Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Brexit Yet To Impact Business Travel Market

Following the Brexit decision in June, the business travel industry has been holding its breath in anticipation. At the time, no one knew what to expect from the British or EU economy. Now, five months later, a new report shows that Brexit has yet to make an impact on business travel, foretelling positive signs for the future.

Business travel forecasting

In a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the European business travel economy, like most of the industry, has been slower than overall expected for 2016.  But, it is slightly higher than other markets and predicted to pick up. Western Europe is anticipated to increase 6 percent in 2016, and another 4.7 percent increase in 2017. This is higher than the United States, which is predicted to fall this year, and grow a mere 3.8 percent in 2017. With this realistic, but positive outlook, it’s easy to disregard the potential impact from Brexit adjustments. A few areas highlighted that may be affected are listed below.

Areas of concern for Brexit developments

  • Travel pricing within Europe. As the UK breaks away from the EU, the open skies between the two may also close. This could result in fewer flights and higher fares. Additionally, mobile roaming charges could be implemented, increasing the cost for roadwarriors and travel expenses overall.
  • Visa protocol. Rising immigration issues, coupled with security concerns, could lead to extreme new UK visa requirements. If this happens, extreme protocols will likely be reciprocated be the EU. This may cause a lengthy or difficult process to travel between the two areas.
  • Access. The free movement of people throughout the EU prospered business, connections, and money as well. It’s fair to anticipate a time for adjustments as this free movement closes. For example, airlines may negotiate for new routes and pricing. Or credit card fees and charges will need to be decided upon.

Overall, there is still a lot we don’t know about how the Brexit decision will affect the business travel industry. Fortunately, the impact has not yet been seen by the overall market, which is itself a blessing.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Ideas For Roadwarriors

In our continued holiday series, we are focusing on gift ideas for roadwarriors this week. What a unique group of professionals, holding interesting skills and quirks. Think about it— who can continually drive in a car for hours on end and then on cue become energetic, friendly and enigmatic? That takes real skill and a unique individual you should praise. We’ve scoured the internet for the latest gift ideas for roadwarriors.

Best gifts for busy roadwarriors

  1. Tumbler – This RTIC brand tumbler is a recent favorite of our entire sales and account management team. This container is stainless steel and double wall vacuum sealed, keeping your drink extra cold or extra hot for hours on end. In fact, they claim it keeps drinks cold for up to 60 hours or hot for 12 hours. It comes with a clear plastic top with an open slit, but you can also purchase a spill proof top as well. Keep your beloved roadwarrior hydrated while always on the go.
  2. In-car navigation system – This is definitely the most expensive item on our list, but seems too good to be true. This advanced navigation system creates a ‘heads up’ display, so your driver’s eyes are always on the road. An interactive projection is illuminated onto a small part of the windshield, ensuring the driver has easily accessible navigation. Plus, it manages music, incoming calls and messages, and car information, like gas level and speed. This device provides information to the driver in easy, succinct ways, so they can focus on what’s most important, driving.
  3. Tile item locator –  This inexpensive bluetooth tracker helps locate items that tend to get lost easily, such as car keys, wallet, or jacket. Simply keep the small ‘tile’ attached to the item and virtually connect it to the user’s smartphone. Then, when the item goes missing, simply use the phone to locate. If within 100 feet, a loud song will play. If further, the item can be geo-located by the app. This is perfect for the busy professional who is always on the move and in and out of different hotels. Providing them the gift of peace of mind might be just what they need.
  4. Car Espresso Maker – An on-the-go espresso maker is perfect for the business traveler looking for an extra caffeine buzz. The device plugs into the cigarette lighter in any car to brew a perfect cup of espresso. Plus, it sits comfortably in the cup holder, to avoid spillage.
  5. Stereo aux receiver – One of the hardest parts of being a busy traveling professional, is a lack of connectivity when it’s vital. With this cheap stereo aux receiver, it makes any car bluetooth enabled. So your roadwarrior can connect to the music, podcasts, or whatever is important to them.
  6. Power inverter to charge any device – Another issue with consistently traveling for business is the stress of keeping devices charged. This power inverter solves that problem. It easily plugs into the cigarette holder and charges smartphones, tablets and even laptops. This device could be a real lifesaver for someone always on the go.
  7. Jewelry organizer – One of the downsides of traveling with jewelry is the inevitable tangle its creates. This easily portable jewelry organizer allows packing jewelry in one container, but individually from each other. With mini internal sections, your business traveler can always look great without the mess to clean up later. The bag is a little bulky but could be perfect for the fashion forward roadwarrior.
  8. A lock you can use on any door – This is a cheap gift, but perfect for any traveling professional. This small device instantly locks any door with no additional tools. It’s perfect for traveling, at home, apartments, motels, etc. Added security is always appreciated, and this device is small enough to bring along anywhere and easy to install in seconds.
  9. Night cable – This 10-foot charging cable with a weighted knot is perfect for any busy professional on the go. Hotels often have electrical outlets located behind desks or inconveniently low. The weighted knot on the cable ensures that once the device is unplugged, the cord won’t slip off the desk and fall to the floor. Help your roadwarrior with the burden of annoying cables. Plus, it’s perfect for the office, home or where ever your busy professional needs to work.

