Categories
Vacation Travel

O’ahu Insider Tips

Huanama Bay
Hanauma Bay

I just returned from a wonderful experience on O’ahu attending the O’ahu Destination Specialist Program. The program was hosted by the O’ahu Visitors Bureau and All About Hawaii Tours. We have arranged vacations to Hawaii for many of our clients. We love to give them “insider” tips that we learn from the locals to enhance their vacation experence.

Here are just a few “insider” tips I received while visiting O’ahu. “Aloha” When greeting someone with aloha you are offering them the breath of life in the “ha”. It is a very special offering and should not be expressed in a shout or by drawing it out as Alooooohaaaaa. Simply say “aloha”.
There are many historical sites in Honolulu that should not be overlooked. Iolani Palace is a must. It is the only Royal Palace on U.S. soil. Reservations are required. You should arrive early, before 11:00am, to be admitted into the basement of the palace to view the artifacts of King Kamehameha and Queen Iolani. It is easy to get there from Waikiki. Just take the purple city bus.
At King Kamehameha’s statue, just across from Iolani’s Palace, every Friday afternoon from 12:00pm to 1:00pm you will be entertained by Hawaiian music preformed by the oldest civic band in the United States. The band was organized by King Kamehameha to revere the Hawaiian music. The king loved music and parties. It was King Kamehameha that unified the Hawaiian Islands under one rule.

Sea Plane
Seaplane (de plane)

After the concert take a nice walk to China town and enjoy a lunch at one of the many fine dinning restaurants. We enjoyed very delicious pupus (appetizers) at Indigo restaurant located on the edge of China Town.
The highlight of my O’ahu experience was the one hour Island Seaplane tour. It is the only air tour in all of Hawaii recommended by both Frommers’s Travel Guide and the National Geographic Traveler. It was thrilling to fly over the island catching a bird’s eye view of the beautiful island of O’ahu. Some of the best photos I returned home with were taken from the seaplane. Interesting side note. The seaplane is the actual plane that was used in the TV series Fantasy Island. Remember the “de plane, de plane”? For an unforgettable experience you must take the Seaplane Tour of O’ahu.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

Christopherson Andavo Travel Partners with Concur’s Cliqbook

Christopherson is proud to announce a partnership with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative online corporate travel booking tool, Concur Cliqbook Travel. With the broadest selection of travel content delivered through an intuitive online experience, Concur helps organizations increase policy compliance by controlling costs before they occur.

  • Cliqbook is a powerful employee travel management solution that enables you to create travel bookings online.
  • Search vendor inventory through Christopherson’s valued affiliations.
  • Find, coordinate, and reserve your airline, rental car, hotel, rail, limo, or dining reservations for your business travel.
  • Comply with your company’s travel policy when booking your travel.

Concur offers on-demand Employee Spend Management services, enables organizations to globally control costs by automating the processes they use to manage employee spending. Concur’s end-to-end solutions seamlessly unite online travel booking with automated expense reporting, streamline meeting management and optimize the process of managing invoices, employee check requests and direct reimbursements.

Concur Screen Shot

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

“There Is No Place Like Home”

I often think about this phrase so eloquently spoken by Dorothy, you know, the star of The Wizard of Oz, and the truth behind it.  I love my home, and though vacations are nice, at some point, I’m ready to be home.

This being said, when walking into a restaurant, I like a warm and friendly feeling, like I’ve walked into the home of a friend.  When shopping at a department store I appreciate a friendly sales associate vs. a pushy salesman.  I am grateful for the bank teller that can answer my questions or quickly find someone who can.  What about checking into a hotel, isn’t it nice to be greeted by someone who makes you feel like you are the most important guest of the day.  Don’t you love the car rental agencies that let you pick out your own car?  For the accountant, a credit card company that makes it easy to reconcile your statement.  I think it’s all about feeling comfortable, much like the feeling you have when you walk in your own front door.  That’s the way I felt when I walked in the doors of Christopherson Business Travel as a new employee, like I’m part of the family.
It all boils down to the worn out phrase “Customer Service”.   As a new account manager with Christopherson Business Travel, I get to hear the glowing compliments from our customers.  It’s rare that I walk into a client’s office or speak with a client on the phone that they don’t make a point of telling me how much they appreciate the service they receive from the employees at Christopherson.  I know why this is…. You are at home with Christopherson Business Travel.  Oh, I realize there is always room for improvement, mostly because if we don’t keep our customers happy, someone else will.  That’s why I decided to share some thoughts regarding ‘pleasing and keeping the customer’.
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
ROGER STAUBACH
Well done is better than well said.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Customers are an investment. Maximize your return.
PeopleSoft ad
You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.
They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.

