Much attention has been given to the pending merger between American Airlines and US Airways. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to block the merger by filing an antitrust suit, arguing that the merger will hit consumers and business travelers with higher fares and fees and less competition. The DOJ claims the deal would hurt consumers and damage competition because it would leave only four airlines controlling more than 80% of the U.S. travel market.
The DOJ’s move to block the merger was a surprise to many industry insiders, as the Department had already previously approved two mega mergers–Delta and Northwest, and Continental and United–which created more route overlaps and resulted in flight reductions and higher airfares in certain markets. Both American and U.S. Airways management plan to fight the antitrust lawsuit aimed at blocking the proposed merger and are seeking a trial that would begin November 12 in U.S. federal court to fight the challenge.
Do you ever resist booking the hotel you really want and instead book a hotel simply because you have a rewards program with that particular chain? If so, then Stash Hotel Rewards might be the rewards program for you.
Stash rewards you for staying where you really want to stay. The program works by awarding you points for every dollar you spend on eligible hotel room rates at participating hotels. These points can then be redeemed for free stays. You can even earn points on rooms you book for other guests as long as you are the one settling the charges. Blackout dates do not exist and points never expire which will make it much easier for you to redeem your points.
Visit StashRewards.com to learn more, sign up, and begin earning points with the hotels you really want to enjoy!
Christopherson Business Travel was recognized today by Utah Business Magazine as one of Utah’s fifty fastest growing companies, determined by a combination of compound annual growth and revenue. This is the fifth year Christopherson has been named a Fast 50 company and was ranked at #38.
Christopherson’s CEO, Mike Cameron, accepted the award at a luncheon held in honor of all fifty recipients at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. He was also recently interviewed by Utah Business and shared more about Christopherson’s growth and formula for success.
Utah Business (UB): What do you attribute your strong growth to?
Mike Cameron (MC): Christopherson focuses intently on creating and maintaining a unique competitive advantage that isn’t claimed by the competition. Our in-house software engineering team has created a powerful suite of corporate travel management software and online business travel tools that can generate considerable cost savings for our clients through managing their business travel spending, their travelers’ security, unused airline tickets, and monitoring travel policy compliance.
Our company culture also plays a strong role in Christopherson’s growth. The culture we have created is built upon a simple formula: hire the right people + create the right value proposition + a willingness to share the wealth with those who generate it. This equals growth. As we have been consistent in the application of this formula, we have grown the company from $1 million to $341 million in 23 years.
UB: What challenges have come alongside strong growth for your company and how have you overcome those?
MC: Four things come to mind. First, by 2000, Christopherson had expanded to four offices, and we decided to merge the offices into a newly-built 42,000 square foot building in Murray, Utah. We moved in the week of September 11, 2001. At the same time, as we all know, the entire travel industry came to a halt. However, Christopherson still grew 17% in 2001 and had another great year.
Second, when the airlines eliminated travel agency commissions in 2001, Christopherson’s competitors began to cut back on their employees’ compensation to stay afloat. But we, on the other hand, gave everyone a raise that year. We announced that while others would become defensive, Christopherson would take advantage of the opportunity and expand. Optimism and morale stayed high, and it worked – more growth!
Third, when people began to more fully embrace the practice of booking their own travel on the internet, this began to cut into Christopherson’s bookings. So we responded by offering customized internet booking tools to our clients. We embraced the new environment and Christopherson’s clients now book millions of dollars online using Christopherson’s tools. We have an entire team of professionals who manage all of the online technology and online bookings for our corporate clients.
And finally, as the economy began to decline rapidly in late 2008, we presented a strategy to our management team. We looked at all of the various economic downturn scenarios and presented a plan to respond to every possibility. It took all of the fear out of the process. We followed the playbook and Christopherson was able to get through a 20% economic downturn with minimal layoffs.
UB: Are there any major initiatives or goals in the near future?
