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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson’s Online Travel Support & Tools

Not surprisingly, the ability to book travel online is important for many busy professionals. Because we’re known for our travel advisor services and consultative approach; our exceptional online booking tools and support team can sometimes fly under the radar. With our team of industry experts and our company’s preferred partnerships, they are often the unsung heroes of easy booking and travel solutions. So, what makes our online travel support superior above others?

What does our online travel support look like?

Booking travel quickly and easily is a top priority for our busy clients. With our many years in corporate travel management, we’re well-versed in the unique challenges of online booking and support. That’s why we provide three specialized support teams and various online booking tools for our clients. Reliability is a necessity, and our services and technology ensures it runs smoothly.

Christopherson’s online support teams

It can be surprising to learn how complex online booking and support can be on the back end. It’s much more than just connecting buttons and going live. Designing our support team into three specialized groups has proven to be the best way to provide proactive and expert service for our clients. What’s even better, is our online support team are also experienced travel advisors. They often assist in other ways if needed! Here’s a closer look at our online support teams:

  1. Frontline support team – This team is dedicated to the phone and email support of the travelers. They are available to assist with anything the traveler may need while booking online. While most TMCs charge to speak with a support team, this is included at no additional cost for our clients.
  2. Reservation support team – They monitor the reservations going through our automated systems to ensure everything is working smoothly.  They contact travelers when there may be a payment issue, schedule change and handle the processing of our Airbank tickets to online reservations.
  3. Online tech team – This team handles the implementations, updates, audits and general maintenance of our 1000+ online sites.  Working directly with SAP Concur on any outstanding issues and builds, they are SAP Concur certified and regularly attend trainings.

Christopherson’s online booking tools

We work with three online booking tools: Concur Travel, Deem, and nuTravel. Because of our Concur Preferred Partner status and associated customer benefits, we often recommend our clients book through Concur Travel.

Being a Concur Preferred Partner

A Concur Preferred Partner is a travel management company that is recognized by SAP Concur to be fully equipped to manage travel needs, based on their relentless commitment to their clients and technical advancements. The company must also be a leader in the industry and fully aligned with SAP Concur’s mission and vision. They also have a history of constant collaboration with the Concur Travel team.

Christopherson is one of only 23 companies nationwide that hold this exclusive membership. In fact, we were one of the first to receive this distinction as a result of our innovation and integrations. We have worked closely with SAP Concur since 2003, and currently manage more than 1,000 sites for more than 750 companies using SAP Concur.

We are also the first agency to become a Concur Certified Agency. This new designation was earned by Christopherson’s online technology specialists, through training and testing, to ensure complete proficiency in the design and maintenance of Concur Travel sites.

What are the benefits of working with a TMC with Concur Preferred Partner status?

This preferred status is more than just a fancy title. It comes with perksmany that directly benefit the customer. So what does that include?

  • Full and open integration – Being a preferred partner enables us to offer comprehensive service and a commitment to innovation.
  • Priority escalation of Concur Travel issues – Think of this like cutting in line when an issue arises. Our perks are your perks.
  • Cutting-edge service and support – As your company grows, so will your travel program. Being a preferred partner gives us the ability to evolve, not only in the industry, but also as your travel needs change.
  • High quality service and responsive interaction – Being a longtime direct reseller of SAP Concur, you can be assured of high quality service and responsive interaction.
  • Access to Christopherson’s SAP Concur Certified Online Tech Support Team – Our specialists know the inside and out of SAP Concur, and are always available via phone or email.

See why our online travel solutions are continually recognized as one of the best in the industry?  And this is just skimming the surface of our extensive and ongoing services. Interested in learning more? Contact us with any questions or for a demo of our AirPortal technology.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How To Survive A Long Flight In Economy

Business travel can sometimes push your body’s health to the limit. Jet lag, lumpy hotel beds, late meetings, and greasy convenient food after awhile can take a toll on your overall well being. Another inconvenient thing business travelers are sometimes forced to face are long flights. Depending on your company’s travel policy, you may be able to fly business or first class. But more likely than not, you’ll likely find yourself trying to survive a long flight in economy. Before flying across the country or to other continents for business again, be sure to read our tips below.

9 tips for business travelers: surviving a long flight in economy

  1. Pay for lounge access for the day. Most people don’t know that you can buy a day-pass to access most airline club lounges. The price depends on the airline, and buying online beforehand typically comes with a discount. So get to the airport early, take advantage of the food and high-speed wifi, and spread out while you can. Consider also using it during long layovers or even at your arrival destination. Check with your travel manager too, as the costs may be covered under the company travel policy.
  2. Drink lots of water. Flying literally dries you out. Make sure you stay hydrated before and during your flight. Sure, getting up to use the lavatory can be a nuisance, but it’s also a natural reminder to stretch your legs and increase circulation.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes. Yes, you’re traveling for business, but make sure you’re wearing something you can also lounge in. Same goes for shoes. High heels with no socks gets cold and uncomfortable after a few hours.
  4. Dress in layers. Planes can get hot. Planes can get cold. And somehow, can be both at the same time. Plan to dress with layers so you’ll always be comfortable, no matter the conditions.
  5. Bring healthy snacks to munch on. Who are we kidding, some indulgent snacks too… You’ll feel much better overall if you eat an apple, yogurt or salad instead of the prepackaged food that’s offered on planes. But we’re not here to judge. If you think you’ll get cranky or annoyed a few hours into the flight, by all means, bring those Snickers Minis or potato chips to get you by.
  6. Remember to download the airline’s app to your tablet or phone. Most airlines now offer free access to movies or shows, but it’s usually only accessible through their mobile app. Download the app before you leave to avoid slow or impossible loading speeds on the airplane.
  7. Veg out on those movies or shows you’ve missed. Now’s the time to get to those tv shows or movies you haven’t had the time for. Netflix offers a downloading feature on their app, so you can watch their programing without access to wifi. You can also rent movies through iTunes or Amazon before your flight. You have 30 days to start watching a movie. After you start watching, you have 48 hours to finish. Virtually making it the perfect accessory for long flightsrent a movie when it’s convenient, and watch it when you’re ready.
  8. Invest in a comfortable travel pillow. You might be surprised by the plethora of travel pillows currently on the market. Ranging from sizable and plushy, to streamlined and compact, they often cater to your preferred sleeping style. Check out some of our favorite travel pillows here.
  9. Double check you have those oh-so critical items. There are just some things you don’t know you need until you don’t have them. Some items I always fly with are: gum, an extra pair of headphones or ear plugs, Kleenex, anti-bacterial wipes, Advil, Tums, eye drops, lotion, an extra pair of socks, an extra pen, and a bottle of water. Most of these items are small enough that they don’t take up too much room. And sometimes, just knowing I have them with me is enough to feel confident that I’ll survive the long flight with ease.  

What are some of your long-flight travel tips? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Business Travel Travel News

The Paradox Of Unruly Passengers And Air Rage

Oh, unruly passengers. There always seems to be a story in the news about a passenger on a plane who is arrested or removed. Like this one.  Or this one. But once you get into the numbers of unruly passengers, a larger story emerges. I was surprised to find that overall incidences are decreasing, but more severe events, commonly called ‘air rage’ are occurring more frequently. Behind it are different policies, legal gaps, and training at work, with responsibility mainly falling on flight attendants.

The stats of unruly passengers

From 2007 to 2016, over 58,000 unruly passenger incidents were reported on an aircraft in-flight, including all levels of severity. In 2016 alone, 9,837 unruly passenger incidents were reported. That’s 1 in every 1,424 flights. Remarkably, that is a decrease in reported incidents. In 2015 it was 1 in every 1,205 flights.

While the overall number appears to be going down, the more serious events, like ‘air rage’ are increasing. Statistics from December 2017 show a 50% rise in incidents who were forcibly confined for behavior ranging from verbal abuse and physical abuse to life-threatening actions.  And even more interesting in that arrests overall have decreased. This is largely attributed to gaps in international law. Often, the law enforcement arriving at the airport fail to take legal action, due to the aircraft being registered in a different country. So even culprits who have committed serious offenses can be let go without receiving punishment.

So what’s the plan?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a three-pronged approach for continually handling these situations. Putting it simply:

Strong legal deterrent + enhanced prevention and management = a safer and better flight for all

By strengthening international legal framework so all governments have the necessary legal tools to be able to take action when necessary, and increased training at multiple levels, we can hope to see a decrease in unruly passengers overall. Some of these trainings are how to de-escalate situations or restraining techniques. It also includes guidance for airports, restaurants, and duty-free shops, to ensure responsible sales of alcohol.

It falls on our flight attendants

This sounds like a good plan, right? The one downside is the additional stress, time, and work put on our flight attendants. As airlines are packing more people on planes, more incidents are bound to arise. Sara Nelson, spokesperson for International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, says “The issue of unruly passengers can escalate very quickly. . .airlines should increase the number of flight attendants on flights and at gates. If they did, Nelson continued, airline employees could identify drunk passengers more often and prevent them from getting on planes”.

Most flight attendant’s are taught to observe behavior before the passengers even enter the cabin. They look for loud passengers and signs of drugs and alcohol. They often make direct eye contact with passengers to assess if they are under the influence. The cabin crew is usually alerted of particular passengers if these signs are marginal. If it’s severe enough, the passengers can be picked up at the gates before boarding the plane.

What to do if you encounter an unruly passenger

  • Discreetly notify a flight attendant. The best way to keep the situation from escalating is to not engage the passenger or create a scene.
  • Don’t intervene, yell or stare, though this is often the natural instinct.
  • Stay seated if the situation escalates. Passengers who intervene are more likely to be seriously injured in the process.

There is a lot of information to unpack here. Though overall unruly incidents are decreasing, air rage is higher than ever. Often, arrests and other legal ramifications are not viable, due to legal restrictions. And overall, our flight attendants are superheroes in disguise. In addition to making us comfortable, relaxed and hydrated, they are trained in de-escalating and restraining air rage. Next time you fly, be extra nice to your flight attendant!

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Car Rental Tips From A Business Travel Expert

Like most seasoned business travelers, I’m typically on the road for work related travel. But recently, I was vacationing with my family over a holiday weekend. The airport was hectic—and the car rental area was no exception. Long, slow lines of people were waiting for the various car rental companies to finalize their rentals. Fortunately, as a business traveler with a car rental membership, we bypassed the lines and were quickly on our way. It was the first time in quite a while that I realized how valuable having a membership to a car rental company can be. I thought I’d share some important tips on renting a car for business travel. Many of which that are overlooked by even experienced travelers.

Top car rental tips every business traveler should know:

  • Have a membership – Hopefully my story above persuaded you with the ease of having a membership to a car rental company. When you first sign-up, important information like divers license number, contact information, insurance, etc., are filled out and completed ahead of time. Everything concerning your account will then be fully automated and ready to go. No more standing in long car rental lines! Additionally, being a member typically includes deals that keeps your overall rates lower.
  • Find the preferred car rental company through your TMC. Most TMCs have a partnership with car rental companies, which enhances the savings and rewards for their clients. Look into your preferred partnerships if you have a TMC. At Christopherson, we work with clients to establish preferred vendor relationships and frequent traveler enrollment. Overall, this streamlines the process for both your travel managers and travelers, ultimately reducing traveler friction.
  • Stick with one car rental company – If you don’t have a preferred car rental partner, it’s time to do some research. Find a car company with perks that best suits your company’s needs and stick with them. You may benefit as well from a primary and secondary partner.
  • Take 30 seconds to walk around the car and inspect it before renting. Every time a rental car is returned, it is inspected for damage, cleaned, and put back on the lot. Or at least is should If there is damage on the car before you rent it, it likely hasn’t been seen or claimed yet. Meaning, you will likely be held responsible of the damage and its repair costs when you return the car. Car rental employees work hard, but small details can easily fall through the cracks. Be diligent about the state of the car before you take responsibility for it.
  • Check for errors inside the car. Make sure the gas tank is full and there are no warning lights on the dashboard. And always remember to return the car with a full tank of gas unless you have opted to prepurchase fuel with rental car company
  • Know your personal insurance coverage or company’s coverage. Before renting a car, most companies will ask if you need additional coverage (at an additional expense). Know what to accept or decline ahead of time by understanding your personal insurance coverage, and additionally what your company might cover. Christopherson also helps our clients by outlining their coverage in their travel policy and providing it in an easy-to-find location in our Airportal platform.
  • Keep your auto insurance card on you. In some states, you will be charged a mandatory liability insurance fee for not having your auto insurance card on you when renting the car. Most insurance companies have a downloadable version that you could keep on your smartphone to simplify the problem.
  • Verify the return location. Typically it will be the same place you rented the car, but occasionally, it will be different. It never hurts to double check, especially if you’re running to catch a flight.
  • Avoid syncing your phone to your rental car, if possible. Though it’s convenient, syncing your phone to a rental car can leave your information exposed to the next renter. If you need to, be sure you know how to unsync it once you’ve returned it.

Usually, learning the eccentricities that is the car rental industry comes through personal trial and error. Hopefully this blog gave you a few additional tips to keep in your pocket until next time you rent a car for business travel. Did we miss any? Leave a comment below.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

GDS & Business Travel: Definition Series

Business travel is an advancing, multi-faceted, and frankly, a pretty complicated industry. That’s why we’ll be breaking down some of the most confusing issues, terms, or functions within the industry in our definition blog series. We’ll identify specific business travel terms and explore its importance for companies, both big and small. We’ll also examine important tips or pain points to consider in your business travel management program. To start off, we will define the ‘GDS’ and how it is used in the business travel industry.

What is the GDS?

Called the Global Distribution System, or GDS for short, it is essentially the brain of the travel industry. A computerized network system, it provides real-time information to companies; including airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and travel agencies. Each of these industries use the GDS to see real-time inventory of other services in the travel industry.  For example, a travel agency can find the number of hotel rooms available, number of flight seats available or cars available on behalf of a client. One distinction is that the GDS is not a reservation system, but instead provides the information and a link to the services.

How do TMCs use the GDS?

Travel management companies use GDS systems to locate the best airline ticket, car rental, hotel room, etc., for their clients. They can customize information based on the traveler’s preferences, itinerary, etc. To further complicate things, there are different types of GDS systems available such as Worldspan, Sabre, or Galileo.

When a traveler requests travel from a travel agent, or travel management company, the agent will access the GDS to find the most accurate and cost effective itinerary for their traveler. The TMC is charged each time they access the GDS, but this is typically waved to the client. There is no way for the average person to access the GDS without help through a travel agency or other vendor.

How do online travel sites use the GDS?

Here’s the thing, they regularly don’t! Have you ever found an out-of-this-world low price on a ticket while using an online travel site?  But when you get to the final booking page, the ticket is ‘suddenly’ gone? You have every right to be annoyed, because it likely wasn’t available when you found it in the first place! Due to the cost of accessing the GDS, most online travel sites only look for prices once a day. Through a process called ‘screen scraping’, they take inventory of prices and seats available at one time and continually use that information until the next time they access the GDS. That means that most of their inventory is immediately out of date and typically more expensive.

Anything else I should know?

As with anything in life, there are a few quirks. For example, Southwest Airlines does not work with the GDS company, WorldSpan. Agents who use WorldSpan either do not book with Southwest or must look for pricing directly with Southwest Airlines. Something else that is newsworthy, is the content agreement in which airlines sign to work with GDSs, is up for renewal. Many in the industry are wondering if airlines will be renewing their relationship with certain GDSs. And if not, what does that mean for booking air for the travel agents and their clients?

We hope you learned something new about the business travel industry today. Check back as we dismantle the confusing world of business travel management in the next blog of our definition series. Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We’ve spent the last 60 years developing our unique approach to integrated technology and dedicated support. Learn more about us and our travel management services on our contact page.  

