue to climb. Don’t think that the “Energy Recovery Fee” is going away and that it isn’t going to develop new siblings. Think of baggage fees applied to car rentals. Why car rental rates will increase is simple, demand is up and supplies are down. There are fewer car rental agencies and their fleets are smaller. This means that the rates will go up.
The bright spot will be in the cost of lodging. In most markets the rates will either hold steady or slip a little bit lower. The hotel industry continues to struggle with overcapacity in many markets and this means that business travelers shouldn’t have to pay so much. It’s much harder for the lodging industry to reduce capacity on a temporary basis since hotels are permanent structures.
In order to get the maximum value out of a travel budget, one should utilize the expertise of Christopherson Business Travel’s experienced agents, who have access to a variety of discounts on airfare, car rentals and hotels. Our agents have the resources, skills and tools to help you reduce your expenses when you travel.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Could You Be A Christopherson Andavo Client?

If you answer, “Yes, I want this service,” to any of the statements listed below, you should contact us immediately!!

  1. Have professional travel consultants available 24/7.
  2. Be able to book travel whenever and wherever.
  3. Have the flexibility and convenience to book a trip with an agent or through an online booking tool of choice.
  4. Provided one place to view all my past, present and future travel, all my department’s past, present, and future travel, plus travel for the entire company in one location, online with one singe sign-on.
  5. Know when an unused ticket is available, if it is reused, and if not, why.
  6. International travel specialists with 20+ years experience managing complex itineraries and providing special services worldwide.
  7. Re-check hotel and car bookings a few days prior to arrival date for lower rates and then rebooking them.
  8. Receive detailed and/or summary report on savings found by my agent(s).
  9. Special hotel and car discounts available through an agent OR booked online.
  10. In the case of an emergency, know within minutes the detailed whereabouts of your company’s travelers worldwide to act quickly.
  11. Proactive and consultative account managers working hard to maximize your ROI.
  12. Thorough meeting, incentive and conference planning.

Christopherson Business Travel is ranked the 14th largest travel agency in the nation (by Business Travel News) and therefore have exceptional relationships with ALL vendors so when you need some extra support or challenges need extra assistance – we definitely can help!

Categories
Travel Management

Top Ten Tips on how Travel Managers and Travel Programs can gain from their new empowerment:

  1. Seize the Day
    This could be the best chance you will ever have to persuade senior management to adopt your ideas on cost control.  Don’t Waste it.
  2. Make the business case
    Use simple dashboards to cost out how much your organization is spending on travel now and how much can be saved by each specific action you are proposing.  Example:  benchmark the average fare on key routes for tickets bought 0-7 days in advance against the average fare for tickets bought 8-14 days in advance.
  3. Push for investment…
    …but be realistic.  Even if you can prove a clear, quick return on investment in an expense tool, video-conferencing system or even additional member of staff, you may be told to wait a year.
  4. Utilize Demand Management
    A total travel ban threatens business continuity, but failure to cut costs is not an option either.  The role of the travel manager has therefore become far more strategic, identifying which travel is unnecessary and lowering cost per trip for travel which is necessary.  This is smart demand management.
  5. Improve your strategic value – explain the big picture
    Senior Management does not always understand the consequences of its decision about travel.  Boost your strategic importance by showing them the bigger picture.  Explain why Corporate liability is better for the organization.  Show that rebust expense approval and reimbursement process would also have to be put in place to avoid damaging employee relations through late compensation with individual liability.
  6. Expand your sphere of influence
    Electronic alternatives to travel are increasingly on the radar as a major source of savings.  Make the case to senior management why their should be a travel management tool.  To make strategic savings and ensure business continuity, you need management control through integration with the travel program.
  7. Tackle meetings once and for all
    Seize the opportunity to introduce strategic meetings management if this does not already exist in your organization.  Not only is it a major source of potential savings, but concerns about excessive corporate spending make it a risk management issue too.
  8. Build a relationship with the finance department
    Finance is taking an increasing interest in travel for reasons of both cost control and risk management, which can only enhance the status of travel managers. Learn to speak CFOs’ language (depreciated costs, accruals, etc.), talk straight and find ways to reduce risk.
  9. Maintain a balance
    Even in a turndown, travel management is not all about saving money. Remind senior management that traveler safety and security is important too and carries a quantifiable risk.
  10. It pays to advertise
    Travel Managers are lousy at blowing their own trumpet. If you achieve success in reducing expenditure, tell everyone in your company about it!  And, show the data.   www.airplus.com

