TRAVEL WEEKLY | JUNE 30, 2014
Carlson setting its focus tightly on corporate travel: Christopherson CEO Weighs In
Carlson setting its focus tightly on corporate travel: Christopherson CEO Weighs In
In his book, Winning The Battle For Relevance, Michael McQueen talks about how to stay relevant in a constantly changing world. His principles apply to both businesses and individuals. In one section, he uses a sailing metaphor to describe dealing with change.
However, we can utilize the wind to navigate to our desired destination. Simply set your sails based on the current wind and the direction you want to go. In fact, we can even head straight into the wind if that is the direction of our destination. We simply need to tack across the wind until we reach our goal.
The wind is constantly shifting in the world of travel and we need to adjust our sails. Let’s consider some of the shifts we are currently experiencing in the business travel industry:
I don’t know about you, but it seems that each time I leave the comforts of home and venture out on a business trip, I encounter at least one item from my list of “business travel pet peeves.” Perhaps I should lower my expectations. What do you think?
Travel Irritation #1 – People in the TSA Pre?™ line who take their laptop and liquids out of their bag and remove their shoes and jackets before proceeding through security. Don’t they know this is the beauty of TSA Pre?™ and Global Entry?
Travel Irritation #2 – Travelers whose carry-on luggage is clearly larger than the published dimensions and then insist on trying to stuff them into the overhead bin causing a back-up and delay in boarding.
Travel Irritation #3 – A dirty rental car. A dirty exterior doesn’t bother me, but someone else’s dirt on the inside is unacceptable.
Travel Irritation #4 – Getting the “lost satellite” message on my phone when trying to use GPS from the airport to the hotel.
Travel Irritation #5 – When it comes to hotels, my list may be a little long: Parking fees that add up to more than your stay, keys that don’t open the door, thermostats that don’t allow me to adjust the temperature or have so many buttons you need an owner’s manual, print on the shampoo and conditioner bottles that is so small it requires my reading glasses, radios and remotes that are as complicated as the thermostat, shower heads positioned for someone 7 feet tall, curtains that don’t close all the way, exterior room doors that let light in at the bottom, power outlets behind the bed, behind the night stand or under the desk. When will they ever get it all right?
Travel Irritation #6 – When I realize I forgot obvious things from my detailed packing list such as chargers for my electronics, sunglasses, reading glasses (for the shower, of course), or wet wipes to clean the interior of the car and the TV remote.
Perhaps Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz said it best: ‘There’s no place like home.”
Summer is certainly an exciting time for the leisure traveler but can often be stressful for the business traveler as lines are longer and filled with less experienced travelers. Plus there are fewer choices when it comes to flight availability.
In light of this, I thought I’d share Expedia’s High Fliers’ Survey, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps their inside tips can help make your summer travel season a bit more enjoyable.
Some of America’s most beloved airports also rank among the most despised: both Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) and Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD) topped the list of favorite and least favorite airports. New York-area airports fared poorly; both John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) made the least favorite top five, while Newark Liberty International (EWR) was cited as offering the worst food and beverage options. JFK did crack the top five among “Best Food & Beverage,” however. The 2014 High Fliers’ choices include:
Least Favorite Airports:
Best Food & Beverage:
Worst Food & Beverage:
Business or Pleasure?
63% of High-Fliers said that going on vacation is more important now than it was two years ago. Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco share top billing as stellar destinations for food and drink, and rank highly for serious travelers as both business and leisure destinations.
Best Destinations for Leisure:
Best Destinations for Business:
Best Destinations for Food & Drink:
When asked the most important factors when making travel arrangements or while traveling, High-Fliers cited:
If you stand in an airport or a hotel lobby for any length of time, you will notice that a growing percentage of business travelers are women. Actually, nearly half of all business travelers are female with 80% of business travel decisions being made by women. This fact alone is changing the industry.
Larger hotel chains in particular are designing programs to attract female travelers. Companies such as Choice Hotels, Kimpton and Hyatt have studied the needs of women and have found that safety and security is more important than anything to a female traveler. A male traveler may choose a hotel based on location, but a female will choose a hotel she feels comfortable in–even if it is a little bit out of her way.
