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Business Travel Guides

Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: COVID-19 TRAVEL VENDOR HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDE

 

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

– Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

Cleanliness is Key to Safe Travel

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

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

A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Vendor Cleanliness Standards

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

Vendor Health & Safety Measures

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

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

Guide last updated: April 22, 2020

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Business Travel Featured in the news Guides

Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: COVID-19 TRAVEL VENDOR HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDE

 

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

– Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

Cleanliness is Key to Safe Travel

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

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

A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Vendor Cleanliness Standards

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

Vendor Health & Safety Measures

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

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

Guide last updated: February 17, 2020

Download Guide

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Business Travel Guides Travel Management

Everything You Need To Know About The Business Travel Management RFP Process

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Navigating the Business Travel Management RFP Process

Your journey to find a business travel management company (TMC) doesn’t have to be a turbulent one. Whether you’re developing a travel policy to better manage your duty of care in a pandemic world, consolidating travel services to streamline your program, leading a periodic rebid requirement, or wanting a clearer picture of your travel data to inform your decision making, we’ve broken down the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to help you reach your final destination unscathed.

Step 1: Determine Needs and Goals

The RFP process is like hiring a new employee. Before you jump to requesting resumes, you need to develop a job description to advertise for the most qualified candidate, one who is interested in a long-term relationship with your organization, meshes with your institution’s culture, and performs at a consistently high level.

Similar to collaborating on a job description for an employee who will work with multiple departments in your organization, you need to assemble a team to conduct an internal evaluation of your company’s needs and expectations for the TMC position, both current and long term. Include all of your travel stakeholders—or a representative from your stakeholder groups—as well as upper and middle management who have a vested interest in developing your travel policy and fulfilling your travel program.

In light of the recent pandemic, we recommend including HR to review duty-of-care needs and traveler well-being.

Your evaluation team should look something like this, depending on your organization’s structure and travel needs:

  • Travel manager
  • Travel arrangers/schedulers
  • Frequent travelers
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CTO
  • CFO
  • HR

Conducting an internal evaluation of your company’s needs and expectations will prepare you to engage with TMCs. The process will help you determine whether a Request for Information (RFI) provides the insight and direction you need to “hire” a best-fit TMC for your company or whether your needs require a formal RFP.

Once you’ve agreed on position requirements, give them a hierarchy based on a percentage or points system. You’ll use these criteria to rank the RFPs during Step 6. Include the criteria and ranking in your RFP so TMCs better understand your program needs and can respond accordingly. An example ranking table is given below.

Step 2: Research TMCs and Develop a Prospect List

Now that you’ve developed your job description, you need to find likely candidates. As with Step 1, doing your homework here will produce the best outcome.

A Google search for “TMC” may overwhelm you with choices, so consider asking other businesses who their travel partners are and reach out to travel industry leaders, such as SAP Concur or the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), to ask for recommendations from their TMC networks. Develop a reasonable list of prospects to continue to vet. It’s easier to begin with more prospects during this step than it is to fall short at Step 5 or 7 and have to repeat the process.

Now you can Google those candidates and assess whether they might be a good fit for your organization. Start with the candidates’ websites and review their corporate backgrounds. Are they an award-winning firm? Do they maintain their accreditations and memberships in significant travel industry groups? Is their client list impressive? Have they been in the business long enough to weather changes in technology and the travel industry? Use this background information to trim your list as needed.

Because representing your firm in the best possible light is easy on your own website, also consider what others say about the TMC. Look for mentions in travel industry/business media and on their client’s websites, check their LinkedIn profile, and review their company ratings on Glassdoor or a similar site – because how the TMC’s employees rank the working relationship is significant to your potential partnership. If the TMC is difficult to work for, they are likely difficult to work with.

Start conversing with the TMCs on your list. Ask each one some standard questions formulated during your research and request a standard proposal from likely candidates. The TMC’s standard proposal, like a resume, presents all the benefits of working with them—services, technology solutions, experience, work history, etc. This provides more information to help you weed out TMC candidates so you don’t end up with a mountain of RFIs and/or RFPs to review. Why waste your time if you can determine early on that it’s not a good fit?

Step 3: Refine Prospect List

Now that you’ve found some solid candidates, narrow your list to a manageable amount. A good rule of thumb here is to peek at the back of the book (which we would never do with a novel) and work backwards. Take a look at Steps 4, 5, and 7, and estimate how many prospective TMCs you want to include at each stage of the process, ideally ending up with two or three candidates to “interview,” that is, to demonstrate their capabilities and answer your final questions.

If you’ve already ended up with a short list and your preferred candidates are sure to meet your criteria, skip Step 4 and move on to Step 5, the RFP.

Step 4: Send an RFI

Step 4 is like getting a massage: You want to make sure those knots receive the most attention. Structure the request around your organization’s most important issues and hot buttons, such as data collection and visibility, online adoption, duty-of-care, and unused ticket tracking.

From these responses, you can quickly evaluate the TMC’s value propositions and create a shortlist of companies with which to continue. Some companies can make a final decision from these RFI responses, but if that’s not you, move on to Step 5 – the RFP.

Step 5: Write/Revise and Distribute the RFP

The RFP process is not a one-size-fits-all document: If you’re 6’6″, you’re probably not buying a suit off the rack unless you have some tailoring done. Your RFP needs a custom fit, too, because your organization has its own culture, travel policy, and technical requirements.

There are dozens of RFP templates online (we provide one, below), and you may even have a serviceable RFP that just needs dusting off and some pandemic-related adjustments. However, it’s important to compare your template, if you decide to use one, with the weighted criteria you developed during Step 1 to ensure those criteria are covered .

Ask TMCs for additional information on these criteria. For example, if data-driven reporting is critical to keeping your program on track, in addition to asking about available reporting tools, ask for examples of the reports you need most frequently and the time frames for data population and report turn-around. If your travel bookings haven’t conformed to policy, ask what specific measures the TMC recommends implementing to improve policy compliance and how those measures function with an online booking tool and a full-service travel advisor. And if you’re having a hard time retaining your most frequent travelers, ask how you can increase traveler well-being to save rehiring and retraining costs.

Getting in-depth answers to your most vital concerns is essential in the RFP process, so request additional information to inform your decision, such as:

  • Technology overview
  • Example reporting
  • Service level agreement
  • Client success stories
  • Implementation plan
  • Account review example
  • Organizational chart

Make sure your published RFP timeline is reasonable and allows for a question and answer period. Your firm needs time for internal communications, executive approvals, and input from other departments, as appropriate, as well as their ongoing projects. Establish a realistic schedule, then pad it with a week or two to give your team some leeway. It’s easier to add time upfront than to communicate schedule changes to multiple TMCs, issue RFP addendums, communicate new deadlines to your team, and reschedule meetings.