JERRY FRITZ
The way to gain a good reputation,
is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

SOCRATES
In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.
ALICE MACDOUGALL
In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
Doug Warner
Every great business is built on friendship.
JC Penney
Do what you do so well that they will want
to see it again and bring their friends.

WALT DISNEY

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Mobile Travel Possibilities

Like it or not, change is ongoing and since most of us do not like change, those that create it call it progress. But here is a change that you may like that really is progressive. Last year, 162 million smart phones were sold surpassing laptop computer sales for the first time. Smart phones can no longer be considered a trend or a convenience; in business they have become a necessity. Through the use of smart phones, users are managing their schedules, email, creating to-do lists and even paying their bills through mobile banking, so it is no surprise that travel is quickly becoming a popular mobile application. If you’re like many of our clients that employ the use of an online booking tool to make and manage your business travel, then your smart phone may be another option for managing travel. I’m not suggesting you make air, car and hotel reservations using your smart phone (although you could), but when you find yourself needing to extend your stay, smart phones are an option to change flights, re-book a hotel or car rental. You can even make dinner reservations. And not only that, there’s more. Most online booking tool companies either have their own expense reporting tool or have invested in relationships with expense reporting software providers so that many of your typical travel expenses and receipts are imported directly into an expense report before you get back into the office. Imagine this, your booking tool, your company credit card and your expense reporting tool all working together so when you travel the booking tool alerts the expense tool which then queries the credit card for charges made covering the travel dates and imports all charges into an expense report including e-receipts. It’s a beautiful thing. If you’d like to learn more, we’d like show you more so please contact Andavo or Christopherson Travel and ask about mobile travel applications

Categories
Travel News

New United Fare War

It looks like UA is trying to give WN a run for their money in the West. They have lowered some airfares where they compete head-on with Southwest. These are available for purchase from Christopherson Business Travel.
Here are some of the fares:
Sample fares shown are each-way based on required roundtrip purchase, taxes and fees apply:
Fares are valid for travel originating in either city below.
Los Angeles – Albuquerque $83*
Los Angeles – Boise $95*
Los Angeles – Fresno $92*
Los Angeles – Phoenix $47*
Los Angeles – Reno $72*
Los Angeles – Sacramento $47*
Los Angeles – Salt Lake City $80*
Los Angeles – San Francisco $47*
Los Angeles – San Jose, CA $47*
Los Angeles – Santa Barbara $73*
Los Angeles – Seattle $66*
Los Angeles – Tucson $80*
San Francisco – Burbank $102*
San Francisco – Orange County $47*
San Francisco – Palm Springs $76*
San Francisco – Portland, OR $142*
San Francisco – San Diego $47*
San Francisco – Seattle $47*
• Purchase by September 25, 2009.
• A 14-day advance purchase is required.
• Travel must be complete by November 18, 2009.
• Sale fares are valid for travel on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Fares will be higher for travel on other days of the week.
• A 3-night, Friday night or Saturday night minimum stay is required and a maximum stay of 30 days is permitted.
• Exceptions apply. See the fare facts for full rules and information.
• Additional checked baggage fees may apply. See U.S./Canada baggage information for details.
• Fares below are subject to availability and may not be valid on all flights/dates.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Preferred Partner of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

One of the advantages of doing business with Christopherson Travel is our unique partnerships we have with hoteliers around the world. Besides the benefits we receive with our Virtuoso membership, we are Salt Lake City’s only agency that is a preferred partner with Four Season’s Hotels.
What does this mean to you.  Room upgrades*, breakfast for two each morning,  personalized greeting by the manager and depending on where you stay you could receive resort or spa credits.  These value added enhancements will make your dollar go further when booking with Christopherson Travel.  Call us for more information and on luxury hotel packages that will make your dollar stretch further with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
*subject to availability upon arrival.

