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Travel Management

5 Questions For Your Potential TMC

Travel managers and corporate executives spend considerable time researching and bidding TMCs, and partnering with the right one to deliver cost-savings and travel efficiency. Occasionally though, the chosen TMC is purchased or sold to another company. In today’s business environment, consolidation is rampant.

Larger companies look to buy-up the competition for many reasons: technology gains, customer acquisition, or simply to eliminate a growing threat.  Not surprisingly, the travel management industry can be affected as well. Unfortunately, this can leave the travel managers and corporate executives caught in the middle. I believe, that when looking for a new travel management company, it’s important to consider this possibility. Often times there is too much emphasis on the now, when the past and the future of the company should be considered as well. Companies seeking a long-term TMC should research the following, so that the TMC they choose today, doesn’t change tomorrow:

Questions to consider when looking for a long-term TMC:

  • What is the history of ownership?
  • Have they previously bought up small companies to grow, and then sold their company in the past?
  • Are they portraying the same history under their current TMC name?
  • What is their organizational health?
  • Are there any ‘red flags’ like poor growth, employee turnover, client retention, or percentage of debt? In an environment of consolidation, weakness equals opportunity.

Bottom-line is that if you want a long-term relationship with your chosen TMC, be sure you understand their past and their vision of the future. Ask questions and ‘peel the onion’ to make a better determination before signing a contract.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, we have been privately owned by Mike and Camille Cameron since 1990. Since then, we have grown to be one of the top travel management companies in the nation, with five offices and more than 380 travel employees. If you would like to learn more about our history or our future vision, please feel free to contact us.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

7 Travel Tips To Prepare For The Busy Holiday Season

Even though it’s shining outside and still rarely need a sweater, the holidays will be here before we know it. Below are our seven travel tips for how to prepare now and feel more organized before the holiday stress settles in.

7 actions to take now before the holiday travel madness

  1. Buy tickets now. Right now. I will wait…If you are traveling for Thanksgiving and have yet to purchase plane tickets, you are likely going to pay a higher price than if you booked a few weeks ago.  According to FareCompare.com, think of it like adding an additional $2 per day that you don’t book on top of the already existing high prices. As we enter November, change that to an additional $4 per day. Now is the perfect time to book for Christmas or New Years plans, but book it ASAP!  
  2. Decide now if you will be checking baggage or taking a carry-on. Taking your luggage with you on the plane often simplifies travel. No waiting at the check desk or baggage claim always saves time. But will be you toting presents with you? What about on the way back? Depending on the airline, you may be charged for checking a bag or multiple bags. If you are, it’s cheaper to pay ahead of time than when you arrive at the airport.
  3. Sign up for TSA pre-check. This may be the real lifesaver when you’re already late arriving to the airport, security lines are backed down auxiliary hallways and all you can do is mentally scream as you watch time pass on the phone you’re clenching in your sweaty hands. Admit it, we’ve all been there.  We all know traveling during the holidays sucks, but we do it anyway. Because you are pre-approved by a TSA agent, you will skip the lines and move passed security to your gate. There is a non-refundable $85 fee, but it is good for five years. To begin the process you will need to fill out a form on the TSA website, and And then schedule a 10 minute appointment with a TSA agent for the background check. The process takes a few weeks overall, so begin now.
  4. Download travel apps, like TripIt. With all of the stress around the holidays, take the opportunity of being organized where you can. TripIt is a free app that organizes your travel itinerary and information all in one place. It will send you alerts and updates on your flight. With their Pro features, you can look for better seats, track rewards and connect with LoungeBuddy. Downloading the individual airline apps are helpful as well for up-to-date flight info and check in status.
  5. Follow airlines on social media and have contact information readily available. In case you are stuck in an airport with a delayed or cancelled flight, its best to be ready in a moments notice to change flights. Before you leave, find and save customer service numbers and airlines social media accounts. Twitter has become a fast-paced customer service tool for most airlines. You could possibly be re-booked on a new flight through and agent on Twitter before the first person in the long line at the airport kiosk gets a seat. Have all of this readily available will give you the head start you need should the situation arise.
  6. Connect your Marriott-Starwood membership account. In case you didn’t hear, Marriott International recently merged with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company. The hotels under this large umbrella includes Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, Courtyard and many, many more. As part of the merger, Marriott decided to combine the pre-existing reward memberships of both Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs. Now, if you previously had a membership on Starwood Preferred Loyalty , you must connect them through Marriott’s website. Or, if you haven’t signed up for this free membership- what the heck you doing?? This is the largest hotel company in the world! At some point you will encounter a related hotel and can accrue points to be used for future hotel stays, flights, or actually cool events. Like did you know you can bid your points on a stay in Washington D.C. and attend the presidential inauguration? Crazy, right?
  7. Make arrangements for pets, plants, etc. for when you are out of town. This is a pretty basic tip, but one often overlooked. Others will be leaving town too, it’s better to get a good idea of who will be around to water your fragile orchid for a week, or take care of fluffy while you are out of town.

