DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL | MAR 31, 2011
CU revises travel policy to save money
CU revises travel policy to save money
Few Agents Involved in Private Corporate Air Market
You either hate them or accept them, but for the most part airline ancillary fees are here to stay. When I look at the larger picture, it’s definitely worth the additional $10 to $100 to fly instead of drive to a destination that would normally take more than 6 hours and up to several days to drive. To help make the translation of service fees a bit easier, the USA Today Travel section posted a very helpful list of airline fees on March 10th. Check it out and let me know what you think. Do fees make you want to drive instead of fly?
As a business traveler myself, I know the importance of staying connected. On my business trips, I find myself carrying an array of electronic gadgets to get me through the day. Over the past few years, airlines and airports have assisted travelers with their lonely electronically-connected commutes through offerings of charging stations and wi-fi connections.
The latest to join the “connected” offerings is Continental Airlines. Just this week, they announced they have executed a letter of intent with inflight entertainment provider Live TV to offer inflight wi-fi via Ka-band beginning next year. The company plans to offer the service on more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV. This will provide onboard connectivity and more than 95 channels of live television programming to customers flying within the continental United States.
United Airlines currently offers inflight Internet service on 14 aircraft. This planned expansion by United Continental Holdings to offer more inflight wi-fi services underscores the company’s commitment to providing unique options that enable customers to customize their travel experience.
For you the business traveler, it means you now have more options to keep up with your busy life.
In the March 2011 issue of Utah Business magazine, there is a large section that focuses on the outlook for the travel and tourism industry in Utah. Utah Business brought together a collection of the state’s travel and tourism leaders to discuss the industry’s issues, trends and successes. From their discussion, it’s evident that Utah’s travel industry hasn’t lost steam since the Olympics – and the world has noticed.
There were 13 participants on the panel, one of whom was our own Mike Cameron, president of Christopherson Business Travel. Keep an eye out for the quotes from him as you read.
From state to state cell phone usage and texting while driving restrictions differ. So … if you happen to reside in a state where there are no bans, and are accustomed to these laws, you might want to check out the following websites to know what you might be up against when venturing into “unknown territories.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers updated info and stats. Nine states presently ban this altogether–check to see if your state is one of them. Another site, GHSA , offers additional info.
I wanted to share an interesting article recently written by Scott McCartney, Travel Editor for the Wall Street Journal. The article touches on a subject that many road warriors can relate to and have wondered themselves about ethics and etiquette when traveling in a crowded airplane.
The article shows the results of a case study conducted with frequent travelers, an ethics expert, an etiquette professor and Gordon Bethune, former Continental Airlines Chief Executive. Their remarks and answers are quite interesting and comical.
Southwest Airline has decided to show us their “luv” by introducing a new and improved Rapid Rewards program.
I believe this gives our travelers so many benefits. With no expiring miles and no black out dates, it makes using your rewards much easier. As you all know, trying to find available flights while using miles becomes frustrating. I can only see good things with this change.
Southwest says: “The All-New Rapid Rewards features no blackout dates and unlimited reward seats, which means if we’re selling a seat, you can redeem points for it. Also, your points don’t expire if you have any earning activity in 24 months, and our Rapid Rewards credit card Members can redeem their points for things like international flights to more than 800 worldwide destinations, stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide, gift cards at more than 45 major retailers, and more.”
I want to feel the “luv”, so I can bet that all of our clients do too!
Airlines have the upper hand on airfare prices for more reasons than just fuel cost:
– The improving economy. Business travelers are expected to take 441 million trips this year, a 3% increase from 2010. As a result, airlines are reserving more seats for pricey last-minute bookings.
– Fewer seats. During the recession, airlines reduced the number of routes and planes they fly. As travel demand picks up, this shrunken supply of seats allows the industry to charge more. Planes are 82% full on average, compared with 70% full before the recession hit in late 2007.
– Consolidation. Six airlines have combined into just three over the past 14 months — Delta and Northwest, Continental and United, Midwest and Frontier — leaving bargain-hunters with fewer choices.
Your Christopherson agent has access to all airline fares and inventory and will be your best guide to finding the best airfare options available.
Business travel rising as recession eases a bit
Here’s some news to make your skin crawl: Bedbug infestations will explode this year, particularly in the summer, experts say. The bloodsuckers are already entrenched in the city and, like cockroaches, tend to thrive in July, August and September, said Jeffrey White, a research entomologist for BedbugCentral.com.