Example RFP Schedule

Step 6: Rank RFP Respondents

Using the criteria established during Step 1, rank your proposals by percentages or points. You may have a clear winner at this point and can proceed to contract negotiations and award.

However, if a few firms are closely ranked, gather your evaluation team and develop a final set of questions for the presentation/demonstration phase. Again, weight your questions so you can tally scores during Step 7.

Step 7: Request Demonstrations and Rank Presenters

If you followed Step 3, you should have a two- or three-firm shortlist from which to select your TMC. Unless you’ve been given carte blanche, utilize the main decision makers from your evaluation team as your presentation panel. Use your weighted criteria from Step 6 and the total proposal score, as well as any internal conversations around the potential working relationship, to guide your award decision.

Step 8: Select TMC

Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated the RFP process and are ready to implement your new travel program.

We suggest you debrief the TMCs who presented to your team. Explaining why you didn’t select their services helps them strengthen their programs, which may benefit you in the future.

Need Additional Assistance?

If you have questions about the RFP process or Christopherson’s consultative approach and solution to travel management, please contact our business development team and download our sample RFP to help you get started.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” shape_type=””][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”regular” button_color_2=”Extra-Color-3″ icon_family=”none” text=”Download RFP Template” url=”https://staging.cbtravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/SAMPLE-TMC-RFP-TEMPLATE_Provided-by-Christopherson-Business-Travel.pdf”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Business Travel Guides

Business Travel Duty of Care: How Safe Are Your Travelers?

PANDEMIC UNDERSCORES NEED TO IMPROVE BUSINESS TRAVEL DUTY OF CARE AND RISK MANAGEMENT

As 2020 illustrates, business travelers face unforeseen risks when they take their jobs on the road.

And travelers have a lot to be anxious about. In just a few months, they have been impacted by the worldwide coronavirus, Australian bushfires, Mississippi’s tornadoes and storms, floods and mudslides in Brazil, tsunami warnings in Russia, earthquakes in Croatia and Albania, and the list goes on.

To provide your road warriors with adequate safety and security in this environment, you need to up your duty of care and travel risk management game.

The Difference Between Duty of Care and Risk Management

Workers are pretty safe in the office, thanks to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Act of 1970. Its general duty clause requires employers to provide a hazard-free place of employment.

But what protects business travelers on the road? According to Forbes, “OSHA’s requirements that employers must keep employees safe at work isn’t just limited to the employer’s offices or places of business. It can also apply when an employee travels overseas as a part of the job.”

This duty of care is the moral and legal obligation to be responsible for employee safety. It’s the “why” of the relationship.

The “what” of the relationship, travel risk management, is the strategy and action plan employers implement to reduce travel-related risk and fulfill their duty of care obligation.

“Duty of care has traditionally applied to protecting travelers and mitigating risk related to events that might occur during the flight or while at the destination. The coronavirus brings a whole new meaning to traveler safety. Now duty of care will likely cover traveler safety for the entire journey, from transportation to the airport until they return home.”

– Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

How Businesses Benefit By Providing Duty of Care 

Duty of care is the number one priority for 80% of travel buyers, according to BCD Travel. While employers are legally obligated to provide it, duty of care benefits businesses by increasing employee engagement and improving their productivity.

Beyond reciprocation from employees, duty of care can increase an organization’s value. A study tested the hypothesis that reductions in a workforce’s health and safety risks are tied to increases in the company’s stock market performance. Companies with exemplary safety, health, and environmental programs outperformed the S&P 500 by 3?5%.

Chubb’s Pan-European study also shows that businesses benefit from implementing duty of care, including improved profitability, increased productivity, and attracting and retaining employees.

Telecom, construction, real estate, logistics, and distribution industries had the strongest correlation with duty of care increasing profitability. And 78% of all companies with a holistic approach to duty of care said it reduced employee absence.

If there is such a strong relationship between providing duty of care and improving employee performance–and even increasing a company’s value–why do so many organizations allow employees to book travel off-channel, outside the safety of their travel management company’s (TMC’s) umbrella?

Booking Off-channel Increases Risk

Whether you call it rogue booking, off-channel booking, or travel leakage, booking with outside vendors increases the probability of duty of care and risk management failures.

A live audience poll of travel managers at an Association of Corporate Travel Executives conference shows that risk management—the ability to locate employees in an emergency—is the number one concern generated by off-channel bookings. When travelers book on consumer sites, travel managers lose visibility and control.

Source: Association of Corporate Travel Executives Conference (used with permission)

Booking in-channel with a TMC provides managers with an employee’s itinerary and allows them to track and contact travelers during emergencies. The traveler, in turn, gets peace of mind and experiences less stress by knowing their employer is aware of and can contact them.

“Providers must have access to the traveler’s full itinerary including all work sites, stopovers, likely side trips, and potential itinerary changes.”

– CDC Yellow Book 2020

If an employee books off-channel and fails to provide an itinerary, forgets to update their itinerary, or doesn’t engage in a risk-monitoring discussion, employers may fail in their duty of care obligation: they can’t manage risk because they can’t locate the traveler.

“Coronavirus has highlighted that businesses didn’t know where their travelers were because they booked outside the system.”

– Matt Cameron, COO, Christopherson Business Travel

Booking In-channel Reduces Risk

Tracking your travelers is paramount to ensuring their safety. To provide real-time data on traveler location and the ability to filter travelers by events they might encounter (e.g., when will that tornado strike Alabama and which of our 17 traveling employees are going to, near, or through that area?), we developed SecurityLogic, which allows managers to track travelers, monitor their safety, and communicate with them in an emergency.

Companies Need Risk Management Technology

SecurityLogic, Christopherson’s risk management tool, provides time windows that look forward and backward (3 and 1 weeks, respectively) at each employee’s trip and its applicable travel alerts. Since some events can be anticipated—like hurricanes that are tracked as they develop—it makes sense to look forward to predictions for landfall, see who is traveling at that time, and determine whether their trip needs to be rerouted. The system updates travel alerts every 10 minutes via a data feed to keep travelers and arrangers apprised of world situations.

