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Travel Management Travel News

Fees, Fees and more Airline Fees

In the beginning we may have been caught off guard by ancillary fees charged by some of the major airlines, Delta, United, Continental, American Airlines and others, but what is happening now? Are we learning to accept them, ignore them or just plain hate them?
According to a study by ProMedia Travel, many corporations are reporting that anywhere from 5% – 15% of their corporate travel budgets have been consumed by airline ancillary fees. What appears to have happened is that many airlines have ‘unbundled’ their fees, but have not lowered airfare. Consumers are okay with paying fees for items or services that add value to their travel experience, however, they are not okay with paying fees for what use to be included in the cost of their airline ticket such as baggage fees. Checking baggage is an essential part of travel and most people feel should be included in the price of the ticket, the quoted price by the airline, which it isn’t.
Several carriers, such as JetBlue and Southwest, are charging additional fees, but these fees are for services that add value while fares remain reasonable and a checked bag is included. This has allowed these airlines to generate revenue while at the same time keeping their customers happy. JetBlue does this by charging additional for seats with extra leg room and their TruBlue program has no blackout dates, you can use points to book any seat on the plane, points don’t expire and change and cancellation fees are reasonable. Though the boarding process with Southwest can be challenging at times, their philosophy is similar, they don’t charge change or cancellation fees and neither airline charges for the first checked bag, and they use this as a very effective advertising tool.  These airlines are actually turning million dollar profits while the major carriers are reporting multi million dollar losses.  When will the major airlines realize that there is something to be learned from JetBlue and Southwest Airlines?
We don’t necessarily need to become a prisoner to ancillary fees. Travel managers can try using the increased cost of doing business with the airlines as a tool during contract negotiations. The Department of Transportation could make a ruling mandating that airlines display what every passenger considers to be part of a reasonable airline ticket, and then allowing us to ‘opt out’ of items like a first check bag.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

HotelPrepayLogic® Christopherson’s solution for prepaying hotels

HotelPrepayLogic®
HotelPrepayLogic® is a solution we developed to address prepaid hotel inefficiencies and fraud abuse
A unique one-time credit card is issued for the prepaid transaction with a spend limit.
Traveler has confirmed and prepaid accommodations with limits upon incidental charges as defined by their travel policy/travel manager.

  • Eases hotel accounting & reconciliation
  • Improved hotel billing accuracy
  • Increased travel agent productivity
  • Customizable fax and email template
Categories
Travel News

There’s A New Sheriff In Town!

In case you hadn’t noticed and honestly how many of us really pay attention to such things, there is a new sheriff in town, okay, maybe not a sheriff but the Department of Transportation (DoT) has certainly made some big changes in the way it does business.  In the past year, it has handed out more fines to the airline industry than it had in any of the previous 5 years.  Most of the fines were levied for violations relating to safety and advertising, yes, the DoT has been after the airlines to tell the truth in their ads.  You know the ads that say fly from New York City to Honolulu for $99.00* one way.  And when you finally find the information listed under the asterisk it has something about based on a round trip fare, plus taxes, fees and surcharges.  Late last year the DoT fined United for misleading advertising and they just caught them again.  So what you say, well, I have to agree with you to a degree, the amounts aren’t big enough to really hurt however I think that they are an indication of which way the wind is blowing.
If that were the only thing happening at the DoT, I wouldn’t be too excited about it.  The really big change is their approach to consumer complaints.  This website allows consumers to file an electronic complaint with the DoT instead of sending one in via the mail. It also has links to allow you to review the monthly data about the airlines performance, or the contact information for each airlines customer relations manager or my favorite one, instructions on how to take an airline to small claims court. This one is especially interesting since the airlines have always maintained that they are immune from action in anything but Federal Court because they are covered by the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. With the Federal Government saying that it’s okay to take them to small claims court I have to wonder what the result will be.
What does all of this mean for you, the traveler? I think the biggest thing is that the DoT has become a little more consumer friendly and less aloof and removed from what impacts the individual consumer.  This should lead to a better balance between the airline industry and the consumer.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

