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Company News and Announcements

Christopherson ups employees amid travel growth

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL | FEB 29, 2012

Christopherson ups employees amid travel growth

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Airport Fitness Craze

Have you ever wanted something to do besides read, eat, or people watch while waiting in the airport for your connecting fight?
Well, some airports are now offering wellness options like yoga, golf, and health clubs to help pass the time. Even hotels located within airports are, in some cases, offering passes for anyone seeking to maintain their fitness routine while on the road.
Hopefully the corporate traveler will find these options beneficial in recharging those road warrior batteries.

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Business Travel Travel News

Salt Lake City Airport: Strategic Location and Bright Outlook

Christopherson Business Travel‘s headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah and we are pleased to share the news that one of our partners, Delta Air Lines, has recently agreed to participate in an ambitious $1.8 billion remake of the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Business Travel Executive Magazine spotlighted the SLC airport in their February 2012 issue, which included the following information:
•    The new airport facility will have 74 gates, a new rental car facility and a new parking garage
•    Salt Lake City airport ranks tops in North America, in on-time departures, at 86.55% of its flights
•    The SLC airport is ranked as the 25th largest in North America
•    Delta operates 249 flights per day from SLC to 85 domestic and international destinations
The entire article is available at BTE-digital.com.
We are fortunate to have a forward thinking airport board in Salt Lake City, along with a solid aviation partner, Delta Air Lines.

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Business Travel Travel News

Upcoming Changes to United’s MileagePlus Program

Mileage programs have become a major source of revenue for U.S. carriers and a primary source for retaining business travelers and keeping them away from competing carriers. United’s MileagePlus members, for example, are waiting with anticipation for the official launch of the new 2012 program, which will take effect once United and Continental have completed their conversion to a single technology system, scheduled for later in the first quarter of 2012. United will advise its members of the effective date in the coming weeks. Until then, United’s MileagePlus and Continental’s OnePass programs will continue to operate separately.
The new United MileagePlus program will have four membership levels:
Premier 1K
100,000 Premier qualifying miles or 120 Premier qualifying segments
Premier Platinum
75,000 Premier qualifying miles or 90 Premier qualifying segments
Premium Gold
50,000 Premium qualifying miles or 50 Premier qualifying segments
Premier Silver
25,000 Premium qualifying miles or 30 Premium qualifying segments
Global Services will continue as an exclusive, invitation only program for United’s top customers. United is also offering additional ways for travelers to earn miles through a MileagePlus Explore Card. Complete benefit information and details can be found online at MileagePlusMergerUpdates.com.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

How to Reduce Jet Lag

It has now been five days since I returned to the United States from a recent vacation to Dubai (which was fabulous, by the way), and my question every day for the last five days has been: How do international business travelers do it? Because I have the worst case of jet lag!
Dubai is 11 hours ahead of my home time zone and my first few days back at work were “killer.” As I have sought to recover and get back on schedule myself, I’ve learned a bit more about what jet lag really is and how to reduce it.
MedicineNet has been a fantastic resource with their list of 12 tips for minimizing the effects of jet lag, which include: avoiding alcohol (which causes dehydration, disrupts sleeping schedules, and triggers nausea), moving around on the plane (which promotes mental and physical acuity), and changing your schedule as much as possible before leaving on your trip.
Many of their recommendations I already normally do, but some were good to add to my list. Perhaps some of them will help you too.
And my hat goes off to all those international travelers who have somehow figured it out better than me …. or have they? If you have any tips or tricks, please share!

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Travel Management Travel Tips

Free Public Online Travel Sites? – Read the Fine Print

There has been a significant amount of press regarding the Department of Transportation’s new regulations that now require airlines to advertise full ticket prices on websites, including all government taxes and additional fees. But did you know that public online booking tools can sneak their booking fees into the “additional fees” category?
This is to say–service fees are not always listed clearly for the consumer. In many cases, the service fee is only mentioned in the fine print. Charges under “government taxes and additional fees” are not inclusive to fees imposed just by airlines. And online service fees can range anywhere from $6.99-$10.99 for simple domestic fares up to $50 for deposits on air, hotel, and car rental “packages.”
One public online site charges $30 per ticket any time a customer needs a ticket reissued. And in some cases there is a “Processing Service Fee” that a company will retain to compensate themselves for the processing of your travel reservation through their systems.
Bottom line: The proof is in the fine print. Don’t forget to read it.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

4 Tips for Healthy Business Travels

Maintaining healthy habits while traveling can be challenging. But it’s not impossible! Here are 4 tips for staying active and fit despite demanding travel and/or business meeting itineraries:

