Travel Industry Travel Management

Bundling, Unbundling and Re-bundling of Airfare: What does it all mean?

Bundling has long been a business strategy for delivering added value to customers by combining certain products and/or services and offering them at a reduced price. While this may generate additional revenue for the seller through cross-selling, it does not necessarily generate the highest revenue per unit for the seller.

Unbundling, on the other hand, is a strategy for maximizing per unit revenue for the seller. A good example of this is your local junkyard–the junkyard owner buys a car for $100 and then sells all of the individual parts and pieces to his buyers for $1,000. This is great for the seller, but not necessarily a good value for the customer.

While strong competition in the market place may offset the seller’s ability to create large margins, the net effect of unbundling is to generate higher revenue for the seller at the buyer’s expense. Banks have done this with their plethora of service fees, and now the airlines are doing it with baggage fees and meals–both traditionally bundled with the total fare–and with some new ancillary fees such as WiFi and expanded seating options.

Then there’s rebundling. Once a market has accepted the new unbundled fees as an additional cost of doing business, the seller can then begin to cross-sell and up-sell, by rebundling various combinations of products or services along with their base offering.  The airlines are now doing this with fare families. In addition to the extra revenue generated, this strategy makes it very hard to shop and compare ‘apples to apples’ because of the variety of bundled packages that are delivered via search results. In turn, this removes the transparency that we have become accustomed to as travelers.

But what does this all mean?

Basically, with the consolidation of airlines into a few large carriers, those companies are now in a better strategic position to keep seat inventory low, keep their planes full, and charge those ancillary fees. The traveler now has access to extra services or comforts at their discretion. The travel professional should be allowed to sell these services at the time of ticketing.

We see this beginning to happen as the Global Distribution Systems are integrating this new content into their systems. Travel managers will now need to decide which services (if any) they will allow their travelers to purchase, e.g. WiFi so that their road warriors can be more productive in-flight. In terms of cost, this means that travelers and travel managers can expect to see total airfare costs rise.

Is this a bad thing? Given that most of the major airlines have been in and out of bankruptcy for decades, they may finally have found the success formula they have been missing. And for all of us who rely on the airlines every day, the extra costs may be a fair trade for a healthier airline industry.

Business Travel Travel Tips

Business Photography: Business trips provide opportunity for documenting your brand in action

When packing for your next business trip, don't forget your camera.
When packing for your next business trip, don’t forget your camera.

It has long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and visual representation (of your product, your brand, or even your team) can be very valuable in distinguishing your business from the competition. Many business people overlook this powerful tool, but with a little strategy, visual imagery can make a business trip, event, or meeting a lot more meaningful and useful to you and your company in the future.

When packing for your next business trip, don’t forget to pack your camera. Then look for opportunities to record the events, people, products, services, and venues. Even a work dinner or lunch can be important to document. Forethought and planning will help to create images that will be meaningful and helpful to you. Here are a few things to think about when trying to document your trip:

  • Think about what is important to you, your company, and clients. What would you like your co-workers, clients, and potential clients to know about your company?  What is it about this trip that tells a story or illustrates a strength that could be presented to a supervisor or client?
  • Don’t forget to look beyond the obvious and pay attention to the minutia of the trip.
  • What type of reporting are you responsible for?  Could you use this material for PowerPoint presentations, displays, pamphlets, advertising, websites, trainings, or webinars?
  • When thinking about what pictures might be helpful, decide who your audience is and what would be important to them.  What is it that you want to illustrate?
  • Be sensitive to others around you who may not want their picture taken.  Avoid being gauche by not taking pictures of proprietary and sensitive materials.  Don’t overstep your bounds.