If you would like more information about how to develop your Corporate Travel Program, please contact Christopherson Business Travel:  www.christophersontravel.com

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Holiday Travel

Tis the season to start making plans for the holidays. Planning ahead can ease  stress and allow you time to enjoy the festivities of the holidays.
Here are a few tips to make your holiday travel go smoothly:

  • If you are flying, review the Transportation Safety Authority’s list of permitted and prohibited items for air travel.
  • Make a  list of items you will be taking including gifts.  Collect all gift receipts and put them in an envelope.
  • Review your itinerary and reconfirm all flights 24 hrs in advance.
  • Make a list of all the hotels and places that you will be staying at including phone numbers and give to family.
  • Make arrangements with neighbors, friends or family members to watch over your house.
  • Check the average temperature for your destination and plan your wardrobe accordingly.  May want to get clothes dry cleaned.

Next are Ideas and specials for Holiday travel:
 

  • Disneyland and Disneyworld have special parades, fireworks,  and celebrate with the Disney Characters in a holiday theme.
  • Royal Caribbean is offering Holiday sailings on their “decked”out flyer below.
  • Celebrity Cruises is offering “Christmas in August” specials in the below flyer.
  • Trafalgar has a special brochure for their magic of fall, winter, spring rates. See brochure below. There are many more tours  than listed.
  • Also travel gift certificates can be purchase for any amount good toward future travel.

“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” –- Hodding Carter
 

Categories
Travel Management

Christopherson Travel Offers Superior Service

Expect great service when you call a Christopherson Travel agent.  Here is just a sampling of what our clients say about our travel agents:
“Thank you for your INCREDIBLE patience getting his flights booked. I can’t believe how gracious you have been over this fiasco. We truly appreciate everything you have done. ”  (Heather)
“She always goes out of her way to help in any way I need, no matter what the crisis. And let me tell you, we have a crisis regularly!!! I sure appreciate all she does for me. ” (  Rena)
An incredible asset to your company. She always has a good attitude, is VERY knowledgeable, and is unbelievably patient with us.” ( Mary )
“I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate him. He cheerfully fulfills my every request – no matter how random, impromptu, or difficult. I can always count on him to not only respond quickly, but with a smile and a kind word (and of course, he always finds me the best flights). It’s clear to me that he cares about his clients and wants to give us the best service. ”  (Cathy)
“I just wanted to thank you for all that you do for our company and tell you that I love Christopherson Travel and Melissa is such a great employee. I thoroughly enjoy working with her and other employees at Christopherson. You guys are the best.”  (Alisa)
Thanks again for all of your help. You are a miracle worker, and you make my life so much easier!!  ( Kathleen)

Categories
Travel News

Welcome to our newest client dedicated on-sites!

Christopherson Business Travel manages over 30 client dedicated on-site travel management programs. While some agencies discourage this service configuration in favor of call centers, Christopherson continues to implement and develop this service model, often incorporating online booking tools to meet our customers overall goals.
We are excited to welcome our two newest on-site accounts Intermountain Healthcare and Autoliv North America! Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City, with over 30,000 employees. Intermountain is the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West, serving the healthcare needs of Utah and southeastern Idaho residents. Autoliv is a worldwide leader in automotive safety, a pioneer in both seatbelts and airbags, and a technology leader for automotive safety.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Preferred Hotel Contracts: Theirs, Ours, AND Yours!

Theirs –  Christopherson Business Travel is an affiliate of BCD Travel the third largest travel management company in the world.  By participating in their affiliate program we are provided with additional benefits and opportunities to enhance your travel program.  The BCD Hotel Program is one of those benefits.  Hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program are obligated to offer the BCD rate code at parity (equal to or less than any other travel management group or channel).  Over 93 percent of the hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program offer BAR (Best Available Rate) pricing, with a small percentage of the hotel chains offering an additional five to ten percent discount off BAR.  With over 29,500 BCD participating hotels in 155 countries, Christopherson Business Travel has you covered!
Ours – Christopherson Business Travel’s local negotiated hotel rates are among the best in the industry.  Since we are headquarted in Salt Lake City we have over sixteen negotiated hotel rates in the Salt Lake area that we offer clients that don’t have the room night requirements to acquire preferred rates on their own.  Hotels participating in the Christopherson hotel program offer lower rates, usually 20% to 40% off the lowest advertised corporate rate, guaranteed quality enhanced with amenities such as parking, breakfast, internet, a delicious in room amenity made up especially for Christopherson travelers, double hotel points and double airline mileage points all at no additional cost to you!  We are excited to announce that similar hotel rates and benefits are being negotiated by our offices in Denver and California.
Yours –  As part of travel management, it is our responsibility that your bottom line reflects the greatest savings possible.  If the number of room nights booked by your company presents the opportunity to negotiate an individual hotel contract for you, our account management team will go in with vim and vigor to obtain the best deal possible based on commitment level.  As savvy negotiators our approach is one of aggression without being over the top.  We will get you the best rate loaded with as many amenities that we possibly can.  Locking in these rates for two or more years is also an added feature that we negotiate.  When the economy turns around you will still be getting the benefits of your low negotiated rate.
KEEP IN MIND – All three of these options can be used at any time.  We present the value, you pick the option, and the “rest”  is up to you.   Sweet Dreams!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

