Travel News

Road Warrior Travel Tips

While visiting the Harvard Business Review’s on-line web site, I came across an article by Robert C. Pozen and Justin Fox which provides simple yet excellent tips for road warriors.
Traveling for business used to be considered a perk. Nowadays it’s more often seen as a burden. It disturbs your routine and messes up your sleep and diet. Here are things you can do to lessen the impact:

  1.  Sleep on the plane. Yes, it’s hard, but try to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Use earplugs and eyeshades to create a cocoon. 
  2. Avoid the WiFi. Take advantage on being unreachable for those few short hours. Use your down time on planes and in cars to think or write, the very things that are impossible when you are being interrupted all the time in the office.
  3. Pack lightly. Bring a canvas bag instead of a briefcase. It’s lighter and holds more. Only bring the essentials so you are not putting unnecessary strain on your body.
Business Travel Travel Technology

Business travel with multiple charger cords?

Think back to the last time you packed for a business trip.  Do you remember having a section of your suitcase devoted to charger cords?  My husband is a frequent business traveler and he was traveling with the following separate cords:

  1. Business phone/Blackberry charger
  2. Personal phone charger
  3. iPod charger
  4. Bluetooth charger
  5. Laptop charger

Seriously?  Those cords are so long, messy, tangled and space-consuming.  And he was constantly having to plug them in when he got home, unplug them all again to pack them, etc.  It was an annoying cycle.  About a year ago, he found out about Callpod’s Chargepod

Travel News Travel Technology

Denver Airport’s Newest Addition

A few weeks ago, CLEAR open for business at DIA. As I have mentioned in previous posts (here and here – can you tell I am a big fan?), CLEAR was coming back soon and each month would be adding more airport locations. You can check out their website for more details. There’s even a section to help you tell your local airport that you want this service again.
I renewed my membership and experienced, once again, the ultimate stress reliever at the Denver Airport. Last week the security lines at DIA were about 30 minutes long. In the CLEAR line, there was only me and one other person. Took all of 10 minutes to get checked into CLEAR and then through security. No stress! No hassle! I’m a happy traveler, again!!

Travel News

Mike Cameron Interviewed by Utah Business

The president/owner of Christopherson Business Travel, Mike Cameron, was recently interviewed by Utah Business.  They asked him questions to recap 2010 and forecast 2011.  One question and answer sample:
What are the challenges on the horizon and how will you turn those into opportunities for you and your business?

The number one challenge which we have faced, as a travel management company, is competition from the Internet. This competition has been and will continue to be good for us. We’ve had to reevaluate everything we do to make sure that we have a unique competitive advantage which can’t be duplicated on the Internet. This competitive pressure has raised that bar for us and we have responded in a way that allowed us to gain significant market share in the state of Utah.
One example of our “unique value proposition” strategy was to start a travel software development division. We have created 11 proprietary travel technologies which save our clients money and make their travel better, at the same time.
When my wife and I bought the company in 1990 we were issuing $10,000.00 in airline tickets each week. We now issue $10,000.00 in airline tickets every 8 minutes. Competition has been good for us!
Click here to read the full interview.

Business Travel Travel News Vacation Travel

The Perfect Holiday Gift

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Running out of time and short of great ideas? Most likely, you would have to think a while to remember what gifts you received last year. This year, consider the gift of travel. That’s one gift that won’t be forgotten!
The vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel is called Andavo Travel, and our Andavo consultants can suggest a number of great destinations for a wonderful getaway. You might consider a weekend getaway to look forward to during the winter months ahead. Or maybe it is time to plan a cruise. If you can’t decide, you can give a gift certificate for travel and do the planning later.
Contact an Andavo Travel specialist by calling 866-327-7600 or emailing  Happy holidays!

Vacation Travel

Special Dinner at the One & Only Palmilla!

I just happen to be staying at the One & Only Palmilla last week when the hotel was hosting a special dinner to benefit the homeless in Los Cabos. Jean-George Vongerichten of the restaurant Market, (he operates several restaurants all over the world) was there along with the wine maker from Caymus Winery, Chuck Wagner.

Travel News

Eating Healthy While Traveling

Healthy eating and traveling. Hmmmmm. For me, they don’t seem to go together. It’s hard to eat healthy while traveling on business. The time just gets away from you and before you know it, you’re stuffing your mouth full of M & Ms! In addition to poor eating habits, it’s hard to find the time to exercise.
I came across this article in USA Today. I found it to be helpful; reminding me of what I can do for my health on my next business trip. I hope you find it helpful, too!