Using a series of filters, managers can view specific scenarios. For example:

  • If an airline’s reservation system is down, you can look for your employees traveling with Delta to see who is impacted.
  • If a flight were to crash, you can check to see whether you have travelers onboard that flight.
  • In the case of a terrorist event, say in Hanau, Germany, you can filter travelers by city to see travelers who are in or near the area.
  • In the case of a hotel fire, you can look at each hotel to see whether any of your travelers are staying at that hotel.

SecurityLogic’s world map gives you a high-level view of the traveler’s trip, such as the area of travel, and allows you to drill down to specifics, like the hotel where that traveler is staying. Through map links to itineraries, travel managers can find all travel and location information for each employee.

In addition, the map shows filterable past, current, and future safety alerts, as well as safety checks that were sent to travelers. Safety alerts are matched to trips and their geographic locations, including places of departure and destination, as well as segments that go through areas of concern.

Travel arrangers can customize the map by choosing which alert categories are shown (health, weather, transportation, natural disaster, security, political, other). These alert categories are further defined by four levels of severity (information, caution, warning, disaster). Each alert includes a link to its source, providing travel arrangers with more detailed, current information.

The map’s radius function allows you to draw and drag a circle to show only travelers within its radius, a function that is valuable when there are regional issues such as April’s earthquakes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

World-wide weather and U.S. doppler overlays can be applied to the map to track events. For instance, during hurricane season you can see the eye of the storm and follow the storm’s progress as it is affected by trade winds and high-pressure systems.

By turning on the map’s Global Disaster Alert Coordination System (GDACS) overlay in map options, you’ll access a government feed for natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, and volcanos. Clicking on the alert icon provides a link to the warning’s source so you can get a situational overview and drill into details, like wind patterns for hurricanes.

Although SecurityLogic was designed to provide disaster alerts for travelers and travel arrangers, clients also use it to track travelers, whether they have travel-related questions or need to see where someone is traveling on a given day.

Check Traveler Safety in Real-Time

SecurityLogic’s Safety Check tool allows managers to filter their list of travelers to travelers of concern level, then select “Safety Check” and prepopulate an alert notification for travelers at risk. The notification contains a link to alert information, a customizable message (for instance, stay out of this area or come home early) and find out whether they are currently safe.

The alert is sent via text, email, or both, depending on the traveler’s preferences set in our proprietary AirPortal software platform.

After receiving an alert, travelers can respond with “I’m safe” or “I need assistance.” If they click the need assistance option, a text box allows them to communicate their needs to the travel arranger. If they select either option, the tool requests permission to use their real-time location. Once they give permission, they are geotagged on the map.

According to Christopherson COO Matt Cameron, about 80% of travelers are generally safe. Of the other 20%, some may not have cell service, and some might need assistance. Safety Check’s functionality allows elimination of safe travelers so managers can focus on those who might need assistance.

For quickest resolution, a team can be used to eliminate travelers as they are contacted and their status updated by marking “resolved.”

Organizations Must Document and Verify Traveler Communications

According to International SOS, it is very important to have a program setup that ensures “each action can be documented and verified to reduce corporate exposure in case an incident does occur.”

“Businesses with any traveling workforce need to get out ahead of the duty of care . . . The goal, of course, is protecting both the employee and the employer.”

Thomas Pecora, Pecora Consulting Services

SecurityLogic provides documentation and verification of alerts sent to travelers: the travel alerts page shows all alerts matched with specific travelers, along with links to the alert sources, and the notifications page shows the alerts sent to specific travelers, allowing you to verify the information they received.

These functions are extremely helpful when conducting a historical audit to confirm travelers received notices for alerts, such as the closing of the Canberra Airport in Australia, the suspension of European travel to the United States to stem the spread of coronavirus, a tornado warning in Stephens County, Oklahoma, or cautions about potential domestic terrorism in Santiago, Chile.

“With SecurityLogic, you add security component without incurring additional cost, so it’s a good value.”

– Matt Cameron, COO, Christopherson Business Travel

Implementing a Pre-trip Approval Process Reduces Risk

According to Business Traveler USA, more than 66% of American travelers had trips affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Yet 40% of GBTA members said they either have no travel risk mitigation program or have not reviewed their program since its implementation.

Developing and continually updating these plans is a fiscal no brainer, as duty of care negligence verdicts can impact the bottom line. For example, in 2017 a student who contracted a tick-borne illness during a study abroad trip to China was awarded $41.5 million.

With the potentially devastating financial consequences of duty of care negligence and the high risk associated with coronavirus, it’s no wonder organizations are hustling to implement trip approval procedures that mitigate travel risk.

“Pre-trip approvals are often a cost-control mechanism, but many organizations also use the process to watch for travel planned to risky destinations. This helps them ensure travelers are up to date on relevant vaccinations and can account for other safety and security concerns.”

– David Jonas, The Company Dime

An Automated Process Tool Makes Travel Approval Easy

To implement pre-trip approval for risk management and travel policy compliance, Christopherson provides the Travel Approval tool.

Travel Approval settings can be automated so organizations can determine whether trips to high-risk areas require approval or are not permitted. In the first case, trips requiring approval can be routed to a risk manager or risk management team. Managers also can track approvals throughout the process via an automated series of digital notifications.

Assess Your Plan with This Travel Risk Management Kit

If you’re among the 75% of organizations that rely on a booking tool to track employees, the 53% that don’t have or don’t know if they have the resources to assist employees in an emergency, or just think it’s time for a review, we offer a free risk management kit to assess and improve your duty of care program.

“September 11th reinvented the process for protecting airplanes. Covid-19 will reinvent the travel process around safety, cleanliness, and virus transmission protection. Terms like social distancing, personal protection equipment (PPE), and antibody immunity testing are now part of our new travel vocabulary.

We are up for the challenge, and we will reinvent ourselves to help you and the travelers for whom you have a duty of care responsibility.”

– Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

DOWNLOAD OUR RISK MANAGEMENT KIT HERE:

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Business Travel Guides

The Definitive Guide To Choosing Between TSA Precheck, Global Entry or CLEAR

Do you know what’s worse than the long security lines at the airport? Standing in that long line, watching travelers with TSA Precheck or CLEAR breeze past and continue onto their gate. It’s like being stuck in gridlock rush hour traffic, as a commuter train speeds around the congestion and quickly disappears into the horizon. And whenever I encounter either, I quietly vow to be one of those lucky passengers or travelers next time.

Of course, what follows is diving into the different options available, and ultimately hitting a wall of choice paralysis. Which one do I choose? Which is the best option for my lifestyle and amount that I travel? Shouldn’t I be focusing on more important things, rather than researching expedited security screening services? Well, we’re putting an end to this indecision. We’ve completed a thorough investigation and laid it all out. Now, all you have to do is read these quick summaries and decide which service would benefit you the most.