 

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Business Travel Guides

Does Your State Driver’s License Comply With The REAL ID Act?

You have hopefully noticed the many informative signs in the airports regarding driver’s licenses. If you haven’t, major changes are coming to the commercial aircraft’s security standards that you should be aware of. Called the REAL ID Act, travelers will see the most change by potentially needing different documentation to board aircrafts in the United States. For a larger overview, read our original REAl ID Act blog post here. Now, new extensions for some states are shifting the deadlines.

What’s happening?

The REAl ID Act is an update in security standards for many federal facilities. It has been in the process of updating various minimum security standards for power plants, federal buildings and others for the past 12 years. Now entering its final phase, the focus is on federally regulated commercial aircrafts. Travelers may only board the plane with the approved forms of documentation. Compliance by states is voluntary – meaning it is the responsibility of the individual states to update their driver’s licenses and identification cards to be within the standards set by the REAL ID Act.

As of January 22, 2018, the new REAL ID Act protocols will be instituted in all United States airports. States must update their driver’s licenses by this date, or their residents will not be able to use them to board aircrafts. Many states have already updated their processes. Now, many states have extensions until October 10, 2018 to fully comply.

Can you use your driver’s licenses to board commercial aircrafts?

The Department of Homeland Security continually updates their website as the information changes.  Go to their website, or use the infographic attached below to find the information regarding your state. Most states have already updated their driver’s licenses and identification cards to comply with the new standards. Some are still in the process of updating, with an approved extension to complete the task.real-id-act

  • States in green have already complied to the new standards. Travelers with driver’s licenses from these states can be used to board federal commercial aircrafts.
  • States in yellow have already applied for an extension in  the process. These states now have until October 10, 2018 to update their security standards. Travelers with identification from these states will still be able to use their IDs while traveling through October 10, 2018.
  • A few states, seen in blue are still under review for an extension. Their IDs are currently not compliant, and they need more time than the January 22, 2018 deadline to make this update. You may need to bring additional forms of documentation, such as a passport.

Continue to check the Homeland Security website for updates, or additional blogs or social media posts from Christopherson Business Travel. If you are a current client, contact your account manager if you have additional questions.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Tip: Pick A Reliable Aircraft For On-Time Flights

When people book flights, their decision is typically based on price and/or schedule. But a recent study found there may be another factor to consider if you want your travel day to run smoothly.  Turns out, paying attention to the type of aircraft you will be flying on may save you from delays or cancellations.  Some aircraft models are known to need repairs more often than others. Additionally, what may be a reliable aircraft for one airline, may be the worst option of another airline. This is due to different internal repair processes between different airlines. Of course, not all flight schedules include the type of aircraft. Some busier routes offer a variety of different flights and options. Travelers on these frequent routes can often see the type of aircraft when booking reservations. 

Tips to choosing a reliable aircraft

  • Boeing 737s are the top in reliability for most airlines. In this study, United 737s out performed United 757s in less delays or cancellations. United 737s arrived on time 82% compared to United 757s at only 70% on time.
  • Most airlines are phasing out Boeing 747s by the end of this year, in an effort to improve overall reliability.
  • Regional jets have a higher rate of delays and cancellations compared to larger jets. These smaller jets are often the first to be delayed or cancelled, allowing more customers to fly on the larger jets.
  • Discount airlines often have weaker reliability than larger carriers. Fewer planes and busy schedules often mean there are less spare airplanes to replace an airplane needing repair. This leads to cancellations or long delays.
  • Planes with fancy lie-down seats often have more frequent delays and cancellations. These seats come with complicated parts that take additional time to repair if they break. Luckily, these flights are typically just delayed, as the airlines cater to these top-dollar customers.
  • Delta’s best performing aircraft is their MD-88 jets, though they are on average 26 years old. They have a cancellation rate of only 0.6% and an on-time arrival rate of 82.8%. This is an example of differences between airlines. Though the MD-88s work best for Delta, they are one of the worst performers for American Airlines. It has a cancellation rate four times higher than Delta, and arrived on time to only 69.1% of their flights.
  • Use the chart in the image above the article to find the most reliable aircraft by airline, from best to worst.

If you are a frequent business traveler, delays or cancellations can really screw with your itinerary. Try choosing your next flight based on a reliable aircraft. Let us know if the tip helped your travels by commenting on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Travel News

Delta Releases Automatic Check-in and In-Flight Messaging

With the use of cutting-edge technology, Delta Air Lines always seems to be at the forefront of traveler innovation. Their tracking technology has eased the stress of checked baggage. And their on-time landing rates are outstanding due to internal adjustments. Delta’s continual commitment to travelers often involves facilitating convenience. That’s why it’s no surprise that Delta’s recent updates yet again ease the burden of travel for their customers.

Automatic Check-in

Most recently, Delta has announced that travelers who have downloaded and logged into the Delta Fly app, will be automatically checked-in to their flight and sent a boarding pass. That’s right, potentially gone are the days of setting a 24 hour reminder before your flight. Or hurriedly using a ticketing kiosk at the airport before heading to the security line. Now, you’ll just to open your app to retrieve your boarding pass.
Currently, the automatic check-in is only available for flights traveling in the United States, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Delta has not yet announced how it will handle additional details, like checked bags and seat changes. They’ve also listed circumstances in which the feature is not compatible. This includes reservations with a delay or cancellation present. Reservations without a seat assignment at the time of check-in. And reservations that include special service requests, like wheelchair service, unaccompanied minor travel, or pet traveling in the cabin.

In-flight messaging

Another venture in which Delta is innovating with technology to ease the stress of their flyers, is providing in-flight free messaging. Now, travelers can stay connected with friends, family and co-workers while onboard. Through their wifi, travelers can use iMessage, Facebook Messenger and What’s App, as long as they have downloaded the app prior to boarding. It also will only be available on wifi enabled flights. Just remember to select the “Free Messaging” pass once you logged on to the Delta wifi through your browser.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Contact us to learn how our proprietary technology helps relieve burdens for both the travel manager and the traveler.

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Travel News

Peloton Bikes Available In Room At Westin Hotels

I’ve always been one to exercise while traveling for business.  My stress level is higher than normal and needs to be under control when business is the mindset.  So when I read the USAToday article about Peloton exercise bikes being made available in some Westin Hotels, I was so EXCITED!!

Peloton Bikes come to individual hotel rooms

Guests are now able to choose a hotel room with a Peloton bike as a “room category” for their stay. Currently, this is only available in select cities including; Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Boston. They will have access to 5,000 on-demand classes taught by instructors through the bike. But these Peloton options are growing fast. In other locations like Austin, Detroit, Denver, New York City, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, the Peloton bikes will be available in hotel’s fitness studios.

Business travelers looking for more exercise options

As it turns out, I’m not the only one exercising while on the road. A recent study found that 65% of travelers say they exercise less while on the road. Though they do try — 83% said they factor in wellness programs into their travel planning. As Millennials begin to travel more, they are also pushing for more exercise options. Nearly 40% of Millennials traveling planned to cycle while on the road. Easy access to Peloton bikes appears to be a no-brainer for the future of hotel amenities.

High-scale exercise options to hotel guests are the new rage. Hotels around the world are teaming up with the hottest and trendiest studios.  Boot camps, spin classes, hula swimming, and personal training sessions are popping up across the globe. Could this be the latest in hotel networking and mingle hours provided by hotels?

Perhaps gone are the days of getting up before dawn to claim a treadmill or elliptical machine alongside other stressed-out travelers. With an in-room bike or scheduled class, exercise can take place at a more reasonable hour with more fun.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

London Vacation Recommendations

My family recently returned from an amazing spring break vacation visiting London and Paris.  Having visited these cities before, we planned the trip through the eyes of our teenage son- mixing culture, history, and Harry Potter.

Our Hotel In London

A great hotel in a convenient location was key to our itinerary. That’s why we chose  Anthenaeum Hotel and Residences. Recently renovated, it’s located in Mayfair overlooking Green Park. The hotel is also close to Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace. It was truly an excellent choice for us in London. The hotel rooms were quiet and provided five star amenities with beautiful views.  The onsite restaurant, Galivan, is the latest restaurant from Michelin star rated brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin. It has an inviting atmosphere and delicious meals, including afternoon tea and all day dining.  We also enjoyed restaurants in charming Shepherds Market, which is just blocks from the hotel.

Events In London

Another great resource for this trip was our Virtuoso partner, Sincerely Paul.  Paul was my hero in locating sold out tickets in London. This included the critically important WB Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. He helped me avoid a near parental fail for not securing tickets months in advance.  We look forward to working with Paul on our next visit to enjoy additional experiences beyond the city.

Working in the travel industry has a few perks and in the case of this trip, that was working with exceptional travel professionals in our organization that directed my travel plans and put my family on course for a memorable experience together.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Laptop Ban Affects Business Travels

Business travelers, who utilize flight time to catch up on work and email, will be disrupted by the recent announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security. Dubbed the ‘laptop ban’, large electronic devices will not be allowed as carry-on when flying non-stop to the U.S. from 10 international airports.

What are these 10 international airports?

  • Jordan – Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Egypt – Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Turkey – Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • Saudi Arabia – King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) & King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait – Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Morocco – Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Qatar – Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport (DXB) & Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

What airlines fly non-stop to the U.S.?

  • Royal Jordanian
  • EgyptAir
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Moroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

Regulations of the new ‘Laptop Ban’

The aviation security enhancements are for all U.S. bound flights from these 10 airports. It  requires that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage.  Large electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and electronic games can no longer be used in-flight. The ban does not effect the flight returning from the U.S. back to these countries.

Increased security was needed, based on intelligence about airlines that fly non-stop from these 10 airports. Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff,  said “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat. The global aviation system remains a top target and proper security requires that we continually adapt our defenses.”

The nine airlines affected have until early Friday morning to implement necessary changes. If an airline ignores enforcement, security officials will ask the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the airline’s certificate to fly in the U.S.

Great Britain has followed the U.S. with a similar announcement.  Their ban specifies dimensions of electronics not allowed as carry-on. The U.K. ban focuses on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Canada may be following with their own electronic ban as well.

No time frame has been given on this change. The DHS has said in “will remain in place until the threat changes”. Additional airports could also be added at any time.

Business travel industry reaction to the ban

While safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this ban comes as a jolt and inconvenience to business travelers. A complete halt in business productivity is one criticism, but additional safety concerns are another.

One possible matter is the increased risk of lithium-ion batteries catching fire in the cargo hold. These fires would be hard to contain early or even reach.

Another criticism is theft or damage to checked items. There is a reason we keep the most expensive and important items close to us while traveling. Most of us have experienced lost or damaged baggage, and even theft. Without your protection, your items are open to anyone. Speaking of which, this regulation will potentially leave confidential company business exposed while valuable information housed on laptops are checked.

Having flown on Emirate’s Airlines and experienced their exceptional in-flight entertainment, I appreciated their prompt and creative response to the ban, with their “Let Us Entertain You” video on Twitter.

Business traveler tips for the laptop ban

Regardless of in-flight entertainment options, the need to mitigate risk will be an inconvenience that travelers need to be prepared for in advance of their departure from the impacted airports.

  • Back up everything and save it to the cloud, just in case of theft or damage.
  • Add everything you need to your phone – movies, games, podcast, email, etc.
  • Bring those ‘back burner’ tasks you never seem to get to normally – whitepapers, recommended books, research, etc.
  • Buy an external keyboard that can be connected to your phone, making typing less of pain and increase productivity.
  • Consider changing flights from a non-stop to one-stop flights.
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Travel Industry Travel News

Free TSA Pre-Check Status Is Ending

If you have traveled frequently in the last month, you may have noticed a major change. Most airlines are no longer providing free TSA Pre-check status like they have in the past. Those receiving TSA Pre-Check for free will now be offered it less and less. The Transportation Security Administration has begun limiting access to its expedited physical screening lanes. Only those who have paid for and enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler programs—TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI will be offered on a consistent basis. My thinking is that every once in a while they want to make sure you are still going by the rules and have you go through regular security lines for a full review.

Applying for TSA Pre-Check

Though an application and approval process is required to receive TSA Pre-Check status, it is very easy.  Interested fliers apply online, submit to a background check, and then visit one of more than 380 enrollment sites across the country. This in-person appointment with a TSA agents can be scheduled online as well.  I enrolled in Global Entry early in 2016 and loved how it expedited my re-entry to US. If you travel 3-4 trips a year, it is well worth the $85 for five years ($17 a year) or Global Entry is $100 ($20 a year).  Learn more about the application process in our ultimate TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry guide.

TSA Pre Check alternative payment methods

Some airlines are offering payment by using your miles. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines require using 10,000 miles, while Southwest  needs 9,000 rapid rewards points.  Delta Air Lines is using miles, but instead offering Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members the ability to select Global Entry application vouchers through Choice Benefits. This loyalty program feature is only available to Delta elite Members. JetBlue is also offering TSA Pre Check for free to elites, similar to Delta’s system.

If you love not having to remove shoes, leaving laptop in your bag, along with your Ziploc bag of liquids don’t delay because the necessary face-to-face appointments are filling up fast.  In other words—don’t wait until right before your next trip to apply as you will be sadly disappointed.

Any questions about TSA PreCheck eligibility contact TSA at (866) 289-9673 or submit questions to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook.com/AskTSA.

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Business Travel Travel News

How To Help Ban Phone Calls On Planes

Have you ever noticed how sounds seem amplified when you are on an airplane?   Everything is louder than normal due to the confined space – like babies crying or stranger’s conversations. This is one of the reasons why I am a passionate supporter for not allowing phone calls on planes.  If you thought the middle seat was bad before, just imagine being seated between two different phone calls!

In a recent blog post by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), they cover additional insights, like the potential security risks and impact on personal productivity.  Interestingly, 64% of business travelers oppose allowing phone calls on commercial airplanes. Even if specifically designated rows are assigned, still 51% of business travelers disagree.

What to write to the Department of Transportation, to help ban phone calls on planes

As an active member of GBTA, I support their efforts to ban the use of cell phone on planes. I also encourage anyone who feels strongly should go to the DOT website and share their comments on that page. The docket will close February 13, at 11:59pm ET.

Feel free to copy and paste the text below, which was provided by GBTA, or write your own.  Then enter your name, select “Public Comment(s)” from the drop down menu under “Category” and click continue.

Sample Comment:
I believe the use of mobile wireless devices for voice calls is detrimental to the traveler and should be banned between the time the aircraft door is closed and the aircraft’s landing. In February of 2014, when the DOT previously issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft, 97 percent of the commenters expressed opposition.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41712, DOT should find the use of mobile devices for voice during flight to be so disruptive that it would be inconsistent with adequate air transportation. Travel is difficult enough and the DOT should not add to traveler’s misery.  When it comes to flying on commercial airplanes in the United States, silence is golden.

#NoCallsOnPlanes

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Avoid Syncing Your Phone To A Rental Car

Beginning another year in the business travel industry, I often find myself reflecting on the changes and advances I’ve seen in the previous year. The biggest change I’ve notice is the growing access to technology conveniences while traveling. Aircrafts are equipped with USB charging ports and entertainment apps. It’s easy syncing your phone to a rental car or connecting to free wireless networks in hotels.  With so many ways to stay connected during business trips, I now even find myself feeling annoyed when an airport does not offer free Wi-Fi access.

The compulsion to stay connected while traveling

Being “connected” to the office, email, current news, etc, is becoming an ever-growing necessity of business travel. Not only do we always feel the need to stay connected, but we demand it in a convenient manner too. In this growing frenzy to stay locked in with those in the office, many travelers unknowingly put their employer’s information and personal data at risk while achieving this growing need. With this growing accessibility, I find myself easily forgetting the consequences as well.

