Categories
Travel Management

Managing Your Hotel Policy

Managing a hotel program can be a daunting task, but an unmanaged hotel program can be costly to a company’s travel budget.  Travelers don’t seem to want to be told where to stay or how much they can spend, but mandating a hotel program can provide savings in several ways.  If you arrange travel through a travel agency ask them for assistance in creating a company travel policy or fine tuning your existing travel policy.
With a detailed travel policy and the assistance of your travel agency, you will be able to ensure that your travelers are booking preferred hotels and you will be able track your hotel expenditures by hotel property and hotel chain.  With this valuable information your travel agency/account manager will be able to build relationships and negotiate rates on your behalf.
Providing preferred supplies with anticipated revenue you should see lower rates, additional amenities that would typically come with a price tag attached and better service from hotel staff.  As your travelers become familiar with your hotel program and follow the guidelines presented, and if permitted to join hotel reward programs, their experiences will improve and they will soon see personal benefits and the overall value to the company.
If your current travel agency does not provide this service through a dedicated account manager, please feel free to contact us.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Categories
Travel News

Strike Season is upon us.

It seems like every few years the global airline industry undergoes a series of labor actions, ranging from work slowdowns to strikes.  It would appear that wheel has turned and we are back to a period of strikes pending.  Here are some of the ones that may impact your travel plans.
The pilots at TAP Airlines, the national carrier for Portugal, are planning a strike for 6 days, starting March 26th. 
The flight attendants at Air France are calling a strike from March 28th through March 31st and don’t be surprised if other unions support the strike, so this one could impact operations at the international airport in Paris.
The second round of a strike by the cabin crews at British Airways will be happening March 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th.
Those are the big ones in the near term, in Europe.  Closer to home there are ongoing informational pickets by United pilots who are upset with management’s plan to operate flights as United flights using aircraft from Ireland’s national carrier, Aer Lingus, but using pilots who are not employees of either United or Aer Lingus.  So far there hasn’t been any serious discussions concerning a strike by the employees of United.
American Airlines is facing a possible labor action by their flight attendants.  Reportedly, management walked out on the talks and the union is reputedly looking at the option of requesting that the National Mediation Board to declare the talks to be at an impasse and to allow the cooling off period to start so that the union can call a strike.  Depending on the NMB reaction, a strike could begin within 30 days of the start of the cooling off period. 
Additionally, United, US Airways, Continental and Southwest are all in talks with various unions representing their employees.  Some of these talks will be very contentious due to concessions made in the past or due to unresolved issues from the mergers that created the current airline.
It could be a long, hot summer with travel plans being disrupted by labor actions.  We will endeavor to keep all of our customers informed of potential labor issues and what to do if caught up in these actions.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Top 5 Don’ts of visiting Paris!

Top 5 Don’ts of Visiting Paris!
1. Commit a fashion faux pax…For starters, don’t ever, even in the sweltering dog days of summer, think about wearing a pair of shorts unless you really want to be treated like a hapless tourist. While you’re at it leave those gleaming white running shoes at home too!
It’s not about dressing to the nines, just a clean coordinated look. Always make sure that things fit the way they should (no sagging or squeezing).
2. Don’t spend all day at the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay. Even though they house some famous works of art they aren’t your only or sometimes your best options.  Especially with the crowds they attract.
Try instead, some of the lesser-known museums. the Musée de l’Orangerie houses Monet’s famous Nypmpheas (water lily) murals and the Musée Rodin, is one of the most romantic museums in all of  Paris.
3. Get around town in a cab. Taxis can be hard to come by and can’t be flagged down on the street (you need to either call ahead or find a taxi stand). Plus the famous snarled traffic can cause delays while the meter ticks away.
Walking the city in order to experience it are words to live by in Paris.  The center of Paris is only a couple of miles wide, perfect for walking off that extra croissant. When going longer distances, hop on the Metro. From any given spot in Paris, your never more than 500 yards from the nearest Metro station.
4. Book the cheapest hotel.  Finding a decent Paris hotel for a reasonable price can bring even the savviest travelers to the brink of despair.  Plain and simple.. Paris hotels are expensive.  You might find a screaming deal at a big chain hotel and think you’ve got it made, but once you’re sitting in a beige I-could-be-anywhere cube on the outskirts of town, you’ll realize that you’re missing out on the Parisian atmosphere in the city center.
Talk to your travel agent about staying in some of the up and coming hipper areas of town, but you’re still not out of the loop.  Expect to pay a little bit more, but the savings in time and money getting around will make up the pain in your wallet.  Location, Location, Location is everything in all European capital cities.  If staying longer there are furnished apartments the can be found at a reasonable rate.
5.  Buy into stereotypes.  Yes, we’ve all heard plenty about Parisians’ being rude.  It’s true that Parisians are more reserved than most Americans and are less apt to break into wide, toothy grins every time the meet someone new.  Theirs is not a culture of instant BFFs.  But don’t assume that their reserve behavior is an act of rudeness.
Be mindful of your manners.  Do learn a few French words and phrases.  Even if your delivery is less than perfect, the fact that you’re trying will win points.  I always tell my clients, when walking into a store or restaurant a greeting of “Bonjour, Madam” will do wonders for your status there.  Note that French people tend to talk softly – their voices never carry in the streets, on the Metro, or even when they’re sitting a the next table.
-Christina Henry de Tessan @ Concierge.com