 

TSA PreCheck

How it’s different

This short cut through the security line is run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which regulates the overall security line. Because it’s regulated from within TSA, you may have previously received free TSA PreCheck status in the past. It works by bypassing the long security lines, into the designated TSA PreCheck lines. The lines are usually smaller and faster because you don’t remove shoes, belts, laptops, or liquids.

What’s the application process?

Users subscribing to TSA PreCheck fill out a short online form. Then, one must schedule an interview with a TSA agent to finish the evaluation process. The interview is typically conducted at a TSA office, meaning you will likely need to drive to your closest airport to conduct the interview. Fortunately, TSA frequently promotes events outside of the airport to complete the process.

Cost

A $85 non-refundable fee that covers a 5 year membership. (That comes out to just $17 a year.)

Upside

  • Because it runs through the existing TSA, it has been implemented thoroughly throughout the U.S. It is currently in more than 200 airports and 53 airlines.
  • They are already rolling out new advanced technology in select TSA PreCheck security lines, like facial recognition technology, and only using your driver’s license.

Downside

  • There have been recent criticisms that TSA PreCheck is potentially the slowest of these advanced security screenings. Largely due to TSA PreCheck being run by the government, it is more likely to be understaffed with long lines during high use times.
  • The $85 application fee is non-refundable, even if you are not accepted into the program.
  • Having TSA PreCheck eligibility status is included in Global Entry, so paying for it individually may not be the most effective use of a membership.

Who should sign up

Any frequent business traveler who travels within the US. It is the best deal out of all of the services, but does have some potential drawbacks.

 

Global Entry – Trusted Traveler Programs

How it’s different

This is the only service that focuses on international travel by reducing the time spent in customs lines. Run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, its biggest advantage is it can be used in customs lines coming back into the U.S. Once flying back to the States and reaching customs, Global Entry members will pass to a designated kiosk, where they will scan their fingerprints and continue through the on-screen prompts.

Other Trusted Traveler Programs include Nexus and Sentri, expediting service between only the U.S. & Canada, and the U.S. and Mexico, respectively.

 Cost

$100 one-time fee for application. Includes a 5 year membership. (That comes out to $20 a year)

What’s the application process?

An online application, plus the fee. If your application is approved, an interview with a Customs & Border Protection agent will be scheduled at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Your fingerprints will be taken, which will later be used as identification when you use a Global Entry kiosk at customs.

Upside

  • The best option for international travel.
  • Includes TSA PreCheck membership

Downside

  • The wait time for your interview can be lengthy, sometimes six months out.
  • If you are denied entry into the program, your $100 application fee will not be returned.

Who should sign up

International travelers. Even one or two trips to another country could justify the price.

 

CLEAR

How it’s different

CLEAR is the only private service, not developed through the government. As a standalone service, it addresses the long security lines from a different angle. Rather than reducing the wait time in existing security lines, they instead created their own line. It scans your identity with a fingerprint scan and an eye scan.

Cost

$179 per year (that’s $15 per month)

What’s the application process?

A simple registration form, followed by a 5 minute set-up at an enrollment center. You will need your driver’s license to continue. CLEAR can be used through airport security that same day.

Upside

  • Easiest application process
  • Does not require any additional identification through the line process, just your boarding pass.
  • Can be used concurrently with TSA Pre-check Eligibility. Use CLEAR to verify your identity, then skip ahead to the Precheck line.
  • CLEAR is branching out into other avenues, like sports stadiums, arenas, and more. Potentially, you could use it in your everyday life.

Downside

  • The most expensive option, by far.
  • Limited availability in airports, though it is growing. Currently it’s in only 30 airports in the US.

Who should sign up

A very frequent business traveler, who knows that CLEAR is available in the airports he/she frequents.

 

 

 

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Guides Travel Tips

Gift Ideas For Business Travelers

Frequent business travelers are an interesting breed—they have their own techniques and tricks for just about everything travel related. Whether it’s packing know-how or airport shortcuts; they usually have their own way of doing things. That’s one reason why finding gifts that will fit into their existing routines can be a struggle. This year, we’ve asked our internal team for their reliable travel favorites or items on their wish list. Come ready this year with these tried-and-true gift ideas for business travelers.

2017 top gift ideas for business travelers

  1. Ebags laptop briefcase – This professional piece of luggage can be used for a quick day trip or a longer stay. The briefcase has a handy compartment for your laptop, with additional storage. It can be used as a briefcase, with an over-the-shoulder strap. Or, convert into a modern backpack. The best part? It easily mounts on top of your rolling suitcase, zippering around the extending poles. Ease the awkwardness of traveling with multiple bags with this gift.
  2. RFID blocking wallet –  RFID, or radio frequency identification, is the latest technology used to easily and quickly identify and scan information. You can find it in credit cards, passports, toll lane passes and other devices. Unfortunately, hackers with RFID readers can easily access this information too. If you’re worried about a loved one running into this type of scam while on the road, an RFID blocking wallet or other item may be the perfect gift. You can also find RFID blocking fanny packs, luggage, and even skinny jeans! 
  3. BlenderBottle GoStak Storage jars – This is the perfect gift for any health-conscious person on your list, especially a frequent traveler. These stacking jars fits two servings of protein powder shake and supplements, plus an extra compartment for portioned snacks. Additionally, it easily stacks together, for a space-saving solution. 
  4. Coffee subscriptions – Those always on-the-go professionals are often always with coffee in hand too! Get them something you know they’ll use with a monthly subscription of coffee. Many different subscriptions exist, all delivered to their door.   
  5. Aukey car phone mount – You’ll be surprised by how simple, small, and cheap this product is! For anyone who frequently travels by car, this is an easy solution to keep smartphones easily accessible and in place. This car phone mount simply snaps into any car air vent. A strong magnet is placed on the back of their phone, giving the driver a hands-free view of their smartphone screen.  Other reviews indicate that it can be used with even the heaviest and largest smartphones. 
  6. Anker Multiport usb wall charger – With smartphones, tablets, Fitbits, Kindles, portable speakers, etc., the need to charge multiple devices at once is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, most devices charge via a usb port, and most hotel rooms don’t provide these stations. This 4-port wall charger allows the user to charge four devices at once. So they can efficiently charge everything they need at once and get back to what’s more important.
  7. Sentri home security – Not the most exciting gift on the list, but one that provides peace of mind. Let your frequent traveler virtually check-in on their home with this camera and interface. The touch screen device, which looks like a basic clock, is also a camera. When there is movement inside the house, the user will receive an update on their phone. From there, they can look at live feed of the house or past recordings. Depending on the situation, a siren can be instigated from the phone to the device, scaring whoever may be inside.  It also connects to other smart home devices, like Nest. There are different monthly payment options, including a free version.
  8. CLEAR – CLEAR is similar to TSA Pre-Check in that it allows its members to quickly speed through security lines at the airport. Using the traveler’s fingerprint or eye scan, it verifies that it’s really them and gets them on their way. Though a higher price tag than TSA Precheck ($15 a month, compared to $85 for 5 years), it is becoming known as the fastest option, (while TSA Pre-Check is under scrutiny for slow lines and delays). Currently in 30 cities, it is also being used at sports stadiums.  
  9. Priority Pass Lounge access – This is the ULTIMATE gift for frequent business travelers. With 1000+ lounges in over 500 countries, your traveler can access airline lounges between flights. Let them relax and decompress from traveling, grab a bite to eat or drink (including free alcohol at most lounges), along with free secure wifi. It comes with three different membership tiers. Though they are continually adding more lounges, double check that their frequently traveled locations are on the list first before purchasing.