Travel News Travel Technology

GateGuru to the Rescue!

Have you ever been stuck in an unfamiliar airport and need a quick way to find all the shops, restaurants and services available to you? GateGuru is an app for your iPhone that allows you to see what’s available, where to find it and gives you realtime ratings, reviews and pictures uploaded by your fellow travelers.
Now you don’t need to settle for subpar food, lousy lounges or waste your time searching for the nearest gift shop. GateGuru will tell you if a particular amenity is before or after the long security line. If you are in a hurry, it will let you know if the airport has what you are looking for, where to find it and whether or not the amenity is worth using.

Here are some of GateGuru’s features listed on their website:

  • Most comprehensive and accurate listing of airport amenities (sortable by Food, Shops and Services).
  • Easy-to-use and eye-friendly user interface.
  • Access to real-time ratings, reviews and photos – Avoid unappealing airport lounges, shady-looking restaurants or poor service – you deserve better! Quickly and easily locate the highest rated restaurant, shop or service by your fellow travelers.
  • Simple search engine – Know your pre or post-security options; what is near your gate; gift stores or ATMs close by; the nearest coffee shop and much more.
  • Bookmark function – Easily retrieve tagged information on the restaurants, shops and services you have enjoyed in the past.

Best of all? The app is free! Give it a try and see if it saves you time, headaches & a grumbling stomach!
In the next release, GateGuru’s promising to add security wait times and itinerary management (achieving the latter through integration with TripIt). GateGuru is currently for iOS only, but an Android version is expected to be out in 2011.
Update: Version 2.0 should be out in the next 10 days!

Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Travel Insurance? You bet!

I first have to explain how angry I get when some so-called ‘travel guru’ for a national television station or major publication tells travelers that, in essence, purchasing travel insurance is a waste of money. Horse-hockey! They go on to explain that this is just another way for the cruise line, travel company or travel agent to get more money out of you. Let me explain just how wrong they are, and nothing can emphasize my point more than personal experience.
You’re thinking to yourself, why would a travel agent need to purchase travel insurance? Well my situation is much like many people’s. I have aging parents and I travel a lot. My initial reason was to purchase insurance to cover out of pocket, non-refundable costs that would be a total loss should a situation arise that I have to cancel my trip and stay home to care for my parents or other immediate family member.
Just this last April, I was three days from my trip to Cancun, Mexico for my niece’s wedding and I end up in the hospital with appendicitis! I contacted Delta Vacations and let them know that I wouldn’t be traveling and then contacted Travelex Insurance to start the claims process. Within a few weeks I had the refund of my trip!
Buy travel insurance! It protects against unforeseen events prior to leaving. It also protects you while you are traveling (flight delays, lost baggage, medical issues.) You’ve invested a lot in your trip, go one step further and protect that investment!

Travel Management

Another Reason Why Using An Agent Is To Your Benefit

I was talking with one of my fellow agents here at Christopherson Travel and we were comparing examples of different times we had done something for a client that most likely wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t had an agent to help them. Many times I’ve gone to great lengths to help clients resolve issues with vendors. However, my fellow agent had a story from this past summer that bears repeating.
This agent has a client who is a touring musician. She takes about 120 flights a year and he handles her travel. On the trip being discussed, here is the itinerary her agent had booked for her:

  1. Depart from the Washington DC area
  2. McCook, NE – 2 days
    • Fly into Omaha.
    • Pick up a car.
    • Drive to McCook
    • Return to Omaha two days later
  3. Dallas, TX – 2 days
  4. Nashville, TN – 1 week
  5. Return to DC
Travel Management Travel News

Where is American Airline’s Distribution Strategy Headed?