Categories
Travel News

Delta Shuttle to Launch Service between New York LaGuardia and Chicago O’Hare

Delta Airlines announced plans today to launch hourly shuttle service between New York LaGuardia and Chicago O’Hare beginning June 10, 2010.
The announcement was made today as part of the carrier’s decision to replace the existing less frequent service between its New York hub and Chicago’s Midway Airport.
Delta has combined on-board ammenities such as fresh snacks, spirits and newspapers with enhanced ground offers such complimentary WiFi, free magazines and fresh bagels and jam. All this is leaving travelers between the two cities eager with anticipatin for the arrival of June 10. For more information on other cities served by Delta Shuttle, a full list of Delta Shuttle ammenities or any questions in general about Delta’s Shuttle service, please contact a Christopherson Business Travel advisor.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

United Now Offers Mobile Check-In

United has installed mobile check-in at its four hub cities – Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles – plus Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth and LaGuardia Airport in New York. Thirty more locations will be offering mobile check-in by summer
Denver joins 43 other U.S. airports, plus Frankfurt, Germany in offering this service. In 2007 TSA introduced the pilot program with Continental Airlines adding shortly thereafter Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airways. For the most up-to-date information as to what airports offer the program and an airline list of cities providing this service; go to the TSA website or each individual airline’s website.
Mobile check-in saves time at the airport by letting you check in and get your eBoarding Pass right from your PDA or web-enabled phone (iPhones, BlackBerrys, etc.) within 24 hours of your departure. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to check in. You must first go to the airlines website to start the process. At the airport, TSA security officers use hand-held scanners to validate the authenticity of the boarding pass at the checkpoint

Categories
Travel Management

Savings tips: Every little bit counts

Despite rising costs for business trips, there are a number of ways for getting the most out of your money – 10 tips for frugal travel management.
Naturally there’s not just one big savings capacity out there waiting to be tapped in order to reduce your travel costs or at most keep worldwide rising prices to a minimum. Nevertheless, there are a number of steps you can take that can add up to a savings of up to 25%. Every little bit counts: that also applies to business trips.Topping up your rental car’s gas tank before dropping it off can save money, just as it does to combine as many destinations as possible into one trip.
Travel managers can take advantage of a number of “piggybanks“ in the entire process chain, from preliminary considerations to the trip itself to the creation of new travel guidelines, that use sophisticated methods and the necessary consistency to lead to a large monetary value. We have put together ten important tips for you:

