Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Car Rental Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Click here for Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Click here for Part 2: Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

Using car rentals for business travel provides flexibility in getting around and can sometimes be less expensive than taxis. But while business travelers are generally aware of air and hotel safety precautions, not many of us think too much about car safety. Here are nine tips:

1. Don’t forget the basics.

Most savvy business travelers know to decline car rental insurance because it’s usually covered by their company or credit card. But it’s double check before you go. Also, always do the “walk around” the car. While it may seem unnecessary, the one time you forget may be the time you are blamed for someone else’s mistake. Before driving off the lot, make sure everything is working and that you know where signals and indicators are located. Trying to adjust your side mirror on the freeway does not make for a safe driver.

2. Keep your keys safe.

Keep your car keys with you and out of sight at all times. Years ago, car rental companies eliminated their logos from the cars, as they became targets for theft. While this precaution is helpful, you can still spot travelers by their car rental keys. Usually the ring has both sets of keys on it and a big tag with the make, model, color, and license number on it. Since you are traveling, a thief will know your car may have valuables in it.

3. Choose your parking space wisely.

Be careful when parking at events where thieves will know you will be gone for a set period of time (such as sporting or entertainment). Park “trunk out.” If storing items in your trunk, this makes your trunk visible in an aisle where more people are apt to see suspicious activity. When parking on the street, choose a busy area, i.e. in front of a store, hotel entrance, under a street lamp, or a busy corner. If the street seems too vulnerable, park in a parking garage where the likelihood of being broken into is less. However, still be aware of your surroundings. Being in a place where people can’t see you leaves you open to other acts of violence.

4. Load and hide your stuff before you reach your destination.

Everything you plan on leaving in the car should be stowed and hidden before you arrive at your destination. If, upon arrival, you take the action of stowing your valuables, you are exposing your possessions for all to see.

5. Don’t leave any possessions visible in the car.

It takes a thief five seconds to smash the glass, grab your valuables, and be out of sight, even with the alarm sounding. Keep in mind, it’s not only valuables in plain sight that are a target, but any bag or box may have something valuable to a thief. Even if replaceable, you are left with a broken window, which now you must deal with the car rental company to report the damage.

6. Unload your stuff away from your parking space.

If you have to remove luggage or valuables out of the trunk, do so away from your parking space, if possible. Should a thief see you taking it out, he/she will know that you’ll likely return with it, leaving you vulnerable as a target.

7. A neat car is less likely to get robbed.

On longer trips or road trips, we tend to leave more items in the car as we don’t want to haul everything back and forth to our hotel room at each stop. But leaving bags, or even covering items with jackets only attracts interest. If there isn’t much in the car, there is less curiosity.

8. Check for your valuables as soon as you return to your car.

If you have any suspicion, do a quick check of your items before leaving. A common tactic of thieves is to take a camera out of the camera bag, but leave the bag. You are then long gone before you notice the missing item, and can’t pinpoint when it might have been taken.

9. Take your time upon return.

Most major car rental companies have automatic check-in and readily available receipts from the rental return attendant. But take a moment and really check the car. But how many times have you stored your sunglasses or phone in the same area you do in your personal car, only to leave it behind at the return station?

As a final reminder when business traveling, don’t forget the four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Company News and Announcements

Top Company 2015:Winners and finalists in the Tourism & Hospitality category


Top Company 2015:Winners and finalists in the Tourism & Hospitality category

Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Business Travel and the Sharing Economy- How much of a disrupter is it?

Share economy of business travel I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Global Business Travel Convention in Orlando, FL. It seems that each year there is more and more focus on the “sharing economy.” Twenty-fourteen brought a lot of buzz as Uber made their Convention debut on the trade show floor. This year, Uber was back again, joined by other “sharing” companies like Airbnb and Lyft. In fact, the Convention theme this year was #sharing.

One general session in particular focused on the number of sharing economy services that are available to travelers and introduced many people in the room to the term “bleisure,” which is the concept of combining business and leisure. The common consensus from the session panel was that investment in technology is extremely important in delivering service to both business and leisure travelers.