 

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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 Guides Travel Management

The First Questions To Ask TMCs – Part 1

Deciding to manage travel with a TMC is an exciting transition for any company. Knowing that your travel will be in the hands of experts is relieving, and getting time back in your day back is an appealing perk too. So, now that your company is ready to move forward – where do you start?  What traits are essential for a qualified travel management company? And more importantly, which one is the right fit for your business’ specific needs?

We understand this venture can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together these beginning questions to ask TMCs. These are questions we’re frequently asked by interested companies. We’ve also included additional tips and thoughts to consider during the process.

The first 6 questions to ask TMCs

  1. How much money are you going to save me? This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? It’s the question we hear most frequently, and I’m sure it’s the first question your CEO is going to ask you too. Yes, this is an important question, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor either. At Christopherson, our clients can expect to save 15-18% on travel costs on average. But it’s important to also keep in mind other factors; like price of the tickets, time, stress and ancillary costs. Items like these are often not factored into blanket cost statements. Many factors go into a healthy and successful travel management program. Cost is just one of the many considering factors.
  2. What technology do you offer? What solutions are you looking to solve in a travel management software? In your research, you may find there are tools for problems that you didn’t even know existed. Our proprietary technology, AirPortal 360, is a powerful, extensive travel technology tool. With a tool set for travel managers, as well as travelers, you can rest assured that everyone is on the same page. Stay on top of your travel with tools that assist with risk management, hotel pre-pay solutions, unused ticket assistance, and much more.
  3. What is the employee turnover rate at your company? Knowing this answer before signing on with a TMC can truly save time and wasted energy down the line. It can be the difference between and happy and long-term relationship with your account manager, or skipping to new account managers every few months. Having a company by your side that not only takes good care of you, but also their employees is important when it comes to customer satisfaction in the long run.
  4. What is your client retention rate? A very similar question. A low retention of current clients can indicate an issue with performance at a travel management company.
  5. Are there additional inclusions into the travel program? Will the TMC have an initial low price, but nickel and dime you for additional features and actions? This is one reason why the ‘how much are you going to save me’ question can be misleading and necessary to dive further.
  6. Do you provide custom solutions? Is the product and travel program a simple ‘off-the-shelf’ model?  It’s important to understand if your program will have the customization you need to run an efficient travel management program.

At Christopherson Business Travel, our approach is dedicated account management with custom travel programs. Feel confidant that your business is in the right hands with our experienced team and 24/7 service. Please contact us to learn more about how Christopherson can fit your travel needs.

Continue on our part 2 of the series: 7 questions every business should ask before partnering with a TMC

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Business Travel Guides Travel News

How to Select the Right Corporate Travel Partners

I recently had the pleasure of attending the GBTA- North Carolina’s Education Day.  Themed ‘Bridging the Travel Gap’, it focused on helping both buyers and suppliers bridge the gaps that may exist during the purchasing process. The keynote speaker was Neil Hammond of Goldspring Consulting and he focused on Better Engaging the Buyer and Supplier Relationship. While he delivered a breadth of beneficial material, I really enjoyed his process on selecting the right corporate travel partners. By breaking it out into steps, it makes the process less daunting. It also allows for increased communication and guidelines, ensuring everyone’s needs are met for future travel management practices.

Selecting the right corporate travel partners for your business:

  1. Involve any key stakeholders to get internal support. Gaining this support is especially helpful when a introducing a new policy or changing vendors.
  2. Align your message internally in order to deliver the same message to your travelers.
  3. Educate key decision makers as necessary. Take the time to explain why vendor options are being evaluated.
  4. Define your strategy in advance of collecting a proposal. Will you be awarding a single contract or multiple?
  5. Survey your travelers. This will give you a clear picture of what travelers like and also in keeping their opinions in mind, will ensure buy-in as you proceed in the decision making process.
  6. Agree on your decision making process. What parameters are you looking for? Do these align with your company policy? Do you have a clear timeline for the implementation of this change?
  7. Clearly express your requirements to potential suppliers.
  8. Evaluate suppliers, engaging throughout the process to gain clarification and provide updates on your timeline, if necessary.
  9. Execute a decision according to the defined timeline.

While making a change to your travel program is never easy, following these steps will help you stay organized while selecting your corporate travel partners. And remember, Christopherson is always here to help. With more that 60 years experience in corporate travel, we understand the challenges that businesses face with travel management. If you would like to discuss the process of choosing corporate travel partners in more depth, feel free to contact us, or read our additional blogs below.

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Guides Travel Industry

Is Your Driver’s License Valid For Air Travel?

The REAL ID Act, originally passed by Congress in 2005, has steadily been updating the identification processes in our nation. Already standardizing protocol in federal buildings, nuclear power plants and other facilities, the act is entering its final stages. The final focus in on passenger identification on commercial airlines, which is secured by the Department of Homeland Security. Depending on which state you live in, your driver’s license may soon not be valid for domestic air travel.

TSA protocols for valid identification will be updating

Surprisingly, many frequent travelers are unaware of the impending identification changes coming to commercial air travel. It has been the responsibility of the individual states to update their driver’s license to be REAL ID compliant. Even with detailed timelines and deadlines given, many states are still in flux.

Read our inforgaphic below to see if your state is compliant to the impending REAL ID Act changes.

real-id-act

Have more questions? Read our blog on the Real ID Act.