The use of photographs that are substandard or uninteresting can cause a certain amount of ennui or actually be a distraction from your intent. Do not use photographs that detract from your message as, again, the message photographs send can be more impactful than words. Here are some keys to giving your photographs panache:

  • Lighting is key in creating impactful images. Consider whether your subject will be in the shadows or in bright light. Dramatic lighting makes for dramatic photos. Four techniques for lighting on-the-go include:
  1. Shoot in the first hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset if shooting outside.
  2. Don’t be afraid to use your flash especially in the middle of the day.
  3. Light from an open window creates nice lighting.
  4. Don’t be afraid to move the subject or change the direction that you are shooting to change the lighting.
  • Look for people interacting with one another or the product. Look for emotion as that draws the viewer into the image and helps them relate with the scene.
  • Decide if there is a unique perspective or angle that you can shoot the event or product from. Many of us settle for the eye level shot.  Try viewing the scene from a low angle, a high angle, or viewing the minute detail of a product or a scene. Make the image interesting from the point of view you shoot it from.
  • Look for patterns or colors that make the image interesting.
  • Above all else, does this image tell the story you want it to? Does it paint your company and/or your product in a positive light? Does it document the event or venue? Can you use this image to report on your company or build up your clientele?

Business photography can be a powerful tool for you and your company.  When traveling to business meetings and events, don’t forget to bring along your camera to capture images that will provide clients a sense of who your company is and what you represent.

Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel Releases AirPortal 360™ Mobile: The First Comprehensive Mobile App for Corporate Travel Managers

AirPortal 360 Mobile is the first mobile app that allows corporate travel managers the ability to manage their program wherever, whenever.
AirPortal 360 Mobile is the first mobile app that provides corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program–wherever, whenever.

Christopherson Business Travel will soon be launching AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app to provide corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program from the palm of their hand—wherever, whenever. (Read the full press release here.)

As the mobile version of Christopherson’s intelligent travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers a collection of essential management tools that allow travel managers, and other key players in a company’s travel program, to maintain and manage their duty of care responsibilities, ensure better policy compliance, keep track of travelers and their itineraries, and more.

In the recent Business Travel News (BTN) article, “Assessing Mobile Travel Services and Strategies,” BTN stated that, “However nimble a corporate travel program might be, changes in its culture inevitably occur more slowly than did the rapid, massive embrace by business travelers of mobile technology.”

At Christopherson, we have noticed that while mobile technology innovation has progressed rapidly for travelers, there has not been much innovation when it comes to mobile technology for travel managers. The mobile apps that do exist for that market only provide a third-party software developer’s niche service, and until now, there have been no comprehensive mobile apps to help travel managers oversee their entire travel program. AirPortal 360 Mobile is the solution to that void.

Christopherson has long been a leader in adopting mobile business travel technology, as evidenced by the fact that we were the first travel management company to fully integrate TripIt’s interactive trip management services for all Christopherson business travelers. This occured three years ago, prior to Concur buying TripIt. (Read TripIt’s full press release here.)

Christopherson will be unveiling AirPortal 360 Mobile at the 2013 Global Business Travel Association convention, in San Diego, CA, August 4-7. The app is first available to iPhone users, and the Android version will be released in September 2013.

We invite you to stop by our booth (#3625) to take a look and demo the app for yourself.
GBTA Signature

Business Travel Travel Technology

TSA Launches New Application Program for TSA PreCheck

Christopherson Business Travel received the following notification from Delta this week, and wanted to share this valuable news with our travelers:

delta_EmailExtra_Header(July 24, 2013) – On July 22, 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it will add an additional opportunity for U.S. citizens to be eligible to receive expedited screening through TSA PreCheck lanes at select airports. To view the complete TSA press release, please click here.

Delta customers interested in enrolling will be required to submit an online application, complete an in-person interview at an enrollment site and pay an $85 five-year membership fee when the program launches later this fall. A U.S. passport is not required to enroll. Approved customers will be given a Known Traveler Number to store in their passenger profile when purchasing a ticket. Click here for more enrollment details.

  • Customers are encouraged to contact the TSA for more information on this new program via email at or 1-866-289-9673.
  • Initially, enrollment sites will be located at Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport. The TSA expects to expand at other locations in the future.
  • Customers who have received TSA PreCheck through Delta SkyMiles or through a Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program such as Global Entry, will not need to reapply; this is only for new entrants to the program.

While this additional opportunity provides a benefit to our customers who do not possess a valid U.S. passport, Delta encourages those who travel to international destinations to apply for the Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program to receive TSA PreCheck eligibility.