Hope this gave you some reminders or new ideas for your holiday travel planning. Is there anything we missed? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook!

Categories
Business and Leadership Business Travel

Professional Tip: How To Make A Positive First Impression

I recently had the pleasure of attending GBTA-North Carolina’s Education Day. This year’s theme ‘Let’s Get Personal’, kept the interest of the audience for the entire day. The first session on Body Language in Business was conducted by Tanis Roeder, owner of Elevate Your Communication. The 90-minute segment focused on how to improve your first impression with five main areas. Many of these tips can be done even before you say a word.

5 Ways To Make A Positive Impression

1- Friendly and Engaged Face
• Eye contact can lead to likability and can set you apart from others.
• A genuine smile with wrinkles around the eyes is powerful.
• Signs of listening include nodding, tilting head and leaning inward slightly.

2- Open Gestures
• Hands should always be open.
• Gestures to use occasionally include; interlaced fingers to show you are listening, steeple hands to show confidence, and hands on your face to show engagement.
• Some gestures to avoid are pointing, hands over your mouth, hands on hips and hands in pockets.

3- Confident Handshake
• Handshakes are important as they help you develop rapport with the person you are speaking with and also help you remember names.
• There is a correct way to shake someone’s hand. Your palm must meet the palm of the person’s hand you are shaking.

4- Thoughtful Stance
• Men tend to stand more to the side while women stand face-to-face.
• A space bubble of four feet is appropriate for business, while between 12 inches and four feet is more appropriate for social settings.

5- Engaged Seated Position
• Appropriate seated positions included legs straight or crossed toward your audience with arms at your side.
• It is best to avoid crossing your arms in front (too submissive) and crossing your arms overhead (too confident).

Studies show that 85% of our communication comes from non-verbal queues.  If you can send the right message before you even begin speaking, you know you are on the right track for the rest of the conversation.

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Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Traveling on Election Day?

If you’ll be traveling on November 8th, Election Day, don’t fret, you can still make your vote count. I was asked to visit an out-of-state client on election day.  I panicked a bit until I learned that I could accept this invitation AND have my vote count.

How to vote while traveling on business

If you will not be in your polling precinct on election day, you’ll need to file an absentee ballot.  There are several very helpful, non-partisan websites to assist you.

  • Try USVoteFoundation.org or Vote.org.  Absentee ballot requirements vary by state, but these sites will guide you in the right direction.  Simply select your state from the drop down menu and you’ll get state-specific information on eligibility requirements, identification requirements and you can also request your absentee ballot online.
  • The first step is to fill out an absentee ballot application.  It takes less than one minute.
  • Next, you’ll need to mail in your application or hand deliver it to your county.  This is a basic verification process to be sure you’re on the voter rolls and you will receive your ballots.  It’s that simple.
  • Hint: Have your voter identification card handy when you visit these sites.  You’ll need your voting precinct number.

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Precheck Lines Getting Longer?