  1. You don’t need a fancy gym. Sure, your health club at home has more variety, but most hotels these days have fitness rooms with at least a few basic machines. Or, you can just exercise in your room by doing sets of jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, etc. No weights, no problem! Body weight work outs are great for travelers without access to dumbbells, barbells, bench presses. Or bring along a couple of resistance bands. They are small, lightweight, and easy to pack. And if all else fails, there are plenty of videos online featuring hotel room workouts.
  2. Eat well. Traveling can be hard on the body, and eating on the road often means hundreds (sometimes thousands) of extra calories. But if you remain conscientious of your food choices, you can curb that pile on. Avoid big meals late at night, choose the salad (with lite dressing!) or grilled chicken at your business lunch, be wary of room service, and lock up the mini bar if you need to. Pack a few protein or granola bars or a bag of unsalted nuts–just so you have a few snacks on hand. Not only will eating well keep added pounds at bay, it will also give you the energy you need to stay alert during even the most grueling business meetings.
  3. Stay hydrated. It’s easy not to get the recommended 8 cups of water each day while traveling–soft drinks and/or alcohol are often much more readily available. But making an effort to drink more water will keep your body and mind alert, will aid digestion, boost metabolism, and flush toxins (not to mention the sodium with which restaurant food is loaded). Bring a water bottle with you everywhere and take note of how many times you fill it up each day. (Oh, and don’t forget to make sure that water bottle is empty when you go through airport security!)
  4. Try to limit stress. Time changes, jet lag, marathon business meetings, and foreign beds are just a few of the stresses business travelers have to deal with. But making an effort to get enough sleep will go a long way in reducing the effects of those stresses. Additional ways to limit travel stress are: take a quick walk during a break in meetings, run outside and get some fresh air (only if just for couple deep breaths), sight-see for an hour if there’s time, or take 15 minutes at the end of the day to read a book or magazine (for leisure). Even small measures will help relax and calm both the mind and body after a demanding day.

For more information about healthy traveling, particularly when it comes to your heart, read this article by Everyday Health.

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Travel Management Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Take A Walk On The Vacation Side Of Life

Did you know that Christopherson Business Travel also has a vacation travel division, called Andavo TravelTwo brands under the same roof, and we here on the vacation side of life would love to assist you in planning your next vacation. Or perhaps you’re thinking of inviting the family along on your next business trip, to maybe extend your stay and enjoy a little relaxation? We can help with that too. Andavo Travel is a Virtuoso member agency and, as such, is chock full of excellent travel advisers. You can review some of our ranks across the country and choose the one that is just right for you.
How Andavo Travel can help you personally:

  • Avoid hours of internet research and price comparisons
  • Utilize our expertise: Our well-traveled advisers use firsthand experiences to customize vacations
  • Enjoy global connections: Personal contacts at 1,000+ airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts worldwide
  • Provide an advocate in case of flight cancellations, delays or lost luggage

How Andavo Travel can help a company:

  • Arrange groups, meetings and incentive travel
  • Plan company retreat travel
  • Reward employees with travel gift certificates, redeemable via Andavo
  • Offer discounts for a vast array of travel suppliers through our exclusive contracts
  • Participate in your employee health/benefits fairs

What is Virtuoso?

  • Virtuoso is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies
  • Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisers have global connections with the best travel providers, which means access to the best travel offers that consumers can’t get on their own
  • For Andavo and Christopherson clients, this means access to exclusive, complimentary travel offers:
  • Room upgrades
  • Meals
  • Limousine transfers
  • Spa treatments
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • Subscriptions to renowned travel publications

Andavo Travel can be reached at 866-327-7600 or vacations@andavotravel.com.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Fact: Travel Agents Take Majority Over Online Bookings

Recently, I booked a vacation through my travel agency to an all-inclusive resort at Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. It was an amazing getaway and I loved every minute of it.

While on my trip I chatted with a few of my fellow travelers about their vacation planning and overheard a few conversations regarding this topic as well. What I found interesting was that all these conversations revolved around their travel agent, in one way or another. Whether it was that they chose this particular resort because their agent recommended it, or that they discussed their array of flight options–I was amazed! Not because I don’t see the value in travel agents (I work for an agency!), but because so many people think that booking online is the wave of the future. However, almost everyone I spoke with booked their vacation through a travel agent.

I took pride in this fact and find it to be great news for our industry. Now what we need to do is spread the word and let everyone know that booking with a travel agent is the definitely the best option!

In fact, here are three benefits to booking with an agent:

  1. You save money! Travel agents work hard to maintain strong relationships with travel suppliers. They also have access to the latest in computer reservations technology which allows them to help you find the best values and options.
  2. Agents are also your advocates. Your best interests are their priority and they will be there to help you through your entire planning process and help smooth out any hiccups you experience along your travels.
  3. You get personal service. A travel agent will answer your phone calls, take care of problems, guide your planning, offer suggestions, and share their travel/destination experience. That’s something you’ll never get from a computer screen.