Categories
Travel News

Professional, Knowledgeable, and Experienced Travel Agents

Recently while preparing information for an RFP (request for proposal), I was amazed at how much experience Christopherson’s travel consultants possess. Of our 21 corporate agents located at our Salt Lake City Reservation Center:
• Average years of experience is 24
• This experience runs from one agent with 10 years up to another with 33 years
• Average tenure with Christopherson Business Travel is 10 years
• Agent tenure runs from one with 3 years up to another with 16 years experience
• Every corporate agent is experienced in international travel
What does this mean for you – the CFO, company travel manager, travel coordinator, or traveler?
• Cost savings through experience and special programs
• Assured accuracy within your reservations
• Hassle free experiences
• Peace of mind
Add Christopherson’s exclusive travel technology and pro-active consultative account management to the mix of our professional, knowledgeable, and experience travel consultants and you receive services from the best and the brightest travel people in the industry today.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Miles and miles and more miles.

As we are rapidly heading toward the end of the 3rd quarter, many frequent flyers are starting to look at their accounts and are wondering a couple of things about them.
First, on their main account, they are wondering if they will have sufficient mileage to achieve any status, followed by will they have enough to achieve the top tier status. If the answer is No to the first, then it’s a given that it is a No to the second. Why do travelers worry so much about their status? It is really simple, it impacts a wide variety of things that make the roadwarriors life a little easier. For example, most of the US airlines are now setting aside anywhere from 20% to 40% of all seats on a flight for those travelers who have status with that airline. That means that if you are a business traveler booking at the last minute and you don’t have status you either get a middle seat toward the back of the plane or you don’t have a seat assignment at all, which makes you the first person to be denied boarding when the flight is in an oversold mode. Other things that come from having status with an airline, complimentary upgrades on a space available basis and the ability to utilize faster lines at security screenings.
As the year starts winding down and travelers start looking for ways to get to that next tier, we, here at Christopherson Business Travel understand the importance of your status. It makes our job easier when you have status on an airline because then we can access the seats set aside for frequent flyers and it makes your life easier when you fly. Because of this, the agents will make a point of adding your primary carrier’s frequent flyer number to any flights you take on a partner carrier. For example if you generally fly Delta and you are on a Northwest flight, the agent will add your Delta number in the Northwest reservation. Likewise if you are a United frequent flyer and you are flying on US Airways, the agents will put your United number in the reservation.
If you find that you are short by a few miles of making that next level there are a number of options to consider.  One is that you may opt for connecting service instead of nonstop.  This strategy can add anywhere from a couple of hundred miles per trip to a thousand per trip depending on where you are traveling.  The downside is that connecting adds travel time to your trip.  Another strategy is the old standby, a mileage run.  This is where you take one or more low cost trips for the purpose of gaining enough qualifying miles so that you achieve the next tier of status.  I know that this strategy works however I would suggest that this should be the strategy of last resort.  Instead I would suggest checking your carrier’s website and seeing what promotions that they are running and see if any of those get you qualifying miles.  For example, right now Delta has a promotion in conjunction with Hilton Hotels where if you stay two nights, you get qualifying miles plus double miles. https://www.delta.com/skymiles/about_skymiles/skymiles_newsletter/general/index.jsp Or United has a promotion that helps you earn double elite qualifying miles between now and December 15th, 2009. http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1252,00.html?navSource=mppromotions&linkTitle=2air.  Most of these promotions require that you register prior to travel so be sure to read the fine print.
The other mileage related worry is keeping those relatively inactive accounts active.  You know the ones where you used to fly airline X all the time and you have a bunch of miles on them and now you aren’t flying them very often however you don’t want to lose those miles just because that airline has changed their policy to deleting accounts that have been inactive for 18 months or 24 months.  An easy way to keep an account active is to purchase something through one of the partners, be  it a car rental, a hotel stay or music from iTunes.  These all act to keep that account active.
Now is the time to start thinking about the end of the year and how many miles you need to achieve your desired status.