  1. Travel and booking behavior
    Flights and train trips should never be booked at the last minute – this often leads to much higher prices. Business trips are usually planned weeks in advance, which is also how early the arrangements should be made.
  2. Avoid ‘inflated’ trips
    Watch out for bargains on the train when booking domestic trips or even ones to nearby international locations – they can often be more sensible and less expensive.
  3. Think twice about the necessity of a trip
    Sometimes business trips can be saved entirely (a relief to all participants) or replaced by ‘virtual business trip’ with a little help from conference systems equipment.
  4. ‘Mix’ rates
    Whether overnight costs or travel costs: the market offers a variety of different rates. Your possibilities can be optimally met when you find the right ‘mix’.
  5. Use your experience
    As a general rule, only experienced or trained employees should be allowed to carry out bookings, so that all savings potentials can be explored.
  6. Stay within your limitations
    Travel guidelines provide clearly defined travel standards and specify with which preferred partners to book. Besides regularly updating guidelines, their compliance has to be checked and any violations sanctioned.
  7. Install software
    Even small and mid-sized companies need to install and use user-friendly online booking software.
  8. Vary your booking source
    It makes little sense, however, to depend on only one source for your bookings: flexibility has its advantages. You should also be looking at corresponding websites – especially when booking hotels.
  9. Switch to computers
    In order to maintain a good overview and improving your controlling, it is essential that you switch as much of your internal travel booking, approval and billing processes to electronic form.
  10. Employ internal marketing
    Last but not least: the most intelligent regulations and systems do not use anything that is not understood or used by their employees. Practical internal marketing should keep employees up to date on new travel guidelines, rates or software being used.

source:  www.airpluscommunity.com

Categories
Travel News

JFK Airport Runway Project…worse before it get’s better…

The Port Authority of NY & NJ is tackling delays with the reconstruction of the Bay Runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Once completed, this project will reduce delays overall by an estimated 10,500 hours per year.
What is the Bay Runway Project?
Beginning March 1, 2010 one of the four runways at JFK will be closed for construction for 120 days; however this project should not impact travel significantly.
Why is the Bay Runway Project necessary?
The project will upgrade JFK’s airside infrastructure, widen and replaces nearly three miles of runway. A central component of the Bay Runway reconstruction is the widening of the runway from 150 to 200 feet to make way for new delay-reduction taxiways. The new taxiways will improve aircraft queuing and enable swifter departures; and easier access from taxiways to terminal gates, saving time on the ground for every passenger at JFK.
How many runways are at JFK?
There are four runways at JFK. During normal operations, two or three of the four runways are in use due to airspace limitations. During the 120-day closure of the Bay Runway, all three remaining runways will be utilized when possible.
How will flights be affected when the Bay Runway is closed?
Airlines are operating on a normal winter schedule to mitigate delays. Delays may occur from time to time, but this is a short-term inconvenience to provide a long-term fix.
What are some of the benefits of the Bay Runway Project?
• SAVING TIME: The new taxiways will enable swifter departures and easier access from taxiways to terminal gates. This will save time on the ground for every passenger at JFK.
• DELAY REDUCTION: Once the project is complete the new Bay Runway will reduce future delays by an estimated 10,500 hours.

Categories
Business Travel

Shall I drive my own car… or rent one?

Owners, financial guru’s and sourcing managers, mileage reimbursement is a huge expense when employees drive their own cars for work purposes.  Did you know that based on a reimbursement rate of $0.50 cents anything over 120 miles driven by using a personal car is more expensive than renting one?   Companies both large and small that require their employees drive their own cars are reevaluating the reimbursement process and switching to renting cars instead.  Enterprise and Hertz (their off airport locations called Hertz Local Edition) both have programs that will bring your rental car to you.  The car will be delivered to your home in the morning and then you drop it off at the rental office and they will take you home.  It’s very slick and easy.  Here are a couple of other reasons why renting a car makes more sense then driving your own.  1- Less chance of breaking down on the road.  A rental car will usually have less miles and the necessary maintenance will have just been done.  Plus if it does break down you don’t have to foot the bill for the repairs.  Yes!!!  2- Less wear and tear on your own car.  Consistant long distance driving will wear your car out much faster than normal.  Save those miles on your own car and put them on a rental.  3- Renting a vehicle will give you the opportunity to try out a car you might want to own some day.  With National Car Rentals “choose your own car” program you get to decide from several makes and models which car to drive.  Perhaps a PT Cruiser… or a hot Dodge Charger has been on your list to try out.
Here is a mileage calculator link by Enterprise Car Rental that will help you determine if driving a personal car versus a rental car would be the greatest value.  Plug in the numbers and it will automatically calculate it for you.  Rental rates are based on current Enterprise daily rates and are also changeable.
To reserve your rental car contact any one of our professional travel consultants at 801-327-7700.  You’ll drive away happy!