Why you should avoid syncing your phone to a rental car and other no-no’s

While reading a recent USA Today article, I was reminded of the hacking risks related to connecting to unknown or unsecured networks. When free or instant wifi is offered, security is often a second thought. This is how hackers and identity thieves are so successful. Our “careless connection” behavior is found in many circumstances when traveling, including hotel wifi issues or basic phishing schemes. Below are a few surprising situations in which you might encounter unsafe network activity.

  • Syncing your phone with a rental car. Most newer rental cars immediately offer pairing with their onboard infotainment system. Unbeknownst to most travelers, your information can stay within the car’s system after you return the car. This leaves you susceptible to the future drivers of the car. Or, hackers can install malicious software to the car before you rent it, accessing your information once you connect your phone.
  • Using the free USB charging stations in the airport. Plugging your phone into an infected USB hub is so common it even has a name – “juice jacking”. While connected to this port, hackers can easily access your private information.
  • Connecting to free wifi in your hotel or airport. Are you seeing a trend here? Free access leaves many open to malicious software and hacking schemes.

Tips for avoiding hacking scams

As we’ve covered, immediate and instant communication is a necessity for business travel. And unfortunately, the easiest routes often put you in arms length of security issues. Below are a few easy tips to avoid hacks. Some of these tips are from the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Avoid connecting your phone to a rental car’s infotainment system. Instead, manually enter the addresses needed.
  • Charge your phone in a rental car with a cigarette lighter adapter. This is the only way it will charge your device without accessing your personal information.
  • ‘Do you trust this computer?’ Say ‘no’. Don’t quickly skip through this step. If you are traveling and accessing unknown devices, always select ‘no’ for this option.
  • Delete your data before returning the rental car. If you do sync your phone with a rental car’s infotainment system, be sure to delete your information before returning the car to the rental office. Deleting information is usually done by going into the settings menu of the infotainment system. Find your device and go through the prompts to delete the data. The owner’s manual or car rental company may have more information.
  • Bring a fully-charged portable phone charger with you. These portable devices act as a second charge for your phone. When you are almost out of battery, just connect your phone to this device, and it charges your phone without needing to access an electrical outlet. Just remember to charge it before you leave home.
  • Use a company VPN to access sensitive data while in hotels. Ask your IT department to set up an VPN connection to use while you’re traveling for business. This connection is a secure access straight to company files, so your information can not be hacked.

Our world is continually changing with increased accessibility and connectivity. With this instant gratification, it is very easy to overlook the potential security issues involved. I hope these tips will help as a reminder next time you are about to sync your phone with a rental car or in other ‘convenient’ situations.

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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.

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Travel News

FAA Bans Use Of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s Phones On Flights

As a frequent business traveler, I’m accustomed to the on-boarding and pre-flight protocol of the flight attendants. But this last week, I quickly noticed a new addition to the announcements about a specific smartphone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently banned the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7s phone from being on during flights. The reason? The phones may explode if overheated.

FAA Bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7s On Flights

Released August 19, 2016, the latest Samsung smartphone has already been recalled. In the last month since the release, these phones have been exploding, including in a man’s pocket. The issue stems from the lithium ion battery. Samsung admitted that during the manufacturing process, the layer of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery may have punctured, causing an explosion when overheated. It appears this happens more frequently when it’s charging, but not always, hence the pocket incident.

Initially, the FAA was “strongly encouraging” people from using the phone during the flight. They have now elevated their statement to “ban” airline passengers from using or charging the device during flight. These phones are not allowed to be packed in checked luggage either. The FAA stated, ‘In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.’

I saw last week that the airlines placed notices near check-in and boarding areas about the new FAA ruling. The cabin crew also added the message to their safety script. On this flight, each seat had an individual power station.  While usually convenient, myself and the people around me were suddenly nervous of the possible repercussions. What if someone disobeyed? What can the airlines do to enforce the ban?  Similar to asking that devices are placed in ‘airplane mode’, everyone trusts that the passengers abide by the rules. It’s currently a little nerve-wrecking to think about. Fortunately, Samsung will be providing replacement units later this month.  I will certainly be relieved when these exchanges are complete, and the power stations can return to be the inculpable amenity I frequently enjoy.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson Honored As A Utah Business Fast 50 Company

Utah Business magazine hosted its annual Fast 50 event on Thursday, August 24, to recognize the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the state of Utah.  Christopherson Business Travel was honored at the event, and the only company to date to achieve the Fast 50 recognition for 8 consecutive years. Companies were selected based on five years of compound revenue growth and total revenue, submitted to an independent accountant for analysis.

Christopherson is an innovative organization focused on long-term growth objectives in a rapidly changing industry.  We were awarded for our entrepreneurial spirit and innovative tactics. It is a notable accomplishment to have maintained sky-rocketing revenue growth for such a substantial period. Our CEO, Mike Cameron accepted the award, “When my wife and I first bought the company 26 years ago, we were doing under a million dollars a year and we set some very ambitious goals at the time. . . we wanted to become one of the top ten travel agencies in Utah. Turns out we met all those goals, actually exceeded them, and today we are doing 600 million dollars a year and we are the largest travel agency in Utah”.

Recognition as one of the Utah Business Fast 50 is shared with many of our Utah-based clients including Nu Skin Enterprises, Jane.com, Pluralsight, Extra Space Storage and Crest Financial Services. We applaud everyone for their success and wish them luck for an outstanding year ahead.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management agency with more than 60 years of experience. We are passionate about providing efficient travel solutions for busy professionals, so they can focus on what’s important to them. Contact us to learn more about our travel technology and consultative services.

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Finally, Refunds For Delayed Checked Bags!

Thanks to a recent FAA ruling, travelers will be refunded if their checked baggages are delayed more than 12 hours or 15 hours internationally. It is a $25 rebate for the first bag and $50 for two delayed bags.  Prior to this ruling, Delta Air Lines was the only airline offering refunds for delayed bags.  Now all airlines are required to follow this ruling and set up procedures.

Sounds like good news, right?  Good news is the refund itself.  The bad news is that the refund is administered in the form of an electronic travel voucher—not cash!  Though not convenient for the traveler, it also creates a headache for the companies who booked the travel.  The refund will not be credited back to the credit card, but to be used for future travel in the form of this travel voucher. This further complicates billing and travel budgets.  The deadline for the airlines to set up these refund procedures ends in September 2017, so there is wiggle room for this system to change.

Tips to smoothly receive your refund for delayed checked bags:

According to Yahoo! Finance, while your bags are delayed, consider the following to get reimbursed for expenses:

  • Before you leave the airport, file a complaint for your missing bags. Why? Some airlines will not provide assistance of any kind until or without a formal complaint.  Some airlines allow a complaint by phone within 24 hours.  My experience has always been, “Don’t leave home without it,” …meaning hang at the airport and file the complaint so you can get your bag returned ASAP!
  • Keep all documentation. (in a safe and convenient place). Starting with your boarding pass, baggage claim ticket, plus all receipts for any expenses.  At some point, you will likely need them.
  • No shopping spree! Resist the urge to buy replacement clothes or items. Don’t expect the airlines to reimburse you completely for items that may be lost or delayed. Consider carrying on items you can’t be without, such as a tux if you are traveling to a wedding or special handouts for an important meeting (e.g. Christopherson’s signature chocolates). Though they are essential for you, the airlines probably wont pay to replace these items.
  • Check your credit card’s baggage coverage. In the case of business, know what your company credit card provides. This should be in your travel policy guidelines. There are different rules for each credit card.  As an example, Chase Sapphire Card will reimburse for essential purchases up to $100 a day for five days. Delta is the only airline with details as to what they offer as compensation:  $50 a day for the first five days a bag is delayed as long as you provide receipts.
  • Try to relax. Delayed or lost baggage is definitely a major hassle but most bags are found within 48 hours.  Personally, I dislike carry-on bags (weight, bad rotator cuff, etc.) so I usually have essentials in a small case besides a checked bag.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience assisting customers. Learn more about our philosophy or talk to us about how to start a corporate travel policy.

Read next:

 

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Business and Leadership Business Travel Travel Management

Concerns for Corporations using Public Online Booking Sites

Sure, it’s quick and easy for business travelers to search for flights on public travel websites.  Watching the ticket price continually drop in front of your eyes; it’s hard to believe there’s a better deal anywhere else! But in the end that’s not always the truth. Both the traveler and their employer are missing out on additional benefits when they use public booking sites for business travel. There are many variables that play a part in efficient travel service and price, many are often overlooked in the process of using those simple public online booking sites.

What you need to know about public online booking sites

  • Hidden transaction fees. Some sites include their transaction fees in a small hidden link called “additional taxes & fees”.  Users assume those are sales taxes, etc., but in some cases, an additional transaction fee is also slipped in.
  • Hotel cancellation fees and discounts. Yes, there are great hotel prices on public sites.  But those are usually non-refundable, non-changeable and you have to pre-pay the full stay.  Even if you end up cancelling once, those charges often outweigh any savings you attained throughout the whole year. If you end up cancelling only one hotel stay in a entire year, those charges can outweigh any savings you attained throughout the year.
  • No duty of care.  There is a moral and legal obligation for employers to know where their employees are when traveling for the company. Employees must email their employers their itinerary.  Who manages that? The traveler’s boss?  The travel manager?  The office manager?  In the event of an emergency,  who in the company will be digging through their emails to determine if their traveler is in harm’s way. Public online booking sites are not equipped for handling duty of care responsibilities.
  • Poor after-hours care.  Who wants to call an 800 number at 10pm when the snowstorm hits the Eastern seaboard and every other traveler is doing the exact same thing? Hold times are outrageous.  On top of your personality sanity, these public booking websites don’t know what your company’s policy is around re-booking flights.
  • No built-in travel policy.  What stops your traveler from booking the Four Seasons or Business Class on a public site?  What stops your traveler from booking the $400 flight on Delta when there is a similar flight on United for only $310?  We’d all like to think that our employee will “do the right thing”, but that’s not always the case.

Public online sites may seem like the easiest and cheapest route for corporations, but in the long run these corporations are falling short.  Travel management companies on the other hand give travelers the tools they need to make the correct choices for booking their business trips.  Pricing is transparent and policies are followed.  The company’s travel policy is built in to the online booking tool so the traveler can choose the best option within the company’s guidelines.  And if a flight is cancelled or delayed, the traveler will receive prompt and friendly assistance from an agent that knows the company and knows the traveler.  In the event of an emergency or disaster, the company can quickly locate and alert each and every traveler and assist those travelers when in need.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience in the field. We pride ourselves on our efficient travel technology and consultative customer service.

Read Next-

The Downside of Using Online Booking Sites

What Is Duty Of Care

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Business Travel Guides Travel Tips

What Is The Right Size For Carry-on Luggage?

Just the other day I was looking for a new piece of luggage.  I frequently travel for business, and I’ve found carrying on luggage is the most convenient for short trips.  I’m also upgrading to a piece of luggage with four wheels.  As I began my search, I realized how tough this new quest is, considering the varying size specifications between airlines.  Not only are these size requirements often changing in general, but they vary by airline too.

With these varying size requirements, I think it is best to stick with the Delta Air Line, United Airline, and American Airline’s size requirements (22 X 14 X 9 inches).  The size is smaller than permitted by other airlines, but it seems to be the average size used. Some airlines do allow slightly larger luggage, like Southwest or Air Canada.  If you decide on a piece of luggage, you then need to consider if a future flight will be with an airline like United or Delta. If so, you will be required to check your new ‘carry-on’ bag with these airlines.

Our new cheat sheet about carry-on luggage facts provides additional information. Keep it handy for carry-on dimensions based on the airline you are flying.

LuggageInfographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we provide our clients superior mobile travel technology and individualized customer support. Contact us to learn why we are different.

Read next:  Laptop Totes- No More Choosing Between Your Purse And Laptop!

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Business Travel Travel Management

Who Books Business Travel Earlier – Men or Women?

A recent study from the Harvard Business Review indicates men and women demonstrate different habits when planning and booking travel. The study, which analyzed 6.4 million flight bookings, indicates that women’s actions are, on average, more proactive. When this travel is for business, such proactivity helps the company’s bottom line by saving additional costs and fees. Below are a few related facts found by the study:

  • On average, women buy air travel two days earlier than men. Millennial women show the smallest difference in advance planning.
  • The more one travels per year (28 trips or more a year) results in less advance booking. There seems to be no difference for so-called road warriors.
  • The older any traveler gets, regardless of gender, the earlier they book. Women, however, book earlier than men at every age group.
  • The overall average difference in ticket costs in the study’s uncontrolled result was more than $133 per ticket.

business travel stats men vs women One reason for this difference may be that women anticipate the higher stress experience in purchasing a ticket close to the travel date. As a way to offset this anticipated travel stress, women may be more organized before, during, and after their trip.  The study mentions other factors, but ultimately provides this as a variable influencing higher costs for companies. Using this data, it might be beneficial for corporate travel managers to create incentives for travelers who book their tickets earlier.

Looking for other business travel tips? Read 5 Tips for Managing Business Travel Expenses.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

What is the new “basic economy” class?

Previously offered only by discount carriers, the “basic economy” class is also offered by Delta. This fare competes with ultra-low cost carriers (LCCs) like Spirit and Frontier. What you get is simply transportation from point A to B with restrictions on seat selection and checked bags, no refunds or changes, and no upgrading to elite perks.

At JP Morgan’s Aviation conference in March, both American and United announced they are following suit with Delta. American will stick with the name, “basic economy,” and will introduce the option in the second half of 2016. United will call their new fare class, “entry level,” with no announcement of when. Routes were not announced by either airline. Delta started with routes to and from locations where they compete with Spirit and Frontier, but is slowly moving into other cities.

Of these new options, Skift’s Grant Martin wrote, “And while it’s a lucrative change for the airlines and premium travelers, unrest among budget travelers may start to grow. With no alternative airline to find refuge in, however, the budget travel community may finally be out of luck.”

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology

DUFL Packs and Ships Your Suitcase

Dufl is a new travel app designed to assist business travelersMany business travelers feel that the worst part of traveling is having to pack and unpack a suitcase, plus the time required for the task.

Serial entrepreneur, Bill Rinehart, has found a solution to this annoyance: DUFL. DUFL is right up there with Uber and Airbnb as a travel game changer. The idea came after Rinehart finished a roundtrip from Phoenix to London, arriving home on Friday, only to start traveling again on Sunday. The time involved in laundering and preparing to travel again can be depressing. It takes away from valuable family time and enjoying one’s personal life. Here’s how DUFL works:

  • Download the DUFL app and create a new user account. DUFL will then send you a large suitcase.
  • Pack your DUFL suitcase to the brim with whatever you need for future business trips.
  • Mail the suitcase to DUFL’s storage facility via FedEx, DUFL’s partner. Upon receipt, DUFL will inventory and photograph inventory, photograph, clean and store your clothes so that they are ready for your next trip. All items will be uploaded to your account for your reference the next time you travel.
  • Request which clothes you’d like to take from your DUFL virtual closet, through the app, then enter your destination and arrival date. Items are expertly folded and your DUFL suitcase is guaranteed to be waiting for you in whatever city and hotel where you are staying.
  • Return the suitcase once your trip is over via FedEx. Return forms are included with your items and the suitcase is transported back to their facility where clothes are washed or dry cleaned and stored for your next trip!

