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Carry On: How Travel Advisors Will Get You Back to Traveling

Andavo Travel is the luxury vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel. Their experienced network of professional travel advisors have direct access to the world’s finest hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, and tour operators. As a longtime member of Virtuoso®, a leading global luxury travel network, Andavo’s advisors use their worldwide connections to plan memorable experiences for their clients. We are pleased to introduce them as our guest writer today, sharing the need for and benefits of using travel advisors in a post-pandemic world.

Travel Planning is Different After COVID-19

As we entered 2020, no one could have predicted how profoundly the world would change and how much travelers would miss getting out into the world to see it. There’s no question the travel industry has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began, abruptly putting everyone’s lives on hold.

But flash forward to 2021 as we turn a new page and look to the future with renewed hope, approved vaccinations, and excitement for the certainty of traveling again. Only travel planning will look different than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, travelers need the expertise of a trusted travel advisor to get them to their destination and home again safely.

Travel Advisors Have Invaluable Travel Knowledge

The post-pandemic travel environment is fluid, with ever-changing restrictions, protocols, requirements, and pivots. Travel advisors remain at the forefront, watching for the latest updates in air travel, hotels, tours, and cruises, while also monitoring the reopening of borders, entry requirements, and health and safety procedures.

Travel advisors have continued working through the pandemic, studying the travel industry’s future, attending education, development, and destination webinars, and gaining valuable insight that they can then pass on to travelers. This level of expertise and heightened understanding of the post-pandemic global travel landscape elevates both the value of and the need for a travel advisor when planning your next vacation.

Travelers Benefit from Travel Agents’ Relationships

The best travel agents have extensive relationships with travel vendors around the world. Andavo Travel advisors specifically are members of Virtuoso, a global consortium of more than 20,000 industry experts and more than 1,800 elite travel companies. The extensive benefits of belonging to Virtuoso are then passed along to you, the traveler. Such benefits include global relationships, VIP access, insider knowledge, travel perks, personalized planning, and most of all, peace of mind.

Relying on a travel advisor also gives you essential insight into your vacation destination and support through every step of planning. You have a partner to call when unexpected changes arise. One challenge travelers who use online booking sites faced when COVID-19 began and their travel plans were canceled was the difficulty of connecting with people at the companies they booked with. In many situations, those travelers were left with little to no recourse for getting a refund. Conversely, Andavo Travel advisors were able to quickly reach out to travel companies they had established relationships with on behalf of their travelers, and negotiate outside of the company’s standard policies.

Travel Advisors Are Essential to Navigating the New World of Travel

Navigating post-COVID-19 restrictions and requirements will be a new experience for all of us. Even the most savvy travelers are going to need a bit of handholding as we return to travel. New rules and policy updates are posted daily from myriad companies and destinations around the world. Keeping track of passport requirements, travel insurance, airport and airline guidelines, cruise protocols, road trips, villas, or national park guidelines, may feel overwhelming and confusing. This is where professional travel advisors can help. Working with a travel advisor gives you access to an expert that delivers the peace of mind you deserve.

Andavo Travel advisors are passionate about travel. They have traveled extensively all around the world and have personal relationships with countless domestic and international partners. Regardless of the destination, our advisors spend significant time researching and leaning on their connections to gain detailed knowledge of the location, procedures, and best experiences available so they can help you create lasting memories.

While it will certainly be different than before, we will travel again, and the value of a professional travel advisor will be more important than ever. Working with a travel advisor will increase your comfort level, keep you informed of your destination’s health and safety procedures, and allow you to start putting those bucket list travels back on the horizon.

The world is waiting to welcome us all back and the economic and social recovery that comes as a result of travel will be necessary for our world to heal. We are beginning to see some of that recovery in various stages and destinations and we remain hopeful for continued progress. Our wanderlust continues to grow and we look forward to both experiencing the excitement, joy, and enrichment travel brings to our lives and planning the same for you.

In the words of the Anthony Bourdain,

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

If you would like assistance with planning and booking your next vacation, we hope you’ll consider relying on the expertise of an Andavo Travel advisor.