To find an agent for your next vacation, click here. Or for your next business trip, click here.

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Travel Management Travel News Travel Tips

Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion Status Match Challenge

Are you a top-tier frequent flier?
Have you heard about Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion® Status Match Challenge?
If not, we’d like to share some valuable information about how to leverage your current elite status (on American, United, or Continental) to receive comparable benefits on Delta.
Until June 30, 2012, if frequent fliers meet the outlined criteria, they will receive Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion status from Delta for 90 days, based on their current elite level with another airline. To then maintain those matched Medallion rewards through the remainder of 2012, the flier would then simply need to earn a specific number of qualification miles. The required number of qualification miles is based on the matched Medallion level.
But what are the benefits of doing this?
Well, depending on the Medallion level, members enjoy exclusive privileges such as:

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades for paid tickets
  • Access to preferred seats and economy comfort seats
  • Priority wait list status
  • Fee waivers for baggage and ticketing charges
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Premium benefits on in-flight food and beverage
  • Lounge access

Plus participating in challenges like this means you don’t have to start at square one in accruing points and miles if you want to switch airlines.
To be considered for this Status Match Challenge, visit Delta.com and submit your information. You can also find more general information on airline status matches here.
 
 

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Tips for Traveling with Children

Traveling solo can be tricky enough as you try to keep track of itineraries, juggle luggage, and arrive on time. Multiplying those efforts by 3 or 4 or 5, as you travel with your family can, at times, be hair-raising–particularly with young children.
Recently, MSNBC’s travel correspondents interviewed three globetrotting families to get their tips for traveling with children.
Their lengthy list of helpful advice included things like …

  • Pack less gear. If you do end up needing something, just buy it at your destination, but most likely you won’t miss all the extras you “think” you need.
  • Tie-dye shirts make children easy to spot in a crowd.
  • Don’t forget the life-jackets if your trip is near water.
  • Back-packs are easier to use than wheeled suitcases when trying to wrangle children.
  • Plan itineraries with flexibility and allow for fun–let kids be kids as you open their eyes to the world around them.

Each family also shared some of their more successful family vacations, as well as a few lessons they learned the hard way. Such expert advice goes a long way when it comes to creating enjoyable family memories, and we’d like to add 3 tips of our own:

  1. Plan age-appropriate vacations. While you want to help you children experience the wide range of cultures the world has to offer, don’t forget that appreciation and understanding will vary by age.
  2. Help them learn. Teach your kids a bit about the customs, language, and traditions of the city or country you’re in. You could even gear up for the trip by sharing tidbits about your destination every day during the week before you leave.
  3. Don’t forget the snacks!

While you’re at it, TSA.gov also has helpful information for traveling families.
And for additional guidance and worry-free vacation planning, we recommend contacting the expert travel advisers at Andavo Travel. Doing so, is definitely the first step to making family travel a breeze.

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Travel News

Lawmakers Reach Agreement on $63 Billion FAA Bill

For the past several years Christopherson Business Travel has sent company representatives to Capitol Hill to lobby with the GBTA in support of the FAA re-authorization bill.

The FAA’s long-term operating authority expired in 2007 and has since had to limp along under short-term extensions and was even partially shut down for a time. But on Tuesday, February 1, 2012, an agreement was finally reached in Congress to approve $63 billion for the FAA through 2015.
Key portions of the bill include:

  • Funding authority for FAA’s Next Generation air traffic modernization program, which would update the air traffic control’s systems to GPS technology
  • Tightened subsidies for the Essential Air Service (a program which subsidizes air service to rural communities)
  • Eight daily slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport opened up for longer distance flights (which might possibly have been a selling point for some lawmakers looking for a “what’s in it for me” benefit)
  • A requirement that the Department of Transportation follow the same safety standards for the shipment of lithium batteries by air as those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency
  • Requirements that the FAA provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to U.S. airspace currently reserved for manned aircraft

As of yesterday, Monday, February 6, 2012, the bill received final congressional approval and will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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Travel News

American Airlines Continues to Reorganize


American Airlines continues to experience difficulties, as compared to most of their legacy airline peers. Their recent bankruptcy filing as well as the recent announcement that they plan to cut 13,000 employees are indications of this continued struggle.
A combination of three factors has created a perfect storm for American Airlines at a time when other major airlines are actually experiencing strong comebacks:

  1. American was the only one of the legacy airlines who didn’t file bankruptcy in recent years. This has left them straddled with unrealistic labor contracts.
  2. They are the only one of the major airlines that didn’t find a merger partner (Delta/Northwest, United/Continental, and US Air/America West).
  3. They have led the charge in going “direct” for their distribution, which has alienated their sales and marketing partners (see “Where is American Airline’s Distribution Strategy Headed?“).