With Global Entry, customers receive quicker access through Customs and Boarder Protection checkpoints at key international gateways and may receive expedited screening through the TSA PreCheck program as well. Click here to learn more:

As always, the TSA incorporates random unpredictable security measures and no one is guaranteed expedited screening.

Additional information about TSA PreCheck is available by visiting the following links.

TSA Press Release

TSA PreCheck Application Process

TSA PreCheck FAQs

TSA PreCheck for Active Duty Military 

TSA PreCheck Participating Airports

Business Travel

Business Travelers Need Their Phones: Will in-flight regulations ever catch up with this era of connectivity?

Business travelers need their phones and taxi and take off times provide valuable moments of productivity.
Business travelers need their phones and taxi and take off times provide valuable moments of productivity.

That dreadful moment the airplane door closes and all cell phones must be completely turned off … we’ve all experienced this. In a world of connectivity, being off the grid can be bittersweet. In a recent survey, the Wall Street Journal looked to find how many of us are actually shutting off our phones. You may find the results interesting. Does shutting off your phone actually make a difference? Or is this an old regulation that just won’t die?

This connectivity deprivation has caused the airlines to install wifi throughout most of their fleets. Gogo has been leading the charge and announced a new initiative with Delta “to provide connectivity services on the airline’s entire international fleet of 170 aircraft.” In the near future maybe we’ll start seeing wifi now on every plane, domestic and international.

This kind of connectivity goes a long way toward easing the dreadful closing of that airplane door, but hopefully we will see progress in the direction of easing the regulations that cause us to turn off our phones during taxi and take off. This world of connectivity can’t be ignored and in many cases, taxi times are significant. Technology surely has advanced in the last decade and should allow us to leave our phones on throughout the whole flight.

Where is Steve Jobs when you need him?

Business Travel Travel Tips

Safety Tips for a Plane Crash

It’s been only a little over one week since Asiana Airlines’ Flight 214 tragic crash in San Francisco, and our thoughts certainly go out to all the passengers and victims’ families.

Although plane crashes are so very rare, it’s still been on my mind, and I found myself looking for a few safety tips, should any of us business travelers ever be in a position to need them. Here are a few I found interesting:

6 tips to remember in a plane crash

  • Seconds are valuable.  The more time you wait, the less chance for survival.  Before the aircraft takes off, passengers should count the number rows they are away from an emergency exit.
  • Though instinct may cause you to crawl, don’t do it.  Often, people will walk over, or even on you, preventing your exit from the plane. Come down the aisle staying low, with your head below the tops of the seat-backs, using the arm rests for support and following the path lighting until you come to the colored lights, which signals you are at the exit.
  • A Popular Mechanics investigation examined nearly four decades of data from a federal safety agency.  The magazine concluded the safest seats were in the back of the aircraft, and the least safe were in the front.
  • University of Greenwich professor Ed Galea, who is considered a leading expert on aviation safety, has found that the passengers most likely to get out of a downed plane are those seated within five rows of an emergency exit and those in aisle seats.
  • Stay calm
  • Once seated, have a plan in the event the plan goes down.

May we all have safe travels, and again, our hearts are with those directly affected by the tragic events of July 6.


Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

6 Business Travel Benefits from the Delta/Virgin Atlantic Partnership

Delta and Virgin join forces, providing business travelers additional benefits.
Delta and Virgin join forces, providing business travelers additional benefits.

Delta has a new joint partnership with Virgin Atlantic that will benefit Christopherson’s corporate travelers! The reciprocal code-sharing will become effective July 3, 2013.  The initial phase of the partnership will bring to our valued clients the following added benefits:

  • 30 total peak-day flights from North America to the UK, including 23 flights to London–Heathrow
  • Six additional daily frequencies to Heathrow from the greater New York area
  • Priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Delta- and Virgin Atlantic-operated flights worldwide for Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum and Gold members, as well as Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members
  • Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for BusinessElite and Upper Class passengers, as well as SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members and Flying Club Gold members
  • More opportunities to earn and redeem miles through the SkyMiles and Flying Club programs
  • Complementary products and services, including flat-bed seats with direct aisle access


Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Business Travel to Attend GBTA Convention 2013

custom_1373323780_3625_728x90Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 4.57.04 PMThe 2013 GBTA Convention is quickly approaching! This year’s event is being held in San Diego, California from August 4-7 and Christopherson Business Travel is both a trade show sponsor and an active participant with more than a dozen attendees from our company.