New Respect for TSA

In our recent Utah Business Travel Association’s January luncheon, Ronald Malin, Deputy Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration, DHS, spoke to us about TSA. To my amazement, he brought along a number of prohibited and actually confiscated items they had found during the past 7 days at the Salt Lake International Airport. Here’s the short list:
• A small portable propane tank (full) for a camp stove
• A taser, stun-gun type item
• Toy gun exact size and look of a very dangerous one
• Large, heavy crescent wrench
• An item shaped and similar in appearance to a hand grenade
• Belt buckle with shape and look of a grenade
• Fire crackers and other fire works
• Ammunition, sometimes just a few but often times numerous bullets
• Knives of different shapes and size
There was also a very long, large knife enclosed in a leather case that was actually attached to a person on his belt as he entered security. Ron also passed around the room a man’s shoe they use for training showing what it looks like when a bomb is placed in a shoe. It could have come from any male’s foot in the room!
During Ron’s presentation he also explained the different levels of security; as to how, why, where they are stationed, some even trained to closely watch the behavior of oncoming passengers making it very clear to me the importance of it all. There of course were some questions about the Christmas attempted bombing. We talked about the “human error” aspect. Ron further explained that at the Salt Lake International Airport, TSA employees are stationed to monitor at all times with no one being left alone at certain stages to more carefully avoid as much human error as possible. I seriously felt very lucky to have our Utah Airports under the direction of Ron. Yes, truly a new respect for TSA.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Your next Business Meeting or Personal Getaway

I heard about the Red Mountain Spa in Ivins, Utah for many years but was skeptical about a spa vacation.  An invitation came my way and I decided to give Red Mountain a try.  From the moment I arrived and throughout the entire weekend I was thoroughly impressed by the entire experience!  The location is beautiful, excellent service, delicious meals, and a wide variety of fitness and wellness activities. The highlight of each day is a morning hike through Snow Canyon state park.  And although I am not a frequent spa goer, I have to mention the relaxing time spent in the dome shaped spa overlooking the red rocks of Snow Canyon.  The entire experience exceeded my expectations!
Guests at the resort from were from all across the country and they too were giving Red Mountain rave reviews. 
If you’re looking for a business meeting location or personal retreat to recharge for the new-year; consider Red Mountain Spa the second largest destination spa in the country.  Red Mountain serves as an excellent base for all sorts of adventures in southeastern Utah. Guests can stay in either stylish hotel-style rooms (renovated in 2006) or condo-like villas (my personal recommendation).  Amazing views, terrific staff, and on-site activities including fitness classes, special events, indoor and outdoor pools, guided hikes on nearby trails, and a terrific restaurant focused on healthy cuisine.
Whatever you’re personal or business travel needs, the professionals of Christopherson Business Travel are available to serve you.
www.redmountainspa.com
www.christophersontravel.com

Categories
Travel News

2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyer’s Cost Forecast

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has provided the following travel industry
2010 Forecasts for the following ranges for changes in rates/fares:

Average U.S. Domestic Rates/Fares

Average rates/airfares 2009 % Change expected for 2010
AIR $ 299 * -2% to +3% *
HOTEL $ 136 -2% to -8%
CAR RENTAL $   46 -1% to -3%

* Airline ancillary fees may increase the cost of an airline ticket by 30% or more

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more.  That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010.  Another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year.

Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010.  Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas:  number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).
NBTA President & CEO, Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M, CMM said, “Travel management is once again quickly responding to shifting business cycles to help companies optimize their travel investments to maximize profits.  As the economic recovery begins taking hold in 2010, companies will take advantage of low travel costs to send employees on the road in greater volumes, thus fueling the recovery.”
Banikowski continued.  “The uptick in business travel in 2010 will take place within the framework of a new corporate culture in terms of travel.  In the “new normal”, we see stronger travel mandates, greater use of pre-trip approval and audits, tighter restrictions on premium class travel, more focus on travel ROI, and enterprise-wide strategic meetings management.”
In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies

source:  www.nbta.org

Categories
Travel News

Online Check-in Voted “Business Travel Innovation of the Year”.