Read next:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

United Announces New Basic Economy Class

Though not completely unexpected, United Air Lines announced their new basic economy class last week. With Delta’s economy class running since 2012, and American Airlines revving up for their new class, this was not a huge surprise. With many of the same low-budget priorities, there is one restriction of United’s basic economy class that made the travel community do a second glance.

United’s no-frills basic economy class

An exciting change for the budget-conscious flier, United can now offer lower priced seats on some of their existing flights. This puts United in competition with no-frills airlines, such as Spirit or Frontier. With this limited structure comes a few restrictions. First, basic economy fliers won’t be able to pick their seat. With this come no guarantee that they will be able to sit with their companions. Voluntary flight changes won’t be allowed, and basic economy fliers will be the last to board the plane. In regards to travel points, fliers will accrue Milage Plus award points, but they will not go toward elite loyalty status.

But, the limitation that’s creating commotion is in regards to baggage. Basic economy fliers are allowed only one carry-on and will not have access to the overhead bins. Their carry-on will have to fit under the seat in front of them. United believes this will save time with onboarding procedures and decrease delays.

This is all part of United’s attempt to diversify and customize the experience for their differing fliers. But has this gone too far? With United also recently announcing their Polaris business class, I can’t help but feel the disparity as if aboard the Titanic. The Polaris class offers roomy, adjustable seats with down pillows and noise-canceling headphones. While their basic economy offers a carry-what’s-on-your-back mentality and limited guarantees.

What do you think of the newly announced basic economy class? Will you be booking them? Do you frequently travel with limited luggage? Let us know in the comments below.

Categories
Travel News Travel Tips

Expect Delays With Passport Renewals

Almost ten years ago, the law requiring a passport to travel to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean was passed. Not surprisingly, the State Department saw a huge surge in new passport applications and passport renewals for the following few years. Now, 10 years later, those same passports are about to expire. And the State Department anticipates a rise in renewals, leading again to processing delays.

What to expect with passport renewals and other updates:

  1.  The typical timeframe for passport renewals is six weeks. With this increase in demand, longer delays are expected.
  2. Whether for business or pleasure, begin the renewal process of your process of your passport as soon as you can. Avoid the additional stress of waiting for the new passport in a time crunch if you can.
  3. Newer passports now include microchip technology, which is compliant with REAL ID act security and fraud prevention. But, depending on what state you live in, you may need an updated passport to fly domestically. Read more about the details of the REAL ID Act and commercial flying in our latest blog.
  4. Be sure to check children’s passports too. Child passports expire after only five years.
  5. Most destinations require a three-six month passport validity to even enter the country. Read the reasons in our passport tips blog. This is an often overlooked fact, leaving many unable to fly abroad. And yet another reason to know your renewal date.