AirBank® Connector for MySabre Enhancements

AirBank® is one of our most successful proprietary products preserving almost $1 million dollars worth of our clients unused tickets every month. We built it – from scratch. Like most unused ticket products, it automatically catalogs your unused tickets. But it doesn’t just stop there.
After all, what good is cataloging those unused tickets if your agent or on-line booking tool isn’t reusing them? Most agencies catalog your unused tickets in a profile or a spreadsheet and then do nothing with them until they expire. Not us. We store them in a centralized database and expose them to the agents and on-line booking engines via a web service and integrated point-of-sale tools.
We recently just released an upgrade to our AirBank Connector for MySabre with a more advanced ticket display table to help your agents make informed exchange decisions and reuse your tickets more effectively.
When an agent books a reservation, and you have an unused ticket, this is what pops up! Awesome, no?

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

What Are Your Rights?

Given that we are halfway through the summer travel season and we are seeing packed flights and in many cases oversold flights. What happens when everyone shows up for the flight and there are more passengers than seats? Is it first come, first serve? Or do you have to take whatever the airline offers? Here is what the Department of Transportation has to say about your rights and what your options are under these circumstances. http://airconsumer.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm#overbooking.  If you are in Europe or on a flight going to Europe or flying on a European carrier, then the European Union rules may apply.  They can be found at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004R0261:EN:HTML:NOT. There are some significant differences between the US DoT and the EU regulations and how they impact you.
I would suggest it is worth one’s time to get to know these regulations as they may be the difference between getting where you want to go and sitting in the airport waiting.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Hawaii – Fall and Winter Deals

Whether a new visitor or returning to your favorite island, Hawaii is always the perfect destination.  Hawaii is great for families, honeymooners, couples, any special occasion, or simply a getaway.  There is no better place to bond than on the islands.
Hawaii offers an island for everyone, relaxation to adventure.  Visit Oahu’s Waikiki beach and Polynesian Cultural Center.  The island of Kauai offers a zip line expedition and Waimea Canyon.  The Big Island’s active volcano Kilauea is a must.  Maui offers whale watching in the winter months and also the cultural “Ulalena” musical.  Depending on your time in Hawaii I suggest a  tour by air, a day enjoyed in the water, and also a cultural event.  Make sure to take the time and enjoy the incredible tropical beauty and Aloha spirit.
Pamper yourself at one of the many Luxurious Spa and Wellness Resorts.  You will find World Class Golf Courses.  Think of Hawaii for your next successful meeting or convention.  Another great way to visit the islands is on a 7 night Hawaii Cruise
Great values being offered to Hawaii.  Airline discounts.  Car upgrades.  Many of the resorts are offering free nights plus breakfast for two, free upgrades, and resort credits.  Please call for information and let us custom your one island or multi island vacation to Hawaii / 801-327-7600

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

AirSelect® – Marries personalized agent service with the efficiencies of online

Christopherson’s AirSelect® Flight Options Matrix was created by our in-house IT developers specifically in response to meet the needs of one of our top corporate booking agents, John Thomson.
John had his larynx removed as a result of throat cancer. We were all devastated. As a company we made a commitment to him, to find a way to protect his career. Because of this commitment, we needed to find a way for him to communicate travel options to his clients in an efficient manner. Our technology team created this technology, specifically for John. Something magical happened; John’s productivity increased. His clients loved the visual options and they were able to keep his personal service and expertise! Oh, and John was able to keep his job.
We created this solution because it was the right thing to do. It worked so well, we improved it, we branded it and we recently receive trademark approval from the U.S. Patent Office! We now make  it available to all of our full service clients.
PS: John is now the operations manager of our Salt Lake City business travel reservation center!