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Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Risks of Unmanaged Business Travel

Booking and managing travel is usually a breeze when everything goes as planned. It’s even kind of fun, right? Researching new destination cities is a change of pace from the norm. And finding a good bargain on hotel or airline prices is always a win.  Heck, why do you think we like travel management so much too? But as entertaining as planning business travel can be, most professionals are unaware of the negatives that come with it. Online travel booking sites are easy to use, but truly can’t provide the support that companies need for efficient business travel. The risks of unmanaged business travel, that come without using a travel management company, vary from minor to potentially serious.

7 risks of unmanaged business travel

  • Lacking access to travel experts. Growing accustomed to booking your own travel can be a learning experience, but you’ll likely never gain the years of expert travel tips that experienced account managers or travel agents acquire first hand. Relying on their know-how is one of the top benefits of working with a business travel company.
  • Losing out on loyalty programs, discounts, other offers. There are so many tips, tricks, memberships, vendor contracts, etc that most companies have never even heard of before.  Without a TMC to guide you, most companies miss out on serious cost saving benefits without even knowing it.
  • No framework to ensure compliance. Booking travel is one thing, but managing, reporting and analyzing the data is a whole other ballgame for most busy professionals. Having support to ensure compliance, ultimately reducing travel spend, is a major goal that most companies just can’t realistically afford to do on their own.
  • Leveraging the company’s travel spend appropriately. Instead of loosely managing, a TMC will be able to keep a close eye on your costs and any leakage along the way.
  • Comfort for your employees while they travel. A happy traveler is usually a more productive traveler. Automatically booking them on seats or rooms based on their preferences is one easy way to keep your travelers comfortable and efficient.
  • Overall management and order to travel. Keep all itineraries, preferences, and reporting in one place. No more searching through your inbox to find your traveler’s information. Travel technology, like our AirPortal Suite, is designed to keep everything you or your travelers need readily available and in one secure place.
  • Risk management and duty of care support. One of the growing major risks of unmanaged business travel is duty of care responsibility, or lack thereof. What if an emergency arises in an area that your employee is currently traveling? Staying in communication with them, and alerted should something arise is imperative in our world today. And sadly it’s often overlooked by most companies who manage their own travel.

While most online public travel sites are easy-to-use and appear cheaper on the surface, they ultimately can’t provide the cost savings, quality of service, or duty of care support that travel management companies can overall. Ready to learn more about how Christopherson helps companies stay organized, ensure compliance, and assist with risk management? Let’s chat.

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Company News and Announcements

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

What Is A Corporate Travel Policy? Definition Series

When a new client comes aboard with Christopherson, one of the first items on the agenda is aligning their goals with the right corporate travel policy. But what is a corporate travel policy anyway? And how does it influence or affect the success of a company’s travel program? As part of our definition series blogs, we’ll examine this business travel industry topics, along with its subtleties and additional items to consider.

Corporate Travel Policy Definition:

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines created by a company for their business travel. Used by their travel managers and employees as they plan trips on behalf of the company, to typically outlines protocol on travel. For example, the requirements needed to book business class seats. The main objective of an effective travel policy is to keep travelers safe, while also adhering to the company’s guidelines. Reducing travel costs is usually a high priority too. If a corporate travel policy is easy to understand, oversees traveler’s security, and up-to-date; overall compliance of the policy will likely be higher as well.

Creating a Travel Policy for Everyone

This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a travel policy. How can you make a travel policy as efficient as possible for company’s bottomline, but also easy to use and convenient for the employee traveling on the policy? For example, a company creates a policy that requires the traveler to always select the cheapest ticket possible. Sounds like a solution for reducing travel costs, right? What’s often overlooked is the added stressors put on the traveler. What if the cheapest flight is a red eye with a 5 hour layover? Yes, it’s cheaper, but it’s hard to sustain employees morale when they’re facing the brunt of the ramifications. As Scott Gillespie, a travel industry expert, points out, an unhappy business traveler often leads to ineffective work. This ultimately results in lower ROI and even employee’s leaving the company. Is saving on travel costs worth possibly losing accounts or going through the rehiring process?