The main point — if your passport is due to expire in the next few years, expect a long processing delay. You never know when a trip opportunity may suddenly arise, especially for frequent business travelers. Be smart and get the renewal process started ASAP.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. We specialize in superior travel technology and passionate account management. With more than 60 years of experince, Christopherson is privately owned and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

How The REAL ID Act Will Soon Affect Travelers

On January 20, 2018, the REAL ID act will go into the final stages of its enactment for commercial air travelers, completely revolutionizing our standards of identification and fraud while traveling.  What is the change? Only compliant driver’s licenses or other identification will be allowed on domestic flights. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes:

What is the REAL ID Act?

Passed by Congress in 2005, this act recommended that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”  It is in the process of regulating state driver’s licenses and identification documentation for security standards. Along with defining the identification process for boarding commercial airlines, it also outlines the protocol for entering federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and even some visas. Regulating travel with this advanced security is the fourth and final stage of enactment.

What is the process and when can we expect to see changes?

We are already in the final stages of these REAL ID act updates. Starting at the beginning of 2016, the Department of Homeland Security announced the final changes. In July they began web-based advisories, with the help of airlines and airport stakeholders.
Starting in December 2016, expect to see signage and handouts while traveling through airport checkpoints.

What updates are needed?

Driver’s licenses need to be REAL ID compliant to be used as identification while flying commercially. This includes scannable microchip technology in every driver’s license or identification card. It is the responsibility of the individual states or territories to implement these changes. Most states have already updated the REAL ID standards, but there are a few states/territories that have lagged behind.

How do I know if my state driver’s license is compliant?

The Department of Homeland Security has an up-to-date list of the states that are compliant, under review, have an extension, or are not compliant.  Some states have been granted an extension in the process until June or October 2017 to update their licenses.

What if my state driver’s license or identification card is not accepted?

Starting January 22, 2018, if your state is still not compliant with the new standards, you will have to provide additional documentation. If they do not have this supporting documentation, they will not be allowed to fly.

By 2020, all states should be compliant with the new standards.

Are there any other options?

Passports are now also updated with the same microchip technology as the new driver’s license. If you are concerned about potential delays or ineligibility, renewing or applying for a passport is a great alternative. Be advised, the State Department is anticipating a surge of applications, so start the process sooner than later.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Merrilee’s Story

Christopherson annually sponsors a group of employees to travel with CHOICE Humanitarian. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian is a strategic non-governmental agency (NGO).  Working in seven countries, their goal is to end extreme poverty.  Using a village-centered approach, they work to improve quality of life through self-sufficiency. Christopherson has been involved with CHOICE for more than 20 years and is also a corporate sponsor. This small group of volunteers provides one week of service on one of Choice’s international work sites. This past year, the group assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala, helping the villagers build in-home stoves and painted the community center. Employees who are part of the employee contribution program are eligible to go on an expedition. These employees contribute donations to CHOICE monthly, with Christopherson graciously matching the donation.  Merrilee Rease, a corporate travel agent out of Salt Lake City shared her experience from this year’s trip to Guatemala:

“Participating on the CHOICE Humanitarian Expedition was a life changing event. In fact, I highly recommend it over a regular family vacation. The villagers’ daily struggle just to prepare meals and get water from the river both amazed and saddened me. They even conserved water leading up to our arrival so that we could take quick showers while we were there. We didn’t learn about this until about two days before we were to leave. I decided not to shower after finding this out. My most memorable times were playing with the kids. They are so happy, even with what little they have. It was like Christmas for a week for them. CHOICE brought a movie screen and projector for the village to watch movies. To hear their giggles and screams during the movie made me incredibly happy. It was the little things like this that we take for granted that meant the most to me.”

See more pictures of the 2016 expedition team’s photos here.
To view pictures from previous expeditions, visit our Facebook page.

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Top Business Traveler Threats

When you think of ‘threats’ while traveling, you probably think of major catastrophes, like kidnappings, bombings, or terrorism. Fortunately, Buying Business Travel found the biggest threats facing business travelers are not nearly as ‘exciting’. These top business traveler threats are actually pretty commonplace. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of areas of concern and how to avoid them. 

Most common threats for business travelers

  • Petty Non-violent Crimes – These are crimes like pickpocketing or petty robbery. Even areas known for being safer to visit, like Europe, has their high risk areas for petty crimes. People seen as ‘weaker’, like women traveling alone of older individuals are often targets. The key is to stay alert and take precautions. Mitigate yourself looking like a target. Even if you are lost, don’t look it. Confidence can convey a lot. Keep your valuables out of sight, or leave them behind. Though it can be hard for business travelers, dress to blend in.
  • Road Traffic Accidents – The risk of being involved in a road accident while traveling is higher than when you are at home. Probably because you are in a variety of situations involving rental cars, taxis, car services, car pooling, etc. Looking internationally, the risk of road accidents goes up. Did you  know there are more road accidents in China than in all of Africa? The best way to prepare for this is with some research. If you are traveling abroad, make sure you are familiar with emergency response procedures. Also understand the car insurance if you are renting a vehicle.
  • Food Poisoning – Whether it’s from unhygienic preparation or just unfamiliarity, sickness from food is commonplace. The most common resulting from E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria, found in meats, eggs, fruits and dairy. Water quality can be a factor in food poisoning in other countries as well. Try the “If you can’t boil it, cook it, peel it, than forget it.” mantra when traveling.

Though these aren’t the most interesting threats, they are important nonetheless. Before you head out on your next business trip, be sure to prepare for these potential hazards.

Blogs to read next:

Categories
Company News and Announcements

Corporate Travel Insiders Hope Trump Will Focus on Business Improvements, Tone Down Rhetoric

SKIFT | NOV 10, 2016

Corporate Travel Insiders Hope Trump Will Focus on Business Improvements, Tone Down Rhetoric

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

China Tops Global Business Travel Market

According to GBTA’s latest business travel forecast, China accounts for 25 percent of business travel spending. This is a dramatic increase from 2000, when they held just 5 percent of the market.  China is now considered the fastest growing business travel market in the world.

China’s Growth To Top Of The Global Business Travel Market

For China, their total business travel spending is expected to reach 9.2 percent, or $317.9 billion by 2016. In 2017, the expected increase is slightly lower at 8.4 percent. Though it is slowing down, this is still a giant leap ahead of the United States. For comparison, in 2017, U.S. business travel spending is expected to reach $293.1 billion. That is a $51.5 billion dollar difference!

The GBTA Executive Director and COO, Michael W. McCormick,  stated this is “demonstrating the truly global nature of today’s economy.” He added, “We expect longer-term spending growth to continue to moderate until Chinese policymakers can achieve their goal of rebalancing the economy and diverting resources away from investment and towards consumption.”

China Continues To Ride The Wave

Of this 25 percent growth, much of it came from domestic ventures. They are now setting their sights on global carriers. On top of that, vying for top margin travelers.  From Traveller.com.au, flights from the South Pacific and Asia is the strategy to begin with. The industry is already saturated with big hitters like Cathy Pacific, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines. Also standing in their way is the perception left by past safety records.

This will not be an easy battle for China’s airlines, but it’s one that can’t be passed up. According to data from the International Air Transport Association, premium passengers account for only 8 percent of travelers. But, these premium travelers generate close to a third of revenue.  To increase their chances, Chinese airlines are stepping up their game in comfort and premium services. Hainan Airlines’ business class, for example, now offers  menus by Michelin star chefs, top amenity bags, and comfortable seating. Expect a big push from Chinese markets in the future, but they certainly have a battle ahead of them.

Chirstopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. With more than 60 years of experience, we focus on travel—so busy professionals don’t have to. Learn how we can save you company time and money on travel by contacting us today.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Ideas For Business Travelers: Travel Pillows

Business travelers are an elusive breed. They’re working on five things at once, fiercely independent, compulsively organized and have an impeccable sense of time. If experienced, they have their own tried-and-true habits for travel too. Overall, they are often the hardest to shop for around the holidays. So how do you find that perfect present for the person who doesn’t think need anything? Focus on innovation, of course! In this blog, we’re conquering one of the most uncomfortable aspects of travel—sleeping. The first in the series of gift ideas for business travelers, we’ve found our favorite and most innovative travel pillow solutions on the market.