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an initiative to enroll twenty-five million new travelers in their Trusted Traveler programs by 2019. Such programs include TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
—To accomplish this goal, TSA is getting creative. Last year, they opened Precheck enrollment centers at locations like H&R Block and select Department of Motor Vehicles. During their Summer Tour, they set up pop-up enrollment centers at hotels across the country. They’re also now marketing Precheck at concerts, offering those who enroll access to concert Fast Passes via Precheck. Rumor is, TSA may soon be partnering with a major bank. They may also begin offering special pricing programs for the service. Select hotel and airline reward programs offer the option to use points to pay for the enrollment, while some credit card companies offer waivers to cover the cost.

According to Charlie Carroll, the vice president of Identity Services at TSA’s enrollment services partner MorphoTrust, 250,000 people enroll each month. While momentum is picking up with increased marketing, reaching twenty-five million in the next two and a half years may be an uphill climb.

How Does Increased Precheck Enrollment Affect Travelers

The real question is—how does this affect travelers? On a recent business trip, I got TSA Precheck status via random selection. It was a dream. I kept my shoes on and my laptop and bag of liquids stayed in the suitcase. I breezed through security, arriving at my gate much earlier than I anticipated. Needless to say, I enjoyed the elite status and ease of the service so much I considered enrolling and paying the $85 to become Precheck approved.

But let’s remember–the need for TSA Precheck rose from travelers’ frustration over long, slow security lines. Long, slow security lines are the result of travelers having to empty bags and practically de-robe to pass security. These requirements came in response to terrorism. TSA Precheck was then created as an elite service for frequent travelers. Eventually, preferred members of airlines, identified as “low risk” travelers, received access. Now, they’re actively marketing the service with no signs of limiting the number of people who want it.

From where I stand, it appears that they reduced the quality and speed of airport security services after 9/11. Now they’re charging us, the travelers, to get back the convenience of the faster, easier security lines we originally enjoyed. And with enrollment for the service growing rapidly, it seems unlikely that TSA Precheck will continue to be as fast, convenient, and elite as it has been.

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Categories
Travel News

Delta Premiers New Fashionable Employee Uniform

This week, Delta Airlines, along with famed fashion designer, Zac Posen, unveiled their new exclusive employee uniform collection. Premiering through social media on a Facebook Live event, it showed the new fashion-forward look of Delta. The new collection will eventually be worn by 60,000 Delta employees. 

Delta Air Lines Modern Uniforms

You may remember the renowned fashion designer Zac Posen from Project Runway, or his other in-store collaborations, such as with David’s Bridal or Target. He is known for creating high-fashion looks beloved by celebrities and the masses. In preparation of the new line, Posen paired with employees in each department. This ensured the new design was comfortable and suited to their needs.

Ultimately, looks were created for client-facing positions, like flight attendants and customer service agents; and as well as below the wing and mechanical positions, like technical operation employees and ramp agents.

Though the iconic Delta red color is prominent, surprisingly other unlikely colors make their debut in these new uniforms. Dubbed Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal, and Groundspeed Graphite, these darker hues compliment the red, ushering in a new, contemporary age for Delta. The runway fashion show featured real employees modeling the collection, all from different airport hubs throughout the nation. More pictures can be found in Delta’s ‘look book’ gallery on their website.

Creating uniforms their employees deserve

After the show, Posen and Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, spoke about their excitement in creating a new global design that permeates throughout the Delta brand. In the same vein that Delta strives to provide individual and exemplary service to their clients, this uniform collection gives the same opportunity to their own employees. Bastain previously said, “The world’s best employees deserve the best uniforms and this new collection is classically influenced, yet modern…Zac and the Delta team worked closely with our people to create timeless and fashionable pieces that reflect the thoughtful and innovative spirit of Delta.”