Having said that, there is a lot of talk about the sharing economy being a “disrupter” to managed travel and how to overcome the challenges the sharing economy brings. In fact, over the last few years Concur has announced TripLink partnerships with Airbnb, Hotel Tonight, Uber, and Lyft. Recent data by Skift shows that 21% of millennial travelers are in favor of using the sharing economy for accommodations while only 10% of non-millennials would consider this model. Cars had a slightly higher usage with 34% of millennials and 15% of non-millennials using vendors like Uber and Lyft. Safety, product quality, and service were among travelers’ top concerns. Surprisingly few of the sampling of travelers surveyed were concerned about not receiving loyalty program benefits or points.

How well do you feel your travel program is embracing the sharing economy? Has this proven to be a disrupter for your travel program?

Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

10 Tips for Stress-Free Travel

I was recently asked for advice on how to make business travel a bit more bearable. Like most business-people, I go through spurts when I travel quite a bit. Here are some suggestions on how to make life on the road a tad bit easier.

10 Tips for Stress-free travel

  1.  Always use a travel agency. Not only can a travel agent get you out of a bind when the airline cancels your flight or if the weather causes cancellations or delays, but each reservation is automatically populated with the seat assignment you most prefer (even if you booked using the agency’s online booking tool). There are many reasons why it pays to book with a travel agency.
  2.  Book as soon as you know you’re traveling. This simply assures a better seat. We all hate traveling in the middle seat wedged between the teenager opposed to showering and a former NFL offensive lineman–especially on long flights.
  3. Park in the same area of the parking lot/garage every time. This way, when you get home at midnight after three days of grueling meetings and travel, you have a pretty good idea where your car is. At least you’ll be within range of the panic button on your key chain that will hone in to your car’s exact location.
  4. Enroll in Global Entry or TSA Pre Check. You’ll love not having to stand in the “regular” line at security. The longest line I’ve endured at TSA PreCheck was about ten people deep.  But the best part is not having to take off your shoes, belt, jacket, etc. You also won’t have to take your laptop or toiletries out of your carry-on bag, and you can feel assured that those in line with you have not been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants against them.
  5. Secure priority seating. There’s nothing worse than being in the last boarding group, lugging your roller bag all the way down to Row 34 only to be told by the overly cheerful flight attendant there is no more overhead bin space.  There are a ton of credit cards available whereby you always receive priority boarding on a given airline. Most also allow you one free checked bag.
  6. Stay consistent with airlines, hotels and car rental companies, when possible. It’s simply less confusing when you don’t have to try to figure out each leg of your trip.  I like to stay at the Hyatt Place.  I know the basic layout of the hotel, what meal options they offer, and I like their breakfast that’s included in the rate. Additionally, more often than not, the hotel is situated close to restaurants within my budget. Their properties are new, ensuring cleanliness. As for cars, I always rent from National because I love their Emerald Aisle program.  There’s no guess work when I need a car. I simply follow the signs, choose the car I want from the Emerald Aisle, and drive off the lot. Keeping consistent with airlines, hotels, and car rentals also ensures you’ll accrue frequent traveler points faster.
  7.  Dress comfortably. I know many business men and women feel they need to dress in business attire when flying. But personally, I think we all have to wear enough business attire. Instead, I wear comfortable layers. In my experience, half the time airplanes are too hot, half the time they’re too cold. Shed a layer, add a layer, but NEVER remove your shoes. That’s just not nice.
  8.  Travel with entertainment. Carry on a good book, load your phone with relaxing music, and don’t forget your tablet. But for heaven’s sake, use earphones. Remember, if you can clearly hear music blasting out of the one ear bud you have dangling down near your shoulder, so can all of those around you. Also, most airlines offer in-flight entertainment for no additional charge.  Tip: Nothing makes a half hour go by faster than a good game of Candy Crush. It’s mindless, but helps the time go by.
  9.  Purchase some noise canceling headphones. No one likes to hear the loud guy, or the crying baby, or the music blasting from the aforementioned dangling ear bud! I’m told Bose are the best, but there are less expensive versions available from $50 on up. If noise canceling headphones are not in the budget, try putting on regular ear buds and sticking the other end of the cord in your pocket. It won’t prevent you from hearing your fellow travelers trials and tribulations, but the chatty lady sitting next to you will think you’re listening to music and won’t start telling you about her grand kids.
  10. Consider getting a club membership. This tip is a bit expensive (starting at $500/year), but if you can swing it, it’s a fabulous luxury. Relaxing in a comfortable environment while enjoying complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wifi helps tremendously when flights are delayed and you’re stuck in an airport for an unbearable amount of time.