Travel pillow gift ideas for business travelers


FaceCradle
 – This amazing pillow has 5 different modes for sleeping while traveling—more than any other pillow on the market. Unlike other travel pillows, it has two oval cushions, hinged together with a clip and strap accessory. The different positions create the perfect pillow for any traveler. The hinge assists the neck, avoiding uncomfortable angles. One of these positions is a wrapping the strap around the back of the traveler’s seat and clipping into the pillow. Leaning forward, the traveler can sleep comfortably while also being supported. It looks a little ridiculous, but could become a serious staple for the regular traveler. $46.00

face cradle - travel pillow

 

HoodiePillow – Just as the name implies, this is a pillow with a hood attached. The hoodie is oversized and big enough to accommodate headphones. It also blocks out light and is just a comfy as your favorite hoodie. It comes in both memory foam and inflatable, plus adorable options for kids. This company also sells standard pillowcases to be used at home or at the beach. $24.95 – $29.95

hoodie pillow - travel pillow for business travelers

 

OSTRICHPILLOW® by Studio Banana Things – The most bizarre looking in our gift guide, it also looks irresistibly comfortable. This encompassing pillow goes over the head, with various holes for the most comfortable power nap of your life. It could be a perfect gift for college students or workaholics as well. Studio Banana Things offers other versions for specific sleep positions. These pillows are slimmer and can be sold as gift sets. $99.00

travel pillows for business travelers

 

BauBax Travel Jacket – Claimed to be the “Swiss army knife of travel wear” by CNN Money, this company has everything you need to fly comfortably into one jacket. It comes in four basic styles for both men and women, including a blazer. A few of the features include a built-in inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, tablet pocket, passport pocket, earphone holder, built-in gloves, portable charger pocket, detachable hood, and blanket pocket. It was originally developed by a couple on an overnight international flight. Since its inception, the jacket is the highest funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter history.  $199.00

travel pillows for business travelers

 

Didn’t find anything that might interest your business traveler? Check back in throughout the holiday season for additional gift ideas for your business traveler or busy professional.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, passionate about simplifying travel for busy professionals. With more than 60 years of experience and award-winning service, we are one of the top travel management companies in the nation.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Emotional Support Animals On Airplanes

You seen them on the plane and in the airport—service dogs and animals flying with their owners. But did you know not all are trained to provide assistance for their handlers? Some of these are animals aiding and comforting the owner who is suffering from mental or emotional issues. These ’emotional support animals’ are allowed on planes and travel just like service dogs though. Read below the frequently asked questions we had about these emotional support animals on airplanes.

What are emotional support animals?

Emotional support animals (ESA) help people suffering from anxiety and other emotional disorders. They are allowed to always accompany the person in need, even in places that don’t allow animals. A few examples are restaurants, movie theaters, at work, and on public transportation. They are often confused with service animals, which are specifically trained to assist people with disabilities. These are the seeing eye dogs or hearing dogs, but also include animals that are trained to detect the onsets of future episodes like seizures or PTSD symptoms. These animals go through rigorous and specific training to assist those in need.

Emotional support animals, or comfort animals, have a less rigorous definition, and are therefore not considered service animals by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). These animals, not only dogs, provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias. By providing therapeutic contact, they improve their owner’s physical, emotional and cognitive functioning.

What is the process for receiving an emotional support animal?

To be eligible for an emotional support animal, the person must first be diagnosed by a healthcare physician with an “emotional/psychological disability”. A properly written letter from a licensed therapist, counselor or physician is sometimes needed. They must also prove the animal is well-behaved and under control. After registering online, through a number of different organizations, they receive certifications and  patches for their animal. Overall, the process is easy and straight-forward.

Ultimately, the care and supervision is the handler’s responsibility. The animal must be under control, including things like excessive barking, jumping on people, or running away from handler. If the owner can not get the animal under control, businesses have the right to not allow the animal on the premises.

Can only dogs be emotional support animals?