We are excited to expand our booth space this year allowing for additional demo stations, beverages, snacks, and 15 drawings for $100 gift cards throughout the three-day convention. We’re also looking forward to releasing our new AirPortal 360™ Mobile technology.

AirPortal 360 Mobile is the first comprehensive mobile app specifically designed exclusively for the corporate travel manager. As the mobile version of Christopherson’s AirPortal 360 travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers the essentials from our powerful collection of travel management software right to your fingertips.

Both easy-to-use and convenient, AirPortal 360 Mobile provides the ability to maintain duty of care responsibilities, keep track of travelers and itineraries, access and manage traveler profiles, ensure policy compliance, and more, even if you’re on the go.

If you are attending GBTA, please plan to stop by booth #3625. We’d love to show you our new AirPortal 360 Mobile. You can also schedule an appointment by emailing

Travel News Vacation Travel

Virtuoso’s Travel Dreams Survey Results Are In

VirtuosoLifeCover2The results are in. Nearly 8,000 people took Virtuoso’s Travel Dreams online survey to determine their travel personalities and share which destinations and travel experiences top their wish lists. In this issue of Virtuoso Life magazine, hot off the presses, Virtuoso shares the results. From Australia to French Polynesia, discover the top fantasy islands, where to set sail, cities that excite, favorite family vacations, and of course, top trips of a lifetime! And, new this year, they asked respondents to pick their travel personality. Are you the go-go type or someone who yearns to unplug and just be still?

Take a peek at this month’s issue of Virtuoso Life and see how your travel dreams line up.  And if you’re ready to make those dreams a reality, contact a travel advisor at Andavo Travel (Christopherson Business Travel’s vacation travel division) for assistance in planning.

Note:  If you’d like to receive a hard copy version of the award-winning Virtuoso Life magazine (published six times per year), simply fill out the form on this page for a free subscription – compliments of Andavo Travel.

Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Business Travel and Hotel Fees

How closely do you pay attention to your business travel hotel fees?
How closely do you pay attention to your business travel hotel fees?

For some time now, the media has been talking about the fees airlines charge to create more revenue. But, has anyone noticed the increase in hotel fees? Or have we just gotten used to them over time?

At least the airlines give you options. For instance, if you intend on flying with extra luggage, you know upfront that you will have to pay more money for those bags, whereas hotels fees, quite often, just show up on your bill, after the fact, at checkout.

If you don’t ask about, or read all the details, watch out. Here are a few additional hotel fees I’ve personally encountered:

Airport Shuttle: While many hotels don’t charge, don’t assume the shuttle is always included.

Housekeeper Gratuities: Leaving a tip for your housekeeper each day and then realizing at the end of your stay that you were also billed for this can be a rude awakening.

Bottled Water & Snacks:  Even if there is no note or card stating that it’s complimentary, ask before using.

Cancellations:  Be sure you understand your hotel’s cancellation policy or it could be very costly should you need or want to change. (How to Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees)

Early Check-in/Late Check-out:  Most hotels are becoming very rigid about these services and are charging extra for them.

Energy Surcharges: Depending on the season, energy surcharges ($1 to $3 a day) can also appear on your bill as the hotel may require you to share the costs of increased energy usage.

Resort Fee: A resort fee can run anywhere from $10 to $50 a day and include a number of items. Even if you don’t use them, you still incur this charge. Another similar term and fee is a “grounds-keeping fee,” but it is usually much less per day.

Internet Fees: Where this has been a common inclusion at many hotels, some are now reverting back to charging. Watch out too if you have two devices—i.e. a laptop and an iPad—the property could charge for both.

With the continual rise in hotel and airline fees, surely more are on the way. And just a friendly reminder for companies with business travelers: when updating your corporate travel policy or negotiating contracts, due diligence when it comes to these fees is a must.