Really, it’s the simple things that make life on the road a little easier.

Business Travel Travel Industry

The Baggage of Carrying On

carry on luggageCarrying on luggage is not as easy as it used to be. Today, many opt for carrying on because it is often more convenient and sometimes a cheaper option (as opposed to paying the fees of checking your bag and having to wait at baggage claim). To adapt to this increase in carry-on luggage, the airline industry has become stricter about bag size and the types of items you can and cannot carry-on with you.

By visiting airline websites, you can easily find the regulation size for carry-ons. But although it may say one size online, when you are at the gate and are asked to put your bag on their “sizer,” you may be surprised to find that it doesn’t fit. While the luggage industry understands one idea of what size a carry-on should be; the airlines sometimes practice another. In an article from the Wall Street Journal: “Travelpro and other luggage makers say the luggage industry practice in the U.S. is to size bags by the dimensions of the packing area without counting wheels and handles … But airlines count wheels and handles.”

There are also some inconsistencies from airline to airline. What each one classifies as a carry-on bag can vart in size, making it difficult for travelers.  “United’s sizer is actually larger than those of Delta, American, and other airlines with 22-inch limits. … Last year when it began strictly enforcing carry-on size limits, United decided to build in an inch of forgiveness. American, Delta, British Airways and others have sizers at exactly 22 inches, not 23,” reported the Wall Street Journal article.

It can be nerve wracking being at the back of the line when boarding a flight, because you can’t be sure there will be enough space overhead to fit your bag. “As airlines have installed more seats into jets over the past few years, more passengers now compete for the same overhead bin space,” the article continues. Now, with less room to fit the bags on the plane, and stricter policies on what qualify as a “legal” sized bag, it may not be worth the hassle of it all. It may, in fact, be worth the extra price to check your bag or buy a new, smaller bag to make for stress free travel.


Business Travel

5 Ways to Prevent Lost or Delayed Luggage

tips to prevent lost luggage

Whether your luggage is lost or delayed is unfortunately out of your control, but here are five simple steps you can take to increase your chance that your bag will arrive when you do.

1. Tag the outside of each of your bags with your name, home/work address, and
cell/home/work phone numbers. Include the same information inside each bag, as well as an address where you can be reached at your destination along with a copy of your flight itinerary.

2. Add an easy-to-spot identifier to your bag so you can locate it in the sea of black suitcases, and (just as importantly) ensure that someone else doesn’t accidentally run off with your bag. Ribbons and brightly colored luggage tags work well. You can also request a cargo bag that will make your bag stand out and prevent it from damage and theft.

3. Avoid checking in at the last minute, because even if you can race to catch your flight, your bag may not make it.

4. Similarly, avoid scheduling tight connections. Nonstop flights are the best bet for a decreased chance of lost or delayed bags, followed by direct flights, which stop but do not change aircraft. If you must make a connection, using the same airline is ideal.

Upon check-in, ensure the gate agent checks your bags all the way through to your final destination whenever possible and that the proper three-letter airport code is on the bag tag. Be sure you get a claim ticket for each bag so they can be more easily located if lost.

Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology

Aircraft Boarding By Biometrics – Fingerprint Authentication?

biometricauthenticationAlaska Airlines and Clear, a biometric secure identity company, are piloting a biometrics check-in program that allows a machine to scan passenger fingerprints when checking-in bags, going through airport security, and boarding planes. Biometrics is the science of measuring and analyzing human body characteristics such as fingerprints, eye retina/iris and other facial characteristics. The pilot program is being tested with a limited number of passengers at California’s Mineta San Jose Airport.