Business travelers have voted online check-in as the ‘innovation of the decade’; followed closely by Wi-Fi, flat beds, notebooks and the Eurostar.
View this link for full article:
http://www.ftnnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8284&Itemid=31

Categories
Travel News

Utah Discontinues Online Driver License Renewal And Asks For Positive ID

Effective January 1, 2010, ALL applicants for a Utah driver license (original, renewal or duplicate) or Identification card will need to provide:

  • Original or copies certified by the issuing agency showing evidence of your identity
  • Legal/lawful presence
  • Social Security Number or ITIN
  • Two proofs of Utah residence address, if it is different than the address on your current Utah record; and
  • Evidence of name change, if applicable

For more information you may visit  the web page or call Customer Service at 801-965-4437 or toll free at 888-353-4224. Applications will not be processed without all the required documents. Online renewals are no longer an option so drivers need to make time to apply in person for renewals.
Travelers need to be sure to be aware of this change as a valid driver license is required for travel by air and a requirement for car rentals.
Source and additional information can be found at www.driverlicense.utah.gov

Categories
Travel News

TSA Heightened Security Measures

On Dec. 25, 2009, an individual on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 set off a device and was subdued by passengers and crew. Andavo/Christopherson Travel and TSA wishes to acknowledge the heroic efforts of those individuals.
As a result of this incident, TSA has worked with airline and law enforcement authorities, as well as federal, state, local, and international partners to put additional security measures in place to ensure aviation security remains strong. Passengers traveling domestically and internationally to U.S. destinations may notice additional screening measures.
We encourage passengers to remain observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officials.
Your Andavo/Christopherson travel counselor has the latest updates on restrictions and changes. You can also go to the TSA site. http://www.tsa.gov/
If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact your Andavo/Christopherson Account Manager.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Wishing you could be somewhere warm right now?

It is a great time to travel to that longed for warm destination. There are many discounts available. Instead of spending hours upon hours searching online for the best vacation value, just pick up the phone and call one of Christopherson’s Vacation Travel Advisors. We receive numerous promotional offers daily. These offers are for you who are looking for a great value in a vacation.

Just a few examples:

  • Free 5 category upgrades on cruises.
  • Up to $1500.00 off on a transatlantic cruise
  • A free day at Disneyland for a day of service
  • Disney World giving up to $750.00 gift cards
  • Shipboard credits from $100.00 to $300.00
  • AND MANY MANY MORE

Call today to take advantage of these time sensitive offers.

801-327-7600 or 866-327-7600

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

TravelAcumen® – Travel Manager Suite

TravelAcumen® provides the Travel Manager access to robust travel management tools.

TravelAcumen
TravelAcumen

Over the years, Christopherson Andavo Travel has created a powerful group of proprietary technology tools for travel management. Most of these tools were developed to provide a solution to specific challenges that our clients presented to us.
We realized we needed a branded, single-sign-on portal that would provide travel managers keen insight into their travel program, all in real time.
We have now taken our technology to a whole new level by integrating ALL of our technology tools into two powerful travel portals:
AirPortal® ? Traveler Communication Suite
Communicates better with travelers to improve their travel experience

TravelAcumen® ? Travel Manager Suite
Reduces a company’s travel spend through improved travel management

  • AirBank® – Audit, catalog, enforce and report reuse of your unused tickets
  • Hotel & Car Re-Check® – Monitors lodging and transportation reservations for lower rates
  • HotelPrepayLogic™ – Secure payment for a hotel guest’s prior to check-in
  • ValueLogic® – Measure the ROI on your travel management program
  • SecurityLogic® – Global security and crisis management platform
  • ProfileLogic® – Advanced profile management
  • DataLogic® – Travel spend analytics