Avoiding Unnecessary Hotel Fees When Traveling for Business

Business Travel Travel Tips

Redeeming Business Travel Frequent Flyer Miles: They’re Not Just for Tickets Anymore

Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.
Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.

Frequent flyer programs have now been around for 32 years. American Airlines started the first program and the premise was simple–fly on American, accumulate miles, then cash those miles in for a free ticket. The idea quickly caught on and created a fierce loyalty between the traveling public and the airlines.

As mileage accounts grew, it became obvious to the airlines that the programs needed to be tweaked. After all, road warriors were racking up some pretty serious miles. Over the years we’ve seen that mileage redemption for a “free” ticket has been increased. As technology improved, airlines were also able to increase the number of miles needed to travel at peak times or to popular destinations.

The watchword from the airlines was to be “flexible.” To most people that meant they would have to check other dates or times which may not be as desirable. But being flexible also meant you may not get to fly to the city of your choice.

For example, if you wanted to perhaps cash in your miles for a family vacation to Disneyworld, you would want to fly into Orlando, right? But trying to get a free ticket to Orlando could mean draining your frequent flyer account. It’s a popular destination and the airlines would rather have fare paying passengers in those seats. So the mileage redemption is going to be high. One recommendation would be to try a surrounding airport, such as Tampa. It’s about a 90 minute drive, but one family saved about half of their miles by choosing that airport over Orlando. And, since they were renting a car anyway, it really didn’t add much to the cost of their entire vacation.

In time, airlines also soon began to realize that a lot of road warriors didn’t want to see the inside of an airplane during their vacation. After all, many of them spend a week or two each month in planes and airports. And another flying trip, even for a vacation, would just mean more time doing what they already do for business. The airlines also realized that, collectively, their top 10-20% of travelers had millions of miles sitting on the books. So they’ve now created new ways to redeem those miles for merchandise or benefits.

You can now cash in miles for airline club memberships, GPS units, household goods, and even Broadway show tickets. Some airlines even run auctions for exotic vacations. You can also donate miles to charity. For example, Delta has partnered with organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Hero Miles.

Visit your favorite airline website to see the many different options for redeeming your miles.

Business Travel Travel Industry

BCD’s Acquisition of TBiz Continues the Convergence of Full-Service and Online TMC Channels

BCDBCD Travel acquired Travelocity Business, otherwise known as TBiz, from its parent company Travelocity. Travelocity is a unit of Sabre Holding.

This is particularly interesting to us at Christopherson Business Travel because we are an affiliate of BCD Travel. We see this as a positive announcement and anticipate that this should benefit our clients in the future, by giving us access to any discounted hotel and other discounted vendor content that Tbiz might have.

This transaction brings full circle the decade-long trend of online travel agencies and traditional full-service travel management companies converging. The trend started in 2002 when Expedia bought full-service corporate travel agency, Metropolitan Travel.

An interesting side-note to the story is that World Travel Partners, the predecessor company to BCD Travel, was the original fulfillment partner for Expedia. They issued and serviced all of the tickets for Expedia for many years, and by 1999 had as many as 250 customer service representatives assigned to the account.

Orbitz joined the convergence trend with the launch of Orbitz for Business in 2002 and then Travelocity followed suit by launching Tbiz in 2003. Expedia bought Paris-based Egencia in 2004 and eventually rebranded its entire business travel unit under the Egencia name.

During this same time period full-service business travel management companies were converging from the opposite direction and rapidly selling and implementing corporate online booking tools. Online adoption rates soared with TMCs over the past decade. Concur expanded the convergence trend by acquiring the Cliqbook on-line booking tool from Outtask and integrating it into their expense management service.

We can now say that effective travel management requires all TMC participants to offer and embrace the full spectrum of online booking tools as well the as the high-touch travel agent and account management services offered by the traditional TMCs.

Christopherson is also participating in the convergence trend with increased online booking adoption rates. While our total airline transactions in 2012 increased 17% over 2011, our online bookings increased at a much more robust rate of 78% during 2012!