Business and Leadership Business Travel Executive Q and A

Executive Q&A: Christopherson’s CRO Shares What Companies Really Need From TMCs

Next up in our Executive Q&A series is an interview with Christopherson’s new Chief Revenue Officer, Kathleen Roberts. She shares her thoughts on what organizations really need from corporate travel management companies, the value of partnership, and the opportunities that lie ahead for the business travel industry.


Kathleen Roberts, CRO at Christopherson Business Travel

Q: As we come through to the other side of the pandemic, there seems to be a shift occurring in how organizations manage their business travel. Can you share your insights on what you’re seeing as you help these organizations find solutions?

A: The majority of business trips taken during the pandemic have been business critical. As companies prepare for a broader return to travel we are seeing increased interest in traveler safety and well-being, as well as the employees’ overall disposition to traveling again. The sharp decline in 2020 travel budgets is leading to increased awareness from finance and leadership around the value of each trip. And while the industry has made significant advances in duty of care, there are new expectations emerging. These factors are leading to an increase in pre-trip authorization requirements, ease of access to planning tools and travel vendor safety information, and improved risk-management resources.

Q: What seems to be most important right now for organizations as they revamp their travel programs?

A: Travel policy. Historically, travel policy review often centered around cost-savings and reimbursement. The current environment requires a more holistic approach involving additional topics and stakeholders. HR, security, and legal teams may become involved or at least topics relating to the areas of traveler safety, risk management, and liability.

Q: What do you think is the greatest value a travel management company (TMC) brings to the table to meet these pressing needs?

A: Partnership. By using a TMC, organizations are able to consolidate travel spend, vendor negotiations, risk management, policy compliance, data, and reporting into a trusted partnership. They gain integrations with industry-leading technology, improved traveler experience, and significant cost savings. We’re able to customize travel programs that align with our customers’ culture and corporate objectives. We’re then able to quantify the value of our partnership through detailed scorecards and traveler surveys.

Q: You’ve worked in travel for a while—what are the biggest opportunities you see today in business travel?

A: Consolidation. The pandemic has organizations of every size evaluating how they purchase and manage travel. Existing customers that allowed outside booking methods are directing travelers to utilize our services to ensure program consistency, compliance, and consolidation. Prospective clients with travel budgets of various sizes and who have not previously worked with a TMC are eager to engage with us. They found themselves facing numerous challenges at the start of the pandemic and are seeking a better solution post-pandemic. Providing the benefits of a managed travel program and assisting them with developing solutions that address organizational requirements, improve the traveler experience, and help them prepare to return to travel is absolutely rewarding for both parties.

Q: Not only have you worked in travel for a while, but you’ve been with Christopherson for 15 years now. How has the company changed or evolved?

A: Growth. I joined the Christopherson team in 2006 as they became the largest travel company in the state of Utah with $125 million in annual bookings. We ended 2019 at nearly $700 million and in the top 15 travel firms nationally. While 2020 was a detour from our revenue growth, we successfully implemented 96 new accounts last year, most of which have yet to resume traveling. With a solid financial plan in place, we have maintained our momentum and growth strategy.

Q: As a sales executive, you traveled frequently before COVID. Why do you think travel is so important for doing business?

A: Relationships. Virtual meetings have provided valuable connection throughout the pandemic, but they’re not a substitute for in-person interaction. The following scenario may be overused, but it’s a valid point: “Once the person who presents over webinar loses a deal to the competitor who presented in person, they’ll get back out on the road.” This applies beyond sales to include most business interactions. The Global Business Travel Association reported in their January 2021 survey results that 49 percent of business travelers are currently “somewhat willing or very willing” to travel for business. As the vaccine rollout continues, I expect that percentage to increase.

Q: And finally, just for fun, what are your favorite business and leisure travel destinations?

A: Business travel has taken me to exciting places that I may not have otherwise experienced. Memorable business trips in recent years included traveling to interact with Christopherson team members in Colorado and Alabama. I’ve also enjoyed amazing leisure travel experiences. Some of my highlights include Africa, Australia, and Europe. But I think my first post-pandemic, international vacation might be my most appreciated. I’m ready to travel again!