If only this existed a few years back when I was traveling every other week! The service costs $9.95 per month to maintain your DUFL closet, and $99 for a standard trip, which covers three-day shipping to and from your destination. It also includes cleaning and repacking. DUFL was voted Best Travel App for 2015 by USA Today.  To learn more, visit USA Today and Forbes. You can also check out DUFL’s FAQs at DUFL.com.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Effectively Manage Unused Airline Tickets

AirBank corporate travel managementWhen meeting with prospective customers, I continue to see companies that do not effectively manage their unused airline tickets.  Did you know that the industry average of business travel airfare that goes unused is eight to ten percent? Unused tickets are generally non-refundable fares and the airlines love it when customers fail to reapply the value to future travel.

This inefficiency is why we were motivated to create AirBank®.  As one of Christopherson Business Travel’s first proprietary travel technology tools; we built it to capture, audit, report, and ultimately reuse any unused airline tickets. AirBank has continued to evolve with both industry and technology changes. AirBank now includes deeper fare audits and traveler notifications. Management of AirBank’s unused tickets is fully visible to Christopherson’s clients though our AirPortal 360 dashboard.

It is rewarding to deliver hard dollar savings to our customers and the power of AirBank is just one element of our total travel management solution for business travel programs. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we are acclaimed for our proprietary technology and superior customer service. Contact us to learn about our additional travel technology tools or talk to one of our travel experts.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Salt Lake City Airport Now Offers Premium Reserved Parking

Premium Reserved Parking, which provides travelers with a guaranteed, covered parking space adjacent to airport terminals, has been added to the parking garage at Salt Lake City International Airport.

There are 71 reserved parking spaces available, including three that are ADA-accessible. The new Premium Reserved Parking is accessed via a dedicated entry lane and includes a concierge service with personalized staff assistance. Travelers can make a reservation in advance by going to SLCAirport.com/parking. Once a reservation is made, travelers will receive a Quick Response (QR) code that allows entry into the reserved parking area. Before using Premium Reserved Parking however, business travelers should check their company’s travel reimbursement policy as this service costs $50 a day.

The Premium Reserved Parking lot was created when space became available due to the closing of the parking garage’s drive-through passenger pick-up/drop-off lane as part of Salt Lake City Airport’s ongoing Terminal Redevelopment Program.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Tips for staying in shape while traveling

business travel fitness tipsHere we go again. The holidays probably added five or ten pounds and now it’s the New Year and all of us road warriors are back to traveling every other week. But how are we ever going to get those pounds off and stay in shape?

Here’s the answer: easy-to-follow exercise routines you can do on the road. They will not only help you stay in shape but keep you alert despite the stresses of business travel. With long haul travel especially, maintaining fitness will go a long way to staying fresh and clear.

Click Here for an In-Flight Fitness Workout

Click Here for 18 Exercises for Healthy Flying

Wishing you happy, safe, and healthy travels for 2016!!

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Data Security When Traveling Abroad

data security while travelingI don’t know about you, but I am becoming increasingly paranoid about security when accessing my personal data while business traveling, especially financial websites like my retirement accounts, bank, and credit cards. If at all possible, I access these sites only when I’m at home.

While security should always be on one’s mind, business travelers should be especially careful when traveling to China, as it is recognized as having the most dangerous internet environment. A recent New York Times (NYT) blog article discussed this issue with former National Security Agency official, Thomas Parenty, wherein he discussed topics such as the biggest threat for foreign firms, mistakes made while trying to be secure in China, and precautions business travelers should take.

Comments on NYT post also suggest that if you do have to connect in China, only do so through VPN. Another comment suggests, “instead of trying to secure what one typically uses, and something that may well contain sensitive information, start from the premise that whatever you bring is inherently insecure and work from there.  Even if nothing happens, you’re safer from the start.”

Another article from the Washington Post mentions Russia and France as additional countries that pose internet security challenges for business travelers, and carrying disposable cellphones and loaner laptops might be considered. Ultimately, security begins with awareness and it would be smart to always know what risks certain countries pose.

Categories
Travel Industry

Need More Legroom on Your Flight?

If legroom on flights is important to you as a business traveler, and your company policy allows upgrading to economy comfort–awesome! But if not, did you know that different airlines have different standards? Below is a list of the top U.S. and International carriers that provide the most leg room:

Top U.S. Carriers International Carriers
1. JetBlue: 33 inches Aeromexico: 34 inches
2. Virgin America: 32 inches South African Airways: 33.5 inches
3. Southwest: 32 inches Asiana: 33 inches
4. Air India: 33 inches
5. Air Tahiti Nui: 33 inches

Interestingly, it appears that the leg room in is the same in coach or economy in the top three U.S. carriers. To upgrade to economy, you are paying for additional comforts, not extra legroom.

The U.S. airline that offers the least amount of leg room, as you may suspect, are those that offer the cheapest ticket prices, but then charge ancillary fees for nearly everything else–seat selection, luggage, carry-on bags, etc. Frontier and Spirit Airlines, for instance, only have 28 inches of legroom and no reclining seats.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, well versed in implementing travel policies and finding the best bang for your travel management buck. Contact us to learn more about how our superior service and travel technology saves companies money.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

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

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

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

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

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

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

Most business travelers know the basics of hotel safety, but situations may arise where this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you’re staying in an unfamiliar hotel or forgot to check whether or not there were in-room safes. Here are 10 things you can do to be safer.

Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel

  1. Arriving at the Hotel – If you arrive at the hotel by bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. Thieves often use the distractions of a busy lobby to lift others’ belongings.
  2. Checking In – Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your name or room number. In recent years, hotels have become accustomed to writing the room number on the room key sleeve (rather than saying it aloud), but they often continue to call patrons by name. While this is friendly customer service, it unfortunately allows those around you to learn your name, and a stranger could easily call the hotel later to reach you. Also, be mindful to not leave your credit card on the check-in counter and always make sure the clerk has given back your credit card.
  3. Hotel Address – Get the hotel address and keep it accessible, whether that’s with a business card, matchbook, or digital notation in your phone. Trying to get back to your hotel when you don’t know where it’s located can be frustrating, particularly if you are staying at a chain brand with multiple hotels, or in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
  4. Room Selection – Avoid the ground floor. If you have no choice, choose one facing a courtyard or interior of the hotel. When possible, avoid rooms above the sixth floor, as this is generally the maximum height that fire department ladders, especially overseas, can reach.
  5. Elevator Safety – Observe all passengers in elevators. Board last and select floor buttons last. If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
  6. Entering the Hotel Room – Check all closets, bathrooms, showers, etc., to make sure there isn’t anyone there. Examine all locks to make sure they are working properly.
  7. Inside Your Room – Keep the deadbolt or latch locked at all times. You may even want to travel with a doorstop–they’re small and can be packed easily–to wedge the door shut from the inside. Become familiar with the nearest exits and stairwells in case of an emergency. Keep your key in the same place, preferably next to the bed.
  8. Visitors at Your Door – If someone comes to the door unexpectedly, do not open it, even if they say they’re hotel staff, housekeeping, or maintenance. Ask who they are, what they need, and then call the front desk to verify.
  9. Valuables – The safest place for valuables is usually in the front desk safe. Get a receipt of items left and remember to ask if the hotel will cover any losses. When using your in-room safe, know that some safes can be opened with a master key or code. If no safe is available, lock your items in your luggage using a Milockie lock, or purchase a portable locking travel safe.
  10. Leaving Your Room – Leave the television on and place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the doorknob. If you would like maid service while you’re out, call housekeeping and ask them to keep the sign on the door. Take minimal cash and carry bait money for potential thieves. Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Always keep these four things “on” you: 1. your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2. a credit card, 3. a cell phone, and 4. essential prescription medications. That way, if you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Read our previous blog Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015

GBTA 2015Christopherson Business Travel is pleased to announce our continued sponsorship of the annual GBTA Convention to be held this year in Orlando, Florida, July 25-29. This year’s convention is estimated to draw more than 6,000 attendees from 58 countries, making it the largest business travel event in the world. In addition to key note speakers and educational opportunities, the convention hosts a tradeshow with more than 300 companies exhibiting, including Christopherson Business Travel.

If you are attending the GBTA Convention this year, please plan to visit the Christopherson booth (#363) to learn about the innovative business travel technology solutions we have been developing for release at the convention. Each attendee who participates in a 3-minute product demo of those technologies will have the opportunity to draw for a $5 to $100 gift card. We look forward to seeing you at GBTA!

Categories
Business Travel

Business Travel Fun Facts

As frequent travelers, many of us think we know all about the travel industry, but here are nine travel facts I bet you didn’t know:

Fun facts: business travel

  1. Delaware is the only U.S. state without a major commercial airport.
  2. A plane takes off or lands every 37 seconds at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
  3. Pilots and co-pilots are required to eat different meals in case one of them gets food poisoning.
  4. Lufthansa is the world’s largest purchaser of caviar, buying more than 10 tons per year for their in-flight caviar service available in first class.
  5. The average service life of a jet airliner is approximately 30-35 years.
  6. On a three-hour flight, the human body can lose up to 1.5 quarts of water.
  7. In 1987, American Airlines saved $40,000 by taking out one olive from each salad they served.
  8. Turbulence, which is the biggest cause of in-flight injuries, can actually happen in clear, cloudless weather as well as bad weather.
  9. TSA collected more than a half million dollars in unclaimed change at security checkpoints in 2014.
Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel News Travel Tips

Travel Managers: TSA is Ramping down Pre?®

With all the buzz about traveler satisfaction, here is another topic for consideration: TSA Pre?, which definitely goes hand in hand with traveler satisfaction.

Because I usually travel on one preferred airline, I’ve been accustom to receiving TSA Pre? on my boarding pass without ever having signed up for the trusted traveler program. However, as of late, I’ve noticed fewer occasions where I’m designated a TSA Pre? passenger on my boarding pass and with less consistency.

On my last trip, I again received no TSA Pre?. However, I did receive an email from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) stating that TSA was diminishing Pre? for frequent flyer opt-ins and less-than-frequent flyers like myself, and that it might be beneficial to sign up for one of the Trusted Traveler programs other than those offered through the airlines (listed below). Those who don’t have a Known Traveler Number (KTN) through the four different TSA programs will see fewer automatic Pre?s on their boarding passes. (Those who are already enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler program and have a KTN will not be impacted.)

Screen shot 2015-05-04 at 6.07.54 PM
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has several Trusted Traveler programs which provide an improved passenger experience.

TSA recommends that travelers who “want to keep receiving TSA Pre? on a consistent/reliable basis for the next five years” should enroll in one of those four Trusted Traveler programs. To learn more about these programs including a comparison chart of the benefits, visit DHS.gov/tt.

I chose CBP’s Global Entry as it was worth the extra $15 for my yearly international travel. After my face-to-face interview, I am covered for both domestic and international travel for the next five years.

I encourage all travel managers to pass this TSA Pre? info along to your travelers so they are better informed about these benefits. Or better yet, you might consider paying for one of the four programs or splitting the cost with your not-so-frequent business travelers.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Good News for 2015 Business Travel Budgets: Airfares Predicted to Decrease

According to Christopherson Business Travel’s global affiliate BCD Travel’s consultancy arm, Advito, airline tickets for 2015, which were originally thought to increase, are not predicted to do so. In North America, instead of increasing 4 percent, they are predicted to decrease year-over-year by 1 percent.

This is wonderful news for all travelers, both business and leisure. With the major North America players not decreasing their fuel surcharges, at this point, this is certainly something to by happy about. (For more information on this topic, click here to read “Falling Cost of Fuel and Airline Surchages: Business Travelers Take Note.”) It would be difficult, in my estimation, for airlines to even consider fare increases for 2015 with these lower fuel costs.

Unfortunately, Europe will not be as lucky as North America with fares now predicted to likely remain flat. For more information, visit Advito’s projections details at BusinessTravelNews.com.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Tips

Travel Managers: Tips to keep your travel expenses in line with your 2015 budget

travel managementAs businesses move toward the end of the first quarter, let’s take a look at some travel issues that could affect your bottom line should they go unchecked.

1. Frequent Flier Programs

Be aware of changes to frequent flyer programs as they can affect traveler habits which, in turn, could increase a company’s overall travel expenses. Miles flown has always been the driving force of these programs, but two major U.S. carriers (and my guess is that the third will soon follow suit) have replaced miles with ticket price for both status and rewards.

Come third and fourth quarters, companies could see increases in spending habits as travelers seek to ensure they retain their status for 2016 when these changes go into effect.

Delta and United Change Loyalty Programs: What Does That Mean for the Business Traveler

2. Hotel Fees

Hotels are adding more and more fees. One fee policy to watch for in particular is cancellation. Many properties are now requiring a full 24-hour cancellation rather than the 6:00 p.m. day of arrival cut off. Marriott is among those properties to have made a formal announcement, with others to follow. Not educating your business travelers to watch for these fees and policies, especially when booking online, may result in no-show bills.

Hotel Cancellation Policies Becoming More Stringent

3. Fuel Surcharges

With the current price of fuel dramatically decreased, some airlines are opting to reduce their fuel surcharges while others are not. These fees were initially instituted when the cost of fuel began climbing. Communicating–be it through websites, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms–to our “favorite” U.S. carriers that they consider a surcharge reduction may be in order, particularly since many competitors are now making these reductions. Many international carriers have conceded to lower these fees. Perhaps having a public conversation (the positive and negative of social media, certainly) might persuade U.S. carriers to be more aware of their loyal customers.

Falling Cost of Fuel and Airline Surcharges: Business Travelers Take Note

At Christopherson Business Travel, our Account Management team works to keep our clients aware of these and many other present and pressing business travel management issues. Through our consultative approach, we analyze a client’s travel program and make recommendations of where to make changes to save money and stay on budget.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Sponsors Concur Ignite 2015

Concur_TMC_Preferred_PartnerAs a Concur Preferred Partner, Christopherson Business Travel had the privilege of participating in Concur’s annual sales kickoff event, Ignite 2015, in Bellevue, WA. Nearly 20 Concur business partners joined 1,100 Concur executives, management, business development, and account management team members as they prepare for another year of making travel and expense management better for companies and travelers around the world. With the recent sale of Concur to SAP, the event was full of energy and excitement about the future of the combined organizations.

Our colleagues at Concur were interested to learn more about Christopherson’s travel management solutions and our integration with Concur Travel and Expense. As the 11th largest Travel Management Company in the U.S., Christopherson provides customers with a powerful end-to-end travel management solution and is confident of the value our exclusive travel technologies, like AirPortal 360 and AirPortal 360 Mobile, can bring to Concur customers.

Christopherson values our Preferred Partnership status with Concur and enjoyed this opportunity to participate in Ignite 2015.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Travel More

With the New Year now in full swing, most of us have resolutions we are working on. But usually by mid-year (and often sooner), half of us have will have likely broken one or more of those resolutions.

One of the top ten most frequently “un-achieved” resolutions is to travel to a new place. This goal is usually broken due to a lack of time and/or money. But there are ways to keep this resolution. Here is a list of six tips to help you travel more:

Top 6 tips to actually traveling more

  1. Make Time – A vacation doesn’t have to be a week or two long. Try instead for a getaway to a location you can get to quickly either in your car or via a short flight. Enjoy an overnight trip and enjoy the local sights.
  2. Extend a Business Trip – Often the sites of a city to which you travel for business can be very interesting. Since you are there anyway, adding a day or two can be easy. This can also save you money on airfare, and perhaps car and hotel. When possible, you can even have your family or friends meet you after your  meetings are over so you can enjoy the locale with others.
  3. Use Your Vacation Days – Work doesn’t go away. Intentions to get “caught up” before you leave may never happen. But if you put it on the calendar, you are more inclined to take the vacation. And to take it one step further–book it. Forces yourself to take the time off. You’ll be happy you did.
  4.  Start Saving Now – With automated bank deposits and transfers, there are many ways to set aside money for vacations. Determine an amount you can set aside and make it an automated saving. You won’t miss the money, and will have a nice amount when vacation time comes around.
  5.  Take a Staycation – During the recession, many people saved money by taking “staycations”–a vacation in their own town. Even with a stronger economy, this is still a great way to revisit your city and local sights that maybe you haven’t explored before.
  6. Look for Volunteer Travel Opportunities – Join a charitable organization or get more involved with your church. Many times they organize trips to help those in third-world countries and the cost of such trips are often paid for through fundraising. Plus, what a great way to see the world–while helping those in need.

Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope travel is on to your list. So many great places and opportunities await.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel News

Falling Cost of fuel and Airline surcharges: Business Travelers Take Note

(AP Photo/Ric Francis)
(AP Photo/Ric Francis)

The cost of fuel and the resulting airline surcharges provides a hearty discussion for those of us in the business travel industry. If you are looking to reduce travel spend, it is definitely a topic to pay attention to, especially for those traveling internationally.

Some carriers have announced reductions, while others are not considering this yet in light of the plummeting cost of jet fuel. Travel managers, particularly those with international travelers, might want to consider using air carriers who are the first to reduce or discontinue fuel surcharges. Doing so could reduce a round-trip international ticket by hundreds of dollars.

Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qatar Airways, and Virgin Atlantic have announced reductions as of this month. Unfortunately, the last to fold will likely be those we fly so often in the U.S. We’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes and what impact the competitive marketing effort will have in their announcements to reduce these fees.  Only time and market-share loss will tell.

If you’re looking for more information, here are a few articles with more details on fuel surcharges and those air carriers reducing them first out of the chute:

  • Fuel Prices Fall, Yet Airline Surcharges Remain, USA Today
  • Certain Airlines Cutting Fuel Surcharges: How Ticket Prices are Linked to the Levy, The Straits Times
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Which are the Safest Airlines in the World?

aeroplane at the airport with good weather
AirlineRatings.com has released their annual list of the world’s ten safest airlines.

The aviation website AirlineRatings.com recently released their annual list of the world’s ten safest airlines from the list of 449 airlines they monitor.  Top designation, once again, goes to Qantas Airlines of Australia, which has a fatality free record.

AirlineRatings.com has developed a rating system which incorporates factors related to audits from governing bodies such as FAA and ICAO, government audits, and the airlines fatality record. Additionally, to be named in the top ten ranking, an airline much achieve a 7-star safety rating and proven leadership in innovation for passenger comfort.

The other nine safest airlines are: Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Business Traveler Behaviors Based on the DISC Assessment

As a business traveler, you probably think you know what kind of traveler you are. But ask yourself: Is your behavior consistent on every business trip? Or does it change depending on the situation? If you’re uncertain, perhaps you should take the behavioral assessment test known as DISC. With DISC, behavior types are divided into four categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.

To illustrate, let’s relate business traveler behaviors to the behaviors of shoppers. With permission from Dr. Mimi Hull, I will share her DISC assessment of holiday shoppers, as there are many similarities to travelers. I have added travel commentary in italics.

Which shopper (traveler) behavioral category are you?

D Shopper – Dominant, Direct, and Decisive

  • Does it all in one day–typically the day before.
  • Would prefer you to tell them what you want and where to get it.
  • Shops online buying gift cards, typically all from the same place.
  • Hates long lines, the crowds, traffic jams.

For a D Traveler, same day trips are a must. They exclusively use Christopherson Business Travel’s AirPortal®/online booking tool for all travel needs. Airline status is important and he/she will expect his Christopherson Account Manager to get him bumped to a higher status.

I Shopper – Influencing, Interactive, and Including

  • Loves the pageantry of the season.
  • Feels bad if not invited to a party.
  • Buys “Pretty more than Practical.”
  • Impulse buyer who likes to shop with friends and make a day of it.
  • Talks to anyone and everyone.
  • Sees lines as an opportunity to get to know people!

I Travelers love the hustle and bustle of the airport and may wish they could go in the SkyClub lounge to “hang out” with everyone.  They enjoy browsing and shopping at the airport stores to buy gifts for a loved ones. They enjoy getting to know their airplane seat mates. Once at their destination, short meetings turn in to long meetings and then going out for drinks with everyone afterwards.

S Shopper – Supportive, Systematic, and Steady

  • Makes a list in June and starts buying in July.
  • Has a list and a plan before leaving the house.
  • Gifts are thoughtful, practical and often homemade.
  • Out-of-town gifts are wrapped and sent by Thanksgiving.

S Travelers purchase their airline tickets far in advance and have an agenda for the entire trip. They takes treats, pens, and notebooks when visiting clients. They prepare presentations far in advance so not to be caught off guard.

C Shopper – Conscientious, Cautious, and Calculates

  • Creates a budget and spreadsheet on who is getting what gifts.
  • Researches price and buys practical lasting gifts.
  • Would prefer to compare prices online.
  • Hates the crowds and the lines.
  • Does not want to talk in line.

C Travelers will have a copy of their presentation for everyone, including a blank page for notes. They demonstrate (with spreadsheets and graphs!) long term goals and cost saving opportunities. They are a member of TSA Pre-check so as to avoid long security lines. They wear head phones to listen to his/her favorite motivational speaker while waiting in line.

To learn more about the DISC assessment, visit Dr. Hull’s website. Take your own DISC assessment, here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News Travel Tips

Managing the risk of Ebola for Business Travelers

ebolaBCD Travel’s November newsletter, Move, presented an article about managing the Ebola risk. Based on a survey taken by subscribers, Move presented valuable data and suggested risk assessments to consider, should you have travelers in certain areas of the world. One interesting note from the survey—68% of respondents think that Ebola-related risks to business travelers are serious, but nothing to panic about. I add to this my advice: Don’t listen to the media’s fear tactics while they try to stay ahead of each others’ ratings.

The Move article further discusses that while Ebola is certainly different from an ash cloud, dealing with any crisis “begins with understanding your vulnerabilities.” To see more of the survey’s findings, follow this link to the Move article.

Categories
Business and Leadership Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel is Nine-Time Utah 100 Award Winner

Utah-100Twenty years ago, MountainWest Capital Network introduced the Utah 100 Awards Program, a premier recognition that awards three categories of businesses: 1) Utah’s 100 fastest growing companies, 2) the 15 Emerging Elite (businesses that have between 2–5 years of operation and show significant promise for future growth and success), and 3) the top 15 revenue growth companies (businesses who have had significant revenue gains from year to year).

The 100 fastest growing companies in Utah are selected from thousands of eligible applicants throughout the state and represent a broad cross-section of industries.

Christopherson Business Travel is honored to be recognized as one of Utah’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies, for the ninth time in 20 years. In addition to this prestigious award, Christopherson was also ranked #13 of the 2014 Top 15 Revenue Growth Companies.

We acknowledge our ownership, employees, and loyal customers for making this growth and continued success possible!

To view the full rankings and list of other recipients, click here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

How is the new Delta SkyMiles Program different?

As a frequent Delta Air Lines traveler, I wanted to learn more about the new 2015 SkyMiles Program; I was pleased to find out that their already great program will soon become even better.

How is Delta’s new SkyMiles Program different?

Beginning January 1, 2015, miles will be earned based on ticket price to better reward customers who spend more with Delta. In the past, the airline issued points based on miles. Delta has also created more redemption options and increased the number of Award Seats at the lower price points. Just like before, your existing miles and any earned going forward will not expire. Delta SkyMiles credit card members will also continue to earn up to an additional two miles per dollar on Delta purchases with the card.

The best part about the new program? You can redeem award tickets for any Delta flight with NO blackout dates!

Categories
Business Travel

Christopherson Sponsors Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management Conference

2014 09 30 SCTEM Panel Photo
Christopherson’s Business Development Manager, Kathleen Roberts (far right), with panel members at the SCTEM Conference

Christopherson was pleased to be a major sponsor of the annual Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management (SCTEM) conference in Westminster, Colorado, September 28–30.  The event organizers did a fabulous job of providing interesting and insightful keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and vendor networking opportunities.

The SCTEM conference attracts more than 150 attendees representing colleges, universities, and associated travel management and expense vendors from across the country. The event is a natural fit for Christopherson in that our current client base includes nearly two dozen colleges and universities nationwide.

The higher education niche requires unique travel management solutions and is not supported by all travel management companies. However, Christopherson has chosen to invest in both experienced service personnel and technology in order to deliver highly effective travel management programs to our collegiate clients.

Many thanks to the SCTEM board of directors for presenting another excellent conference. We appreciate our membership in the organization and look forward to future events together.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Space on the Plane: It’s more than just problem with leg room.

While the media has quieted down about the recent seat reclining issues (surely you heard about the in-flight fight over leg room), the situation is still a very sad state of affairs. Passenger rage erupting as it did is a sign of a bigger problem as personal space on airplanes has dramatically changed over the years. Giving up blankets, pillows, and meals was easy to swallow because travelers can carry those items on. But personal space? There’s only so much of it on a plane.

In a USA TODAY article, reporter Bill McGee, outlines other seat size-related issues in addition to the leg room problem, such as smaller seats and fuller cabins. When you add these discomforts to all the other “trials” of air travel, the rage may well be understandable.

Mr. McGee also discusses the width of airplane seats, which, in the United States, is smaller than other countries, yet Americans have the average largest hip size of the countries mentioned. “In 2002,” he reports, “British ergonomics firm provided data on human hip sizes worldwide. The result? Yep, the United States ranked first (20.6 inches), ahead of Germany (19.6), Britain (19.1), France (17.2), Japan (15.9), and China (15.6). It seems safe to say such averages have only increased over the last dozen years.” Seat widths in 1985 ranged from 19.5-20 inches, but in 2014 they are 17.2-18.5.

Judging by this data, my guess is we will be seeing more passenger rage as time goes on.

Check out the full USA Today article here.

Categories
Business and Leadership Business Travel Travel Industry

Six time winner of the Utah Business Fast 50 Award

indexUtah Business Magazine recently presented the 7th annual Fast 50 Awards, recognizing 50 of the fastest growing companies headquartered in Utah. Christopherson Business Travel was thrilled to be a recipient for the sixth year in a row, coming in at #26, having risen 12 places over 2013.

The top 50 companies were selected based on a combination of revenue growth and revenue generation. Utah Business also honored the Emerging Eight, which are growing companies that are less than five years old.

It is a pleasure for Christopherson to be recognized among such an elite group of successful companies, many of which do business with Christopherson.

To see the full list of recipients, click here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management

Globalizing your Travel Program: Notes from GBTA Convention 2014

Four companies offer insight into taking travel programs global.
Four companies offer insight into taking travel programs global.

GBTA’s 2014 Convention, held last month in Los Angeles, offered attendees an array of educational sessions that sparked discussions on new or improved ways of managing business travel.

Of the sessions I attended, one stood out. Four companies discussed the inner workings of their travel program, along with the process of taking their program global. Each of the companies offered highlights of their programs and presented ideas to consider when taking a travel program “global.”  Here are my notes from their suggestions and discussion:

  • All four companies had duty of care responsibility as the first consideration.
  • Cost savings was the next item to consider when globalizing their travel program.
  • Data management reporting followed as the third item.
  • One company contracts with two Travel Management Companies (TMC). The presenting travel manager said the two TMCs had a very good working relationship making this option possible.
  • While the hype, advertising, and media in the market place touts using one online booking tool throughout a global program, the reality is usually different.
  • The use of one booking tool globally is entirely dependent on the countries where offices are located.
  • Depending on the country and the tool, the adoption rate varies from 25% to 75%.
  • The cost of bringing on a given country/location needs to be considered against ROI, especially when only a few travelers reside in a specific country. Sometimes a particular location can be combined with another for cost effectiveness.
  • Travel agents are still highly regarded and a necessity with complex and international travel.

As a Convention attendee, I appreciate these education sessions and the perspectives they provide, and I look forward to next year’s event.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

Business Traveler Tips for Wi-Fi Security

wifiWhile traveling I am constantly connecting to Wi-Fi. It is so easily accessible and keeps me connected while I am away from the office. I recently came across an article which reminded me of the dangers associated with using wireless hotspots and suggestions for safer use.

Although I’ve heard these tips before, it was a nice review and reminder.

1.   Keep a clean machine.

Ensure your devices are up to date with the latest antivirus firewall protection and operating system patches.

2.   Stop and think before you connect to public Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is available everywhere you go, including airports, hotels, restaurants, parks, and museums, but these networks are completely open and insecure. Use common sense when you connect to public Wi-Fi and be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you send.

3.   Paid Wi-Fi doesn’t mean safe Wi-Fi.

Just because you paid for Wi-Fi access, doesn’t mean it is safe. There’s no encryption to stop anyone from eavesdropping on your communications, so make sure you protect yourself from hackers.

4.   Beware of evil twins.

Hackers sometimes set up “evil twins”–Wi-Fi networks that look real or near legitimate public networks–but if you connect to them, all of your information can be captured. It can be hard to tell the difference, so confirm the name of the hotspot with the owner before you connect.

5.   Use a VPN to encrypt information on all of your devices.

If you use public Wi-Fi while you travel, the only way to guarantee your security is to use a virtual private network (VPN) like PRIVATEWiFi to encrypt your personal data in wireless hotspots. Remember, Wi-Fi signals are just radiowaves. Anyone can “listen in” to what you send and receive. Antivirus or firewall software won’t protect you – but a VPN encrypts all of your communications no matter where your travels take you.

Click here for more information.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Understanding Hotel Ratings and Reviews

With all the different options for reviewing hotel stays and providing online feedback for travel products and services, business travelers may find themselves asking, “How hard is it to find decent lodging with decent reviews?” The key is to understand that hotel rating systems vary from place to place. Additionally, there is a difference between a hotel’s rating and its guest reviews.

What are hotel rating systems?

Hotel rating systems are meant to provide an accurate and unbiased assessment of accommodations. In the U.S., the American Automobile Association (AAA) runs the “AAA Diamond Rating Process.” This system only rates hotels that meet AAA’s essential requirements based on things like cleanliness and comfort. Ratings are indicative of service, amenities, and décor. Keep in mind, however, that each country uses different systems. You can’t really compare a 3-star hotel in the U.S. to a 3-star hotel in Europe.

Christopher Elliott, author of “How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler,” submits the opinion that in many places, ratings are manipulated by clever reputation management operatives and can’t be trusted. Though Elliot may be on to something, don’t completely negate the validity of AAA’s process. This is where it can be valuable to weigh and compare a hotel’s ratings with its guest reviews. Though guest reviews can sometimes be fueled by circumstantial frustrations, they come from the people actually eating the food, swimming in the pool, and sleeping in the beds.

As you can see, next time you’re selecting lodging based on ratings, a little bit of investigative work may be necessary. Make sure you understand what the rating systems mean, and take the time to read a handful of guest reviews for a well-rounded picture of what your stay could be like.

For more information on hotel ratings, click here or here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta and United Change Loyalty Programs: What does that mean for the business traveler?

Screen-Shot-2014-02-26-at-8_13_48-AMWhen Delta and United announced their 2015 loyalty program changes, I don’t think anyone was surprised. But if, like me, you travel just enough to feel like a frequent flyer but not enough to actually gain status with any one airline, you might be interested to learn that travelers with loyalty status actually pay 15% to 20% more than those without status, according to data collected over a two-year period by CWT Solutions.

Traveling, it seems, is not as fun or as glamorous as it was 30 years ago, so it makes perfect sense that travelers prefer to stick with one carrier because of the benefits offered to make travel more tolerable and productive—especially if you are a road-warrior type business traveler. Those complimentary upgrades, priority boarding, and waived baggage fees definitely improve a traveler’s experience and state of mind!