There is a battle brewing between American Airlines and some of their distribution partners. For starters, I want to say that American has been a good partner of ours for many years and they have not currently brought the U.S. based full service travel management companies (TMCs) into the fray. The current fray is between one of their online distributors (Orbitz), one of their reservation technology partners (TravelPort) and some of their non-US based travel agencies.
So why do I care? We use two of Travelport’s GDSs to book most of our airline reservations on behalf of our corporate clients. Depending on where this goes; we could become stuck in the middle of the fray.
This is a very complex industry dispute, which I won’t attempt to explain in detail. This BTN article describes an overview: AA, Travelport Mobilize for Air Distribution War.
The “short of it” is that the airlines have been trying to reduce their costs by reducing or eliminating their distribution costs for many years. The Internet has helped them become successful in bringing much of their ticket distribution in-house, with their own web-sites. The airlines pay TravelPort and the other the global distribution systems (GDS) to manage their airline seat inventory and provide travel agencies the content which we need to take care of our mutual corporate customers. The airlines have been successful in reducing their GDS costs during the past 4-5 years and American would like to reduce them even further.
The questions are:

  1. Haven’t we reached a fair equilibrium in the cost/benefit relationship between airlines, GDSs and TMCs? Most industry people seem to think so.
  2. Are “hard ball” tactics the best way to negotiate with your marketing/distribution partners?
  3. Why has American selected weak economic times to take on their marketing and distribution partners?

I would hope that we are generating a benefit to them by selling their seats to our corporate clients. The economy is still weak and they are a bit of an underdog right now in the airline merger game. We are seeing the two larger domestic airlines strengthen their commitment to TMCs, as their marketing distribution partner. I hope that American is not going down a different path; that this is merely political posturing and eventually everyone will “hold hands and work together” in these difficult economic times.

Travel News Vacation Travel

Home for the holidays…your’s or mine?

According to a special holiday edition of the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report, about one in five people (22%) say relatives overstay their welcome after a day or less. Some saying their family members wear out their welcome as soon as they arrive. Another 29% say relatives overstay their welcome after just a few days. About a third say their relatives never wear out their welcome.
The report also found men (11%) are more likely than women (3%) to want to show relatives the door as soon as they arrive, while women (41%) are more likely than men (32%) to say relatives never overstay their welcome. And who are the most welcomed guests during the holidays?  Fathers and fathers-in-law!
Holiday hosts are most annoyed by guests leaving their belongings all over the house. But it’s not just holiday hosts that suffer; guests also feel the pain of sharing cramped quarters. According to the report, travelers who’ve stayed with relative’s during the holidays say the worst sleeping situations they’ve endured are sleeping on a sofa or futon (28%), sleeping on the floor (21%) or sleeping on a roll-away bed (14%). One guest even had to sleep in the bathtub!
Whether you are entertaining guests or traveling to a relatives home this holiday season, here’s hoping you enjoy the most wonderful time of the year no matter the circumstance.
Christopherson Business Travel wishes all a delightful holiday season with loved ones near and far!

Travel Management Travel News

United – Did You Know?

United was ranked #1 in the healthiest airline food survey by, noting their Tapas and Turkey Sandwich as some of the healthiest (and tastiest) choices in the sky.
While the frequent flyer programs of United and Continental won’t be fully merged until 2012, enhancements are being rolled out, such as travelers being able to earn 2012 status by combining Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) flown on either UA or CO in 2011.
By mid-2012, Premier Executives who earn 75,000 EQMs (or 90 Elite Qualifying Segments – EQS) will be upgraded ahead of other Premier Executive members.
There is still time to register for the triple bonus award mileage promotion LAX/SFO-JFK.  Available through December 31, 2010.  Just ask your travel advisor for help!
Travelers can earn 1,000 bonus award miles for using mobile check-in on their web-enabled mobile device through December 31, 2010.
United is now bundling food and beverage purchases on board to offer savings.  A sandwich and beer can be combined for a 20% savings, as can tapas and wine and wine and cheese.
A one-day Red Carpet Club pass is $39 online and $50 at the airport.  The pass is also valid at Continental Presidents Club.  It includes complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wi-Fi service.  Ask your travel advisor for more information.
As the integration between United and Continental continues, CO has now located to Terminal 1 at ORD.  With the reciprocity of lounge membership, CO Presidents Club customers may now use the Red Carpet Clubs located in T1 at O’Hare.
In December United will begin testing mobile devices called “LineBusters” which enable CSRs to assist customers in line versus, waiting for each to get to the counter.  This will reduce line wait times and let the CSRs provide real-time rebooking and flight protection.  All 5 UA hubs will have the technology by the end of the year.

Travel News

Delta Boosts International Flights in 2011

Delta will expand its international schedule with new and expanded service to cities in Asia and Europe for spring and summer 2011. This will be continuing Delta’s focus on markets with high demand for business travel, including a significant expansion in Asia. Delta applied with the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin new routes to Beijing and Guangzhou and plans expanded service to Shanghai and Manila.
You can read more here.