Business Travel Travel Industry

1 + 2 + 1 = Delta Airlines’ Definition of Comfort

Delta's new Business Elite flat-beds

Recently I had the opportunity to learn some new math from Delta Airlines.

Did you know that 1 + 2 + 1 = comfort?

Delta recently reconfigured their Business Elite Seating to provide each traveler with their own personal aisle–no climbing over anyone to get out of your row!

Because this new configuration allows for flat-beds, you experience a full 180-degree recline. What a better way to wake up refreshed? Plus, you now receive a full-size pillow and quilted duvet too.

When you’re not sleeping, you have access to your favorite movies, TV shows, games, and more personal entertainment. Additionally, you can power up with the provided personal electrical outlet or USB port. Business travelers also now enjoy superior storage space for carry-on luggage.

Learn more about the new flat-bed configuration on Delta’s website, and see for yourself why 1 + 2 + 1 doesn’t equal 4, but actually equals comfort.

Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Ranked #26 on Travel Weekly’s 2013 Power List


Christopherson Business Travel was ranked #26 on Travel Weekly's 2013 Power List.

Christopherson Business Travel has been ranked #26 on Travel Weekly’s 2013 Power List.

In both 2011 and 2012, Christopherson was ranked #32 on this same list. The article accompanying the rankings also highlights Christopherson’s tremendous 2012 growth independent of acquisitions.

See Travel Weekly’s Power List here.

In 2012, Christopherson booked $341 million in travel, an increase of nearly 20% over 2011, and was also recently ranked the 11th largest business travel agency in the country by Business Travel News.

Click here to read Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron’s, “formula for growth.”

Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

3 Key Strategies of Best-in-Class Business Travel Management Programs

Travel Market Report’s business travel editor, Fred Gebhart, recently wrote about a report published by the market research firm Aberdeen Groupon called “Travel and Expense Management.”  The report concluded that business travel expenses account for 8% to 12% of an organization’s overall expense budget.

The report also emphasized the need for organizations to focus more on strategic management of travel and not just cost efficiency, and identified three key strategies common to best-in-class travel management programs:

  1. Support travel management with analytics, integration, and mobility
  2. Use mobile apps and portals to put expense management directly in the hands of travelers
  3. Leverage analytics and integration to drive transparency into travel processes and spend to improve corporate budgeting, planning, and forecasting

As a travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel works hard to help you meet those objectives. In fact, Christopherson has already helped countless organizations across the country save money by reducing their travel spend and more efficiently managing their travel programs. The redesign of AirPortal®, our integrated business travel technology platform, and the creation of AirPortal 360™, our travel manager dashboard, allows us to respond to your corporate travel needs.

For additional details about how we can support your travel programs with analytics, integration, and mobility, contact one of our Christopherson Business Travel’s development executives or account managers.

Travel Industry Travel News

Best and Worst Airlines: According to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is always where I go to find product ratings and best buy recommendations. So this month when Consumer Reports rated the best and worst airlines, I took notice.

Consumer reports rated eleven major carriers based on information from almost 17,000 subscribers. They analyzed ease of check-in, cabin/crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort, and in-flight entertainment.

Virgin America made its debut at the top of the list while Spirit Airlines ranked the worst. One traveler said of Virgin America’s coach seats, “The leather seat cushions are so nice in coach, there’s no reason to fly first class.” Virgin American says it emphasizes “top-notch services and a host of innovative amenities.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Spirit Airlines received the lowest overall scores for any company rated by Consumer Reports. Their airfare costs may be 90% less than other carriers, but the airline charges a wide array of fees, including $3 for a soda, juice, or bag of M&Ms. Plus their carry-on fee can range from $35 to $100 per bag. Here are the readers’ scores in order:

  1. Virgin America – 89
  2. Southwest Airlines – 85
  3. JetBlue Airways – 85
  4. Hawaiian Airlines – 82
  5. Alaska Airlines – 81
  6. Frontier Airlines – 78
  7. Delta Airlines – 71
  8. US Airways – 66
  9. American Airlines – 66
  10. United Airlines – 63
  11. Spirit Airlines – 50
Business Travel Travel Management

United Airlines Changes Boarding Process

United Airlines is changing the way they board planes. This new process will supposedly reduce boarding time by 20%.

Coined “WilMA,” this boarding process replaces the former system of assigning economy customers to groups based on row numbers. With WilMA, economy groups three, four, and five are seated in order of window, middle, and aisle, respectively, when boarding aircraft.