“I firmly believe that this year is going to be worse than last year,” White said at a recent bedbug seminar. “If we combine the seasonal trend, with the bugs getting more and more embedded in our community, that allows the bugs to make that resurgence all the more stronger.”
1- Inspect hotel room mattresses, bedding, furniture and closet hangers for signs of infestation.
2- Never put clothes in hotel drawers or on a hotel floor.
3- Travel with resealable bags large enough to hold clothes.
4- Use dissolvable laundry bags when traveling. The bags can go straight from your suitcase to the washing machine.
5- Check your laptop. The bedbugs are attracted to the heat and body oils on the computer.
6- Periodically inspect headboards and under the bed for signs of bedbugs. “After they’ve fed at night, they go and hide in the cracks and the crevices of the headboard and wait for you to come back to bed,” said Gemma Holmes, owner of the Nashville-based Holmes Pest Control.
7- Check the alarm clock on your nightstand, along with electrical outlets. “It’s a warm spot,” Holmes said.
8- If in doubt, after a trip don’t bring belongings in the house. Treat them for bed bugs first.
Though a bedbug’s bite is thought not to spread disease, the thought of having your blood sucked while asleep can be psychologically devastating, White said. “I’ve seen people completely emotionally crumble from dealing with it,” White said. “People just need to be educated. It’s not going away anytime soon.”
“The big problem is not getting bit, it’s bringing them home,” said Adam Greenberg, president of BugZip, a $10-$20 plastic covering that shields luggage in hotel rooms might give you more peace of mind than you think.
My advice would be to ask the hotel when the last time they treated for prevention of bed bugs. If they look at you with a blank stare you might want to turn and run the other way. Not all hotels that don’t treat for bed bugs have them but upon arriving home and finding you brought a few new friends with you, don’t be “bugged” about it. You have been warned!
According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), many businesses point to travel expenses as one of their biggest budget items. The following are some relatively easy steps corporations can take today to keep travel expenses lower and under control.
1) Consolidate your corporate travel program with a single travel management company (TMC). The TMC can assist with negotiating discounts for air, car rentals and hotels. This will result in a more effective and professional travel solution for your organization, and help realize cost savings while maximizing return on your travel spend.
2) Implement a travel policy which defines parameters for travel authorization and transportation usage. Install proper controls to ensure your dollars are not being wasted and that travel policies are being followed. The policy should also address spend limits and expense reimbursement procedures.
3) Assign a travel coordinator within your organization to handle all travel arrangement with the TMC. This individual should be familiar with the corporate travel policy, negotiated arrangements, opportunities for cost savings and service improvements.
4) Keep track of your organization’s travel patterns and expenditures. Data collection is perhaps one of the most important elements to monitor travel expenses and manage unused tickets.
Christopherson Business Travel welcomes the opportunity to answer any questions about the unique benefits we can bring to your organization as your intelligent business travel partner.
Recently Allegiant Air notified the Department of Transportation that it may add a new type of pricing to its website. This new fare type might appeal to those who like to speculate on oil pricing, because it is based on oil futures and hedging the price.
Allegiant is going to offer a low upfront purchase price that will get you on the plane – but with a provision that if fuel prices go up, you will have to hand over extra money at the time of departure.
>United will retain its popular Economy Plus® seating and expand the option to Continental aircraft beginning in 2012, providing more opportunities for customers to enjoy additional legroom and comfort. The decision to maintain and expand Economy Plus across the combined fleet marks a significant milestone in the product integration of Continental and United. It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to provide innovative options to customers that enable them to customize their travel experience with superior products they value.
United offers Economy Plus on all 359 mainline aircraft and more than 150 larger regional jets operated by United Express® carriers. When the multi-year conversion process is complete, the company plans to offer Economy Plus on more than 700 mainline aircraft, including all Continental mainline aircraft, as well as larger regional aircraft. When fully deployed, the new United fleet will provide more than 122,000 Economy Plus seats each day, the largest amount of extra legroom economy seating available to customers of any airline in the world. OnePass and Mileage Plus elite members may confirm extra legroom seats at no charge, and other customers may purchase seat assignments in Economy Plus.
For more information, please contact your designated Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager.
My wife and I bought Christopherson Business Travel 21 years ago today. Today is also the one year anniversary of us buying Andavo Travel. I’ve often been asked: is there a formula we have used for consistent growth? How did we grow from $1 Million to $240 Million in 21 years? Anniversaries are good days to reflect upon things.
The formula is: the right people + the right value proposition + the right incentives = GROWTH! I know, that sounds simple, right? Yes, it’s that simple.