Categories
Company News and Announcements

TMC Spills Beans On TripIt, Which Counts Its Beans

THE BEAT | MAR 5, 2010The Beat

TMC Spills Beans On TripIt, Which Counts Its Beans

Categories
Travel News

Passenger Safety or Airline Revenue?

Is it passenger safety or airline revenue that is prompting airlines to more closely scrutinize the size of carry-on luggage that is being used by travelers? On some of my more recent flights I had noticed that many travelers were toting larger carry-on luggage with some of it ending up on the plane, but some of it checked at the gate for no additional fee. I questioned how these travelers made it as far as they did, with obviously oversized carry-on bags, and wondered if it would be just a matter of time before the airlines started charging for bags checked at the gates.
Though I appreciate the efforts of the airlines charging other passengers for luggage that technically should have been checked, I also tend to question their reasons why. Spokespersons for the airlines are indicating that it is passenger safety that they are concerned about, but could it be just another source of revenue?
FAA regulations allow carry-on luggage as large as 22x14x9 inches and passengers will have to get use to using the bag bins airlines provide at the gates to check the size of the carry-ons. Airline employees and even TSA inspectors are keeping a closer eye on the size of bags that travelers are trying to take through security lines and are informing passengers that they need to be checked prior to gate arrival.
The airlines may struggle in the beginning to make this process fair to all passengers, but regardless of the motive, whether passenger safety or airline revenue, it’s going to be harder and harder to avoid the fees charged for bags.
For additional information regarding the ancillary fees being charged by airlines and the revenue generated from these fees, there was an interesting article in USA Today written by David Grossman The paradox of baggage fees: Higher charges, lower profits. or you can contact Christopherson Business Travel (866.327.7650).

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

New FEES – United US/Canada Checked Baggage

Below is the checked baggage policy for United Economy® travel wholly within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
This policy has been revised, effective for tickets purchased on or after January 14, 2010 for travel on or after January 21, 2010. Fees for first and second checked bags have changed. There is still a discount for checked bag fees paid through EasyCheck-in Online® at united.com.
If you are traveling on an Economy ticket or an Economy award ticket, please see the information below regarding checked baggage fees that may apply.
Please note that there are some fee exceptions. All fees shown below are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified.
For customers who are not exempt, first and second bag fees (each way) when paid at the airport are as follows:
If you purchased your ticket(s)… for travel… then the following fees will apply for bags checked at the airport
First bag Second bag
before
January 14, 2010
anytime $20* $30*
on or after
January 14, 2010 before
January 21, 2010 $20* $30*
on or after
January 14, 2010
on or after
January 21, 2010 $25* $35*
*Baggage fees are per person and for a single direction of travel. United offers a discount if you check your bags via EasyCheck-in Online® at united.com within 24 hours of your flight. The amount of the discount percentage is subject to change without notice.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Tripit Pro

Tripit Pro is a robust, mobile application that works with your Android, Blackberry or iPhone based smartphone. Christopherson Andavo is an authorized Tripit Pro reseller. This means we can get you a huge discount on your Tripit Pro annual rate (huge = almost half off). The basic Tripit application is free, but if you choose to upgrade to Tripit Pro, you get:

  • Itinerary monitoring and travel alerts
  • Alternate flight option information
  • Point tracking systems for frequent flyer and hotel reward programs
  • Inner circles that allows travelers to automatically share every trip with key associates

Also, Tripit now supports Airtinerary, our proprietary approach to itinerary delivery. To import your Christopherson Andavo itinerary to Tripit, just forward your Airtinerary to plans@tripit.com. It’s that easy.
To get your discount, contact your Christopherson Andavo account manager or agent to get a promotional code to use when signing up for Tripit Pro.
You can always find out more about Tripit by visiting their website at www.tripit.com.