WilMA Boarding Process is as follows:

  • Group 1 – Global Services, Permier 1K, Premier Platinum, and all Front Cabins
  • Group 2 – Premier Gold, Star Gold, Premier Alliance Silver, Star Alliance Silver, Paid Premier Access, Chase Club Card and Chase Presidential Plus Card holders
  • Group 3 – Economy Plus and Economy window seats
  • Group 4 – Economy middle seats
  • Group 5 – Economy aisle seats
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News

Christopherson is Ranked #11 by Business Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel is now the 11th largest business travel agency in the country.

We are pleased to announce that Christopherson Business Travel was recently ranked the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States by Business Travel News.

Rankings are based upon audited results of annual transaction and sales volume data provided by the Airline Reporting Corporation. Results were announced in the 2013 Business Travel Survey issue of Business Travel News’ monthly magazine.

Christopherson has a long legacy of growth, innovation, and client retention which has guided the agency from its #14 spot in 2011 to its current position, #11, in the 2013 report.

Particularly notable is Christopherson’s growth over the last six years. Since 2007, the company has more than doubled in size, having grown from a $160 million company in 2007 to a $341 million company in 2012.

Currently, Christopherson operates from three full-service locations (Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California) as well as 35-client dedicated on-site locations, maintains a successful leisure travel division (Andavo Travel), employs more than 250 travel professionals and, as previously stated, booked $341 million in travel in 2012 for more than 900 companies and organizations across the country.

Business Travel

Social Media Being Used to Gather Travel Data & Preferences

Hotels using social media to research customers prior to check in.

We often hear about companies using social media to gather data to improve business. Most common are Google and Facebook, but any company can potentially gather personal information, such as likes and dislikes, to learn more about a particular customer.

Well, the hotel industry is getting on board with the practice now too. Many hotel general managers are using social media to research future guests in an effort to improve the customer experience. This may include providing books to a fanatical reader, or chocolates to a chocolate lover, prior to arrival.

Some people like this practice, some people don’t, thinking that it feels a little like “Big Brother.” What do you think?

To read more about the hotels researching their guests, click here.

Business Travel Travel Management

Reconciling Business Travel Expense Reports—How Small, Midsize, and Large Companies Manage

It’s 4:45 p.m. on the fourteenth day of the month and you haven’t started working on your expense reimbursement report, which is due on the fifteenth—in the morning. You scramble to find receipts or anything else that will indicate you actually spent $150 for a client lunch. It’s the only receipt out of seven that you can’t find. But no receipt, no reimbursement.

In this day and age it is critical to quickly reconcile your expense report. Taking a picture of your receipt and emailing it to an expense program is becoming more common. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon of purchasing an expense tool, not only for their internal reporting needs, but for their traveler’s expenses as well.

Reconciling business travel expenses

A recent industry survey, based on input from more than 165 companies, indicated that many companies still use manual processes, such as spreadsheets and paper, for expense reporting and management. The majority of those companies surveyed were looking to reduce costs and increase compliance through moving expense management to the cloud (the “cloud” is a term for the internet—in other words, a network of servers). Survey findings detailed small, midsize, and large company expense management challenges and what companies are seeking in a new system.  The segment with the most responses was enterprise level organizations—those with 1,000 employees or more.

Survey highlights included:

  • Top pain points for expense management include employees not submitting reports on time (47%), employees losing or forgetting receipts (42%), and excessive time spent improving and reconciling reports (39%).
  • More than 50% of organizations still have manual processes for expense management.
  • After simplifying processes (50%), the second top critical area for expense management improvement is mobile access (40%).
  • 64% of small businesses and 57% of midsize businesses plan to switch to cloud-based expense management systems.
  • Nearly half of enterprise companies (1,000 employees or larger) still employ manual expense processes, yet 72% of those respondents will switch to cloud-based systems.
  • Top reasons for switching to the cloud include simplifying overall expense reporting processes, providing anywhere access to expense systems, and delivering better analytics and reporting.
  • Users of automated expense management systems report much faster reimbursement times: 52% report less than seven days, compared with 8-14 days for 50% of companies with manual processes.
  • More than half of small and medium businesses integrate their expense management system with corporate credit cards, 46% integrate with general ledger, and 39% with accounts payable.
Travel News Vacation Travel

Your Travel Photos Could Earn You Fame and Fortune

Virtuoso photo contest
The Virtuoso Traveler Photography Contest 2013
Deadline to Enter: June 16, 2013

As you may know, Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel (Christopherson’s vacation division) are proud members of Virtuoso. Consisting of 7,200 travel advisors associated with over 330 agencies in 20 countries, Virtuoso is the world’s most exclusive network of travel advisors. So exclusive, in fact, that only 1% of all travel agencies are invited to join.