Categories
Travel Management

Travel Card Best Practices to Reduce internal Credit Card Fraud

  1. Issue travel cards to frequent travelers only
  2. Use special purpose cards for infrequent and non-employee travelers
  3. Establish and communicate the travel card policy
  4. Select and mandate the use of a single corporate card program
  5. Eliminate cash advances
  6. Leverage Virtual / Single Use Accounts
  7. Optimize liability / billing options
  8. Encourage use of hotel properties that provide e-folio data
  9. Implement an automated expense reporting system
  10. Conduct random audits and monitor & report on policy compliance

source: NBTA

Categories
Travel Management Vacation Travel

Travel Agents have Knowledge to Share

Funny how people react to events differently. A very long time ago , I worked was doing public relations work with a firm that brought health care services to remote rural communities. We typically flew to the different locations on small private planes either manned by the company’s own pilot and occasionally just a contracted pilot.
On one particular trip, we had a contracted pilot and we were flying to somewhere in North Dakota. The flight was bumpy. It was literally hailing on one side of the plane and raining on the other . The other passenger kept asking the pilot if he could just go lower or higher to get out of the storm –he just kept on flying through the storm.
Years later I ran into the other passenger. She went on about how awful the flight was. Scared her so much she rented a car to drive back home. She was amazed that I told her after I left that company I went into the travel agency business and have loved it for 29 years.
One characteristic you will find in each travel agent here at Christopherson Travel is a love of travel. Even with the many challenges in the travel industry, the agents enjoy visiting new places , experiencing new resorts, cruises, hotels and destinations. This experience offers our travelers a wealth of knowledge that goes into planning your next trip. If you are going to Los Angeles, Singapore or pretty much any destination, there is an travel agent at Christopherson Travel that is familiar with the area and can advise you on your trip.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Upward Inflection Points in Christopherson’s Growth Story

Christopherson was recently recognized as number 21 of the 50 fastest growing companies in Utah. The award is based upon sales growth over a five year period (2004-2008).
We were asked to explain some of our company’s big revenue jumps and milestones. A review of our growth history shows a number of significant upward inflection points in our growth story:

  • 1996 – We opened a second office, in downtown Salt Lake City, and increased our sales 33% the following year.
  • 1998 – We grew 80% over 1997. This was largely a result of us entering the “client dedicated on-site” sector of the travel management business. We opened up travel offices inside Evans and Sutherland and CHG Healthcare. Today we have over 30 client dedicated travel on-sites located from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale.
  • 2001 – We moved into our new 42,000 square ft. building on the week of September 11th 2001. We essentially lost the 4th quarter’s sales and still ended the year with 17% sales growth over 2000.
  • 2004 – We reached $100 Million in sales/bookings for the first time.
  • 2005 – We entered the Denver, Colorado market by purchasing Travel Connections, a travel agency located in downtown Denver. This contributed to our 26% sales growth over 2004.
  • 2007 – We merged with Andavo Travel, with offices located in Denver and San Francisco.
  • 2009 – Christopherson Andavo Travel was ranked by Business Travel News as the 14th largest TMC in the U.S.
Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Car Rentals – 5 Tips to Saving Money

As client consultants, the Christopherson Andavo account management teams are constantly looking for ways to improve our clients bottom line when it comes to travel spend.  Mark Kahler from About.com writes a great article on ways to save on car rental spend.  One of the best statements in the article is “car rental companies reward people who make life easy for them and penalize those who don’t know the ropes”.