Travel managers should be aware, however, and educate themselves on the 2015 changes in store. These two loyalty programs (Delta’s and United’s) are switching from miles traveled to ticket price paid. This may cause some travelers to consider other ways to ensure continuance of benefits they have become accustom.

These following articles explain in detail (including comments from travelers) how these 2015 loyalty program changes will affect travel managers, travelers, and eventually a company’s bottom line:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Exercise While Traveling for Business

Not only is it hard to eat healthfully while traveling, but exercising on the road can also be challenging. Depending on whether you like to use gym equipment, swim, bike, or run, there are many choices to keep yourself fit while on the road. I suggest using the Boy Scouts’ motto–“Be Prepared”–to enrich your exercise experience.

Best ways to exercise while traveling

Packing

Workout clothes are usually light and easily packed. I’ll often bring a jacket for potentially cold mornings when my exercising may take me outside. My lightweight running shoes are a must in order to keep the luggage weight down. Packing my sunglasses, water bottle, and phone holder may take up a little extra room, but having them makes for a more enjoyable workout when I am away from home. Of course, a swimsuit, cap, and goggles take up little space–just be sure to bring a waterproof bag should you need to pack a wet swimsuit for your return trip.

Fitness Centers

Most major hotel chains have some sort of fitness center. Equipment can be quite different from one hotel to the next, so look online before you go. Do they have what you need? If not, do you need to change hotels or figure out a different plan? When I arrive, I usually check out the fitness center to get an idea of the type of equipment offered. If I’m unfamiliar with it, I get on and try it out. I learn how to turn it on, figure out the specialized workout program, or how to work the program manually. This saves me time in the morning and I don’t have to waste 5-10 minutes trying to figure out the equipment.

How do I know this? On a business trip to Salt Lake City, I stayed at the Hyatt Place and wanted to use their bike equipment, but only the incumbent bike was available and I couldn’t find the “on” button. I fumbled around with it until I finally had to ask someone. (In case you’re wondering–you just need to pedal and it’s powered by your movement.) I felt a little embarrassed, but still got my workout in.

Swimming Pools

Swimming is a great way to exercise if you love the water. But again, “be prepared” and check the hotel’s pool before you go. If it’s not going to work or if they don’t have one, there are usually local YMCAs or community pools available for a daily fee.

How do I know this? On a business trip to New Orleans, my hotel had an outside pool. From the photos the pool looked like a good size, but in person, it was smaller than I realized and more square than rectangular. I ended up swimming corner to corner to get the longest “lap.” Additionally, despite New Orleans’ usual warm weather, it does get cloudy, windy days, and at 7:00 a.m., an outside pool can be chilly. I’m not sure whether I looked like a dedicated athlete or a person who had gone completely bonkers.

Biking

Typically, I stick with the stationary bikes at the hotel fitness center. In addition to a treadmill, most fitness centers will have the stationary bike of some kind. I have also looked into renting a bicycle and can usually find cruiser bikes (like ones used by tourists or leisure bike groups) in the bigger cities. This takes a little extra time, but can be worth it.

Running

This seems to be the easiest form of exercise while traveling. Fitness centers, at a minimum, will have a treadmill. However, they are usually the first piece of equipment to be taken in the morning, so be prepared to either wait or do something different. Personally, I enjoy running outside. For example, the run from downtown San Francisco to the wharf if beautiful. You could even conclude your run with a trolley ride back to your hotel. I use the Endomondo Sports Tracker app and like the map view that shows where I went. Additionally, some hotels offer morning run guides and/or groups where they will take you on a mini tour while you get your run in.

A word of caution: As a female business traveler, I always make sure the area I am running in is safe. I do not run before sunrise or after sunset. I keep to the busy streets and usually do not hit the parks unless I know they are well populated.

No matter what type of exercise you prefer, there are many options when you are traveling. Just remember to “Be Prepared” and kudos to you for staying healthy.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

New TSA Security measures at international airports

Travel-DocumentsJust when you thought you were a pro at getting through airport security, the TSA has implemented enhanced security measures at select overseas airports with direct flights to the U.S.

With these changes, please be aware that travelers who plan to carry on electronic devices, including cell phones, may be required to turn them on during security screening. Devices that do not power on may not be permitted onboard the aircraft. It is highly recommended that travelers charge their devices in advance and allow additional time for security screening.

Click here to learn more.

 

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Travel Industry

Green Meetings: the Next Industry Standard?

The issue of “sustainability,” in regards to event planning, surfaced about eight years ago. However, it has only been in the last couple years that a surge in interest regarding this topic has occurred. Currently, more and more companies are inquiring about hotels’ green initiatives.

How are hotels going green

In response, hotel companies have begun researching a variety of ways to create greener meetings and stay ahead of future expectations. Some hotels have even gone as far as to invest in the guidance of professional conservationists in order to receive certification for their green efforts.

One hotel that has instituted green initiatives is the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver. The installation of LED lighting in corridors, guestrooms, and residential units is estimated to save the hotel more than $70,000 a year in electricity and labor costs.

Another hotel that has gone green is the DoubleTree by Hilton in Silver Spring, Maryland, where a $3.5 million renovation took place. Hotel owners incorporated LED lighting (that uses 75% less energy than before), electric golf carts, low-flow plumbing and programmable thermostats into their renovation plans.

While events and meeting planners may prefer to support environmentally conscious hotels, at the end of the day it’s still all about availability and quality of service. But why can’t we have it all? As hoteliers learn about the increasing preference for sustainable hotels and green meetings, it will hopefully only be a matter of time before many more properties invest in renovations of their own.

One more thing to keep in mind: the more they save on the operating end, the less we pay on the consumer end. All the more reason to “go green” on your next business meeting!

Click Here to learn more.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Congratulations to GBTA’s Mike McCormick

GBTA Executive Director Mike McCormick has been reappointed to the TSA's Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
GBTA Executive Director Mike McCormick has been reappointed to the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

Christopherson Business Travel is a long time member and sponsor of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and we congratulate the GBTA Executive Director and COO, Mike McCormick on his reappointment to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC).

It is vital for the TSA to hear from the business travel industry and McCormick has done an outstanding job of representing our sector during his first term and we look forward to his continued involvement on behalf of our industry.

ASAC is TSA’s sole Federal advisory committee that gives the agency recommendations for improving aviation security methods, equipment and procedures. ASAC was established in 1989 in the wake of the crash of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

 

 

 

 

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Travel News Travel Tips

When is the Best Time to Buy an Airline Ticket?

Source
When is the best time to purchase an airline ticket? (click image to enlarge, Source)

When is the best time to purchase an airline ticket?

For the 30-plus years I’ve been in the travel business, this question has come up time and time again.  In 2013, CheapAir.com conducted a study that monitored 4,191,533 ticket purchases over 10 months. Bookings ranged from 320 days in advance to 1 day in advance, and included every possible booking date in between. The study found that the best time to buy a domestic airline ticket was 54 days in advance (7-1/2 weeks).  They also uncovered a “prime booking window” of 29-104 days prior to your travel days to be optimum.

This study also found that for domestic flights, those who booked before the prime booking window of 29-104 days in advance, paid an average of $33 more per ticket than those who booked within that window. But those who booked too late paid an average of $73 more per ticket.

The study also gathered statistics for international destinations. Click here to read more.

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Travel News Travel Technology

Delta Air Lines’ new Boeing 717s Come with In-Seat Power Outlets

Delta's in-seat power outlet just might be the best feature on their new 717s!
Delta’s in-seat power outlet just might be the best feature on their new 717s!

I travel frequently enough to appreciate airplane amenities such as large overhead bins and higher ceilings, but when I recently boarded one of Delta’s new Boeing 717s for a business trip to Atlanta, I was most surprised and delighted by the extra leg room and in-seat power outlet!

Doesn’t every commercial aircraft need power outlets with a USB port? How different the airport would look if travelers could charge their devices in-flight rather than scrambling to claim one of the limited outlets in the airport to power up before takeoff. We’re not quite there yet, but it was encouraging to see and experience this feature on board my Delta flight.

I was curious to know how often I might come across this aircraft in my travels and found that Delta acquired and refurbished AirTran’s fleet of approximately 80 Boeing 717s when AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines. Southwest did not want to integrate the 717s into its own fleet of 737s. Delta however, is well equipped to handle the complexity of operating many different aircraft types. And as Delta is leasing the 717s at a good price, they will be much cheaper to operate than the aircraft they are replacing.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

In-Flight Quiet Time: Cell phones are for texting and emailing only

Cell phone are for texting, not talking--at least when you're 30,000 feet in the air.

Recently, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed legislation banning cell phone calls during flights–legislation I was thrilled to hear about.

It has been interesting to watch how this topic has brought together a clear majority of Americans and created a strong bipartisan coalition. The author of the bill, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said, “This bill is simple. When it comes to cell phones on planes, tap, don’t talk.”

The bill does allow for the in-flight use of mobile and tablet devices for getting online, emailing, texting, and more, but no voice communications. A Quinnipiac University poll released in December indicated that 59% of Americans didn’t want the use of cell phones on airplanes, with only three in ten in favor of lifting the ban.

And the cabin isn’t the only place with a crackdown on gadgets–the FAA published a rule banning pilots and crewmembers from using tablets, laptops, phones and other mobile devices in the cockpit.

For additional information, click here.

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Business Travel

“Help me, Tina!”: One more reason to use an expert travel agent on business travel

Recently, I was one of the 10,000 people stranded by the “catastrophic” winter storm that blasted the Eastern United States. My saving grace?–my travel agent. In a span of three days, I stayed in three different hotels, rented three different cars, and was either scheduled on, or sat on, a handful of flights that ultimately were cancelled.

But each time, rather than waiting in the long lines for United, American, or Frontier (yes, I was on each of these airlines at different points in the process) to re-route me, I simply called Tina at Christopherson Business Travel and she worked out the details for me.

Then there was Bill–a fellow stranded passenger. While I was stranded in Richmond, Bill was stranded in Washington, D.C. Bill doesn’t believe in using a travel agency because he is, what he would call a “savvy traveler,” and believes can find better deals himself. Yet while I was back at my hotel (booked at a discounted, travel agency rate, by the way), Bill was standing in line at the United counter waiting to be re-routed. After a long wait, he returned to his hotel to find that the room rate had risen to more than $400 per night! And when I was able to get the first flight out Friday morning, Bill was still sleeping in his $400-per-night hotel room. He finally arrived back in Denver a full 24 hours (and more than a thousand dollars lighter) later.

Now, who’s the savvy traveler?

To learn how you can save time and money (and your sanity!) on your business travel, and gain the added benefit of having an expert travel agent on your side, contact one of our business executives.

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson and Concur Partnership Continues to Grow

cbt_logoConcur_logoChristopherson Business Travel has been a preferred partner with Concur Travel and Expense for nearly 10 years. We appreciate our relationship with Concur and are excited about recent commitments we have made to enhance our mutually beneficial partnership.

Christopherson is one of the first travel management companies in the nation to develop advanced travel technology which integrates with Concur’s TripLink. TripLink gives corporations the ability to capture business travel reservations made outside of the designated booking model. Christopherson immediately accepts the reservations from TripLink and integrates them into our proprietary travel management technology, AirPortal 360, which provides our customers with a complete view of their travel program.

In addition to being a market leader with TripLink, Christopherson is pleased to be a premium sponsor of the Concur Fusion Exchange events that will be happening throughout the United States in 2014.  For details on locations and dates, please visit Concur.com. And if you happen to be at one of these events, we invite you to stop by the Christopherson booth.

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Travel Industry Travel News

The Longest Flight in the World

Singapore to Newark is no longer the longest flight in the world.
Singapore to Newark is no longer the longest flight in the world.

Sometimes a simple domestic business trip can seem like it is “the longest flight in the world,” but the actual holder of that title (until recently) was Singapore Airlines’ flights 21 and 22, which operated between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey–a flight that takes about 19 hours and covers 9,525 miles. The aircraft used for those flights was the four-engine, gas-guzzling, Airbus A340-500, but due to changes in aircraft and fuel costs, Singapore Airlines has since cancelled those flights.

The newer, super-long-haul aircraft, such as the Boeing 777, 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A350 are more fuel-efficient, 2-engine options. However, currently, America’s Federal Aviation Administration has a longstanding rule that requires two-engine planes to stay within a certain distance of runways where they can land in case of trouble. (Four-engine planes are not subject to this rule.) This ruling would need to change in order to have a 19-hour flight back in service.

The super-long-haul update caught my interest because I took my family to the UAE for Thanksgiving last year and our flight from Los Angeles to Dubai was more than 16 hours. I was concerned about how everyone would handle it. The good news is that the aircraft, in-flight services, and seating are better equipped for accommodating passengers on these long journeys. In fact, the Singapore Airlines flights 21 and 22 had 100 seats, all business class.

But the cancellation of the Singapore Airlines flights still doesn’t give you the ability to call your next business trip “the longest flight in the world.” That is, unless you are traveling on the new record holder, Qantas, which operates the 8,576-mile service between Sydney and Dallas, Texas.

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Travel Industry Travel Management

Airline Reservation Systems History 101

Ever wonder how the travel computer reservation systems came about? Who was the first to come up with the idea? Was there an airline involved? Are those reservation systems still used today? Though little thought of today, the airline reservation systems history helped mold how we travel. It may come in handy during a good trivia game too!

The beginning of the airline reservation system

In 1946, American Airlines installed the first automated booking system called the Electromechanical Reservisor (say that three times fast). Soon followed was the Magnetronic Reservisor, which included temporary storage based on a magnetic drum.  Seeing the success of this system, Sheraton Hotels and Goodyear started using it for inventory control. A serious flaw of the system was the need for human operators to do the actual lookups. Ticketing agents would have to call a booking office. Those operators would then contact a team operating the Reservisor and then read the results over the telephone. Agents could not directly query the system, creating a prolonged process.

In 1953, American Airlines’ CEO, C.R. Smith, met an IBM sales representative and invited him to see Reservisor system, to look for areas of improvement. From there, American Airlines and IBM began collaborating on an idea of an automated airline system. In 1959, the venture announced the Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment, commonly known as SABRE. The network was completed in 1964 and was the largest civil data processing system in the world.

Following suit, other airlines created their own systems. Delta Air Lines launched the Delta Automated Travel Account System (DATAS) in 1968. United Airlines and Trans World Airlines followed in 1971 with the Apollo Reservation System and Programmed Airline Reservation System (PARS), respectively.

Soon, travel agents began pushing for a system that would automate their side of the process. Fearful this would place too much power in the hands of agents, American Airlines executive Robert Crandall proposed creating an industry-wide computer reservation system to be a central clearing house for U.S. Travel. The other airlines said nothing, citing fear of antitrust prosecution.

Agents access the reservation systems

In 1976 United began offering its Apollo to travel agents. While it would not allow the agents to book tickets on United’s competitors, the convenience of having such a program proved indispensable.  SABRE, PARS, and DATAS were soon released to travel agents as well. Following deregulation in 1978, an efficient computer reservation system proved important. Frank Lorenzo purchased money-losing Eastern Air Lines to gain control of its own SystemOne computer reservation system.

In 1976, Videcom International with British Airways, British Caledonian, and CCL launched Travicom, the world’s first multi-access reservation system. Forty-nine international airlines subscribed to the system providing distribution to thousands of travel agents in the UK. It allowed agents and airlines to communicate via a common distribution language. The system went on to be replicated by Videcom in other areas of the world, including the United States.

In 1992 a consortium led by Air France and Lufthansa Airlines launched Amadeus, modeled after SystemOne. In 1990 Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines formed Worldspan and in 1993 another consortium including British Airways, KLM, and United Airlines formed Galileo International, based on Apollo.

Christopherson Business Travel’s main global distribution reservation system is Worldspan, now owned by Travelport, along with Apollo and Galileo.

Looking for more information on the evolution of the travel industry? Read our overview of the travel industry

Source: Wikipedia – Computer reservation system

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology

Social Media Is Changing (for the better) Airline Customer Service

travelFor a while, it seemed like airline customer service was in a serious downward spiral. But during a recent look into how social media has become an important piece of airline branding and customer engagement, I found that airlines are actually using social media to solve customer problems.  Here are a few examples:

JetBlue, with an impressive 1.7M followers on Twitter, does one of two things when passengers are complaining via Twitter about not getting enough information: 1) they respond to the person/people directly or 2) they call the airport to conduct a gate announcement to dispense the needed information. Their social strategist finds it important to reach out to travelers if they see something where they can be of assistance.

Recently, through direct messages on Twitter, a reporter at Digiday was able to rebook a flight after it was delayed for several hours through @DeltaAssist. A Delta spokesperson said they are not giving up on call centers, but that @DeltaAssist is just “one more way of reaching out to customers where we know customers are.” He further mentioned the Twitter account was specifically created to help customers in need.

In another example, a passenger was waiting to board a flight from Phoenix back to the East Coast when he read on Twitter that the inbound flight he was waiting for was at least 20 minutes late. When the passenger confronted the gate agent with the tweet, the agent announced, “Your information is better than mine.” Folks running the airline Twitter feed seemed to know more than employees on the ground.

A study conducted in early 2013 by Allianz Global Assistance shows 30 percent of all tweets are geared toward travel. A few travel-related Twitter feeds you might want to check out (in addition to Christopherson Business Travel’s @CB_Travel feed, of course!) are:

According to the Huffington Post, these are seven of the top 10 travel Twitterers to follow.

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Travel Industry

Christopherson Business Travel to Sponsor Two Industry Events in September

Christopherson is the proud sponsor of two business travel industry events this month. The first is the Utah Business Travel Association’s Annual Trade Show and the second is the Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management Conference and Trade Show.

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 1.50.55 PMThe Utah Business Travel Association Annual Trade Show is scheduled for Thursday, September 12, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City. Attendees can see what the Wasatch Front has to offer by visiting exhibitor booths from the top travel, entertainment, and food vendors. Attendees will also enjoy complimentary registration, fabulous raffle prizes, and delicious food. The event is free and open to travel buyers of any size company.

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 1.49.57 PMThe Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management Conference and Trade Show will be held September 29-October 2 in Tampa, Florida. The organization focuses on travel and expense solutions for higher education. Christopherson is the dedicated travel management company for 12 colleges and universities, with the most notable being the University of Utah and University of Colorado.

If you are planning to attend either of these events, we invite you to stop by Christopherson’s booth to learn more about our business travel services and solutions.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Go Big or Go Home: Christopherson Attends the 2013 GBTA Convention, Releases AirPortal 360 Mobile

It has been our pleasure to participate in the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Annual Convention and Trade Show for several years, but this year we went “BIG.” Our booth was three times the size it was last year, and staffed with more Christopherson team members than ever–which was perfect for the big unveiling of our new AirPortal 360™ Mobile app. GBTA, with its 7,000 attendees, proved to be an exciting time and place for the release of this new technology.

With record traffic to our booth, we provided numerous product demonstrations and received exceptional feedback about AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app that provides corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program from the palm of their hand—wherever, whenever.

As the mobile version of our intelligent travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers a collection of tools that allow travel managers the ability to maintain and manage their duty of care responsibilities, ensure better policy compliance, keep track of travelers and their itineraries, and more.

Corporate travel budgets of any size will benefit from the features of AirPortal 360 and its new mobile app. It was a rewarding experience for us to launch it at GBTA with some of the largest corporate travel buyers in the country and we now look forward to sharing it with corporate travel buyers everywhere.

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Business Travel to Attend GBTA Convention 2013

custom_1373323780_3625_728x90Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 4.57.04 PMThe 2013 GBTA Convention is quickly approaching! This year’s event is being held in San Diego, California from August 4-7 and Christopherson Business Travel is both a trade show sponsor and an active participant with more than a dozen attendees from our company.

We are excited to expand our booth space this year allowing for additional demo stations, beverages, snacks, and 15 drawings for $100 gift cards throughout the three-day convention. We’re also looking forward to releasing our new AirPortal 360™ Mobile technology.

AirPortal 360 Mobile is the first comprehensive mobile app specifically designed exclusively for the corporate travel manager. As the mobile version of Christopherson’s AirPortal 360 travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers the essentials from our powerful collection of travel management software right to your fingertips.

Both easy-to-use and convenient, AirPortal 360 Mobile provides the ability to maintain duty of care responsibilities, keep track of travelers and itineraries, access and manage traveler profiles, ensure policy compliance, and more, even if you’re on the go.

If you are attending GBTA, please plan to stop by booth #3625. We’d love to show you our new AirPortal 360 Mobile. You can also schedule an appointment by emailing info@CBTravel.com.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Business Travel and Hotel Fees

How closely do you pay attention to your business travel hotel fees?
How closely do you pay attention to your business travel hotel fees?

For some time now, the media has been talking about the fees airlines charge to create more revenue. But, has anyone noticed the increase in hotel fees? Or have we just gotten used to them over time?

At least the airlines give you options. For instance, if you intend on flying with extra luggage, you know upfront that you will have to pay more money for those bags, whereas hotels fees, quite often, just show up on your bill, after the fact, at checkout.

If you don’t ask about, or read all the details, watch out. Here are a few additional hotel fees I’ve personally encountered:

Airport Shuttle: While many hotels don’t charge, don’t assume the shuttle is always included.

Housekeeper Gratuities: Leaving a tip for your housekeeper each day and then realizing at the end of your stay that you were also billed for this can be a rude awakening.

Bottled Water & Snacks:  Even if there is no note or card stating that it’s complimentary, ask before using.

Cancellations:  Be sure you understand your hotel’s cancellation policy or it could be very costly should you need or want to change. (How to Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees)

Early Check-in/Late Check-out:  Most hotels are becoming very rigid about these services and are charging extra for them.

Energy Surcharges: Depending on the season, energy surcharges ($1 to $3 a day) can also appear on your bill as the hotel may require you to share the costs of increased energy usage.

Resort Fee: A resort fee can run anywhere from $10 to $50 a day and include a number of items. Even if you don’t use them, you still incur this charge. Another similar term and fee is a “grounds-keeping fee,” but it is usually much less per day.

Internet Fees: Where this has been a common inclusion at many hotels, some are now reverting back to charging. Watch out too if you have two devices—i.e. a laptop and an iPad—the property could charge for both.

With the continual rise in hotel and airline fees, surely more are on the way. And just a friendly reminder for companies with business travelers: when updating your corporate travel policy or negotiating contracts, due diligence when it comes to these fees is a must.

Avoiding Unnecessary Hotel Fees When Traveling for Business

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News

Christopherson is Ranked #11 by Business Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel is now the 11th largest business travel agency in the country.

We are pleased to announce that Christopherson Business Travel was recently ranked the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States by Business Travel News.

Rankings are based upon audited results of annual transaction and sales volume data provided by the Airline Reporting Corporation. Results were announced in the 2013 Business Travel Survey issue of Business Travel News’ monthly magazine.

Christopherson has a long legacy of growth, innovation, and client retention which has guided the agency from its #14 spot in 2011 to its current position, #11, in the 2013 report.

Particularly notable is Christopherson’s growth over the last six years. Since 2007, the company has more than doubled in size, having grown from a $160 million company in 2007 to a $341 million company in 2012.

Currently, Christopherson operates from three full-service locations (Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California) as well as 35-client dedicated on-site locations, maintains a successful leisure travel division (Andavo Travel), employs more than 250 travel professionals and, as previously stated, booked $341 million in travel in 2012 for more than 900 companies and organizations across the country.

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Business Travel Travel Management

Reconciling Business Travel Expense Reports—How Small, Midsize, and Large Companies Manage

It’s 4:45 p.m. on the fourteenth day of the month and you haven’t started working on your expense reimbursement report, which is due on the fifteenth—in the morning. You scramble to find receipts or anything else that will indicate you actually spent $150 for a client lunch. It’s the only receipt out of seven that you can’t find. But no receipt, no reimbursement.

In this day and age it is critical to quickly reconcile your expense report. Taking a picture of your receipt and emailing it to an expense program is becoming more common. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon of purchasing an expense tool, not only for their internal reporting needs, but for their traveler’s expenses as well.

Reconciling business travel expenses

A recent industry survey, based on input from more than 165 companies, indicated that many companies still use manual processes, such as spreadsheets and paper, for expense reporting and management. The majority of those companies surveyed were looking to reduce costs and increase compliance through moving expense management to the cloud (the “cloud” is a term for the internet—in other words, a network of servers). Survey findings detailed small, midsize, and large company expense management challenges and what companies are seeking in a new system.  The segment with the most responses was enterprise level organizations—those with 1,000 employees or more.

Survey highlights included:

  • Top pain points for expense management include employees not submitting reports on time (47%), employees losing or forgetting receipts (42%), and excessive time spent improving and reconciling reports (39%).
  • More than 50% of organizations still have manual processes for expense management.
  • After simplifying processes (50%), the second top critical area for expense management improvement is mobile access (40%).
  • 64% of small businesses and 57% of midsize businesses plan to switch to cloud-based expense management systems.
  • Nearly half of enterprise companies (1,000 employees or larger) still employ manual expense processes, yet 72% of those respondents will switch to cloud-based systems.
  • Top reasons for switching to the cloud include simplifying overall expense reporting processes, providing anywhere access to expense systems, and delivering better analytics and reporting.
  • Users of automated expense management systems report much faster reimbursement times: 52% report less than seven days, compared with 8-14 days for 50% of companies with manual processes.
  • More than half of small and medium businesses integrate their expense management system with corporate credit cards, 46% integrate with general ledger, and 39% with accounts payable.
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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management

Companies Continue to Discuss Managed Travel 2.0 and its Impact on Business Travel

travel 2.0With the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) annual convention less than 90 days away, it’s becoming very clear as to what will, once again, be an important topic–Managed Travel 2.0 (also called “open booking”). I find this to be such a fascinating business travel industry matter, some might think I’m becoming obsessed. You can find my older blog posts here, here, and here where I discuss what Managed Travel 2.0 exactly is as well as its impact on our business travel industry. As new ideas continue to develop, many travel management companies, Christopherson Business Travel included, as well as other business travel groups and organizations, are diving even deeper into the details.

For example, Carlson Wagonlit Travel has developed a so-called “industry–first algorithm that assesses traveler stress on a company-by-company basis.” The results (hours of stressful business travel) can then be translated into a financial loss equivalent. (Read more about the algorithm here.)

The ultimate goal of the algorithm is to help companies uncover the actual costs of travel, as well as the hidden ones–particularly how business travel “stressors” affect the bottom line.

BCD Travel is also delving into the economics of traveler behaviors, particularly how the practice of building stronger relationships with travelers saves companies money, boosts productivity, and keeps travelers safe.

Additionally, a LinkedIn Group has been started, Managed Travel 2.0, to advance more discussions at a grassroots level. And be sure to keep an eye out for former travel management consultant Scott Gillespie to announce his new venture to assist companies in understanding productivity and employee retention consequences.

As you can see, Managed Travel 2.0 continues to be a hot topic and everyone is in on the discussion. I, personally, continue to enjoy learning about it and I look forward to the GBTA Convention August 4-7 in San Diego, California where (hopefully) more discussions, findings, and results are presented.

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Travel Industry Travel News

FAA Lifts Grounding: Dreamliners Are Back in Service

Dreamliners are back in service

After months of being grounded due to a faulty battery system, the FAA has lifted the grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft is headed back into service throughout the coming weeks.

Eight airlines have the ultra-modern Dreamliner in their fleet with United Airlines being the only U.S. carrier in the group. Ethiopian Airlines will be first to resume service with other airlines following shortly after. United announced it will resume Dreamliner flights after May 31, initially serving the Houston to Denver route.

May the Dreamliner be hugely successful this time around!

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Business Travel Travel Industry

TSA Pre? Quick Guide Security Location Chart

Updated: August 2016 – The TSA Pre? program continues to expand, currently serving 40 airports, with more to come throughout the year. The trick is, knowing which airports are in the program and where to locate the Pre? security point at each participating airport. When this blog was first written in 2013, there were only 40 airports participating in TSA  Pre?. Now they are in almost every state!

The security location chart previously listed is now outdated. For the most up-to-date information on TSA  Pre? availability, go to the TSA map page.

Once a passenger is deemed eligible for expedited screening through the TSA Pre? pre-screening process, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. When TSA then scans the barcode at a security checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to the expedited screening lane, although Pre? approved passengers are still subject to random searches and screenings for security purposes.

Under TSA Pre?’s program, passengers who use a Pre? security checkpoint do not have to remove certain items of clothing, such as belts, shoes and light outerwear, and can keep laptops and liquids in carry-on bags.

Also, check out our recent blogs on TSA Pre?

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our superior travel technology and consultative account services, we on average save our client 15% on their travel budget annually. Contact us to learn more about our unique travel management services.  

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

One Company Finds that Travel 2.0 Doesn’t Save Money

I have blogged before regarding the topic of Travel 2.0:

travel 2.0It is certainly a hot topic with varied issues, differing opinions, and supposed ramifications.

But another stark example on the side of “why Travel 2.0 doesn’t work” was reported last week in a Business Travel News article about the company Autodesk, and their recent challenges with travelers who continually respond to their travel manager with those famous last words, “I can find it cheaper myself online than through our travel program.”

After 30 days of Travel 2.0, Topaz International performed an audit on Autodesk’s travel expenses. Results showed, that when it was all said and done, Autodesk was in fact, not saving money with Travel 2.0 and the value of a managed travel program was confirmed.

I couldn’t help but think as I read the report: “Well, that’s another point on the side of managed travel over open booking with Travel 2.0.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think a managed travel program is worth the investment in the long run? Or do you think Travel 2.0 is the best option for companies?

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Updates Rules for Carry-ons

TSA Just when you thought you finally understood all the TSA carry-on rules, they change them again–this time, to more closely match international standards.

The TSA will now allow travelers to carry small pocket knives onto passenger planes for the first time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, however box cutters and locking knives are still prohibited.

Additionally, TSA will further relax its list of prohibited items, allowing passengers to also now carry-on sticks used for lacrosse, billiards, hockey, and skiing, as well as golf clubs and some types of baseball bats. Several updates to the security check process are also being made but travelers should still be prepared to remove their shoes at the security check point.

These changes come in an effort to more closely conform with international regulations and will take effect April 25.

For more information on the forthcoming changes, click here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Prevent Business Travel Jet Lag

avoid jet lag while traveling for business
I just found an incredible website that I think all our business travelers will want to know about: Jet Lag Rooster.

According to the site, Jet Lag Rooster is a “free, simple, and effective way to reduce or prevent jet lag.”

You simply add your to/from destination, departure/arrival dates and times, and your normal routine for falling asleep and waking up. Then the site generates your “jet lag plan.”

Each customized plan provides a schedule of when to go to bed, when to wake up, and when to “get light” in the days leading up to your business trip. It even links to light sources to purchase if sunlight is not available or an option.

Figuring out how to avoid severe jet lag on business trips has just been made as easy as can be (and it’s FREE!). Try it on your next trip–especially when jumping several time zones–and let me know how it worked for you.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels Launch Crossover Rewards Program

Although I am not a pro at maximizing my preferred traveler and credit points, I was excited to hear the announcement that Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels and Resorts have launched a joint loyalty partnership.

The new program, which begins March 1, is called Crossover Rewards and allows Delta Medallion and Starwood Preferred Guest members to share program benefits to earn more Skymiles and Starpoints when traveling with either brand.

In Delta’s announcement, they state: “SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members will have access to added benefits including priority check-in, 4 p.m. late checkout and free in-room internet access when staying at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. All Delta Medallion members also will earn one mile per dollar spent on eligible room rates when staying with Starwood in addition to the Starpoints usually earned for their stay. In turn, SPG Platinum members will receive one free checked bag, priority check-in and priority boarding when flying Delta. SPG elite members will earn one Starpoint per dollar spent on eligible flights in addition to the miles usually earned for their flight.”

This program will be a great advantage for frequent business travelers and brings added value to both of these companies’ loyalty programs. It will also be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a new trend that will benefit everyone chasing points.

Customers can register for Crossover Rewards with Delta or with Starwood, beginning March 1.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel Starts Off the Year with a Bang

Here we are, nearly three weeks into the New Year and so much has happened here at Christopherson Business Travel.

AirPortal 360 helps your business travel program

On January 7, we released our updated and enhanced technology platform, AirPortal®. One key element of AirPortal is the newly created travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360™, which offers enhanced tools to provide you with a 360 degree, 24/7 view of your company’s travel data.

By utilizing all the technology tools available in AirPortal 360, you will find you have access to more detailed reports, a better understanding of the ROI of your partnership with Christopherson, greater travel policy compliance, security information to help you fulfill your Duty of Care, and information on where your travelers are, have been, and will be–just to name a few benefits!

With AirPortal 360, as with all our business travel technology tools, you can be confident that Christopherson has you covered. We hope you will take an opportunity to see how efficiently we can help you manage your travel program at any given minute of any given day.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson to Sponsor Key Travel Industry Events in 2013

Christopherson Business Travel is proud to be an ongoing partner with key industry events in 2013. In addition to several local events, Christopherson will be a sponsor with trade show space at the following national business travel industry conventions:

Concur Fusion, April 16-19, Las Vegas, NV

Fusion2013-1The Concur Fusion conference is for Concur users and potential users. The event hosts over 1,500 attendees and the schedule provides for a broad range of training and networking opportunities.

Christopherson has been a Concur partner for more than six years and manages travel for many of Concur’s corporate and university clients.

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), August 4-7, San Diego, CA

The annual GBTA convention is attended by more than 5,000 business travel industry buyers and suppliers from the U.S. and several foreign countries. The convention puts valuable industry insight and market knowledge within reach for travel managers around the world.

Christopherson has been a member of GBTA for more than 10 years. We are excited to be making our most significant presence yet at this year’s convention tradeshow with considerable booth space and state of the art technology demonstrations.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Business Travel Cost Savings: Part 2 – Vendor Negotiations

To review Part 1 where we discuss the value of having a business travel account management team and the potential savings that come as a result, click here.

Part two of my series on business travel cost savings touches on vendor negotiations.

There are several options when negotiating for your hotel, car, and air contracts. Depending on the depth of the negotiation, one or more of the following processes may be employed: RFP (Request for Proposal), RFQ (Request for Quotation), RFI (Request for Information), ITB (Invitation to Bid), and/or ITN (Invitation to Negotiate). For example, if you are simply seeking information, then use the RFI process. If you are wanting pricing only, then an RFQ would be appropriate, and so on.

Clients who partner with Christopherson Business Travel enjoy the benefit of having an account management team who will consult with their travel managers to determine the best avenues when negotiating on their behalf. During our consultation we use the following formula for negotiation success:

  1. Visualize
  2. Prepare
  3. Strategize
  4. Empathize
  5. Commit
  6. Follow-Up

Have you ever wondered how hotels look at the negotiating process? Here is a little insight.

Hotels are ultimately judged by shareholders on their return on capital, which translates into targets for Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), the overall revenue divided by the total potential number of room-nights over the financial year. Hotels use a range of techniques and technologies to assist them in “yield management,” the process by which they try to optimize revenue and occupancy over different market segments, through seasonal fluctuations, while taking into account national, regional and local economic circumstances. Some hotels have very sophisticated systems and experience analysts; others do not. Some hotels always follow the advice of the yield managers; others have more discretion.
Christopherson Business Travel knows that travel vendor negotiations can, and should, differ considerably company to company depending on the type of organization, size, geographic scope, and the degree of influence on the vendor. Christopherson’s account managers consult with industry experts and employ sourcing methods to help our clients create and manage their entire travel supplier network. In addition to the traditional vendor categories like airlines, hotels and ground transportation, we also support sourcing efforts related to meeting services, online booking tools, and credit card programs.

To produce cost-consistency and reductions, Christopherson Business Travel consults with you and creates strategies to:

  • Achieve optimal savings, coverage, and service goals
  • Align supplier programs with overall organizational goals
  • Track economic and industry trends to help identify opportunities for improvement
  • Take advantage of best-practice tools and benchmark information

Typical components of a sourcing management engagement include:

  • Vendor Program Assessment & Savings Opportunity Analysis
  • RFP Process Management
  • Negotiation Support
  • Vendor Program Implementation

President John F. Kennedy said, in his 1961 inaugural address, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

Because of increasing costs and greater demands, Christopherson Business Travel’s Account Managers will meet with you to create the ultimate scenario to ensure that your company gains a profitable return on investment with regards to your travel program. For facts on actual ROI savings and additional information, contact us.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Managed Travel 2.0: Resources and Information for Business Travel Managers

In September I first wrote about the concept of Managed Travel 2.0. In the weeks since, there has been much additional information by way of blog posts, emails, and news, both for and against this concept as it continues to be a “hot” topic of 2012. While its principles are unique, shocking to some, and encouraging to others, I sense it will be a while before corporations are comfortable giving so much freedom to travelers. Scott Gillespie discusses this in a post on his blog, Gillespie’s Guide to Travel+Procurement, and essentially boils the difference between traditionally managed travel and Managed Travel 2.0 down to one word: Freedom. He lists the principles of Managed Travel 2.0 as follows:

  1. Shop anywhere — period
  2. Book anyone — as long as the supplier is safe
  3. Book anywhere — as long as employer gets the data fast
  4. Book anything — so long as the trip is in budget
  5. Pay with the corporate card

On another site, BusinessTravelNews.com, CEO Alan Tyson discusses his misgivings about this business travel trend in a post called, Perspective: Shooting Holes In Travel 2.0. Having worked with financiers thru the years, I fully understand his concerns. His article goes on to suggest that traveler satisfaction with a trip is not what matters–it’s the traveler’s satisfaction with his organization regarding the trip that does.

The final article to read regarding this idea of Managed Travel 2.0 is by David Jonas, titled, Study: Travel Policies Work, And will Continue To Do So. This study, conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and AirPlus, reports few signs of employee resistance to traditional managed travel.

Hopefully, these articles and resources will shed a bit more light on the subject and I will surely keep you posted as more is revealed.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Definitely Dubai

I recently had the opportunity to take a family vacation to Dubai over Thanksgiving and I’m happy to report it was an amazing destination–certainly worth the 24 hours of travel time if took to get there.

Few cities in the world have undergone such rapid change as Dubai. Having started out as a fishing settlement, then becoming a pearl-diving center, and later transforming into a vibrant trading port, Dubai is today one of the fastest growing metropolises on earth. The city is positioned as the nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region and has become known as the “gateway between the east and west.”

Home to about 1.9 million people from nearly 200 nationalities, Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is safe, clean, politically stable, with a modern infrastructure, and the sun shines almost every day. While the official language is Arabic, English is equally used.

Emirates Airlines is the official airline of Dubai and maintains one of the newest fleets in the world. The aircraft and in-flight service were excellent which made our 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai quite manageable.

Some of the highlights of our trip were visiting the following sites and attractions:

  • Burj Kalifa – the tallest building in the world
  • Burj Al Arab – the tallest, all-suite hotel in the world
  • Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world
  • Ski Dubai – the only in-door ski resort in the world
  • Dubai Fountains – the largest fountain show in the world

Are you seeing a trend here? Dubai is very ambitious in their efforts to be record-breaking and staggering in their statistics. Even if your bucket list does not include a trip to Dubai, it is a destination worth paying attention to as they continue to make their mark in the world.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

Christmas Gifts for the Business Traveler

My list of Christmas gifts for all the business travelers I know is completed earlier than ever before! Actually, now that I think about it–I should send this to my own family as suggestions for me! I

If you have a road-warrior on your list, perhaps one of these ten suggestions will be helpful. Enjoy!

  1. SCOTTEVEST Women’s Trench Coat: Includes 18 pockets, with clear inside pockets, zipper and magnetic closures on pockets, and water bottle holder. Comes in red, black, mud, mist, thyme, periwinkle and paprika.
  2. Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard: It’s compact, and allows quick, error free emails while traveling with only your iPad or Smartphone. Laser projects a full-size keyboard onto any flat surface.
  3. Mushroom GreenZero Wall Travel Charger: The coolness of this one is that it shuts off automatically when your device is completely charged – awesome!
  4. Quirky Contort USB Hub: Four-post USB hub and cord manager, with a flexible neck to protect your USB devices.
  5. UWater G4 Chrome MP3 Player: Smallest, 100% waterproof player. Great in the shower, on or off  the road, or for scuba diving.
  6. Violight Sonic Travel Toothbrush: Perfect for travel, the office, gym, and more.
  7. iHome Rechargeable Mini Speakers: Size-defying sound, collapsible speakers used together or singly with great sound.
  8. Six Language Travel Translator: Travel the world and never be at a loss for words.
Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

New Christopherson Business Travel Website: CBTravel.com

It has been my pleasure over the past few months to work with an amazing team of people in updating Christopherson Business Travel’s company website, CBTravel.com. We are thrilled to provide both our current clients and prospective customers with a new look, more meaningful content, and the ability to learn more about our company and the business travel management solutions we offer.

We look forward to continually enhancing the experience we provide via our website and hope you check back often as we prepare to release new travel technology over next few months and share additional insight about our travel management programs.

We also appreciate any feedback you would like so share.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Quick Business Travel Tip: What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed Due to Weather

In light of the recent hurricane, I wanted share one quick tip for business travelers encountering weather delayed flights and cancellations:

Airlines will generally waive change fees if flights are affected by weather delays and cancellations. However, they will usually only allow this once. So before you make any changes, think carefully when rebooking your flight as second changes can be very costly. To change a flight for the second time usually means you would need to pay the change fee plus any additional airfare increases.

So again, really think about your travel plans when rebooking that cancelled flight!

And to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, you are in our thoughts and we wish you safe travels in getting home.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology Travel Tips

New TSA App Great for Business Travelers: Check Security Wait Times Before You Go

Approximately 1.7 million travelers pass through the United States’ airports every day. That is a lot of people to keep up-to-date on the various TSA changes that take place on a regular basis.

In an effort to better-communicate these changes, the TSA has prepared the TSA Traveler’s Guide to ensure airline passengers have the answers they need to common security screening questions.

For busy business travelers on-the-go, TSA also created the “My TSA” mobile application for iPhone, Android, and other mobile web users. Features include airport status information, security wait times, search options for permitted and/or prohibiting packing items, weather, videos, and TSA regulation guides. I recently installed the app and although I will most likely not use all the features, I will certainly use it to check security wait times on my next business trip.

To download the native iOS and Android versions of the My TSA App visit iTunes or Google Play.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

Managed Travel 2.0–What’s the fuss all about?

Managed Travel 2.0, an idea/program where travelers shop and book travel anywhere on any safe suppliers, provided they are within budget and the data on their transaction and travel is then collected in real-time by their company, is a very interesting concept and one that will probably move forward, but with possible resistance from many. I find this interesting to watch and consider because of all the players involved.

The consensus among industry experts seems to be that travel technology has not progressed at warp speed like other technologies. Some blame this on the travel industry’s GDS (Global Distribution System) situation. I don’t know that I agree with this theory completely, but then again, when you have been in the same industry for 30+ years, like I have, without viewing the progression speed of other industries’ technology, I suppose I’m not equipped to weigh in with a fully educated opinion.

During the GBTA’s recent convention in Boston, there were a few educational sessions regarding this topic. In the session I attended, 80% of the attendees were either travel managers or procurement specialists. During the presentation, it was suggested, based on information from a GBTA survey, that an unmanaged travel program is better than a managed travel program for a number of reasons–savings being one of them. The tension in the room was intense, to say the least.

However, in a recent newsletter from Travel GPA, CEO Rock Blanco, addressed the information presented in that GBTA forum, and pointed out that the benefits of a managed travel program–namely data, safety, and proven expertise–is where the value lies.

Like I said, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management

Topaz Travel Spend Forecast for 2013


Topaz International
has, for the first time, forecast future travel spend around the world with the disclaimer from CEO, Brad Seitz, “While some unexpected global events could skew these estimates, we believe this is a solid forecast for business travel in 2013.”

Their forecast is based upon general, targeted, and industry research, resulting in their view of what the future holds for travel spend in the areas of air, hotel, and rental car, divided among five regions of the world.

Topaz International Forecast for 2013

North America:

  • Air +3.5%
  • Hotel + 5.0%
  • Car Rental +3.0%

Latin America:

  • Air +2.0%
  • Hotel +5.0%
  • Car Rental +2.0%

Europe:

  • Air +3.5%
  • Hotel +2.0%
  • Car Rental +2.0%

Middle East and Africa:

  • Air +2.5%
  • Hotel +1.0%
  • Car Rental +1.5%

Asia Pacific:

  • Air +3.5%
  • Hotel: +3.0%
  • Car Rental +4.0%
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

New Airline Ancillary Fees

Airlines continue to implement new ancillary fees and increase charges on existing fees. It’s important for companies to update their expense policy to address these costs and equally important for travelers to be aware of what their company will, or will not, reimburse.

IdeaWorks Company recently released a study of airline ancillary fees which has sparked a couple of interesting articles worth reviewing:

  1. Ancillary Fees Up but Companies Less Likely to Reimburse, Fox Business
  2. What Airline Fees Are Coming Next?, USA Today
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Hotel rates on the Rise: U.S. ranks #4 for hotels with best business outlook

As we jump over the “hump” 2012, I thought it would be helpful to share what will be happening with hotel rates this Fall as a result of the economy’s (somewhat) improvement and the fact that travelers are spending a little more money.

Hotel rates increasing

In the latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, we find that U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for the Fall travel season. Nearly half (47 percent) expect rates to be higher this year compared to the same time last year, while only 16 percent expect comparatively lower rates.

The top five countries where hoteliers expect higher rates are:

  • the U.S. (47 percent)
  • Brazil (42 percent)
  • Russia (42 percent)
  • Indonesia (37 percent)
  • Turkey (35 percent)

The top five countries where hoteliers expect lower rates are:

  • Greece (58 percent)
  • Spain (43 percent)
  • Italy (37 percent)
  • Australia (32 percent)
  • New Zealand (29 percent)
  • And did you know that the U.S. ranks fourth in the world for hotels with the best business outlook, while Greece ranks last?

Countries with hoteliers having the most positive outlook were, in order:

  • Indonesia
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • United States
  • India

Countries with hoteliers having the most negative outlook were, in order:

  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • France
  • New Zealand

TripAdvisor also conducted a survey on how U.S. hotels win guests. Those surveyed said discounts on rooms (58 percent) led the way, followed by special amenities like free Wi-Fi (44 percent), free parking (31 percent), rewards points (30 percent), and free newspapers (20 percent). Twelve percent of U.S. accommodations said they do not offer any specials. Ninety-three percent of U.S. respondents report offering free in-room Wi-Fi Internet access. However, 17 percent of those who do not currently offer free Wi-Fi plan to do so in the next six months.