Virtuoso’s annual photography contest is underway, and you can win cash prizes just by entering your travel photography. Virtuoso wants to see pictures of how you make the most of your vacations. Send in your best shots that include you and/or your family and friends soaking in your favorite travel moments (see examples of previous winners above). We know that your Christopherson or Andavo travel advisors have helped design some amazing trips, so here’s your chance to brag. Four lucky travelers will win cash prizes, and win or not, your photo may appear in Virtuoso Life® magazine or on

You may enter as many vacation photos as you wish anytime during this year’s contest period (deadline is June 16, 2013). Upload a couple of photos now, and a few later – the choice is yours.

Judges will be looking for image quality, composition, and creativity in addition to the requirement of you and/or your family and friends being in your photos. We know you have great landscapes and other interesting pix, but this contest is all about you and your travel experiences. These may include celebrations, simple pleasures, special moments, ultimate adventures, and/or the fulfillment of travel dreams. You’ll have a chance to title each image, to indicate where and when it was taken, and to tell us about what made it a special moment for you.

Show us what you’ve got! Put those hundreds of vacation photos to good use, and we’ll cross our fingers that you win.

Business Travel Travel Industry

Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees

In April, we reported that United Airlines would be increasing their ticket exchange fees in most markets by $50. And, of course, it didn’t take long for Delta, American, and others to follow close behind.

Keeping up with airline fees can certainly be confusing. Download the quick-reference guide, created by Smarter Travel, below to ease stress and eliminate any confusion over all the fees now associated with air travel.

And, as always, your Christopherson Business Travel agent can help educate you on the latest airline changes and how they might affect your next business trip.

Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees

Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta’s Terminal 4–A New Star at JFK

Delta's Terminal 4 JFKI recently had the privilege of touring Delta’s new Terminal 4 at New York’s JFK Airport. From the minute we stepped inside, it was quite apparent that Delta was very proud of their new “baby,” and rightfully so!

Terminal 4 is part of Delta’s $1.4 billion renovation project at JFK. The first thing I noticed were the floor to ceiling windows which added an abundance of natural light to the terminal. There are also plenty of kiosks, check-in counters, and Delta employees ready to assist travelers at every step of the check-in process. There is also a separate check-in area for Sky Priority members. The TSA screening area was a bit unorganized, but that should improve soon as Sky Priority lanes are added.

After looking around the check-in area of the terminal, we were led downstairs to the gates, which included many shops and restaurants. After a quick walk through the area, we were taken to the new Sky Club. This is definitely the grandest of Delta’s Sky Clubs. It is 24,000 square feet of work (or relaxation) space for Sky Club members, including an outdoor rooftop terrace called the Sky Deck.

The Sky Deck is a great place to relax and get some fresh air before heading to your flight. For those with a Sky Club pass, it is well worth the visit. For those who don’t feel they travel enough to purchase a one-year pass, you can purchase a one day pass for $50.00 and visit any of Delta’s Sky Clubs.

As a sidenote, while we were out on the Sky Deck, we actually saw an Emirates Air A380 Airbus land. For those not familiar with the A380, it’s a twin deck jet that can hold more than 500 passengers. It was amazing to watch it land.

Delta’s new Terminal 4 reinforces the company’s commitment to the New York airport. If you have an opportunity to travel to, from, or through JFK, Terminal 4 is a must see (especially the Sky Club).

Terminal 4 JFK Sky DeckDelta's Terminal 4 JFKDelta's Terminal 4 JFK

Travel Management Travel Technology

Great Design Matters–How Christopherson Bridged the Gap Between Technology Form and Function


Everyone sees Apple as the gold standard for great technology design. Their minimalistic, clean, user friendly interfaces are great because they are simple and intuitive. They hide the complexity of the technology from the user. Great design is an integral part of every decision they make.

Many technology companies have great technology (function), but they leave the user-interface (form) up to their internal software engineers. In these instance, the design often appears to be an afterthought, at best. Popular psychology tells us that those who are often best with the “left brain” work, the logical stuff, might not be as good at the creating great designs, the “right brain” activities.

When Christopherson embarked on our journey to completely redesign AirPortal®, our integrated business travel technology platform, and introduce AirPortal 360™, our travel manager dashboard, we wanted to treat form and function with equal importance. We made the decision early on to hire a creative, user-interface design company to help us with our “form.” But this also then creates a separate challenge, which is that if you get too creative, your technology might not be as functional as a simple, yet boring, design might be.

How did we bridge the gap? We created two separate designs–one was done by our outside design company and the other by our internal development team. We then sat down and merged the best of both worlds. We were also fortunate that we have one of those rare individuals on our technology team who has great skills on both sides of the brain. The process was interesting; designers are artists and they often think of their design as their “baby.” And who wants to tell anyone that they have an “ugly baby,” right?

In the end, we came up with a design that nailed our form-versus-function objectives. And while we’re certainly not Apple, we do think our new AirPortal 360 design is clean, creative, and functional–so please don’t tell us that you think we have an “ugly baby.”