5 Tips to Saving Money when renting your next car.

1- Beware of hidden fees and extras.
If the rental company has to top-off the gas tank after your return, you will pay a ridiculous price per gallon. Always ask that the car be filled up prior to your departure, and then bring it back full of gas.
FYI… other hidden fees are, something called a vehicle license fee that could be up to $20, a city surchage/Airport fee ranging from $0 to $30 depending on which city you are renting in, an “arena fee” to help build the local stadium or some other community structure, and the newest fee is an eco type fee that is usually a small fee to help the car rental company pay to keep their lights on and put gas in their shuttle tanks just to name a few.
2- Airport rentals are best avoided.
In the previous example, many hidden fees were listed.   It’s often very convenient to rent a car at the airport, but keep in mind that you’ll pay for the privilege. If you’re on a business trip, many times you can rent a car from your downtown hotel. If you can conveniently arrange a hotel shuttle or inexpensive public transportation from airport to front desk, chances are good you’ll receive a lower daily rate and there will be no airport concession fees to pay sometimes saving up to $20 per day.
3-  Decline the insurance.
Most travelers know this one, but there is a lot of pressure to change minds at the rental counter. Companies make big profits from insurance fees. Some clerks are trained to create as much anxiety as possible for people who decline it.  They’ll tell you their insurance closes expensive loopholes, which may or may not be true in your case.  They’ll tell you stories about how a customer’s auto insurance or credit card failed to cover damages during a recent accident.  There may be truth in the stories, but the odds are slim that you’ll need any of this coverage. It is very likely, however, that your auto insurance policy at home covers rentals as well. Call your agent to verify it.  Also check with your credit card company to see if using the card to pay for a rental provides collision coverage. In many cases, you’ll find it a positive response.
4-  In smaller offices, reserve the smallest car possible.
Most of us who rent cars don’t like driving compacts. Rental companies know this, and they usually order more mid-size and full-size cars.  If your destination is a smaller facility or non-hub airport, chances are good that they have only a few compacts. On some days, they might not have any compacts when customers arrive.  In that situation, if you’ve reserved a compact, they are obligated to give you a free upgrade. Many times, you’ll move up two categories for no additional charge.
5- Shop for “time” sensitive deals and special offers.
Many times, reserving a car for a week (even if it sits in a driveway or parking lot) is cheaper than trying to get a daily rate on a shorter rental. For that reason, it pays to try a number of time combinations when you consider your rental period.  Weekend rates are much less expensive than weekday rates.  Remember picking up a car rental after noon on Thursday until the end of day on Monday constitutes a weekend rate.  The savings could be up to 60% per day.
Christopherson Business Travel keeps on hand coupons available for car rental upgrades, percentage discounts and other special offers.  Give us a call!  You’ll drive away happy.
 

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel Wins the Alfred P. Sloan Award

Christopherson Business Travel has been selected as a winner of the 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in the Salt Lake City area!
This prestigious award recognizes employers that are successfully using workplace flexibility to meet both employer and employee goals. The scoring process is rigorous. First, employer responses are measured against national data from Families and Work Institute’s National Study of Employers. As a winner, Christopherson Business Travel ranks in the top 20% — the 80th percentile — of employers nationally in terms of flexible work programs, policies and culture. We will receive a customized benchmarking report in the coming months that compares our application to this national data. In addition, what makes this honor so special is that our employer responses have also been corroborated by employees!
The Salt Lake Chamber and the When Work Works national partners — Families and Work Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the Twiga Foundation all congratulated us on winning this award!
 

Categories
Vacation Travel

Baltic Cruise on the Emerald Princess

Linda Smith just returned from a 10 day Baltic Cruise on the Emerald Princess.  Visiting the ports of Copenhagen Denmark, Stockholm Sweden, Helsinki Finland, St. Petersburg Russia, Tallinn Estonia, Gdansk Poland, Warnemunde Germany and Helsingborg Sweden…8 Ports and 7 different types of  currency!   The season for cruising the Baltic is May through September.  This cruise is a great way to visit  the Scandinavian countries – each port is different and well worth seeing.