The next phase will be real-world testing of the clothes.  Beginning in December, 1,000 employees will be testing the uniforms. Based on feedback, the uniforms will be rolled out to Delta employees during the first quarter of 2018. Land’s End has recently been announced to produce the non-client facing wear. The last time uniforms have been updated for client-facing staff was in 2006. Delta last updated their uniforms for below wing employees in 2000. This is just another example of Delta taking opportunity to rise above and further develop themselves as an exemplary airline. Sure, it’s just uniforms, but it symbolizes the changes that Delta is making in all departments. Now with an updated, fashionable ensemble, we can see what really makes Delta different.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We specialize in exceptional customer service and forward thinking travel technology, making the lives of our clients and their travelers easier.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Travel Better: Passport Tips

Imagine being at the airport and getting checked in for your trip to a fabulous international destination. But instead of being on your way, the airline employee behind the counter explains that you can’t travel out of the country.  Your passport has less than 90 days validity on it.

Extended validity for passports

Many folks aren’t aware that international countries require that you have three to six months validity beyond your travel date on your passport. Travelers assume that they can travel on their passport up until it expires. This used to be true with destinations like Mexico, but this rule has recently changed. The need for extended validity is due to unforeseen events happening in a foreign country. For example, serious illness may keep you in a foreign country for an extended amount of time.

Another question many people have is whether or not children need passports. All children, even new born infants, need a passport to travel outside the U.S. We recommend that you locate and examine your passport when making international travel plans. If you do need to renew, start the process immediately. Waiting on a passport in a time crunch is one of the most stressful experiences of my life!  If you found a great deal on tickets, international airline tickets can be issued prior to obtaining your new passport.  The name on the ticket must exactly match as it will appear on the new passport. When your new passport arrives, the information can be added to the airline record.

Remember that old travel saying “Have passport will travel!”? That is still true, only with a few exceptions. You won’t be able to travel if you can’t locate your passport or it expires within three to six months! Happy Travels!

Christopherson Business Travel provides corporate travel management services. Our private-owned company is known for our consultative account managers and specialized travel technology. If you are interested in assistance with you leisure travel, our experts in Andavo Travel are happy to help!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Why Business Travelers Should Take Vacation

I’m just going to say it. Americans don’t take enough vacation. I understand though, I’m guilty of the same thing. Maybe you’re vying for a raise or proving your worth as an underdog. Add on an economy bouncing back from a recession, and Americans often feel guilty for taking time for themselves. But, did you know that we as a nation left 429 million unused days on the table last year? That’s a lot. Also, those unused vacation days simply gives money back to the employer. That’s a total of $224 billion that goes straight back to the company’s wallet. That’s your hard-earned time!

This issue goes further than just getting what you deserve. Taking a vacation, or even just a few days off, can positively influence your health and wellbeing. And conversely, not taking time to relax can cause health issues.

How it affects your health

Overwork and heart disease is scientifically, quantifiably correlated. In a well renowned study analyzed in 1991 but beginning in 1948, found that women homemakers who took vacation once every six years or less had nearly twice the risk of developing heart attacks or fatal heart problems than those who took time off at least twice a year. Another research study, spanning 50 years and published in 2012, found that a ten-hour-or-more workday increased the risk of coronary heart risk by 80% in both sexes. The researchers correlated the health issues with prolonged exposure to psychological stress.

Not surprisingly, this psychological stress can also effect mental health. In 2012, data was collected and analyzed from another prolonged study called Whitehall II. The Finnish Institute of Occupations Health found that people who work more than 11 hours (compared to those working 7-8 hours a day) were twice as likely to have a major depressive episode, even without previous mental health issues.

Additionally, the same Finnish Institute in a different study found that people who work  55-hours-a-week, as opposed to 40 hours, demonstrated lower cognitive function, poor vocabulary and reasoning skills. Taking your deserved time off can save you from serious and lasting physical and mental health issues.

Taking vacations actually helps with productivity

Conversely, when you do take time off, you will likely return to work more refreshed and eager to get the job done. This is something that we’ve known for years. And mostly likely, so does your upper management. Happy employees, given time to relax and let their minds wander, are often more productive in the long run.

Larger companies are beginning to change their policies, ensuring their employees get the break they need. Arianna Huffington, from the Huffington Post, recently developed an opt-in vacation email policy. They had previously made it clear that no one is expected to check work email or voicemail during time off or the weekends. Even with this policy they found employees working away during their time out of the office. So they developed their own software that will automatically delete or archive all incoming email during their worker’s vacation time. Their email additionally will then send an auto-reply, asking the sender to either resend the email when the person is back in the office or ask them to reach out to someone else. Though this is an opt-in feature, and I imagine those that truly need it will never use it, it exemplifies the work-life balance attitude that American has lost.