Read More Executive Q&As Here

Business Travel Featured in the news Guides

Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide



“COVID-19 will reinvent the travel process around safety, cleanliness, and virus transmission protection. Terms like social distancing, personal protection equipment (PPE), and antibody immunity testing are now part of our new travel vocabulary. We are up for the challenge, and we will reinvent ourselves to help you and the travelers for whom you have a duty of care responsibility.”

– Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

Cleanliness is Key to Safe Travel

Do I need to wear a mask at the Delta terminal? How crowded is United’s economy class? Is Marriott practicing social distancing? Has Hilton discontinued breakfast or housekeeping? Will National sanitize my rental car?

There is a lot of apprehension about the safety of travel during this coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, you need to know what steps travel providers are taking to keep their airline cabins, hotel rooms, and rental cars clean.

A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Vendor Cleanliness Standards

We want to help corporate travel managers make smart decisions with their business travelers. To that end, we created a COVID-19 Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide. This in-depth resource will be updated regularly. It provides relevant information about travel vendors’ health and safety standards. You may want to bookmark this page and share it with your business travelers.

Vendor Health & Safety Measures

In the COVID-19 Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide, you’ll find a list of the steps travel providers are taking to keep travelers healthy. The guide begins with links to major sources of pandemic safety guidelines and TSA protocols. It then moves on to measures being implemented by major airline, ground transportation, and hotel brands.

If you have questions or concerns about cleanliness and health in regards to business travel, we invite you use this guide. Doing so will allow you to review and compare vendors’ overall efforts to provide a safe travel experience.

Guide last updated: February 17, 2020

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Business Travel Business Travel News Roundup Featured in the news

Business Travel News Roundup: February 2021

A monthly roundup of business travel news, featuring important technology updates, helpful links and resources, and the latest from the industry.

A New AirBank for Superior Unused Ticket Management  

Phase one of the update to our unused airline ticket management tool, AirBank, is complete. Users will continue to access the tool via AirPortal. AirBank’s enhancements are the result of our new integration with Magnatech, a leading developer of travel management software. This integration strengthens AirBank to provide:  

  • Superior data accuracy  
  • Greater visibility into your unused ticket funds  
  • Improved management of non-profiled travelers’ unused funds  

Additional updates will continue to be made throughout the month. We’ll keep you informed as those enhancements go live. If customers have any immediate questions, please reach out to your Account Manager or our Account Support Team.     

State/Country Travel Restriction Database

Use Christopherson’s new travel tool, powered by Sherpa, to help you quickly see the current COVID-19 travel guidelines, entry restrictions, risk levels, quarantine measures, and more for domestic and international destinations. We invite you to bookmark the link and share it with your travelers.

Negative COVID Tests Required for International Travelers Coming to U.S.  

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, all travelers age 2 and older boarding international flights to the United States must present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before their flight or proof they recovered from the virus within the past three months. Here’s how to do so 

How to Safely Host In-Person Meetings 

Andavo Meetings & Incentives, Christopherson’s meetings and event planning division, outlined six important things to consider when planning and hosting a safe, in-person corporate meeting or event 

Executive Q&A with Christopherson’s CEO  

We took the opportunity to sit down with our CEO, Mike Cameron, to get his reflections on the challenges of 2020, learn how Christopherson is currently doing, and find out what he sees for the future. Check out the interview here 

Are you using all the technology Christopherson provides?  

AirPortal, our integrated technology platform, offers secure, real-time visibility into your entire business travel program. It is provided to Christopherson customers at no costWe encourage you to use the full suite of AirPortal’s intelligent tools to manage a more streamlined, cost-effective travel program 

Hotel Sourcing Strategies for 2021 

Despite the uncertainties 2020 brought, here are concrete steps you can take to secure better hotel rates in 2021.  

Global Vaccination Programs – A Research Snapshot  

Countries have begun their vaccination programs. But how long will it take to vaccinate entire adult populations? What plans do governments have and what progress have they made so far? Based on official data and government declarations, our global affiliate BCD Travel put together two Research Snapshots to provide a quick look at what may lie ahead for some European countries and a small selection of countries outside of Europe.   