Christopherson Business Travel takes the frustration out of travel management for busy companies. Learn how our travel technology and consultative account management does just that by scheduling a demo today.

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Business Travel Guides Travel Industry

Comparing Basic Economy Fares

There is a new bandwagon in the business travel industry – and it’s basic economy fares from major airlines. Delta has had a handle on their basic economy class since last year. But both United Airlines and American Airlines announced their own twist on the basic economy fare within the last three months. With this sudden competitiveness for cheap seats, we decided to compare each new basic economy class by airline.

The gist of basic economy fares?

  • Cheaper ticket prices, but a few of the perks of the flight have been removed
  • Traveler can’t choose their seat
  • They are also the last to board the plane
  • Still has access to on-flight perks such as inflight entertainment, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks

Delta Air Line’s Basic Economy Class

  • Allows use of overhead bin and the area below the seat in front of you
  • If traveling with others or family, it’s likely you won’t be sitting together
  • Traveler will not be eligible for same-day changes or ticket refunds after the Risk Free Cancellation Period
  • Also not eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades or preferred seats, even with Medallion® Status

United Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • No use of overhead bins for luggage. This is the biggest differentiation with United’s basic economy class.  When originally announced, it spurred a lot of emotion in the business travel community.
  • Seat is assigned prior to boarding. No changes or upgrades are allowed.
  • If you are a MileagePlus member, you will still earn miles from the flight, but you will not accrue Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles or toward the four-segment minimum, and won’t receive some benefits.
  • Checked baggage is still available for the addition fee.

American Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • Most recently announced, American’s Basic Economy Fare will go on sale in late February
  • No use of overhead bins – following United’s suit
  • Seats assigned at check-in, but they do offer seat selection for an additional fee.
  • BUT- if you are an AAdvantage elite status member and eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, you are exempt from certain restrictions
    • Use the overhead bin for an addition piece of luggage (no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 in.)
    • Keep you priority or preferred boarding privileges
    • Keep your checked bag benefits
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Guides Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Guide For Frequent Travelers

In the final installment of our holiday gift guide, we have focused on the frequent business flyer. This demographic has an established travel routine, developed through loads of trial and error. Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas, designed to compliment and assist your active business traveler.

Gift guide for frequent travelers

  1. Passport sleeve– I love this gift idea because it is so useful, but can also be customized for your loved one. For an international flyer, these handy organizers provide a place to keep a passport and other important items, like money or credit cards. You can find truly wonderful passport holders on etsy.com too, with options to personalize further or monogram.
  2. Grid organizer– There is nothing more frustrating than a knotted ball of cords when traveling. They take up precious packing space, wiggle to the bottom of bags, and are never there when you need it the most. That’s why this organization system is so ingenious. A slim board with rubber elastic weaved throughout, it securely holds any sized gadget, cord or other loose item in place. It’s versatile and solves one of travels most frustrating problems.
  3. Travel steamer– Sometimes an iron is just not enough. This clothes steamer is small enough to tuck away in luggage, but powerful enough to get out the worst wrinkles. This is a thoughtful gift for the business traveler who always looks their best, even in wrinkle-prone outfits.
  4. Travel toothbrush sanitizer– When was the last time you replaced your travel toothbrush? Yeah, I’m not sure either. This compact toothbrush and carrier kills 99% of germs in just seven minutes. It’s a practical gift, but provides lasting care while your loved one is on the road. And will get them to replace their existing travel toothbrush.
  5. Portable scale– Even if your frequent flyer typically carries on their luggage, this is a gift that will absolutely get use at some point or another. This compact sized scale is small enough to hide away when not needed, but will be a lifesaver when the moment arrises.
  6. Monday to Sunday skin mask kit– Pamper you loved one, even when they are on the road. This seven day mask kit provides moisturization, vitamins and essential oils for a week long treatment. Plus, they are small and easy to pack, with no liquids that might spill or raise TSA concerns.
  7. Noise cancelling headphones– A quality pair of headphones is vital of plane travel these days. Even if your business traveler doesn’t listen to music while traveling, cancelling out the noise of the plane engine or screaming babies is sure to be appreciated. There are many different styles and price level, but this guide from Forbes will assist you in finding the perfect pair.
  8. Airport lounge access– This may be my favorite on the list. For the frequent flyer who often has long layovers or just likes to get away from the crowd, give them the gift of lounge access. You will need to know the airline they most often fly with. Do some research first and contact the airline directly through their website for the best deal. Or, try a service like LoungBuddy. They provide lounge access by the day, depending on availability at specific airports.

Still need more ideas? Read our two previous gift guides for more ideas. And happy holidays!

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Business Travel Guides Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Travel Packing List For Dummies: Use Carry-on Luggage For EVERY Trip

Passengers gathering at the gate prior to their boarding time is strange to me. My first thought is often, ‘why stand in line before you are called, cutting into time that could be used for work, a preflight meal, catching up on a phone call?’ But then I remember that these travelers, like me, are terrified of not finding a space for their bag on the plane. I pride myself on using the same international sized carry-on for every trip, no matter how long. In fact, I wrote a blog on my favorite packing tips a few years ago.  Since I wrote this, I’ve continued traveling for business and leisure and know even more about packing light. I’ve discovered a few easy tips that are especially helpful as we move into the cooler months.

Carry-on packing tips for business and leisure travelers

1) Invest in packing cubes. They not only help you separate your clothes, but they really do keep everything compact. They are especially useful for sweaters!
2) Boot season is upon us and while they look great, knee-high boots can take up an entire suitcase. If boots are part of your wardrobe, wear them on the plane to save space.
3) Try wearing items that you have packed a few times during the same trip. A scarf or tie can really transform an outfit, and nobody will even notice that you had worn it the previous day.
4) If you plan to use the hotel gym, invest in a good workout outfit that is made of nylon. This material gets really small when folded and you can even roll the items and store them inside your workout shoes.
5) If you buy your cosmetics from a mall department store, do so when you can get a promotional gift. The bags that come with these gifts are often the perfect size for travel and the samples are usually travel sized.

Overall, I’ve learned that even with the stressful pre-boarding line, carry-on luggage is the best option for plane travel. Especially if you have an established packing routine with usable tips and tricks.

Looking for more helpful tips on business travel packing? Check out our other blog posts:

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’ve worked passionately for more than 60 years to bring travel solutions to busy businesses. Learn more about our specialty travel technology or consultative services that save our clients time and money.