Hopefully your workplace understands the value of taking time off. Not only does it lower stress levels, defend against health concerns and make your more productive in the long run, it’s your hard earned time! Find out more information or how to discuss these points with your workplace at Project: Time Off.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Update on the New Salt Lake City International Airport Terminal

The long awaited building of the new Salt Lake City international airport terminal is finally making some noticeable progress.  Residents and travelers can see the change in the roadway used to enter and exit the airport. This project is a very complex undertaking, with a price tag of $1.8 billion, but the end result will be worth the effort.

New Salt Lake City International Airport Terminal

Salt Lake City International Airport serves nearly 23 million passengers a year. The current facilities were built 30-50 years ago, and designed to serve only half as many travelers. SLC International Airport has grown into a major hub airport in the western U.S. With flights often leaving and arriving at the same time, security protocols need to updated to accommodate these changes as well. Buildings also need to meet current earthquake-safety standards.

Some key features of the new design:

  • Single, three-level terminal
  • One linear concourse
  • Gateway center
  • New parking garage
  • New support facilities

We applaud Delta Air Lines for their commitment to Salt Lake City and their willingness to be the anchor tenant in the new facility. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, was recently in Salt Lake City and shared a positive outlook about their commitment to the SLC hub. From a Salt Lake City Tribune article, Bastian said, “It’s a great destination market. And as we rebuild the airport here, there’s going to be even more opportunity down the road”.

Fro those eager to see the new terminal built, their SLC Airport provides consistently updated information and pictures. See their conceptual renderings, photos (including demolition), and other highlights. 

Christopherson Business Travel is a national corporate travel management company with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Privately owned for more than 60 years, we are passionate about providing travel solutions for busy professionals. Please contact our sales team if you have questions about our unique services.

Categories
Company News and Announcements

American Express Global Business Travel Fee Idea Isn’t New, But Goes ‘A Step Further’

THE COMPANY DIME | OCT 11, 2016

American Express Global Business Travel Fee Idea Isn’t New, But Goes ‘A Step Further’

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

SecurityLogic Provides Immediate Communication During Disaster

Does anyone else remember the nightly news slogan from years ago, “It’s 10 o’clock… do you know where your children are?”  This catchphrase, of keeping an eye on your loved ones, still resonates today. The past few weeks the airwaves have been flooded with terrorists attacks in New Jersey, New York, Washington State and Minnesota. And now, Hurricane Matthew is about to hit the east coast, potentially causing massive damage.  I also find myself thinking of family, but also co-workers and other business travelers when distaster strikes.

Working in an industry filled constantly with travel and constantly changing schedules, it’s hard to know where everyone is in a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, it’s important now more than ever to not only get in touch with employees or co-workers, but have a plan in place should disaster occur.

Communicating with your business travelers during a disaster

Having an established plan in case of an emergency is the first step. Ask yourself, what is your company’s current protocol should an event occur in a city your employee is currently traveling? Do you have their email and cell number readily available? Will you need to dig through emails to find their itinerary? Who will be in charge of making these safety calls to traveling employees?

Answering these questions ahead of time will make your company more prepared, should an event occur. Developing a travel policy usually helps to establish these protocols. If you don’t have a travel policy, check out our travel policy FAQ to get started.

SecurityLogic provides peace of mind for travel managers

One of my favorite features of the Christopherson software is our SecurityLogic technology. Perhaps it’s because I can be a worrywart, but the value of this immediate and interactive technology is a lifesaver in dire situations.

For a travel manager, the goal is simple – locate all of your business travelers instantly. Through our AirPortal360 interface, you immediately know how many employees are traveling at a moment’s notice.  We supply a world map view, with pins representing your travelers. From there, you can overlay alerts, warnings, and weather. Really anything that may influence your business travelers is viewable from the map.