An effective travel policy finds the right balance of rewards and pleasures for the traveler, while also limiting what is ultimately unnecessary. For example, most companies have found that travelers are more compliant with the policy if they keep their accumulated flight and hotel reward points from their trips. A restriction may be a certain length of flight is requires before business class seats are considered for travel. By understanding the desires of your traveler, and setting reasonable limits, a company is more likely to find the middle balance of corporate travel policy.

Anything else I should know about travel policies?

Getting employees to comply to a travel policy is always difficult. And it’s usually for a few different reasons. One, is not enough education on the new policy. Sometimes travelers just don’t know they should be booking flights a certain way. Another is difficulty reporting travel. If expenses are missing or late, it could be a user experience issue. Business travel is hard enough, adding on a bulky or slow expense reporting system is usually a recipe for disaster. One interesting item that should be noted is the rate of compliance by different generations. How Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer to interact with data and compliance is quite different. Not surprisingly, Millennials are often more compliant when it can be done quickly through an email or app on their smartphone. Having a reporting or booking process that aligns with the behaviors of your business travelers is often essential. Read more about it in our in our Millennial travel policy blog.

Because the corporate travel policy is often the heart of a travel program, it is one of the first items we create or adjust when a client joins us. Our experienced account managers know what will work to reach your goals, alongside your company culture. Combined with our vendor relationships and specifically created technology to adhere to your policy, we ensure your travel program goals are always met. To learn more about our approach, technology, or cost-savings tactics, please feel free to contact one or our experts.

For a more thorough look at corporate travel policies, read our guide to creating an effective travel policy.

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Business Travel Travel Technology

3 Tools To Analyze Travel Data

Business travel management is a beast of a task. So when we had an opportunity to instantly analyze travel data and identify trends, we just couldn’t resist. Last July, Christopherson teamed up with Domo to bring top travel management solutions across both platforms.  Domo, a leader in business analytics, is known for compiling  data and instantaneously providing helpful insights and action items. These insights can be used by anyonefrom the CEO to the traveler to help them make data-driven decisions.  With Domo, we created three apps to further analyze travel data, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking; so our client’s travel programs can be as efficient as possible.  

Tool #1 – Travel Leakage Analyzer app

One of the top goals of any travel management program is to reduce overall travel costs. Developing a travel policy, making vendor partnerships, and the rigamarole of reporting, all goes towards saving the bottom line for your company. Even with all of the efforts from your travel manager and help from your dedicated TMC, not all of your employees will follow the protocol to a tee. Whether a traveler is in a last minute bind, or they forgot the policyout of contract bookings are bound to happen.

The Travel Leakage Analyzer app works instantaneously to find these gaps, or leaks, in your non-compliant bookings. The app automatically pulls travel data from our AirPortal platform and financial systems like Concur. It then provides a top-level view of your travel spend over a period of time. With this knowledge, you can plug the holes of non-compliant bookings, or make informed recommendations on future policies or vendor contracts. 

Tool #2 – Hotel Spend Analyzer app

Sure, you could go through every receipt to understand which hotel provided you the lowest rate over the past year. Or maybe spend hours analyzing which hotels your travelers booked with the most. We know you don’t have time for that.  With their Hotel Spend Analyzer app, analyze your hotel data from our Airportal platform and seamlessly take out the information you’re looking for. That means no time wasted in clunky excel sheets or blurry eyes from staring at the computer for hours. Discover underlying trends in your hotel bookings, like total rooms, average daily rate and total spend by region, even down to the specific hotels. Breakdown data by regions in your hotel booking history, to set future benchmarks or use for negotiating lower rates with hotel vendors. 

Tool #3 – Domo? app

This dashboard Domo app allows Domo users to easily and intuitively connect multiple real-time travel data feeds into the Domo platform. Perfect for travel managers, it accesses data, analyzes the travel data, and providing real-time solutions. These app makes it fast and simple to put the relevant insights into the hands of travel executives and managers.

 

At Christopherson, we’ve always strived to be the first in cutting-edge travel technology. With our partnership with Domo on the three apps, we know we’ve made it easier for clients to instantly identify travel trends, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking. In fact, our Domo app is continually a Featured App in Domo’s Appstore. These additional apps to analyze travel data are available to companies who already use Christopherson and Domo.  Contact us to learn more about our integrated apps or our overall approach to travel management

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Business Travel Travel Management

How Christopherson Reduces Travel Costs

You most likely know that partnering with a travel management company will streamline your travel experience. Your company will also be more organized with easy access to all your information. And the added peace of mind for the security and communication with your traveling employees doesn’t hurt either.  But the additional question we’re frequently asked is – how is Christopherson going to save my company money? Well let’s talk through some of the main ways that we are able to reduce travel costs for our clients.

How Christopherson reduces travel costs for our clients

  • Our AirPortal technology allows our clients to track just about everything. Our new clients often discover that they’ve been previously losing money without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s black holes within compliance. Our AirPortal dashboard provides a top-level view of travel management programs, often providing insight into previously unknown areas of your travel program. By providing a transparent look at your travel program, you can fully understand ways it’s working, but also areas for improvement.
  • Part of the AirPortal suite includes our AirBank technology tool. It tracks all unused air tickets, ensuring you never miss out.
  • Our experienced account management team. As part of their role as your designated account manager, they will always be on the lookout for ways to additionally save your company extra money.
  • Superior vendor relationships. One way our account managers provide above and beyond cost savings, is with their various vendor relationships. Through our connections, we can pass on great deals and contracts to our clients, ultimately saving you money.
  • Our relationship with airlines. One of our favorite tricks is passing on discounts we personally get from the airlines directly to our clients.

 

Our clients often come to us with differing pain points. But cost savings is typically high on everyone’s list.  That’s why we work so diligently to continually provide ways that Christopherson lowers the cost of your travel. If you are interested in learning more about how we can specifically save your company money, please contact us for a free consultation.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Combining A Business Trip With A Family Vacation

Summer is just around the corner. Which means school break, barbecues and outdoor adventures are on the horizon. It’s also the time to start brainstorming and planning family vacations. But did you know that most working Americans rarely use up their paid vacation days? In fact, in 2016 the United States left 429 millions unused days on the table. With numerous studies showing this adverse affect on health, it’s important now more than ever to take a few days for yourself. That may be why a new trend in ‘bleisure’’ travel is taking off – combining an upcoming business trip with a family vacation.

Family vacation during a business trip?  You can’t be serious.

Now before you stress out about all the minor details and how it can be blown off course, read through our 8 tips to combine a business trip with a family vacation and keep it on track.

  1. You’ll ultimately be saving money. Your company is already paying for your round trip ticket and hotel room. It could save you a few hundred dollars or more by using this to your advantage. Bunk up in your hotel room and schedule your return ticket back for a few days later than planned.
  2. Use reward miles or member status to buy additional plane tickets for your family or other upgrades. You may even be able to upgrade to a larger room to more comfortably accommodate everyone.
  3. Define your schedule and any limitations. Let your family know your schedule beforehand and any pressing deadlines or meetings. Be clear that you’ll need space during that time and won’t be available. It may feel harsh at first, but setting expectations early will give you more breathing room later on.
  4. Find a place that caters to everyone’s needs. Look for a hotel/townhouse that provides room for you to work, but also area for kids to play. It could be a pool on-site or fun attractions in the area. Booking a vacation rental, if acceptable in your travel policy, may be a perfect option.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of kids club or babysitting.
  6. If attending a conference, see if they are giving away family-friendly promotions. We attended a conference recently that was giving away tickets to Disneyland.
  7. Stay a few extra days. Here is where you finally use some of that well-deserved personal time.  What’s the point of being in a new place if you can’t enjoy it, right? Stay in the same area, or adventure out and explore the region.
  8. Contact a leisure travel agent. It might be worth contacting a specialist for special pricing and additional offers. Our leisure division, Andavo Travel, can help point you in the right direction.