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Business Travel Guides Travel Management

Guide To Creating An Effective Business Travel Policy

We’ve said before that the cornerstone of an effective travel management program is the business travel policy. Travel policies that are practical and easy to understand have a higher compliance rate and save more money for the company. But where do you start? No business is the same, and neither is their travel policy. Whether you create your own travel policy or with the help of a travel management company, we developed this guide to familiarize professionals with the basics of creating business travel policies.

What is a business travel policy?

A business travel policy is a set of guidelines to be used by companies, travel managers and employees for travel and its related planning. The main objective of an effective travel policy is to keep travelers safe while also adhering to the company’s guidelines, including budget. If your policy is easy to understand, oversees traveler’s security, and up-to-date; compliance will likely be higher as well.

What are the benefits of having a business travel policy?

There are many advantages of utilizing a travel policy for your company. One of the most valuable is establishing clear guidelines. For example, your company might decide to allow business class seating, but only for international travel. This is then stated in the travel policy, so your present and future employees will understand its stipulations.

Travel policies also regulate cost control and savings for your budget. By regulating your traveler’s travel, you can have a better understanding of your budget and where to save moving forward. For example, just by outlining when business class tickets should be used can positively affect your travel budget! Additionally, duty of care responsibilities and safety protocols can be established and outlined. In case of an emergency, these protocols can be immediately adhered and followed.

Is every travel policy the same?

No. Every business travel policy should be created specifically for the company’s needs. No two companies are exactly the same, and neither should be their travel policy. Actually, some companies find they don’t even need a defined travel policy. How often employees travel and who pays for the travel are two important factors. If only one employee travels a couple times a year, you may be able to budget and communicate effectively without needing a full travel policy. Or, if your clients are billed for travel, budget may not be a large concern for your business model. Take a look at your company as a whole and see if it makes sense to create a travel policy. If you find you don’t need one, it’s still important to outline duty of care and safety procedures. 

How do travel policies differ?

Policies should be comprehensive and consistent, but also consider cultural nuances. This is done by differentiating between global and local policies. As the Business Travel Buyer’s Handbook 2016 said, ‘The global policy should rule, and local policies should be stricter.’ If your company is worldwide, you will have conditions that apply to everyone. Then, consider local laws and constraints for travelers in different locations.  What works best for people in the U.S. may be less advisable for people in Asian markets. You can try creating regional travel policies for countries with similar travel management needs. 

How strict should your travel policy be?

Policy rules often depend on the level of control your company wishes to exercise.  For example, some companies stipulate that the cheapest ticket must always be purchased, as long as a layover does not exceed three hours. This policy is focused on cost savings, but pretty strict. Other companies decide not to drill down as harshly. Consider what is most important to the company and the best way to accomplish that objective. Be aware that overly strict policies can hinder compliance and even your traveler’s happiness. If your frequent business travelers have three hour layovers multiple times a week, how will that affect their productivity and job satisfaction? Consider your company culture and its future before implementing a strict policy. 

What is important to include in a business travel policy?

This depends on your objectives and scope of control.  Below are common items often listed in travel policies: 

  • Air travel – Will your travelers have a budget? Should the lowest priced ticket always be purchased? Should non-stop vs. direct flights be defined? 
  • Travel approval – Will managers approve the travel itinerary before it is booked? How will this be done?
  • Hotel suppliers – Will employees always stay with the same hotel supplier? What happens when there is a lower priced room at a different hotel?
  • Car rental – Should you specify what type of cars are allowed as rentals? Compact cars vs. limos? What about using sharing economy cars like Uber? 
  • Reimbursement systems – How will employees be reimbursed for travel expenses? Or will they use a company credit card? Are there repercussions for not submitting receipts? 

Who should create the travel policy?

Input from every department works the best. Having input from a CEO or stakeholder often speeds up the process, as their approval is usually needed anyway. Discuss with HR, accounting, IT and heads of other departments to ensure their cooperation and input. Also, discuss the needs and experiences of current travelers and road warriors. What they consider important may be different than the stakeholders. 

Who is covered under a travel policy?

Travel policies should cover everyone who travels on behalf of your company. Additionally, and this may be the most important tip – keep the policy brief and clear so everyone is covered and understands the policies. Compliance will go out the window if no one understands what’s in the policy.  

Specific details can be outlined for individuals or departments. Some companies differentiate policy guidelines with special consideration for high ranking execs. You probably won’t have interns flying first class, but you also aren’t going to make the CEO fly coach either. Some companies mitigate potential disaster by not allowing more than two or three executives to fly on the same plane should disaster strike. These particular policies are often drafted in an executive level policy, so they are not known to lower level employees.

Road warriors often have their own stipulations. You can specify mileage, reimbursement, or overnight stay threshold within the travel policy too.

Other things to consider when creating a business travel policy

Customized and personalized experiences are becoming more important to travelers. Mobile devices and apps are being used more frequently, catering to specific experiences. If you want compliance to stay high, make it as easy as possible to comply with your policy. Using mobile apps or alternative communication often increases compliance. 

 

Read next from our corporate travel blog:

 

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Guides Travel Tips

The Best Restaurants Near The Denver Convention Center

With one of our five offices in Denver, we are excited that the GBTA conference will be held here this year. As you’ve been preparing and packing, we’ve been developing a few Denver guides just for you. Let us show you around town, or at least what you can squeeze in between seminars and other events.

16th Street Mall

This outdoor pedestrian mall runs up and down 16th Street from Union Station to the north and the Civic Center to the south. Get a feel for Denver restaurants and shops, surrounded by gold rush era buildings. There is a free mall ride that continually transports pedestrians up and down the strip. Get on and off as you please, it stops at every corner.

Here are a few of our favorite spots on 16th Street

Union Station – This 100-year old landmark is a still an active transportation hub, but recently remodeled to entertain. Now it holds many local restaurants, stores and a hotel. A truly great place to enjoy Denver and people watch.
1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
http://unionstationindenver.com/

Tattered Cover Bookstore – A three-story locally owned bookstore. A must for your visit to 16th street.
1628 16th St, Denver, CO 80202
http://www.tatteredcover.com/

Illegal Petes – Perfect for a quick but hearty meal on 16th Street. Local to Colorado and quickly gaining popularity. Similar to Chipotle (which is also a CO native restaurant), they are known for their cilantro-lime rice and tasty everything.
1530 16th St #101, Denver, CO 80202
http://illegalpetes.com/

Yard House – High-end sports bar with American fare and large draft list.
1555 Court Pl, Denver, CO 80202
http://www.yardhouse.com/home

Brown Palace Hotel – Since opening in 1892, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa has never closed their doors. Renowned for it’s architecture and beauty, it is frequently visited by presidents, prime ministers and celebrities. Though a hotel and spa, it has six restaurants and bars for different occasions. Ellyngton’s provides fine dining lunch, dinner or brunch. Or enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, including Devonshire cream shipped in from England. Reservations are recommended. At the very least, step in and look around if you can.
321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
http://www.brownpalace.com/

 

Larimer Square

Just off 16th Street Mall and four blocks north of the Convention Center is Larimer Square. This center and street focuses on providing chef-driven restaurants rather than tourist traps. You can’t go wrong on this street, but here are a few of our favorites.