SecurityLogic by Christopherson

Using the rest of our technology suite, we offer easy access to your traveler’s itinerary and contact information. Travel, security, and human resource managers are able to locate  travelers and send them messages. Your business travelers can then respond to the security check and let you know they are safe. Our SecurityLogic takes the guessing out of what could be a hectic situation and provides immediate answers.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We’re passionate about assisting companies with their travel, and we think our travel technology and consultative account management does a pretty great job at it.  Contact us to learn more about SecurityLogic or our other travel technology tools.

Categories
Travel News

United Offers VIP Luggage Delivery

Checking luggage at the airport is relatively easy and straightforward. You hand your bags over to an attendant and then pick them up at your destination city. Can’t get much simpler, right? Well, United Airlines has taken it lightyears past simple with their recently announced their United VIP Luggage Delivery service! This innovative service just may change how frequent business travelers fly. Rather than waiting for your luggage at baggage claim, you can head off to your important meeting or conference. United will deliver your luggage to your hotel or specified address, so you can focus on your own agenda.

United VIP luggage delivery

Available in over 250 cities throughout the U.S., this United service is provided by BagVIP. Additionally, it includes plane changes or transfers. Read the specifics below:

  • Deliveries need to be scheduled at least one hour prior to the scheduled flight departure. Reservations can be made as soon as your flight is booked. More information can be found here.
  • United guarantees the traveler will receive their baggage within four hours after their flight’s arrival.
  • For this 4 hour time window, the final destination must be within 40 miles from the airport.
  • If the destination is located between 41 and 100 miles from the airport, the baggage will arrive within six hours after the arrival of the flight.
  • Additional fees apply for this delivery service. The first bag is $29.95. Adding a second bag increases the price to $39.95. Interestingly, the rate for 3-8 bags delivered in $49.95.
  • United’s checked baggage fee also still applies

This a perfect solution if your travel day is already overbooked with meetings and dinners. Or, you could use VIP luggage delivery service for golf clubs, skis or strollers. At the reduced price to deliver 3-8 bags, I’ll consider it for my next ski trip.

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Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We love providing travel management solutions to busy organizations, and have the client retention rate to prove we know what we’re doing. Contact us to learn more about our innovative travel technology and consultative account management solutions.

Categories
Travel News

Staying Powered While Traveling

We all know the importance of staying connected to the office and home while we’re on the road.  Emails, phone calls and texts don’t stop just because we’re on a business trip.  I had the good fortune to be traveling a couple of weeks ago when Delta experienced their power outage.  Surrounded by chaos, it was almost funny seeing clusters of people tethered to the power stations at the airport.  Eventually though, I became one of the people with a low battery. With cord was plugged into each and every power receptacle, I couldn’t find one open plug.  I traveled down the terminal in hopes of finding a vacant plug, but to no avail.

Finally boarded my Delta flight and there, eight inches from my armrest, was my very own power outlet!  This small feature offered by airlines can make a complete difference in a business travelers’ productivity.  I personally resolved that I had no excuse for lack of productivity while flying ever again.

Charging devices on Delta flights

As Delta planes are being developed or remodeled, electrical charging stations are being added.

  • Standard power outlets are available in all rows of Economy, which includes Economy Comfort, on all Boeing 717 and 737-900ER aircraft.
  • Standard power outlets are also available at rows 10-12 on most 737-700 and MD90 aircrafts.
  • USB power is also available at all seats on 737-700, 737-800, 737-900ER, 757-200 (with personal entertainment) 767-300 aircraft and at all First Class seats on most MD90 aircraft.

I learned that the power strength from these power units isn’t as strong as a traditional power outlet – usually only around 75 watts.  In some cases, the high speed processors in new super-fast laptops cannot operate with the lower level of power.  And there may not be enough strength to operate and charge the battery at the same time.  In fact, some airlines specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.

Flying with Delta during their power outage, surprising made me appreciate the continual upgrades they provide on their flights. From now on, I will never take my personal power outlet for granted. And maybe add a portable battery charger to my packing list too.