The ultimate goal is to move passengers through airports more quickly and to expedite the boarding process. Getting your fingerprint scanned is a familiar experience many international travelers are already accustomed to. Some European carriers are already using the system, replacing the need for passengers to present other forms of ID.

Could this be the future of airline check-in and aircraft boarding? To view the complete Alaska Airlines article, click here.

Business Travel

Pay Attention to Your Receipts: Hotel Costs are Increasing

Hotel ancillary fees are on the rise, following in the same path that airline ancillary fees have taken these last few years.

As I reviewed my hotel receipt from a recent business trip to Orlando, I couldn’t believe the additional charges that were billed in addition to the nightly rate:

  • Convenience Charges
  • Resort Fees
  • Refrigerator Charge
  • Coffee Supplies
  • Cleaning Fees

These types of additional fees are, on average, costing travelers an increase of 25% over the nightly rates. As business travel spend continues to rise, it would behoove all travelers to carefully review and audit your receipts to be aware of and, in some cases, avoid these added hotel costs.

Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson’s Eighth Consecutive win for the Utah Business Fast 50

utahbusiness_fast50_155x160Christopherson Business Travel has been named to Utah Business magazine’s 2015 Fast 50 list. This 2015 ranking marks the eighth consecutive year Christopherson has been honored as one of Utah’s  fastest growing companies.

Utah Business has ranked the 50 fastest growing companies in the state of Utah for the past nine years. Companies are evaluated based on five years of compound annual growth and revenue generation.

To learn more about Christopherson’s growth, please click here to watch CEO, Mike Cameron’s interview for the 2015 Fast 50 Award. To see the full list of ranked companies, click here.

Company News and Announcements

2015 Fast 50 Honorees


2015 Fast 50 Honorees

Company News and Announcements

How to save a bundle on business travel


How to save a bundle on business travel

Business Travel Travel Technology

The Hotel Attachment Problem

Hotel Attachment
Hotel Attachment, Christopherson’s new hotel compliance system, assists travel managers in fulfilling duty of care responsibilities and commitments to contracted vendors.

The Beat’s Editor-in-Chief, Jay Boehmer, recently reported on Christopherson Business Travel’s new hotel compliance system, Hotel Attachment. The article and its title, “Christopherson Thinks It Has Solved The Hotel Attachment Problem,” were bold and certainly provocative. I’m not surprised that some responses were somewhere between curious and even incredulous.

Our view is that a low hotel attachment rate is not a simple problem to solve. There are many complex reasons as to why hotel attachment rates are low. Christopherson decided to take a holistic approach to the solving the problem.

At a high-level, there are likely four main reasons a client would book airfare but not book a hotel at the same time:

  1. They need a hotel and simply haven’t gotten around to booking it yet.
  2. They need a hotel and don’t have enough information about their trip to book it yet.
  3. They plan to book their hotel through a different channel, or it was booked for them.
  4. They actually don’t need a hotel.

Of course, there are many nuances within those four categories. For example, under reason No. 3, the traveler may have booked their room “out of channel” because:

  • They were part of a group who booked the hotel room block separately.
  • They’re attending a conference or a meeting that included the hotel booking.
  • They were not able to get the hotel inventory through the GDS-powered booking option.
  • They were able to get a lower price using a different booking method.
  • They have a personal preference for booking their own hotel (better user experience).

But ultimately, it’s not good for a traveler to have an incomplete itinerary with no hotel data included. Our goal was to first, identify which of the four reasons a traveler didn’t book a hotel and then provide them with a simple, digital path to help them easily complete their itinerary and solve the problem. Our technology platform, AirPortal®, supports and powers the Hotel Attachment system and provides us with enough unique information about the traveler, the company they work for, and their specific airline booking to simplify that process.

As clients begin to use our solution, we will be able to track why travelers haven’t booked their hotel initially and gather data on how we solved the problem. This will give our travel managers business intelligence metrics to increase their hotel attachment rates, provide better duty of care, and give them better negotiating power with their preferred vendors.

Our solution is much more than a marketing email.

Company News and Announcements

The Hotel Attachment Problem

THE BEAT | SEPT 4, 2015The Beat

The Hotel Attachment Problem