MC: Christopherson booked $341 million in travel in 2012. We plan to grow to $500 million by 2015. Christopherson’s vision for the future is simply to continue growing by finding new ways to add value to our client’s travel management program. We will continue to invest heavily in keeping our proprietary technology platform unique and relevant, which has become the “secret sauce” in our success.
UB: What excites you most about your company’s future?
MC: Creating a strategy that will adapt to the rapid changes in the travel industry and provide a solid future for our employees and other stakeholders.
UB: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your company?
MC: This month, we released the first comprehensive IOS mobile app designed exclusively for corporate travel managers, executives, and team leaders. (Read the press release here.)
Following in the footsteps of airlines, hotels, and car chains, airports are now finding their way into consumer loyalty programs.
Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport is the first in California, and one of approximately 170 airports in the U.S. and Canada to implement the program for airport travelers. The Burbank Airport saw 5.9 million passengers pass through its doors in 2007. By 2012, those numbers had dropped to 4 million. That translates to less revenue for the airport, its vendors, and shops.
In an effort to halt the decline in passenger numbers, the airport has created a loyalty program that will give you miles for every dollar you spend. You can earn miles on your favorite airline or you can apply the points toward your Hilton HHonors account. Simply register your card online at ThanksAgain.com/BUR and then register your credit or debit card. The airport is hoping this program will attract people who would normally fly into LAX or any of the other surrounding airports in the area.
In general, smaller airports are easier to navigate than the larger airports. Traffic is lighter and once you’re inside, lines tend to be shorter. But loyalty programs aren’t just for the smaller airports. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) also started a similar program in June.
“The DFW Customer Rewards Program is a great opportunity for travelers to benefit even more from the amenities they now value at DFW,” said Jeff Fegan , CEO of DFW Airport. “Whether spending money on parking, a gift or a quick bite to eat, travelers are now able to accumulate miles to redeem with their favorite airline, simply by buying what they’re already buying at the Airport.”
Such loyalty programs are a great way to add miles to your frequent flyer accounts or hotel programs. If you’re interested in joining you can register at ThanksAgain.com.
It has been our pleasure to participate in the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Annual Convention and Trade Show for several years, but this year we went “BIG.” Our booth was three times the size it was last year, and staffed with more Christopherson team members than ever–which was perfect for the big unveiling of our new AirPortal 360™ Mobile app. GBTA, with its 7,000 attendees, proved to be an exciting time and place for the release of this new technology.
With record traffic to our booth, we provided numerous product demonstrations and received exceptional feedback about AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app that provides corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program from the palm of their hand—wherever, whenever.
As the mobile version of our intelligent travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers a collection of tools that allow travel managers the ability to maintain and manage their duty of care responsibilities, ensure better policy compliance, keep track of travelers and their itineraries, and more.
Corporate travel budgets of any size will benefit from the features of AirPortal 360 and its new mobile app. It was a rewarding experience for us to launch it at GBTA with some of the largest corporate travel buyers in the country and we now look forward to sharing it with corporate travel buyers everywhere.
Where do you escape to when it’s time for a respite, when you want to slow down and settle back, where you can turn off the smartphone and all the distractions of the world? From tranquil weekends at the spa to teeing up for a leisurely game of golf, the August issue of Virtuoso Traveler is full of travel ideas geared to help you relax and recharge. Cast your line in the rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains, saddle up in Montana, or set sail in Chesapeake Bay. However you prefer to unwind, your Andavo Travel advisor (the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel) can remove the weight of planning by arranging all the details.
As we wind up the third quarter and head into the fourth, many companies are beginning to plan their final business trips, conferences, and meetings of the year. But have you thought about which cities are the most expensive for doing business?
Skift, a travel news website, recently published an article on the 10 Most Expensive Cities for Business Travel. Using data from Concur’s annual “Expense IQ Report,” Skift reported that Brisbane, Australia was the most expensive international city for business travel, while New York City topped the list for domestic cities.
If you have the luxury of choosing the location of your meeting or business trip, you may want to consider those cities with high costs. By selecting a city with lower costs you may increase in-person attendance at your meeting and save your bottom line a lot of money. You might also get better hotel options and services.