WEBINAR: iBank Training 

Did you miss our iBank training webinar last month? Customers can reach out to their Account Manager or our Account Support Team for the recording link. The presentation provides an overview of the updated interface and outlines what’s new in the tool

Good News Break 

Because we all need a break sometimes, here are a few non-travel-related stories our team members enjoyed:

Business Travel

FAQ: Top 15 Things Travel Managers Ask About Concur Travel

Our goal is to make your job easier, whether you are new to Christopherson Business Travel or Concur Travel, new to managing travel, or you are a seasoned professional.

To this end, we queried our account managers, support specialists, and business development managers to find out which questions travel managers are asking most frequently.

1. What is the difference between Christopherson and Concur?

Christopherson is a travel management company (TMC) that provides clients with a consultative approach to travel management, including developing and refining travel programs and policies to meet an organization’s travel goals and budget. Concur is software as a service (SaaS) that provides a website for booking travel. As a TMC, we provide clients with access to this website, which is also referred to as an online booking tool.

Essentially, Christopherson is the bridge that connects Concur to the global distribution system (GDS), a large computer network and reservation tool where air, lodging, transportation, and other travel vendors upload their inventories for booking purposes.

Clients access Concur by either logging into Christopherson’s proprietary AirPortal platform, which integrates with Concur in the cloud, or by logging into Concur directly, depending on account configuration. Although clients use the Concur tool, we provide support for it, regardless of whether the booking is made online or through one of our travel advisors.

2. What is Christopherson’s relationship with Concur?

Concur ranks its TMC partners according to their proficiency with the online booking tool. Our Elite Partner status, which is the top tier in the Concur program, means that Christopherson (1) provides clients with the highest possible integration with Concur, (2) provides in-house Concur-certified support, and (3) offers travel management expertise and reporting tools that complement Concur’s functionality.

3. How does Christopherson provide technical support for Concur?

Christopherson supports our Concur customers with the specialized expertise of our online support team and online technology team.

Online Support Team

The online booking tool is intuitive and user friendly, but if travelers have an issue while booking travel they are directed to Christopherson’s online support team, a team that was specifically formed to help travelers navigate the booking process. The team’s purpose is to help every traveler become comfortable and proficient with using the online booking tool so they can make their own reservations.

The online support team also assists travelers with error messages, which saves travelers time and alleviates frustration. Team members provide tips that enable travelers to get their desired results when booking online, such as teaching travelers to return a broader search result and then narrow it to locate their desired options.

Online support can be obtained via email at or by phone at (888) 535-0179.

Online Technology Team

Our online technology team operates behind the scenes to ensure that automated processes function correctly. While we expect that every reservation proceeds smoothly, manual intervention is occasionally required.

As needed, team members will open a case with Concur and work with their technical team to resolve an issue so your travelers can continue working on their own projects.

4. How can travelers prevent issues when using Concur?

Our support teams recommend using Google Chrome or Firefox with Concur, as they are more reliable than Internet Explorer.

Also, clearing the temporary data cache and cookies from your computer or mobile device often resolves issues.

5. Do you support Concur Expense?

While Concur’s Travel and Expense tools are fully integrated, the Expense module is supported by your organization or in direct partnership with Concur. Our teams support the Travel module, as detailed above.

6. How does Concur handle travel policy?

Concur facilitates enforcement of travel policies by allowing custom definitions of the following:

  • rules for each travel policy, such as approval hierarchies, authorized vendors, and spending limits;
  • actions to take in the event of policy violations;
  • exceptions that merit overriding the approval workflow; and
  • role-based security within the application.

Concur uses visual guilt features to guide users to select airlines, hotels, and car suppliers that are within policy. Users are notified when a travel segment is out of policy in several ways:

  • In-policy options display a green checkmark and can be configured to include messaging to guide user selections.
  • A yellow triangle denotes when a segment is set for reporting or manager approval purposes.
  • A red stop sign signals that the trip cannot be booked online.

Clients may customize the messaging that explains violations and company policy. This configurable solution not only allows clients to control policy rules across their organizations but also gives them the ability to create unlimited policy rule groups by location, role, department, and more.

7. How can I encourage travelers to book within policy on Concur?

The easier planning is for travelers, the more likely they are to comply with policy. There are several methods you can use to increase compliance:

  • Filter choices. The tool can be configured to display only your preferred vendors and highlight your preferences, so the options offered to travelers are all within policy.
  • Direct choices. Instead of limiting the content a traveler can view, you may opt to direct their choices using behavioral science. The visual guilt approach suggests to travelers that they reconsider out-of-policy choices by displaying messages encouraging them to stay within policy and alerts that their selection is non-compliant.
  • Demonstrate safer choices. Showing your travelers how Christopherson’s SecurityLogic tool provides them with travel alerts and allows location tracking in case of emergency is also a valuable reminder that staying within policy is a safer choice and booking off-channel carries inherent risks.

8. How can trips booked in Concur be funneled to managers for approval?

Concur’s approval tool can be configured so that a ticket will not be issued until the booking is within policy parameters or has been approved by a designated manager. When there is a policy violation, travelers will be required to select reason codes and provide comments regarding the violation for notification, approval, and reporting purposes.

All travel policy violation comments, reason codes, and the policy-compliant options presented to the traveler but not selected are routed to the approving manager via email. Upon notification, the approving manager can accept or reject the trip via email, browser, or the Concur Mobile application. If no action is taken, the reservation will be held until the ticket time limit forces trip cancellation.

Policy rules can also be configured so that reservations within policy are also forwarded to the traveler’s manager.

9. What should be included in a Traveler Profile?

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations require that a traveler’s profile contain the traveler’s name (must be identical to the name on the driver license), gender, date of birth, and one contact telephone number. Additional profile information can be chosen by you and your travelers.

We recommend that travelers customize their profiles to include all travel preferences, frequent-traveler program memberships, preferred method of payment, and traveler number for TSA PreCheck. The name used for travel program memberships must also match the traveler’s ID.

Encourage travelers to verify their profile information before booking to proactively eliminate errors that can delay the process, and remind them that profiles must be updated using the Concur web version and not the mobile app.

10. How can I delete a Traveler Profile?

Travel managers can deactivate Traveler Profiles in AirPortal and the AirPortal 360 mobile app. You may also contact Christopherson and we will deactivate profiles for you.

11. What mobile apps are available for Concur?

  • Concur Mobile. This user-friendly mobile app allows travelers to book travel and view reservations. If travelers have the Expense module, they can also manage receipts and expense reports on mobile devices.
  • TripIt. Concur integrates with the free version of the TripIt app. When your profile is connected to TripIt and Concur, you can view your trip plans on any web-enabled device and access features like airport maps and neighborhood safety ratings.
  • TripIt Pro. Integration with Concur’s premium service paid app, TripIt Pro, includes additional features like real-time flight alerts, airport navigation assistance, and automated distribution of travel-plan updates to your designated recipients.

12. How do you guarantee reservation accuracy?

Christopherson uses Concur’s mid-office quality-control tool, Compleat, which automatically checks reservations for errors at milestones during the booking process and runs hundreds of other intelligent processes. Compleat is used when tickets are booked online or through a travel advisor.

13. Can I streamline booking repeated trips to the same destination?

If your travelers regularly go to the same destination on the same flights, you can save time by building a company travel template to use for that particular trip. The air, car, and hotel search criteria will default to your template settings. Only travel administrators can edit company templates.

14. What is the best way to book the same trip for several travelers?

If you are a travel arranger for other employees and/or guests and have two or more travelers heading to the same destination who want the same itinerary, you can save time by using the “clone a trip” option.

15. How does Concur handle traveler data?

Credit card and transaction data are handled by Concur and the GDS, both of which are payment card industry (PCI) compliant. These data are encrypted within Traveler Profiles to meet PCI standards.

Need More Information? 

  • Got a question that isn’t addressed above? Your account manager or our online support team can provide the information you need to succeed.
  • Considering moving to a managed travel program? Email your questions to our business development team at