Knowing this, many hotels are offering entire floors dedicated to women. Should a female business traveler book one of these rooms, she will often find the room amenities are tailored to her needs. It is not uncommon for hotels to provide an emery board, makeup remover, bath salts, upgraded bath amenities and a fashion magazine in these rooms. Hotels have also begun to stock their “guest request” inventories with items such as flat irons or curling irons for female guests to borrow.
While many female travelers appreciate the extra effort, some women feel they are being singled out in an unnecessary way. What do you think? Are these efforts “too much” or are they just what is needed to encourage more female business travelers to book that next business trip?
TSA Pre?™ comes on the heels of other pre-approved security organizations similar to Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. For those not familiar with TSA Pre?™, here is a quick overview:
For an $85 fee, a background check, and an interview, you have access to faster moving lines, and quicker security screening. There is no removal of belts, shoes, and lightweight jackets. Liquids and laptops stay in your carry-on bag. TSA Pre?™ began its program in December of 2013. Six months later, many wonder, “Is it worth the money?”
I used to travel to Canada quite a bit and signed up for a NEXUS card, background check and interview included. This allowed me to expedite my way through customs in a separate line. Because of my NEXUS card, I was automatically enrolled in the TSA Pre?™ program.
In the beginning, I was ecstatic over the ease and speed of going through the security lines. It was like having status with the TSA just like I had with my airline priority status. But soon, airlines began issuing random TSA Pre?™ clearance to random passengers, which may have been nice for the traveler receiving this random service, but not for the rest of us.
I found myself stuck behind people who still took off their jackets and shoes, and took out their laptop, and liquids. TSA agents would advise travelers to put their items back into their bags, and put their jackets back on. The lines were often slower because of the double duties of unpacking and repacking personal belongings. A couple of times, people said, “Wow, you were randomly chosen for TSA Pre?™–aren’t you lucky?” When in reality, I wanted to say, “I made my own luck by paying for this service.”
So back to my original question: Is it worth it? My opinion is yes!
The good: Most of the time, the TSA Pre?™ lines are faster than the regular lines. I have shortened my overall travel time knowing I can leave later from my home since the TSA line will be shorter.
The bad: There are inexperienced travelers in the TSA Pre?™ lines. If I need to wait for an inexperienced traveler, I figure they will soon learn the ropes and either sign up for this service on their own or know what to do the next time they are randomly chosen.
The ugly: The upcoming summer season is when travel is at its peak. It will be interesting to see if TSA will keep the Pre?™ lines moving quickly or if they will be used as overflow for the additional travelers. Either way, I will simply allow extra time just in case lines are longer than usual, and keep my fingers crossed I have a speedy security check.
For more information on the TSA Precheck program, you can visit their website at TSA.gov.
Business travel certainly comes with perks such as company-paid dinner meetings, frequent flyer miles, and if you’re lucky, time to catch up with a friend or relative living in your destination. Like most good things, however, these perks come with a price. It can often be challenging to find healthy food options while you’re running from one meeting to the next, and the continental breakfast options don’t always help either. Whether your time is spent hopping airports or logging miles on the road, here are a few tips to incorporate healthy eating while traveling for work.
Overall, it’s not too hard to eat well if you’re prepared. Allow yourself a sweet treat here and there to avoid over-indulgence, and you should have no problem with things like portion control and fitting into your new suit.
Christopherson’s big moves: App and acquisition
2014 Power List
The fifth busiest airport in the world, London Heathrow, completed its recent renovation project this month. The first flight to utilize the new terminal, United Airlines flight UA958 from Chicago, arrived on Wednesday, June 4 at 5:49 a.m. local time. The plan is for United to be the sole user of the terminal for two weeks until Air Canada begins operations on June 18, with remaining airlines moving-in over the following six months.
The first phase of the renovation began in 2009 and underwent 6 months of testing prior to opening for passengers this June. Having been combined with the original Terminal 2 and the Queen’s Building, this new terminal has been dubbed the “Queen’s Terminal.”