Roija – This mediterranean inspired restaurant is one of the top attractions. The owner, Jennifer Jasinski, has been on Top Chef Masters and a winner of the James Beard Award.
Larimer Square, 1431 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202
http://www.riojadenver.com/

ComedyWorks – Looking for a few laughs? Check out Denver’s premier stand-up comedy club.
1226 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
https://www.comedyworks.com/

GreenRussell – An upscale bar with a twist. That’s all we can say.
Larimer Square, 1422 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202
http://www.greenrussell.com/

Like other capital cities, Denver is always pulsing with new restaurants, flavors and trends.  There’s always something new popping up. Fortunately for you, the Denver Convention Center is right in the middle of the action. Have questions or staying in a different area of Denver? Use the comments below. We are happy to show you around town!

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Guides Travel Tips

Packing For Conferences – What Should You Bring?

With the GBTA conference rapidly approaching, we realized that packing for conferences and conventions have their own nuances. Sure, you have packing for a quick business trip down to a science. And your family beach trip packing down too. Perhaps this is your first time attending a conference. Or maybe it’s just been awhile since your last conference.

Whatever your situation is – don’t fret – we have you covered. Our checklist below was created with you in mind.

Link to the full checklist.

 

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Our advanced travel technology and superior customer service sets us apart, but we continually strive to streamline solutions for our clients.

Read next- Travel Packing List for Dummies

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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 Guides

The Ultimate Airport Time-Saver: Tips for Enrolling in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

It’s not just your imagination: Airport security lines are getting longer and longer. And wait times will only get worse when travel peaks this summer, The New York Times reports.

Now is a better time than ever to consider the Trusted Traveler Programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. More than four million people have already enrolled, saving valuable time and avoiding hassles at the airport like taking off shoes and removing laptops and liquids. This summer, it might even make the difference between catching and missing your next flight.

Wondering which one you should join? For most frequent travelers in the U.S., the choice comes down to the two biggest programs:

TSA Pre?

  • To apply: $85 fee for a five-year membership; requires in-person interview at one of 350+ enrollment centers (children 12 and under can use it free with a family member who is enrolled)
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens and permanent residents who mostly travel within the U.S.
  • What you get: You’ve seen these dedicated security lanes at the airport, often with just a handful of people in line. The program offers expedited airport screening; passengers don’t need to remove shoes, belts, laptops or liquids. It’s available with 12 participating airlines at more than 160 airports. (Some notable exceptions include low-fare carriers like Spirit and Frontier.)

Global Entry

  • To apply: $100 fee for a five-year membership; requires in-person interview at 80+ enrollment centers
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens, permanent residents and citizens of select other countries who travel internationally; requires a valid passport
  • What you get: Expedited clearance at Customs and Border Protection checkpoints at most U.S airports and select international airports. Travelers can skip these often lengthy queues and instead scan their fingerprints at automated machines without filling out any forms.
  • Here’s what’s key: With Global Entry, you’re automatically eligible for TSA PreCheck.

Which Should You Get?

For anyone planning to travel abroad in the next five years, the extra $15 for Global Entry is a no-brainer to get the benefits of both programs.

The biggest drawback: You’ll need to plan ahead. Since there are fewer enrollment centers for Global Entry than TSA PreCheck, the wait time for an appointment will generally be at least a few weeks, if not months. And if you frequently travel with family members, each person needs to apply and interview separately.

Tip: Global Entry’s related programs NEXUS or SENTRI can also add value for travelers across the Canadian and Mexican borders.

For those wanting to be even more speedy and efficient:

Also Consider CLEAR

  • To apply: The standard membership is $179 per year. Added family members (over 18) cost an additional $50. Children under 18 can use the CLEARlane for free (with a CLEAR member).
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens and permanent residents over 18; requires a valid passport or photo I.D.
  • Where can you use it? CLEAR lanes are currently in the following airports: Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH & HOU), Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), San Antonio (SAT), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC) and Westchester, N.Y. (HPN)
    • More airports are coming: Delta Air Lines and CLEAR recently announced a partnership that will bring the program to all Delta U.S. hubs this year.
  • What you get: CLEAR uses your fingerprint instead of a license/passport to get you through the ID-checking portion of security. A CLEAR team member greets you at their lane, scans your boarding pass, taps your finger and escorts you straight to physical screening, skipping the long ID lines.
  • Here’s what’s key: For the fastest way to get through security, a CLEAR membership combined with TSA PreCheck means a quick fingerprint scan and then going straight through expedited security. These two programs address different pain points in security lane delays.

Time and Money-Saving Tips for TSA Pre? and Global Entry

  • Make sure you’re eligible before you apply: This seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re not approved, the application fee won’t be refunded.
  • Application fee reimbursement: Several credit cards – including the AmEx Platinum and Citi Prestige – will offer a statement credit for the application fee. Certain elite members of frequent flyer programs like Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus can also receive this benefit.
  • Plan around your travels: If you’re applying for Global Entry, many enrollment centers are located in major airports, including big connecting hubs like Chicago. I scheduled my interview about 2.5 hours before a flight I had already booked from JFK. So I just got to the airport earlier than I normally would.
  • Check for last-minute openings: As word gets out, the backlog of appointments is growing. I had to wait over a month for my appointment, but check once or twice a week. I noticed some last-minute appointments open up.
  • Know your Known Traveler Number: Once approved, you are assigned a Known Traveler Number. Enter this when you book a flight to be eligible for PreCheck on your boarding pass. If you’re a member of a frequent flyer program, you can just save the number to your profile to automatically apply to future bookings.
  • Double check before you fly: You might get use to the shorter lines, but PreCheck isn’t always guaranteed (especially for international flights on foreign carriers’ code-share partners). And remember: Not every airline and airport participates in PreCheck, so make sure to check the list here.

Read Next: TSA PreCheck: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly