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Business Travel Travel Tips

FAQ: All About Unused Tickets

No organization with a business travel program wants to lose their unused airline tickets. In this FAQ, our Account Management and Operations Teams answer 10 questions from customers about how to best manage and reuse those unused ticket credits.

1. How do I use an unused credit when booking online?

Travelers can see their unused credits in the Concur Travel online booking tool. That said, Concur doesn’t indicate that a traveler should use a particular credit nor does it provide a button to “use this credit.”

The process of applying unused ticket credits to an online booking is actually automated through Christopherson’s mid-office quality check system. So if a traveler books a flight on the same carrier for which they have an unused ticket credit, the automated ticketing process sends the reservation to our team to review.

This happens because there are times when the airline’s rules for the old ticket render the unused credits invalid toward that particular new ticket. For example, some airlines have rules that result in the loss of any remaining balance if the cost of the new ticket is less than the unused ticket credit. In such instances, the unused ticket may not be applied so that you don’t lose any value of the original ticket. 

It is because of the variety of variables that our team reviews those online bookings against the rules the carrier attached to your unused credits. When unused credits can be validated, they will be applied accordingly to the new reservation. 

When unused ticket credits are applied, they will show on the receipt/invoice for the new ticket.

2. What if I don’t want to use an unused ticket credit when I’m booking online?

Christopherson’s systems are set up to apply your unused credits sooner rather than later so you don’t lose the value of the old tickets. Therefore, online bookings automatically prompt us to use your credits.

If you do not want a credit used for a specific trip, you would need to contact our advisor team to book your reservation and document why you do not want to use the available credit on file.

3. Can I get a refund instead of getting unused ticket credits?

More often than not, airline tickets are non-refundable. This is because refundable tickets cost more and purchasing them is a decision that must be made at the time of purchase.  

Getting a refund depends on the airline’s rules and most situations do not permit a refund. Refunding non-refundable tickets is typically only allowed when there is a major schedule change and the traveler isn’t willing to accept the new option. However, the airlines did make some exceptions to their refund rules during the pandemic. Christopherson can help you look up the rules for your ticket and request a refund for tickets that match the refund policies. Additional service fees may apply.

Thankfully, airlines have reduced restrictions on changing tickets to maximize opportunities to use unused ticket credits.

4. Can unused tickets be transferred? What do we do with unused tickets for former employees?

Most major domestic airlines allow name changes for a name change fee. Most international carriers do not allow for transferrable tickets. Talk to your Account Manager to see if your airline contracts waive name change fees. Keep in mind that name changes are only allowed for wholly unused tickets and the difference in fare is always owed.

Christopherson’s software platform, AirPortal, shows whether a ticket is transferrable in a toggle located next to the unused ticket (in the unused ticket report). The toggle should be turned on for any tickets belonging to former employees so that they can be applied to other travelers’ reservations. 

Here is a breakdown (as of 11/03/21) from a few airlines that allow name changes, their penalties, and name change fees:  

Delta Air Lines

Delta charges a $100 name change fee. That fee is waived if the client has a corporate contract that stores the new fare with a ticket designator beginning with “x” or “c” and the original ticket was booked for international travel between February 25, 2020 and March 31, 2021 or domestic travel between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Tickets must be completed by December 31, 2022.

Customers with a SkyBonus number get free name changes if their domestic travel was scheduled between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 or international travel between February 25, 2020 and September 30, 2020.  All travel must be completed by December 31, 2022. If the new ticket is less than the original value, the remaining value is forfeited.

United Airlines

United charges a $100 name change fee. Amenity funds can be used to pay the fee. If there is a change fee, you can use $300 amenity funds to both waive the change fee and change the name.

Any new ticket cannot have any codeshare or interline flights. It must be ticketed on and wholly operated by United. Any residual balance is forfeited.

American Airlines

American allows name changes for a $100 fee. Clients with a corporate contract or an AA Business Extra number get free name changes for tickets issued between March 1, 2020-March 31, 2021, provided all travel on the new ticket is completed by December 31, 2021. This also applies to unused tickets expiring March 1, 2020-March 31, 2021. 

AAdvantage members can change the name on any 001 AA or codeshare space for AA prime flights only if both parties are AAdvantage members.

JetBlue

JetBlue allows name changes and there is no fee.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines allows name changes for a $125 fee. If the person using the ticket value is an MVP member, the name change fee is waived.

Air Canada

Air Canada is allowing one free name change for valid tickets issued on or before October 31, 2021 with travel dates March 1, 2020-October 31, 2022. For tickets issued on or before March 31, 2021, travel must be completed within 24 months of the date of the last unused coupon. For tickets issued or reissued on or after April 1, 2021, travel must be completed within 24 months of the date it was originally issued.

5. Two of our former employees have unused airline tickets as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. We tried to use some of their credits to book travel for a different employee but the airline charged us $300 to transfer the credit. Is there any way around this?

Unfortunately, the airlines set their own rules and fees and they do enforce them. For cases like this, where a name has to be changed, many airlines do charge name change fees, and there may be a cost for the difference in fare.

While there typically isn’t a way around the airlines’ fees, the best way to get the most out of your unused credits, is to work with our advisors. They know the all the rules attached to your tickets and are experts at applying unused credits to new tickets. They will work to get as much value as possible out of the money you’ve already spent.

6. Who should I call if I need help with an unused tickets? Is there a fee for this? 

Any of Christopherson’s advisors can assist in answering questions about what can or cannot be done with unused ticket credits. You can reach them via email (trips@cbtravel.com) or phone (800-600-3737). There is no fee to inquire, but if your advisor has to process an exchange, refund, name change, etc., standard fees apply.

7. Are there any reports I should create to ensure we don’t lose any unused tickets?

While you can download ad hoc reports from our software platform, AirPortal, Christopherson sends automated unused ticket reports to travel managers on a monthly basis. Please let your Account Manager know if you’re not receiving those reports or have questions about your company’s unused tickets. 

Travelers also receive notifications from Christopherson 30, 90, and 120 days before their own unused ticket credits expire. Their unused tickets are also listed on their AirPortal traveler dashboard and are viewable in your online booking tool. This helps travelers stay aware of their unused tickets and encourages reuse. Unused tickets are integrated with both travel agent and online bookings. 

8. How do I get information about unused tickets for specific employees and departments within my organization?

Corporate travel managers are able to see their company’s unused tickets in our software platform, AirPortal, under “Unused Tickets” in the Main Menu.

You can also reach out directly to our Account Management or Client Services Teams for this information. They will be able to provide you a full list of all the information you’re seeking.

9. I have unused tickets on American and United that are set to expire. Is there any way around the travel completion date?

At this point, the airlines have not indicated that they will extend ticket validity farther than they already have. While it does remain a possibility that they could, we don’t suggest holding out for another extension. Instead, we suggest trying to use your unused tickets within their ticket validity, perhaps even as one-way tickets prior to their expiration so you don’t lose that value.

10. Do you have advice for responding to a traveler who wants to upgrade to business class to increase their safety as it relates to COVID-19?

We suggest that you start by reviewing your company’s travel policy on upgrades. If you don’t have a travel policy or if your policy doesn’t include guidelines on upgrades, we encourage you to work with your Account Manager to create this. Collaborate with management teams from all your traveling departments to decide what is permissible. The final decision will require weighing the cost against corporate culture and traveler well-being. Keep in mind that any decision you reach can be temporary and allowable/not allowable for a limited time. 

That said, research suggests neither business class nor first class are safer. In this Conde Nast Traveler article, Dr. Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals, said that, “It really doesn’t make much difference where you sit on the plane. What’s most important are the precautions … face masks, proper hand hygiene, sanitizing surfaces.”

If your company decides to allow COVID-19-related upgrades, most airlines allow any unused credits to be used toward new tickets in any cabin. However any rules of the old ticket supersede the rules of the new ticket. Meaning that if the original ticket was non-refundable and the new ticket is considered refundable, the old rules would actually apply, making the ticket non-refundable.

If your company decides not to allow this, but the traveler still wants to upgrade at their own expense, we can process an exchange on their economy ticket and charge their personal credit card the difference in fare plus a service fee.

If you have a question about unused tickets that we haven’t answered, please let us know. And if you’re a client with unused tickets you’d like us to review, you can always reach out to our Account Management and Client Services Teams.

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Relax While Traveling

Are you constantly stressed while traveling for work? Being away from your home and family can easily throw anyone off. Not to mention a completely different schedule than your daily routine. Whether you are new to business travel or an seasoned roadwarrior, many parts of the journey can leave you feeling anxious.  Knowing how to relax while traveling is an important but often overlooked variable of business trips.

Tricks to help you relax while traveling:

Plan ahead 

Visualizing where you’ll be, what you will be wearing and events you will be attending can establish a schedule and even control. Before you head out the door, spend a few minutes researching. Knowing the address of your hotel and where it’s located will eliminate a few harried minutes at the airport. Or if you are attending a conference, download the schedule beforehand and plan out which sessions you’d like to see. Going in with a game plan might just help keep you confident and ready for other experiences.

Don’t over-schedule yourself 

Speaking of scheduling your time, try not to overbook your day. Factor things like jet lag, amount of sleep, work deadlines, etc. before committing to additional plans.

Unplug

Though it can seem impossible, try to have a few intervals during the day to unplug from work. If you can’t do that, even 15 minutes before going to sleep can recharge you for the next day.

Wellness

Make sure to take care of your health while on the road to help melt away the stress. Take advantage of hotel wellness programs, hit the gym, or grab some healthy snacks to offset an unhealthy traveling diet.

Family Pictures 

If you are missing your loved ones at home, save pictures of them on the background of your phone or computer. Seeing your family members may bring a smile to your face as you go through long days of meetings.

Save time for a vacation 

Our last tip is to take a vacation when you are done with work travel. Whether a full vacation or just a weekend ‘bleisure’ trip can open your eyes to a new place. Connect with a travel advisor at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for complete relaxation.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

How to Turn Your Business Trip into Your Next Vacation

Have you recently taken a whirlwind business trip to an amazing destination only to be stuck inside for meetings? The views of sandy beaches or a vibrant city you have through the windows of your meeting room, hotel, or whirring by in a taxi should not be missed! Though it can be frustrating, don’t lose up hope.

Tips to turn your business trip that could turn it into your future vacation

Accommodations  

You get to see firsthand an accommodation option. If you have enjoyed your stay at the hotel then you may already have a lead on where to stay again. If not, ask around if people are enjoying where they are staying. You may find another option you did not know existed.

Networking

Networking is all about getting to know people but sometimes it is hard to come up with topics to get started. What is a more perfect way to start a conversation at a meeting than to ask if they have been to the city before or something fun they got to do there? It will give you some ideas and a great introduction topic.

Location

Location, location, location. We have all heard the phrase and it really is important! Does the location you are staying in hold some appeal for what you want to do at the destination? Or would you rather stay somewhere more central to activities you think would be enjoyable? Taking note can help decide where exactly you want to end up on your return.

You may be working but it does not mean you can’t be planning some relaxation for the future! Connect with a travel adviser at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for all the things you missed seeing and more.

 

 

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Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Precheck Lines Getting Longer?

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

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

How Does Increased Precheck Enrollment Affect Travelers

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Technology

Christopherson’s Technology Provides Actionable Intelligence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Christopherson Business Travel is launching a number of technology enhancements in conjunction with an initiative to advance their integrated software platform, AirPortal, to a new level of travel management. By providing business intelligence that is digitally transformed into actions, these enhancements help travel managers direct their programs both proactively and preemptively.

“We live in an age of information overload,” said Mike Cameron, CEO of Christopherson. “Companies need more than just business intelligence to be competitive. But the challenge isn’t where or how to find the data, it’s what to do with it once you have it. We’re designing tools to help you figure that out. Our latest technology developments provide the advantage of ‘actionable intelligence’ to empower travel managers as they direct their travel programs faster and smarter.”

Among the most notable enhancements are those made to Christopherson’s AirPortal 360 dashboard for travel managers, and Airtinerary, the company’s intelligent itinerary for business travelers.

AirPortal 360 now includes My Action Items, a work-to-zero tool which pulls data from Christopherson’s various technology and presents a list of action items. Such items may include travel plans needing approval, reminders to use expiring airline tickets, risk management duties, expiring vendor contracts, and more.

“Providing our clients with a work-to-zero dashboard that allows them to manage all their pending action items in real time is revolutionary for travel managers,” Cameron said. “My Action Items is one more way we are helping our travel managers think forward and work strategically.”

Another enhanced tool is Christopherson’s Airtinerary, which now allows travelers to interact with their travel plans. Travelers can modify, add, or delete plans, and purchase trip insurance, among other actions, directly from the mobile-responsive Airtinerary.

“‘Mobile first’ is one of our mantras,” Cameron said. “Whether it’s our existing technology or new tools, we develop intuitive, elegant, and responsive technology that meets the needs of our clients where they are and helps them be proactive about their pending action items.”

Among other enhancements is a new dashboard for the company’s Hotel Attachment tool, that helps travel managers better manage compliance and risk by knowing which travelers’ plans are incomplete and provides the ability to send reminders to complete those plans prior to travel.

Christopherson plans to unveil these enhancements at the 2016 GBTA Convention and Trade Show in Denver, CO July 18-20.

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Business Travel

Best Airport Restaurants for Business Travelers

airport restaurantsThat moment when hunger strikes on a business trip can be a pain. Often, the quickest remedy tends to be junk foods and fast foods. But if you’re a health-minded corporate traveler, good food on the road is just as important as good food at home. Quality should not be sacrificed just because you’re in a (possibly) hurry in a new location. McDonald’s is not the only option! Plus, a greasy burger will leave you feeling weighed down and tired before that important business meeting.

With organic, local, and healthier food trends becoming more prevalent worldwide, even airports are providing better varieties of restaurants and cuisine styles. Here is an airport restaurant roundup to help you find a great meal on your next business trip layover.

  1. Best Airport Food: The 10 Best Restaurants in Terminal
  2. GateGuru’s Top 25 Airport Restaurants
  3. Ultimate Airport Dining Survival Guide: Best Airport Restaurant
  4. Top 10 Airport Eateries for Getting a Taste of Local Flavor
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

United Airlines flies high in my book

United Airlines international travelWhile airlines constantly receive complaints for one reason or another, I have found that United Airlines continues to “up” their game when it comes to their international service.

I have long been a premium flyer with United but never thought their service matched other international carriers. I flew them simply for convenience as one of their hubs is in Denver (where I am based). But in the last couple of years, I have seen a great improvement in both the attitude of the in-flight crew and the service offered.

Did you know they serve ice cream sundaes in business class on international flights? I look forward to this, since most desserts are pretty predictable and boring. Their entrée options are tasty and varied, and most of the flight attendants seem to be enjoying themselves. (Of course, you will occasionally find one here or there that spoils this.)

A smile or a kind word can certainly go a long way when you are traveling. The memory of your flight may not be the highlight of your trip, but on United Airlines you have a chance. Give them a try again.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Low Hotel Attachment Rates? Christopherson Has the Solution.

Christopherson Business Travel is pleased to introduce our newest technology tool, Hotel Attachment—a digital solution to the dilemma of low hotel attachment rates.

HOTEL ATTACHMENT CUTS SPEND, BOOSTS COMPLIANCE, & ASSISTS IN DUTY OF CARE

Hotel Attachment helps companies cut spend, boost business travel policy compliance, and in fulfilling duty of care.

Christopherson is committed to delivering convenient solutions that reduce spend, encourage compliance, and keep everyone safe and informed. Companies of all sizes face the common problem of low hotel attachment rates. Hotel Attachment fixes those low rates and provides the following benefits:

  • Allows for cost-savings by encouraging use of negotiated hotel rates
  • Encourages travelers to comply with travel policies and book with preferred vendors
  • Improves duty of care, should an emergency arise, because you’ll know where travelers are staying
  • Enables travelers to always have a complete itinerary with them when they’re traveling
  • Generates analytics that can help companies reduce spend and negotiate better with vendors
  • Digitizes the process with automated reminders prior to travel

HOW IT WORKS

 

Each day, Hotel Attachment identifies itineraries with missing hotel reservations. When such an itinerary is found, Hotel Attachment sends an email to the traveler with the following four options:

  1. Make a hotel reservation.
  2. Request another reminder for a later date.
  3. Attach a hotel reservation made outside the system to the itinerary.
  4. Waive the need for a hotel reservation.

The traveler simply clicks one of the four options and our system digitally captures and processes their request. Travelers will receive a maximum of two emails—one 24 hours after the initial booking, and a final email seven days prior to travel.

With Hotel Attachment, companies and their travelers can ensure trip plans are complete, hotel compliant, and accessible prior to travel.

HOW TO BEGIN USING THE HOTEL ATTACHMENT TECHNOLOGY

We are eager to release this new, easy-to-use technology to our clients. It will be a valuable tool in Christopherson’s AirPortal arsenal and we are confident it will help companies run more convenient, cost-effective travel programs.

There are no usage fees for Hotel Attachment, and once the technology is “turned on,” we encourage clients to communicate both the functions and benefits of Hotel Attachment to their travelers and request that they always choose one of the four options when they receive a Hotel Attachment email.

For  more information, or to begin using Hotel Attachment, please contact a Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager.

 

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Travel News

Christopherson in the News: Seven Corporate Travel Trends for 2016

Travel Market Report recently interviewed Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron, about his outlook for next year. Click here to read the full article and his thoughts on Christopherson’s overall increases in travel, investments in technology, and the growing meeting sector.

Corporate travel trends

 

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Higher Bag Fees over the Holidays for Frontier and Spirit Airlines

bag feesTraveling during the holidays is not always a smooth or easy venture. One can usually expect crowds, delays, and now surcharges from some of your favorite discount airlines. Frontier has joined their competitor Spirit Airlines in charging an even higher bag fee during the peak holiday months.

These types of airlines have the initial allure of lower ticket prices, but then tack on extra fees for things like luggage, carry-ons, seat selection, and food/beverage. Now the fees are even higher during popular travel times. In an article from Time.com it was reported that, “Frontier Airlines…recently hiked checked and carry-on baggage fees by an extra $5 to $10 for flights scheduled anytime between Thanksgiving week and just after New Year’s, as well as peak travel periods in 2016.” While an increase of $5-$10 does not seem that bad at first glance, don’t forget to factor that cost per bag and for each leg of your trip, and  you’ll perhaps find that the low-cost carriers may not be as cost-effective as they seem.

Bloomberg Business reported that Senator Bill Nelson from Florida has asked that these surcharges be dropped due to the fact that, “These increased surcharges fly in the face of declining fuel costs and appear focused on increasing profitability on the backs of American families.” But while frustrating, this is simply supply and demand pricing. If people don’t like these surcharges, former airline executive, Jay Sorensen, who now runs a consulting firm, recommends “you should go with Southwest.” Another option would be to sign up for an airline credit card such as Delta’s Gold Sky Miles card from American Express which allows a free checked bag and priority boarding in addition to earning miles. If you’re uncertain what the baggage fees might be for your holiday flight, check out Kayak’s list.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Marriott International to Acquire Starwood Hotel and Resorts

merger business travelMarriott International is already a large, well-known franchise that will now be even bigger, having announced its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Through this acquisition, Marriott will have 5,500 hotels and around 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. CNBC reported that before the purchase, “Marriott currently has three-quarters of its rooms in the United States. Starwood, which also owns St. Regis and Aloft hotel brands, gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from outside the country.” This allows Marriott to expand globally, providing travelers and reward members the opportunity to stay at many more locations.

This purchase boosts Marriott’s worth to “$12.2 billion to create the world’s largest hotel chain with top brands including Sheraton, Ritz Carlton and the Autograph Collection.” The deal won’t be completed until the middle of 2016, but it will be a game changer for the hotel industry and will definitely give this franchise a leg up when customers go to book their next stay.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

The Baggage of Carrying On

carry on luggageCarrying on luggage is not as easy as it used to be. Today, many opt for carrying on because it is often more convenient and sometimes a cheaper option (as opposed to paying the fees of checking your bag and having to wait at baggage claim). To adapt to this increase in carry-on luggage, the airline industry has become stricter about bag size and the types of items you can and cannot carry-on with you.

By visiting airline websites, you can easily find the regulation size for carry-ons. But although it may say one size online, when you are at the gate and are asked to put your bag on their “sizer,” you may be surprised to find that it doesn’t fit. While the luggage industry understands one idea of what size a carry-on should be; the airlines sometimes practice another. In an article from the Wall Street Journal: “Travelpro and other luggage makers say the luggage industry practice in the U.S. is to size bags by the dimensions of the packing area without counting wheels and handles … But airlines count wheels and handles.”

There are also some inconsistencies from airline to airline. What each one classifies as a carry-on bag can vart in size, making it difficult for travelers.  “United’s sizer is actually larger than those of Delta, American, and other airlines with 22-inch limits. … Last year when it began strictly enforcing carry-on size limits, United decided to build in an inch of forgiveness. American, Delta, British Airways and others have sizers at exactly 22 inches, not 23,” reported the Wall Street Journal article.

It can be nerve wracking being at the back of the line when boarding a flight, because you can’t be sure there will be enough space overhead to fit your bag. “As airlines have installed more seats into jets over the past few years, more passengers now compete for the same overhead bin space,” the article continues. Now, with less room to fit the bags on the plane, and stricter policies on what qualify as a “legal” sized bag, it may not be worth the hassle of it all. It may, in fact, be worth the extra price to check your bag or buy a new, smaller bag to make for stress free travel.

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel Ensures Travel Policy Compliance and Duty of Care with New Technologies

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, July 15, 2015 – Christopherson Business Travel is set to launch two new products to assist companies in achieving higher travel policy compliance, duty of care fulfillment, and simplified travel management processes.

Travel Approval is digital notification process.
Travel Approval is digital notification process.

“Our two new technologies, Travel Approval and Hotel Attachment, are solutions that solve common problems faced by corporate travel managers—the inconsistent and often undocumented travel approval process, and reduced travel policy compliance as a result of low hotel attachment rates,” said Mike Cameron, Christopherson’s CEO.

The first technology, Travel Approval, is a digital notification process that obtains and tracks approvals from booking to traveler to manager. Once a traveler makes a reservation—whether online or with a full-service travel agent—a series of synchronized emails are sent to both the traveler and the traveler’s manager through which the booking can be approved, modified, or canceled at any step or permission level.

“Online booking tools have done a good job in digitizing travel approvals but there has always been a gap in the approval process for agent-assisted bookings,” Cameron said. “We built Travel Approval as a complete, digital solution for approving those agent-assisted reservations. The result is the unification of online and full-service approvals and a greater ability to enforce travel policy compliance.”

Christopherson’s second new technology, Hotel Attachment, is a hotel compliance system that identifies itineraries with missing hotel bookings and provides the traveler with four options to close that gap: 1. Make a hotel reservation; 2. Request another reminder for a later date; 3. Attach a hotel reservation made outside the system to the itinerary; and 4. Waive the need for a hotel reservation. With Hotel Attachment’s digital reminders, companies can ensure trip plans are complete and hotel compliant prior to travel.

“Low hotel attachment results in weakened vendor negotiations and compromised duty of care,” Cameron said. “Hotel Attachment solves these problems. First, it meets the needs of the travelers who want an acceptable hotel included in every itinerary. Second, it meets the needs of the travel manager who wants savings, a knowledge of where travelers are in order to fulfill duty of care responsibilities, and the ability to satisfy the company’s commitments with contracted hotel vendors.”

Travel Approval and Hotel Attachment are both integrated into and supported by Christopherson’s proprietary technology platform, AirPortal. They will be released at the 2015 Global Business Travel Association Convention in Orlando, Florida, July 25-29.

About Christopherson Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah is the independently owned leader in business travel management, online travel tools, and business travel resources. As the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States, with 365 team members and five full-service locations, the company supports more than a half-billion dollars in annual travel bookings for more than 900 successful organizations across the country including Fortune 500 companies, publicly and privately-owned business, universities, and government entities. Christopherson is an affiliate of BCD Travel and a Preferred Partner of Concur. To learn more, visit CBTravel.com.

Categories
Business and Leadership Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel Named No. 1 Woman-Owned Company in Colorado

Christopherson Business Travel has been ranked as the No. 1 Woman-Owned Company in Colorado by ColoradoBiz Magazine.

Three members of the Christopherson team (Allyson Cross, Business Development Executive; Jess Bautista, Account Manager; & Krista Maurer, Marketing Manager) attended a reception honoring the Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies to have made the list, on behalf of Christopherson’s owners Mike and Camille Cameron. Christopherson was also an associate sponsor of the event where the rankings were unveiled.

Christopherson team members L-R: Allyson Cross (Business Development Executive), Krista Maurer (Marketing Manager), and Jess Bautista (Account Manager) attended the award reception and had a great time being “on the cover” in the ColoradoBiz photo booth.

The reception was held at Redline Gallery in downtown Denver and featured a panel discussion on branding and marketing. Members of the panel included Nadine Pietrowski, CEO of Crowe GHP Horwath; Natascha Hubert, CMO of Crowe GHP Horwath; Lida Citroen, Principal at LIDA360; and Robin Ashmore, Principal at Amélie Company.

Christopherson is honored to be numbered among so many successful and thriving companies, including Vladimir Jones, one of Christopherson’s valued clients, who was also ranked on the list at No. 3.

ABOUT CHRISTOPHERSON

Christopherson Business Travel was founded in 1953 and was purchased by Mike and Camille Cameron in 1990. The company, at that time, had two employees and booked $1 million in travel. Today, Christopherson ranks as the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States, operating from five full-service locations as well as 35 client-dedicated on-site locations, maintains a successful leisure travel division (Andavo Travel), and booked more than a half-billion dollars in travel in 2014 for more than 900 organizations across the country including private businesses, Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, government entities, and universities.

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Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel at GBTA Convention 2014

Untitled-1 GBTA Convention 2014 in Los Angeles, CA has begun! And Christopherson Business Travel is pleased to be participating in this year’s event as a trade show sponsor with nearly two dozen employees in attendance.

Christopherson Business Travel is the independently owned leader in intelligent business travel management, online travel tools, and business travel resources. As the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States, and an affiliate of BCD Travel, Christopherson operates from five full-service locations (plus 35 client-dedicated on-site locations) and booked $384 million in travel in 2013 for more than 900 successful organizations across the country, including Fortune 500 companies, government entities, universities, and private businesses.

We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the unique benefits we offer as a business travel partner and invite all GBTA attendees to stop by Booth 957 to speak to our executives and see live demos of our technology tools. While there, you can recharge your electronic devices at our charging stations, enjoy one of L.A.’s famous Sprinkles cupcakes, and enter to win on of multiple cash prizes. Winners will be drawn every hour.

We look forward to meeting you!

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel Management

Adding Data, Technology & Service–Evolution of the TMC: a guest post on Concur.com/blog

Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron, is guest posting on Concur’s blog today.

Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel
Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

Adding Data, Technology & Service–Evolution of the TMC

By: Mike Cameron, Christopherson Business Travel

There’s no doubt the role of the travel management company has changed significantly in the last twenty years. With online booking tools, commission caps and more, travel management companies have been challenged to stay valuable to travelers.

As an industry, we have to evolve in how we manage travel in order to stay relevant. Here’s what Christopherson Business Travel is doing differently and our take on new ways to service travelers.

To continue reading, click here for the original post.

 

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson Agent’s Son Wins Olympic Gold

Joss Christensen wins gold!
Joss Christensen wins gold! (image via)

Christopherson Business Travel would like to send a hearty congratulations to one of our agents, Debbie Christensen and her son Joss.

This morning, while most of us in the United States were sleeping, Debbie was in Sochi, Russia cheering for her son as he became an Olympic gold medalist in slope style skiing.

According to CBS News, “Joss Christensen soared to gold in the sport’s Olympic debut, posting a score of 95.80 on Thursday to beat teammates Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper.”

Click here to read a Washington Post article detailing Joss’ journey to his Olympic gold.

Again, congratulations Joss and Debbie!

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel Acquires All Seasons Travel

cbt_logoFor Immediate Release
December 9, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY – Christopherson Business Travel announces today the acquisition of All Seasons Travel, forming one of the largest travel management firms in the country, expanding Christopherson’s footprint beyond the western United States, where it currently ranks as the largest travel agency in the Rocky Mountain region.

Salt Lake City-based Christopherson Business Travel and All Seasons Travel, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., will conduct business under the Christopherson brand name. The combined $380 million company will employ more than 300 travel professionals across the country, with Mike Cameron continuing as CEO.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the timing of such a key merger,” said Cameron. “The joined company immediately captures a stronger market position that will allow for greater business efficiencies, enhanced travel technology and formidable buying power.”

The acquisition will provide jobs for all current employees of each company.

“Joining the strengths of these powerful travel firms, that already share the same vision, will allow us to serve the needs of business and leisure travelers even more effectively,” said All Season’s CEO Borden Burr. “It is a major advantage for each of our companies, as well as for our customers.”

Bucking national economic trends, Christopherson booked $341 million in travel in 2012 and is on schedule to grow to $500 million by 2015. Christopherson’s vision for the future is to continue growing by finding new ways to add value to its client’s travel management program. Christopherson continues to invest heavily in keeping its proprietary technology platform unique and relevant.

Georgia-based Innovative Travel Acquisitions Inc. represented the seller.

About Christopherson Business Travel
Christopherson Business Travel is the independently owned leader in intelligent business travel management, online travel tools and business travel resources. As the 11th largest business travel agency in the United States, 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 manages travel for more than 900 companies and organizations across the country. For more information, please visit CBTravel.com.

About All Seasons Travel
All Seasons Travel, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is a complete travel management company specializing in corporate, leisure, group, business incentive, and sports travel. The company employs more than fifty employees and manages travel for more than 100 companies and organizations, with a specialty in team and fan travel for universities. All Seasons Travel is the official agency for Travelin’ with the Tide, Traveling Vols, and the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. For more information, please visit AllSeasonsTravel.com.

Media Contact: Krista Maurer, Krista.Maurer@CBTravel.com, 801-327-7615

Categories
Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel is Named One of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Utah

 

Christopherson's CEO Mike Cameron accepts the Utah Business Fast 50 award.
Christopherson’s CEO Mike Cameron accepts the Utah Business Fast 50 award.

Christopherson Business Travel was recognized today by Utah Business Magazine as one of Utah’s fifty fastest growing companies, determined by a combination of compound annual growth and revenue. This is the fifth year Christopherson has been named a Fast 50 company and was ranked at #38.

Christopherson’s CEO, Mike Cameron, accepted the award at a luncheon held in honor of all fifty recipients at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. He was also recently interviewed by Utah Business and shared more about Christopherson’s growth and formula for success.

Utah Business (UB): What do you attribute your strong growth to?

Mike Cameron (MC): Christopherson focuses intently on creating and maintaining a unique competitive advantage that isn’t claimed by the competition. Our in-house software engineering team has created a powerful suite of corporate travel management software and online business travel tools that can generate considerable cost savings for our clients through managing their business travel spending, their travelers’ security, unused airline tickets, and monitoring travel policy compliance.

Our company culture also plays a strong role in Christopherson’s growth.  The culture we have created is built upon a simple formula: hire the right people + create the right value proposition + a willingness to share the wealth with those who generate it. This equals growth. As we have been consistent in the application of this formula, we have grown the company from $1 million to $341 million in 23 years.

UB: What challenges have come alongside strong growth for your company and how have you overcome those?

MC: Four things come to mind. First, by 2000, Christopherson had expanded to four offices, and we decided to merge the offices into a newly-built 42,000 square foot building in Murray, Utah. We moved in the week of September 11, 2001. At the same time, as we all know, the entire travel industry came to a halt. However, Christopherson still grew 17% in 2001 and had another great year.

Second, when the airlines eliminated travel agency commissions in 2001, Christopherson’s competitors began to cut back on their employees’ compensation to stay afloat. But we, on the other hand, gave everyone a raise that year. We announced that while others would become defensive, Christopherson would take advantage of the opportunity and expand. Optimism and morale stayed high, and it worked – more growth!

Third, when people began to more fully embrace the practice of booking their own travel on the internet, this began to cut into Christopherson’s bookings. So we responded by offering customized internet booking tools to our clients. We embraced the new environment and Christopherson’s clients now book millions of dollars online using Christopherson’s tools. We have an entire team of professionals who manage all of the online technology and online bookings for our corporate clients.

And finally, as the economy began to decline rapidly in late 2008, we presented a strategy to our management team. We looked at all of the various economic downturn scenarios and presented a plan to respond to every possibility. It took all of the fear out of the process. We followed the playbook and Christopherson was able to get through a 20% economic downturn with minimal layoffs.

UB: Are there any major initiatives or goals in the near future?

MC: Christopherson booked $341 million in travel in 2012. We plan to grow to $500 million by 2015. Christopherson’s vision for the future is simply to continue growing by finding new ways to add value to our client’s travel management program. We will continue to invest heavily in keeping our proprietary technology platform unique and relevant, which has become the “secret sauce” in our success.

UB: What excites you most about your company’s future?

MC: Creating a strategy that will adapt to the rapid changes in the travel industry and provide a solid future for our employees and other stakeholders.

UB: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your company?

MC: This month, we released the first comprehensive IOS mobile app designed exclusively for corporate travel managers, executives, and team leaders. (Read the press release here.)

Click here to view this video on Christopherson’s YouTube channel.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

AirPortal 360™ Mobile Garners Media Attention

AirPortal 360 Mobile NewsChristopherson Business Travel’s new mobile app for corporate travel managers, AirPortal 360™ Mobile, released this week at the annual GBTA convention in San Diego, California.

In the days leading up to, and following the event, Christopherson received much media attention regarding the new technology.

We are thrilled to see so many stories popping up and want to thank the news outlets for their coverage. Check out the latest of Christopherson’s news appearances:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Ranked #26 on Travel Weekly’s 2013 Power List

 

Christopherson Business Travel was ranked #26 on Travel Weekly's 2013 Power List.

Christopherson Business Travel has been ranked #26 on Travel Weekly’s 2013 Power List.

In both 2011 and 2012, Christopherson was ranked #32 on this same list. The article accompanying the rankings also highlights Christopherson’s tremendous 2012 growth independent of acquisitions.

See Travel Weekly’s Power List here.

In 2012, Christopherson booked $341 million in travel, an increase of nearly 20% over 2011, and was also recently ranked the 11th largest business travel agency in the country by Business Travel News.

Click here to read Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron’s, “formula for growth.”