In recent years, the airport had been criticized for overcrowding and delays and is hoping Terminal 2 and other upcoming expansions will relieve some pressure on terminal facilities. The original Terminal 2 was the airport’s oldest terminal and was designed to handle approximately 1.2 million passengers. As of 2009, however, it was accommodating close to 8 million. Upon completion, the terminal will have capacity for 30 million passengers, increasing airport efficiency as well as the traveler experience. The second phase of Terminal 2 is set to begin in 2016 with a speculated completion sometime in the next decade.
Overall, the new terminal will be operating with 40% less carbon dioxide emissions than before with the help of LED lighting, solar panels, and the use of woodchips from local renewable resources for heating and cooling. Currently, passengers can choose from a selection of 52 shops and 17 bars and restaurants, while United’s premium customers can enjoy new spacious lounges equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, complimentary food & drink, and shower suites.
I recently returned to work after being on maternity leave with my second child. As I was mentally preparing for this, I had anxiety and stress and wondered, Can I do this? How do women maintain their careers, continue to grow professionally, and still be a mother too?
I began to think that perhaps it was time for me to focus solely on my children for now. Then I started looking for success stories of women who stayed at their jobs after having children. Many of them didn’t have to give up focus on their children to grow their careers. They were able to adjust their schedules and work with their employers to continue their growth.
When I discussed my return plan with my boss, I found that my employer was willing to be flexible too. I knew that I could return, I could grow professionally, and I could still be a mom too. My number one priority could still be family.
The reason I’m sharing this our blog is because many of my co-workers, and many of the clients I work with as an Account Manager, are moms too. In fact, women make up nearly half of all business travelers, and that number is projected to increase in the decades ahead. But despite these significant and growing numbers, woman still often experience professional difficulties as they try to overcome the challenges associated with being a working mother. However truthfully, I think all of us–men included–question our work/life balance and wonder how to be successful both at work and at home.
I think there are two keys to achieving that balance. First, begin by being honest with yourself and your time–really evaluate your goals and plans, as well as the reality of your situation. What is it that you want most? What needs to happen in order for it to occur? That might mean staying home. Or it might mean returning to work. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Only you know what’s right for you.
Second, it is essential to seek employment with a company that supports your goals. And those companies do exist! I feel fortunate because my employer, Christopherson Business Travel, supports workplace flexibility. In fact, Christopherson Business Travel has been awarded the The Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility every year since 2009. They understand my commitment to my family as well as my commitment to my job and the company. I also know that I have the opportunity to advance my career with them, but without detriment to my home life.
I also recommend reading this article on NBCNews.com. It helped me see exactly how working mothers are redefining success.
I recently attended the Virtuoso Symposium in Berlin, Germany. One of the keynote speakers was Nancy Giordano, CEO and Brand Futurist at Play Big Inc.
Nancy shared some insights about the new economy and what we need to do in order to be successful in the future. At a high level she talked about “big shifts” or radical changes in technology, economics, culture, and values.
The essence of her remarks was that there is a “Big Shift” occurring—the world is in transition. As leaders, we need to translate this into what we need to do differently in order to remain relevant.
One of the things she mentioned is the need for companies to have a “User Experience (UX)” designer to help improve the user interface of their technology. She explained, “We must improve and simplify the user experience. At the center of a great UX designer is empathy. They need to ask what does the customer need and want. How do we look at the world through their eyes, not ours?”
We are in the process of doing this at Christopherson Business Travel with our AirPortal 360® travel management platform. We are reviewing all of our technology to ensure we are making relevant products that matter, with an elegant design, and an intuitive user experience. We look at everything we build with a “mobile first” attitude, understanding the need for a simplified experience. We plan to make “the big shift” and we can’t wait to show you the improvements.
Nancy concluded with this: “The future offers unprecedented possibilities. And it will be very bright for those ready to embrace these shifts and the invitation they extend to consider what you are in a unique position to contribute, commit, collaborate and courageously create. The future is asking you to play big! Please.”