Have you noticed any changes in the hotels you frequent during your business travel? I have. On a recent business trip to Denver, I stayed at a hotel that only offered shampoo/conditioner/soap from large pump bottles on the wall – no little TSA-approved bottles like I’m used to, sitting on the bathroom counter top when I arrived. I also checked in and out of that hotel using a kiosk in the lobby, rather than talking to someone at the front desk. Just a couple of small things, but I immediately remembered them upon reading this article from MSNBC.com that describes six new trends changing the hotel industry. What have you noticed?
Communicating in a foreign language just got easier! There is a new cell phone app in the market which enables travelers to translate their spoken voice into foreign languages. “It’s like asking your friend down the street, ‘How would I say this in Spanish?” said Andrew Lauder, founder and CEO of myLanguage. The app will be free for use for the first 24 hours upon initial launch, but then will require a weekly or monthly subscription. Read the complete article.
Last month the Transportation Department imposed a rule that requires airlines to disclose all fees for optional services with a prominent link on their websites. They also must disclose bag-fee increases on the home page or through a link on the page. This new ruling made the annual USA Today airline service fee survey easier than ever and disclosed the following excess baggage fees which exceed the $400 mark.
Per the USA Today survey: For an overweight checked bag weighing 71-100 pounds, Continental Airlines is charging $400 on most international flights, and American Airlines is charging $450 on its Asian flights. United Airlines charges $400 for checking bags weighing 71-99.9 pounds on flights to another continent.
The airlines say fees keep airfares low, help cover costs and let fliers choose the services they want. Just be sure you pack light when traveling internationally!
Do you know the status of your passport? Need to get one, renew one or resolve an issue? For those of you that have been meaning to hit the passport office for months now, but its so hard to get there on a weekday when you’re working and busy… Passport Day is especially for you!
This is the third year for the annual National Passport Day, an event created by the State Department to give working men, women and families—who otherwise can’t make Passport offices’ limited weekday business hours—a chance to turn in their paperwork and deal with passport-related issues.
On Saturday, September 17 only, apply for your U.S. passport at a Regional Passport Agency without an appointment. You will be able to apply for standard processing (4-6 weeks) or pay an additional $60 for Expedited processing (2-3 weeks, door-to-door). Passport Day in the USA also means passport-themed events for adults and children at Regional Passport Agencies and many passport Acceptance Facilities across the country in communities like yours. If you’ve been waiting to get your passport, this is the time!
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and The Wall Street Journal have announced winners of the annual 2011 Business Traveler Innovation Awards. Business travelers nominated services, products and ideas that help to make life on the road more productive. Submissions were categorized and the public voted for their favorites.
“The votes are in and the road warriors have chosen their favorite innovations. These winners showcase the tools that help travelers on the road and make their trips easier and more productive. We’re excited to honor these products and are inspired by the innovative new ways technology continues to enhance trips and travel management,” said GBTA president Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M., CMM.
“A decade after 9-11, the nation is not yet prepared for a truly catastrophic disaster,” stated the new report “Tenth Anniversary Report Card: The Status of 9-11 Commission Recommendations.” The new report was chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana.
The newest “Report Card” did not issue grades. But it covered the 41 recommendations made in 2004 by the 9/11 commission. Of the 41, nine have been inadequately implemented or not implemented at all, said the authors. The report also found various other inadequacies:
- Police and fire used different frequencies during 9-11. According to the commission, that problem still exists. It blames congress for not allocating new broadcast frequencies for common use by all so-called “first responders.”
- The TSA still does not have the capacity to detect concealed weapons.
- America’s ability to detect explosives hidden on passengers boarding airplanes “lacks reliability.”
- The report said Homeland Security’s new full-body scanners are not effective (as officials claimed) at detecting hidden explosives.
- The type of state legislation to prevent hijackers who in the past got state-issued ID’s to board airlines has been repeatedly delayed. Compliance has been pushed back over and over until the current date of 2013.
- Prior recommendations that the government fingerprint visa holders as they leave the country have raised objections because of high costs and have also been ignored.
For the complete report.
What happens when your travel gets interrupted by something beyond the control of you or the airline? If you are a “do-it-yourself” person, you are on your own and at the mercy of the airlines. That means that you may or may not receive notification of flight interruptions. You will spend time waiting on hold to speak to someone who may or may not be much help and probably doesn’t have a lot of interest in doing anything for you, other than getting you off the phone or away from their counter. In some cases, people are reporting that after being on hold for several hours, they were disconnected, without ever having spoken to someone at the airline. Or in other cases, the airlines automated systems rebooked customers on flights, without consulting with the customers to see if the new dates and times would work for the travelers. Then when you want to change it again, the airline wants to collect a change fee.
When you book through a full service travel agency, such as Christopherson Business Travel, either with a full service agent or with one of our online booking tools, you get the benefit of having someone in your corner who can and will advocate on your behalf. In the case of those using full service agents, they are able to get re-accommodated more quickly than folks calling the airlines. Why? Because our agents are kept abreast of the airline policies for storms and able to be proactive and find space on alternative flights using the latest seat availability via our reservation system. This means that our clients get taken care of faster than those who sit on hold with the airlines. Many agents are able to contact their clients ahead of time and the clients are well on their way to having everything set before rest of the public gets the news they need to reschedule their flights. For those who book using one of our online tools, we are able to assist many of them with one exchange of emails to verify what is acceptable. Regardless of which booking option our clients use, they won’t have to sit on perma-hold in order to get assistance with their travel.
Given that Irene was the first storm to hit the USA this hurricane season, it is doubtful that it will be the last. If you are booking your own travel, who are you going to call when the next one comes along?
UTAH BUSINESS | SEP 1, 2010
2010 Fast 50: Utah’s Fastest-Growing Companies
UTAH BUSINESS | SEP 1, 2011
2011 Fast 50 List
The Global Business Travel Association Foundation is predicting that business travel spending will increase 9.2% in 2011 and surpass $1 trillion. Some of the growth is because of increased traveling and some because of vendor price increases. The increased cost of fuel has driven airline ticket prices up during 2011. You can view the Business Travel News article here.
Christopherson Business Travel is currently tracking at a 20% sales increase in 2011, as compared to 2010. The difference between our growth and the business travel industry growth is primarily because of market share gains.