American Airlines once had a legacy of being an industry leader in many areas. Under the leadership of Bob Crandall they pioneered computer reservation systems with SABRE. They were a pioneer with their AAdvantage frequent flyer program. They also have a rich history of great service and many accomplishments. We hope that with this reorganization they will be able to find their way and continue to contribute to making the airline industry a solid part of the US economy.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Safe Travels! 30 Ways to Make it Happen

Did you know that you should sit behind the taxi driver so that you can see him but he can’t see you? Or that you should be aware of staged car accidents as they are meant to catch you off guard?  Or that you should never wear name tags in public?
In today’s world it’s more important than ever to think about what’s going on around you, near you, and to you. Here are 30 tips from the TSA to help ensure safe travels on your next trip:

30 safety tips for traveling

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.
2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.
3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.
5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.
6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.
7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.
8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.
10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.
11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.
12. Do not wear name tags in public.
13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.
14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.
15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.
16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.
17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.
18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.
19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.
20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.
21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.
22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.
23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friends or relatives contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.
24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.
25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.
27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.
28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.
29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.
30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
 

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Travel News

Streamlining Visa Applications and What That Might Mean for the Travel Industry & US Economy

In 2000, the top tourist destination in the world was Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios, just to name a few attractions. But by 2010, Orlando was no longer number one, or even number five, or ten. Though it is still is one of the top destinations for Americans to visit, the number of foreign visitors has dropped significantly.
Orlando isn’t the only city to have seen such a decline. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, and San Francisco have all seen their inbound tourism drop off. But why? Well, part of the reason is because following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the USA made the process of getting a tourist visa much more difficult if the traveler wasn’t from one of the countries involved in the Visa Waiver program.
However, US President Barack Obama recently announced that he has ordered this process to be streamlined in an effort to make it less cumbersome, and therefore more appealing, for foreign tourists to visit the United States. It is estimated that by speeding up the process in countries like Brazil and China, inbound tourism will create up to one million new jobs over the next decade. Additionally it will increase tax revenues at all levels of government since inbound tourism generates more than $134 billion in revenue each year.
How will this happen? The first steps will include increasing the ability of embassies to process more applications in a shorter time frame. This will require additional investments in infrastructure as well as hiring more staff. Also Taiwan will be added to the list of countries in the Visa Waiver Program. Additional steps will also then be taken to make it less burdensome for applicants by eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that currently slow the process down.
There are several additional articles that discuss this action and the impact it will have on both the travel industry and the US economy, but here are two I found informative via Airwise.com and DailyBreeze.com.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

10 Tips to Speed Through Airport Security

While you can’t completely avoid the possibility of extra screening at airport security, you can take a few measures to improve your odds of zipping through the lines. Here are 10 helpful tips to guide you through airport security and get to your gate on time.
1. Determine your ideal choice of checkpoints. Most airports have multiple security screening areas. Check to see if there are any “off the beaten path” with shorter lines.
2. Pack your coat in your checked luggage. This will cut down on the number of items you have to screen and/or take off before going through the detectors.
3. Watch those liquids and gels! Remember: all passengers are limited to one quart-sized zip-top bag of liquid toiletries containing no more than 3.4 ounces each. Also, make sure that toiletry bag is easily accessible so you can get it out of your purse, briefcase, or carry-on and into a screening bin quickly.
4. Consider your shoes. Wear slip-ons or other shoes that require little lacing. (You might also consider wearing socks to save your feet from the bacteria that’s surely on the floors.)
5. Dress for success. Leave belts, jewelery, hair clips, etc. at home or in your bag until you make it through the metal detectors. And don’t forget to empty your pockets!
6. Keep electronics accessible. While small electronics like cell phones, computer mouses, iPods, and cords/chargers don’t have to be screened separately, pack them in an easy-to-get-to location so that security can screen them with an unobstructed view. Laptops must be removed from their bags, unless you have a “checkpoint friendly” laptop case. Large electronics submitted for screening separately.
7. Leave gifts unwrapped. Wrapped packages may need additional screening and agents will remove the wrapping.
8. Have your identification and boarding pass out and ready to go. No one wants to wait behind you while you dig through your purse or pocket.
9. Be on time and allow a bit of wiggle room. You never know what you might encounter as you make your way to your flight–whether it’s traffic, understaffed check-in desks, or long lines at security–but if you give yourself a few extra minutes  you can breathe easy knowing you’ll make  your flight on-time and without issue.
10. Be patient. The more pleasant you are to the agents and those around you, the better your experience will be.
For more information on how to get through the security lines faster, visit TSA.gov.