No, really any animal can be registered as an ESA. If they provide companionship and help the person lead a normal life, really any animal is allowed. Even less likely animals like kangaroos, pigs, and turkeys are ESAs.

Are emotional support animals allowed on airplanes?

The FAA allows support animals to fly in cabins on flights, but the decision is really up to the airline. Though the airlines do vary, it seems most allow these comfort animals with additional documentation, such as a letter from a licensed professional. The airlines require a minimum 24 – 48 hour notification period to let the airline know that there will be a emotional support animal on borad.

Are any animals not allowed on flights?

There are some restrictions on the type of support animal allowed to fly. Rodents, ferrets, snakes, spiders and other reptiles are often not allowed on flights. Also, depending on the destination, especially international flights, there may be additional restrictions. Overall, it’s best to contact the airline directly.

Do emotional support animals go through security?

Yes, both service animals and support animals go through security screening at the airport. Their collar and vest are removed and the owner holds them while they go through together.

Do travelers pay for their emotional support animal to fly?

Travelers with emotional support animals or service animals do not pay additional fees to fly. I did learn that some airlines, like Delta, allows passengers to bring small pets on board for an additional fee with some restrictions. Counting as one piece of carry-on, they must be kenneled and stowed in the seat in front of the passenger.

Where do support animals sit on the flight?

If the animal is small and kenneled, it should be stowed under the seat in front of the traveler. If the emotional support animal is larger, it should sit at the customer’s feet, without protruding into the aisle. Travelers with support animals are not allowed to sit in exit rows.

What if someone on the flight has a pet dander allergy?

According to the FAA, allergens, including pet dander, are introduced onto planes by passengers and their clothing. So regardless if there is an animal on the flight, pet dander will be present anyway. If someone has severe allergies, they should fly with an airline that does not allow pets in the cabin. They can also contact a reservations agent from the airline to see if any other traveler have booked pets on that flight. As a last resort, the airline will typically reseat someone with a pet allergy.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Feeling The Shift In Airline Commoditization

It’s kind of funny. As technology continually advances, our expectations also change. We are living in an interesting age of requiring immediate results and instant buyer satisfaction. If we don’t see what we want, we can find it somewhere else. It might not surprise you that this is prominent in the travel industry. As consumers, we have any hotel and their reservation system at our fingertips. There is complete control over when and where we stay, and usually with some persuading discount. Same can be true with flights. We can decide when, where, negotiate on price and even pick our exact seat. However, some people believe there is still room for improvement.

The everyday traveler mainly uses travel booking websites to research and book future itineraries. We decide when we want to travel and where; and these sites help us find the cheapest fare. The search functions are primarily price and date. You decide when you want to travel and they find the best deal. But what if we want more? Robert Albert from RouteHappy wonders if perhaps consumers want more options. Albert explained during the Skift Global Forum in New York City last September that this commoditization is a big problem with airlines.

For example, think of that last flight you had with a low-price, low-value airline. Yes, your original booking price was low, but factor in the carry-on luggage fee, food and drink fee, and the minuscule leg room and you were left feeling cheated. Yes, it’s the best price, but was it worth feeling used and spit out? Not likely. And more and more people are seeing this.

As our buyer behavior and expectations continue to evolve, our expectations become more defined. While other industries, like hotels, have design overhauls to capture emerging buyers, shifting airline brand messaging or selling points is harder to do. It’s easier for a boutique hotel to pinpoint a demographic niche and jump on it, than the mammoth airline industry. In essence, there this room for opportunity to capture the growing needs of demanding airline passengers, but the industry may be too far behind to catch up.

As Albert said in his Skift Forum presentation, the biggest trend in the airline industry right now is the focus on ‘commoditize to differentiated.’ It most likely started with offering checked baggage options. Cabin upgrades came next. But is it enough?  Albert found an interesting niche in the travel booking world. Why have online travel booking be based solely on price? He has found that consumers are willing to pay extra for these upgrades. Flyers no longer want the cheapest price, but would rather see the value in the money they spend. Try booking based on amenities, travelers scores, plane type, legroom, and duration of flight. It’s an innovative look at travel booking in a seemly stagnant industry.

Blogs to read next: