Managing corporate travel can be complex. Travel managers need solutions that actually make their job easier, not more complicated. Corporate travel software is key to making that a reality. When innovative digital solutions are seamlessly woven into a corporate travel program, travel managers can more successfully manage the daily details and data that inundate business travel. They’re able to better manage costs, decrease spend, and ultimately work more efficiently. They’re also able to provide a frictionless travel experience to their travelers.
Developing corporate travel technology to meet the evolving needs of travel managers is one way Christopherson Business Travel leads the business travel industry. The foundation of all our digital tools is AirPortal, an integrated software platform that delivers secure, real-time visibility into an organization’s entire business travel program.
AirPortal is provided to Christopherson customers at no cost, allowing corporate travel managers to fully utilize the entire suite of AirPortal’s intelligent tools. These tools help them:
This is because AirPortal’s powerful collection of corporate travel management tools provides specific solutions to a wide array of travel program challenges while generating cost savings.
Another valuable feature of AirPortal is that it directly maps to the structure of individual organizations. This means travel managers can oversee travel for their entire company, or that responsibility can be distributed accordingly based on the business structure. It also means you have the ability to manage and report company-wide travel spend or by department or division.
“Clients who use the full range of AirPortal’s tools have a better understanding of their organization’s travel program, including traveler safety and security, spend, and unused tickets. This level of visibility provides peace of mind, convenience, and savings.”
-Adelina Littler, Manager – Implementation & Account Support
Dashboards for Travel Managers & Travelers
To meet the specific needs of users, AirPortal provides customized dashboards for travel managers and travelers:
AirPortal 360 – travel manager dashboard and app that deliver a 360° view of entire travel program + the tools to manage it
My Travel – traveler dashboard that delivers the tools and booking options to manage individual travel
With one login, users can access their intelligent dashboard through which any combination of Christopherson’s technology tools are provided. For instance, with AirPortal 360, travel managers have all the tools, data, and reporting they need to manage travel spend, traveler safety, unused tickets, travel policy, traveler profiles, and more. With My Travel, business travelers have instant access to booking options, itineraries, mobile syncing, and more.
Simply put, AirPortal opens the door to valuable corporate travel software, essential benchmarking and reporting tools, online booking tools, and mobile applications.
Must-Have Corporate Travel Software Features
AirPortal provides access to a suite of customized tools for both travel managers and travelers. Those tools allow you to:
AirPortal’s advanced technology also provides the following additional benefits:
Compliant Travel Booking
AirPortal has your travel vendor contracts, approval system, and travel policy built in. This allows all travel bookings to filter into custom reports and align with your managed travel program.
My Action Items, a standard feature on both dashboards, acts as a digital administrative assistant that transforms business data into actionable intelligence so you always know what business travel tasks need to be done next.
AirPortal 360 Mobile is the first and only comprehensive mobile app that allows travel managers the ability to manage their entire travel program from a mobile device.
AirPortal integrates seamlessly with other industry-leading technologies, opening the door for smarter digital business processes and practices.
To learn more about how AirPortal can help you manage a seamlessly integrated, cost-saving travel program, visit our Technology page.
When corporate travel programs are managed effectively, businesses operate with more confidence knowing both their employees and their bottom line are protected. But many of the corporate travel challenges businesses and travel managers face remain constant. For example, current circumstances brought corporate travel policies and compliance back to the top of the list of priorities, showing how the benefits of a managed corporate travel program are even more relevant to your business than before.
In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), more than one third of travel buyers and procurement professionals said they are more reliant now on their travel management company than they were before the pandemic.
When travel programs are managed effectively, businesses operate with confidence, knowing both their employees and their bottom line are protected, even amidst unexpected circumstances. But if unmanaged, corporate travel programs can quickly devolve into a disorganized T&E mess, costing organizations thousands of unnecessary dollars, while also exposing them to costly vulnerabilities.
Pandemic or not, corporate travel management is a major business responsibility that involves multiple stakeholders, not just the corporate travel program manager.
Today, the corporate travel challenges businesses and travel managers most often face could be avoided with consolidated management of the travel program. For example, current circumstances brought corporate travel policies back to the top of the list of priorities as organizations of all sizes look to keep travelers safe, keep the cost of business travel low, and manage expectations.
In this critical time, switching to a managed corporate travel program solves common problems associated with corporate travel and saves money. Perhaps more importantly, making the move to a managed travel program can help ensure employees are prepared and protected when they travel.
What Is a Managed Travel Program?
A managed travel program is a term used to describe the partnership between an organization and a travel management company (TMC).
A TMC’s services include, but are not limited to, providing online booking options as well as expert travel agents to schedule flight, hotel, and car reservations, travel policy creation and integration, unused ticket management, and reporting tools. The best TMCs act as a partner to your business, helping you manage corporate travel through an organized, consolidated, and integrated program.
For example, Christopherson Business Travel provides corporate travel management solutions through industry-leading technology and personalized service. Solutions are customized to the unique needs of each business, whether they need support in developing a travel policy or access to a centralized technology platform for travel management.
The Top 2 Challenges Facing Business Travelers
According to GBTA, only 55% of business travelers are satisfied with their company’s travel policy. This makes compliance a top corporate travel challenge facing organizations.
Modern business travelers often want flexibility and freedom. So whether it’s booking their own travel with non-partner vendors through non-approved sites or wanting the ability to extend a business trip for leisure, corporate travelers will often make their own arrangements if the tools are not in place for compliance. This can quickly create costly challenges for businesses.
Additionally, both business travelers and their companies are increasingly more aware of the safety and security of business travel. A GBTA poll noted 70% of travel buyers and procurement professionals say they’ve elevated duty of care as a higher priority within the company. But business travel duty of care requires more than lip service. It includes knowing where travelers are at any moment of their trip, training on safety procedures, 24/7/365 en route communication options, and more if unexpected emergencies occur.
5 Ways a Managed Corporate Travel Program Can Benefit Your Business
Meeting the needs of business travelers while meeting the goals of your organization can be a tricky balance. To secure that balance, successful organizations turn to TMCs to help manage their corporate travel programs.
Here are five ways a managed corporate travel program can benefit your business.
Experienced Business Travel Experts
Whether it’s through account managers or travel advisors, a managed travel program offers the value of experienced experts who can help you identify opportunities for cost savings, negotiate better rates, and reach the goals you have for your travel program. At Christopherson, our account managers take a consultative approach to evaluating where you are and identifying solutions and strategies to get where you want to be. Our talented travel advisors know the ins and outs of business travel so they can assist your travelers and take advantage of the lowest fares.
Corporate Travel Cost Savings
Many managed travel programs tout cost savings, but the best TMCs show you exactly where you’re saving and how much you’ve saved.
Optimizing your travel budget with the data and reporting tools from Christopherson helps you visualize spending and compare it against industry benchmarks. Our lowest fare searches, vendor negotiations, industry partnerships, and discount programs help your travelers choose cost-effective options.
Travel Management Software
A managed travel program should offer powerful technology to help execute all aspects of your program.
Christopherson’s integrated technology platform gives stakeholders total access to the business travel software, tools, and real-time data they need. From online booking tools, to reporting solutions, to profile management, everything is accessible from a single
dashboard, making managing business travel easier for both corporate travel managers and their business travelers.
Travel Policy Compliance
Organizations need their business travelers to be in compliant when booking travel. By taking a holistic look at your travel program, understanding your travelers needs, including stakeholders in the conversation, and integrating your policy with your technology, you can increase your compliance rates.
At Christopherson, our account managers help you create your sensible travel policies and integrate them with your booking options. At booking, your travelers will have in-policy, cost-effective choices that help them stay compliant, which means you save money and can deliver on your duty of care.
A Proactive Approach to Risk Management
The world is an unpredictable place, which means having the ability to quickly alert and communicate with travelers in potentially unsafe or risky situations is critical to taking a proactive approach to travel risk management.
Christopherson provides the risk management tools organizations need to keep track of their business travelers and assist with safety and security measures.
Ready to Make the Switch to a Managed Travel Program?
With these benefits in mind, if you’re considering switching to a managed travel program, contact the experts at Christopherson today to learn more about our corporate travel management solutions.
Corporate travel technology has changed the way organizations and their travelers manage and plan, book, and experience business trips. For travel managers, keeping up to date with current innovations in corporate travel technology is critical to ensuring traveling employees are protected and prepared. Corporate travel technology also allows both managers and employees to have peace of mind through all stages of the trip.
Travel technology is constantly evolving, which means there’s almost always something new on the horizon. Below are a few critical innovations in travel technology, specifically designed for corporate travel programs.
Travel Management Software: A Must-Have for Corporate Travel
Businesses with a high volume of traveling employees face unique challenges. From booking the best rates to managing business trip approvals, tracking expenses and traveler safety, the list of responsibilities for corporate travel managers is endless.
Travel management software is a tool no corporate travel program should be without. The best travel management software should do more than track the minimum essentials. It should also integrate with other industry-leading technology tools. It’s critical that your travel management software includes a few key travel tech features:
Virtual Payment Options
Accurately tracking and reporting on business travel expenses are key to running a cost-effective corporate travel program. One way corporate travel technology helps you do this is by offering virtual payment options.
For example, companies face hotel payment challenges if a traveler is a contract worker, has limited credit, or doesn’t have a company credit card. But with virtual payment options provided by corporate travel technology, companies can easily pre-authorize payments with single-use credit cards. This option not only creates operational efficiency, but improves hotel billing accuracy, limits fraud exposure, and helps consolidate hotel spend.
Easy Booking Tools
While the internet has given everyone access to the vast options provided by airlines, hotels, and rental car companies, culling all those options takes time. Quickly finding the lowest rates, knowing which vendors provide the best value, and making bookings that align with corporate travel policies takes expertise. By partnering with a travel management company that delivers integrated corporate travel technology, travel managers can provide their travelers with booking options (online or with expert agents) that align with the company’s goals while still serving the needs of employees.
Corporate travel technology also allows travelers to create travel profiles that populate bookings with their travel preferences, reward memberships, and credit card numbers to eliminate the need for re-entering those details during the booking process.
Integrated Travel Policies
Corporate travel technology gives travel managers the ability to integrate, communicate, and enforce their corporate travel policies. You can also include your specific vendor contracts and detailed reporting requirements to easily manage expiring contracts and ensure you’re tracking the right data. This leads to overall cost-savings and improves both policy and vendor compliance.
Having the ability to customize and integrate your travel policy also means rules can be applied at the time of booking, so travelers maintain compliance from the very beginning.
In an era where anything can change at a moment’s notice, keeping track of traveling employees has never been more critical. Corporate risk managers need real-time access to global health and safety threats as well as the ability to quickly communicate them to business travelers.
Corporate travel technology should help you manage business travel risk by identifying risks and assessing impact, locating travelers by name, travel date, and/or location, and allow you to quickly verify safety or provide communication and assistance should an emergency arise.
Centralized Location There are countless travel apps, all designed to manage different aspects of business travel. —too many options for too many singular actions. Travel managers don’t need one more app to manage one more thing. They need one tool that gives them access to everything.
The best travel management software should allow you to conveniently organize, access, and manage your entire corporate travel program from one place. When you gain access to a fully-integrated corporate travel software platform, you’re equipped to reduce spend, manage risk, track unused airline tickets, access traveler profiles, ensure policy compliance, and more. And travelers have access to the booking options, support, itineraries, and business travel resources they need to have successful trips.
Leveraging Digital Solutions
Christopherson Business Travel provides digital business travel management solutions that help companies maximize their budgets and keep travelers safe and happy.
Our integrated software platform, AirPortal, provides the essential tools for successfully managing and navigating corporate travel.
From booking to approval to security to reporting, AirPortal streamlines critical processes. AirPortal also helps companies maximize their travel budgets and reduce costs with features like AirBank, which tracks unused airline tickets to eliminate waste and ensure re-use.
Companies are always looking for ways to protect their bottom line. AirPortal’s Value Scorecard allows you to assess the ROI of your travel management company partnership by identifying and quantifying both the savings and value you’ve achieved.
All of these tools and features are easily accessible via desktop and mobile. Your dashboards are also customizable to meet your unique needs and how you manage your program and workflow.
Industry-Leading Technologies and Personalized Service
No matter the size of your company or business travel volume, Christopherson’s personalized service and industry-leading technologies can help you take control of your corporate travel program. Contact us today.
One of the biggest conundrums COVID-19 caused for travel managers was the deluge of unused airline tickets. As the pandemic spread and business travel was cancelled at an alarmingly rapid pace, companies and organizations of all sizes saw their accounts of unused credits balloon far beyond normal. The question on every travel manager’s mind then became: How do we track and manage all the unused airline tickets? How do we make sure we don’t lose those funds?
A Solution for Managing Unused Airline Tickets
Keeping up with the various airline policies for cancellations, refunds, and exchanges can be confusing at best. Compound that with the airlines’ frequent changes to and extensions of those policies during this time of coronavirus and travel managers have a recipe for a potentially significant loss of funds.
Because managing unused airline tickets even in the best of times can be difficult, Christopherson built AirBank. Travel managers can use AirBank to successfully track the entire lifecycle of unused tickets to ensure their reuse, save money, and eliminate waste. AirBank is accessible via AirPortal, our integrated software platform for travel managers and their travelers.
As airlines continue to revise their rules in response to the pandemic, AirBank remains up-to-date. Every shift in expiration (per airline, per ticket date, per travel date) is being extracted and applied to the tool’s tracking.
How does AirBank work?
When a flight is cancelled, unused ticket credits, including valid partial credits, are immediately available in AirBank. AirBank then comprehensively manages your unused tickets in the following ways:
Audits tickets to confirm whether they were used and determine any unused value
Automatically captures your unused tickets in a centralized database to prevent their loss
Updates unused ticket status continuously
Reports all unused tickets
Enforces the use of unused tickets
At any given time, travel managers can see all unused tickets and, with our AirBank widgets, can also drill down from a company-wide view of all unused tickets to single transactions for greater detail.
Ensuring the Reuse of Unused Tickets
Both travel managers and travelers can see unused tickets via their respective AirPortal dashboards. This allows and encourages everyone to be active participants in the reuse of those funds.
To ensure reuse, AirBank is integrated into your travelers’ booking options. If a traveler books with one of our full-service travel advisors, AirBank prompts the agent at point-of-sale to use the available ticket. If the ticket was not used, AirBank requires documentation of the reason. AirBank also integrates with Christopherson’s online booking tools and prompts travelers who book their own tickets.
AirBank also sends email reminders to individual travelers and travel managers 120, 60, and 30 days prior to ticket expiration.
If you have any additional concerns about managing and reusing airline tickets, we welcome your questions. We are here to deliver the tools and support you need to manage a stress-free business travel program and help you successfully begin traveling again.
A travel management company (TMC) is a travel agency that provides extensive business travel support to organizations of all sizes. A TMC can simplify your workload, help you manage travel risks, reduce travel spend, serve your travelers, and provide integrated and centralized data reporting.
1. Simplifies and Streamlines Your Workload
Corporate travel management is complex. As a travel manager, you are often juggling a lot of different tasks within your company. Trying to keep track of employee travel preferences, travel plans, unused tickets, and more can be a daunting task. Travel management companies streamline your processes and support your business travel program through service and technology.
Christopherson Business Travel understands that technology is key to simplifying your workload. That’s why we built our AirPortal software platform. AirPortal provides customized dashboards for both travel managers and travelers with access to all the tools each stakeholder needs to manage the travel program and their business travel, respectively. This suite of tools within AirPortal streamlines the ability to manage risk, spend, profiles, travel plans, unused tickets, booking options, and more.
Each traveler is able to create a unique profile within our travel management platform that securely stores their travel preferences and loyalty program information. These profile details are fully integrated to ensure ease and convenience at the time of booking. When working with a TMC, travelers are able to book travel online or with an expert travel agent, based on your unique service needs. Your company travel policy is also custom-built and integrated to ensure all bookings are compliant.
AirPortal uses artificial intelligence to show the user what’s most important. On both the travel manager and traveler dashboards, AirPortal provides My Action Items, a feature that lists pressing or time-sensitive tasks and reminders so you always know what’s most important today. For example, if a traveler books their flight and rental car, but not a hotel reservation, a line will populate in their My Action Items alerting them of this gap in their travel plans. Or maybe a travel manager missed a travel approval request. This too will appear in the My Action Items feature of their dashboard, along with any other pressing tasks.
Some travel management companies like Christopherson also integrate their travel management software directly into valuable benchmarking tools, preferred booking tools, and your HR feed. Facilitating these integrations allows you to access everything you need from one centralized location, saving travelers and travel managers time, and ultimately money.
Providing guidance through account management is another way a travel management company can streamline and focus your travel program toward reaching your goals. Account managers should work with you to carefully analyze your program to see where you’re succeeding and where the gaps are. Based on that analysis, they should then provide a custom travel management plan to help you know where improvements can be made. This kind of consultative account management allows travel managers to lean on the expertise of seasoned industry professionals
2. Helps You Manage Risk
Duty of Care is the legal and moral responsibility each organization has to keep its employees safe from threats. Such threats could include extreme weather or natural disasters, political strikes and civil unrest, car accidents, theft, personal attacks, or terrorism—the list goes on. As a travel manager, how do you maintain confidence that you are upholding your obligation to protect and care for your travelers?
A travel management company can help expedite your knowledge of threatening situations in areas where you have travelers and facilitate your response and/or assistance. At Christopherson Business Travel, our clients utilize our SecurityLogic tool to access critical, real-time security data, quickly locate travelers and verify traveler safety.
In a recent study, only half of the travel managers surveyed felt confident that they could locate their travelers within two hours of an emergency. If your travelers’ plans are not stored, managed, or accessible from one centralized location, trying to locate employees during a crisis could be a messy and stressful task, not to mention potentially disastrous.
SecurityLogic provides travel managers with a real-time list of who is currently traveling and where those travelers are. SecurityLogic also allows you to quickly see if your travelers are in or are going to be in an affected area.
Travel alerts inform you of events that could impact employee travel or compromise their safety. Travel managers have the option to click through to the news source to get even more information. For extra security, you can set up auto-alerts that push directly to travelers via text and email to verify safety.
Click here to see a quick video tutorial on SecurityLogic.
3. Reduces Your Travel Costs
Partnering with a corporate travel management company can significantly reduce your overall travel costs. TMCs have expert knowledge in all aspects of the travel industry, including contract negotiations. Your account manager should be able to negotiate with your preferred vendors to ensure you are paying the lowest amount possible.
Business travel plans often change or get canceled. Did you know that nearly 10% of all business travel airline tickets go unused? As a travel manager, how do you ensure those funds from unused airline tickets are used before they expire? Keeping track of all the changes in your traveler’s plans could be a fulltime job in and of itself.
Travel Management Companies should ensure your unused tickets don’t impact your bottom line. Christopherson’s AirBank tool, found within AirPortal, captures those unused airline tickets and prevents the loss of those funds by prompting their reuse at the time of booking, whether online or with a full-service advisor.
Working with a business travel agency also ensures employees are booking within your company travel policy. By booking within policy, you can take advantage of your corporate rates, ensure you aren’t overspending, and make expense tracking and reporting a breeze.
Lastly, by partnering with a TMC you are saving time. Every hour you do not have to spend dealing with a travel headache, is an hour you can utilize elsewhere. Travel managers shouldn’t have to troubleshoot flight delays, manually keep track of itineraries, or pull reports from multiple locations. Travelers can find information quicker, make last-minute updates to travel plans, access 24/7 support from a trusted travel expert, and locate all expense receipts in one location.
4. Serves Your Travelers
Companies rely on corporate travel to close new business, foster relationships with current accounts, or inspire and connect departments within their own organization. In order to ensure those travel dollars are well spent, businesses need to prioritize the traveler experience to avoid fatigue and travel burnout. This is where a travel management company can shine.
By utilizing a tool like AirPortal, travelers can access all their travel plans in one location. No more frustrated inbox searching! Travelers are also alerted when they have incomplete trip plans. This allows you to avoid the high-stress situation of arriving at a new destination and realizing you forgot to book a hotel. Avoiding these small hiccups makes for a better traveler experience overall.
Let’s dive deeper into the actual booking process. Whether your travelers like to book online themselves or with a travel agent, partnering with the right travel management company can provide huge upside.
First, adhering to company travel policy is effortless. Regardless of which booking option they choose, your travelers are only offered options that fit within your policy. Traveler preferences are also documented, integrated, and considered before any bookings are confirmed, which makes for happy travelers!
Most importantly, TMCs should offer around-the-clock expert support and consultation. We all know that flights are sometimes delayed or canceled. Occasionally hotels are overbooked. Having access to a dedicated travel advisor team or a certified online support team means your travelers can feel confident in knowing they always have a trusted expert to turn to.
High-stress circumstances during business travel can lead to traveler anger and resentment towards their employer. These situations need to be solved quickly and with little effort from the traveler. With Christopherson Business Travel, your travelers have an expert in their corner to deal with unforeseen issues no matter the day or time.
5. Provides Integrated and Centralized Data Reporting
Next, let’s dig into how a travel management company can help the travel manager as well as the finance department. Many businesses struggle to analyze data because this information is coming from multiple departments and software. Christopherson’s AirPortal platform takes all your data points and presents them in a meaningful and centralized way.
Your AirPortal reporting and analytics tools can help you identify which departments or individuals spend the most on travel, which travelers book outside of your policy, and trends to see where you can save money. Having clear, concise reporting ensures accountability across all departments and helps you to make better-informed business decisions.
In addition to AirPortal’s benchmarking and analytics options, you can also access ValueLogic, an ROI tool that allows you to see exactly how and where we’re saving you money. And since not all travel programs are the same, AirPortal’s reports can be customized to your specific needs, so you see what matters to you. The end result? Cost savings and a well-managed travel program.
From Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits to start-ups, any organization that wants to save time or money on travel can benefit from using a TMC. Download our whitepaper “Do I Need A Travel Management Company?” to better understand how your travel program could benefit from a TMC.
Not surprisingly, the ability to book travel online is important for many busy professionals. Because we’re known for our travel advisor services and consultative approach; our exceptional online booking tools and support team can sometimes fly under the radar. With our team of industry experts and our company’s preferred partnerships, they are often the unsung heroes of easy booking and travel solutions. So, what makes our online travel support superior above others?
What does our online travel support look like?
Booking travel quickly and easily is a top priority for our busy clients. With our many years in corporate travel management, we’re well-versed in the unique challenges of online booking and support. That’s why we provide three specialized support teams and various online booking tools for our clients. Reliability is a necessity, and our services and technology ensures it runs smoothly.
Christopherson’s online support teams
It can be surprising to learn how complex online booking and support can be on the back end. It’s much more than just connecting buttons and going live. Designing our support team into three specialized groups has proven to be the best way to provide proactive and expert service for our clients. What’s even better, is our online support team are also experienced travel advisors. They often assist in other ways if needed! Here’s a closer look at our online support teams:
Frontline supportteam – This team is dedicated to the phone and email support of the travelers. They are available to assist with anything the traveler may need while booking online. While most TMCs charge to speak with a support team, this is included at no additional cost for our clients.
Reservation support team – They monitor the reservations going through our automated systems to ensure everything is working smoothly. They contact travelers when there may be a payment issue, schedule change and handle the processing of our Airbank tickets to online reservations.
Online tech team – This team handles the implementations, updates, audits and general maintenance of our 1000+ online sites. Working directly with SAP Concur on any outstanding issues and builds, they are SAP Concur certified and regularly attend trainings.
Christopherson’s online booking tools
We work with three online booking tools: Concur Travel, Deem, and nuTravel. Because of our Concur Preferred Partner status and associated customer benefits, we often recommend our clients book through Concur Travel.
Being a Concur Preferred Partner
A Concur Preferred Partner is a travel management company that is recognized by SAP Concur to be fully equipped to manage travel needs, based on their relentless commitment to their clients and technical advancements. The company must also be a leader in the industry and fully aligned with SAP Concur’s mission and vision. They also have a history of constant collaboration with the Concur Travel team.
Christopherson is one of only 23 companies nationwide that hold this exclusive membership. In fact, we were one of the first to receive this distinction as a result of our innovation and integrations. We have worked closely with SAP Concur since 2003, and currently manage more than 1,000 sites for more than 750 companies using SAP Concur.
We are also the first agency to become a Concur Certified Agency. This new designation was earned by Christopherson’s online technology specialists, through training and testing, to ensure complete proficiency in the design and maintenance of Concur Travel sites.
What are the benefits of working with a TMC with Concur Preferred Partner status?
This preferred status is more than just a fancy title. It comes with perks—many that directly benefit the customer. So what does that include?
Full and open integration – Being a preferred partner enables us to offer comprehensive service and a commitment to innovation.
Priority escalation of Concur Travel issues – Think of this like cutting in line when an issue arises. Our perks are your perks.
Cutting-edge service and support – As your company grows, so will your travel program. Being a preferred partner gives us the ability to evolve, not only in the industry, but also as your travel needs change.
High quality service and responsive interaction – Being a longtime direct reseller of SAP Concur, you can be assured of high quality service and responsive interaction.
Access to Christopherson’s SAP Concur Certified Online Tech Support Team – Our specialists know the inside and out of SAP Concur, and are always available via phone or email.
See why our online travel solutions are continually recognized as one of the best in the industry? And this is just skimming the surface of our extensive and ongoing services. Interested in learning more? Contact us with any questions or for a demo of our AirPortal technology.
The travel industry, especially air security, has always at the forefront of the latest technology. Just think about, where was the first place you walked through a metal detector? Or walked through a scanning device? It was likely at an airport security line. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are always spearheading procedures to keep us safe. Want to know what they up its sleeve now? Look no further, it’s Biometrics.
What are biometrics?
We are all unique in our own way, like snowflakes. Biometrics is the act of using these physical and behavioral differences to identify individuals. Identifying through fingerprints is a common biometrics technique. New technology has made biometrics effective in other ways, like analyzing the irises of the eye and even full facial scans.
What will air travel look like in the distant future
Did you know that over 70% of airports and airlines are will be rolling out biometric scanning systems in the near future? While keeping our airports secure, they are also easing the experience for the traveler. Here is what the process will look like:
Arriving at the airport, you will take a picture at a kiosk or check-in counter.
That picture will be automatically matched to your passport photo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database.
You can then proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. With this verification from DHS, you can walk through without taking out your id, boarding pass, and maybe even keep your shoes and jacket on.
At the gate while boarding your plane, your face will be scanned one final time. You will then be cleared and can proceed to your seat.
How are biometrics currently being used in travel?
Though many airports and companies are steadily working to make this a possibility, a few innovators have already weaved together biometrics and travel.
CLEAR has also been at the cutting edge of biometrics for years. As an alternative to TSA PreCheck, they use biometric eye scans and finger scans to verify identification of travelers through their private security check line.
Hertz recently sped up their car rental process with the help of biometric technology. Partnering with CLEAR, they’ve introduced Fast Lane. The traveler will simply select a car and drive it towards the exit. There, they will roll down the window for a biometric face scan. The camera will identify the traveler, then lift the gate so they can get on with their day. The entire process is expected to take about 30 seconds. It is currently only available to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards accounts. Starting at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, it is expected to expand to more than 40 Hertz locations in 2019.
Delta is at the forefront of revolutionizing the entire airport experience we mentioned above. They have launched the first fully biometric airline terminal at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From the curb, to the baggage drop-off, through TSA checkpoint, and onto the plane; travelers will use facial recognition as identification throughout the entire airport experience.
Dubai airport has opened a new automated form of passport control. Though currently only available to business and first-class passengers, it is expected to completely replace immigration officials by 2020. Traveler’s identities will be checked and verified as they walk through a virtual aquarium, with cameras disguised as fish verifying identities. With the automated process, lines will essentially disappear, with estimates of cutting immigration control procedures to just 15 seconds.
What are the benefits of biometrics for business travelers
Essentially, every step of the process through the airport will become more streamlined. You will no longer continually dig through your bag for your driver’s license or even your ticket. You will essentially walk from the curb of airport to the seat on your plane with minimal stops and lines. It is also expected to increase efficiency of the travel industry as a whole. Some say the time it takes boarding a plane will be reduced to 20 minutes. With this faster turnaround time, planes will take off on time and delays will be reduced. Overall, biometrics simplifies the process for business travelers and airlines, while also providing top-of-the-line security.
Business travel management is a beast of a task. So when we had an opportunity to instantly analyze travel data and identify trends, we just couldn’t resist. Last July, Christopherson teamed up with Domo to bring top travel management solutions across both platforms. Domo, a leader in business analytics, is known for compiling data and instantaneously providing helpful insights and action items. These insights can be used by anyone—from the CEO to the traveler to help them make data-driven decisions. With Domo, we created three apps to further analyze travel data, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking; so our client’s travel programs can be as efficient as possible.
Tool #1 – Travel Leakage Analyzer app
One of the top goals of any travel management program is to reduce overall travel costs. Developing a travel policy, making vendor partnerships, and the rigamarole of reporting, all goes towards saving the bottom line for your company. Even with all of the efforts from your travel manager and help from your dedicated TMC, not all of your employees will follow the protocol to a tee. Whether a traveler is in a last minute bind, or they forgot the policy—out of contract bookings are bound to happen.
The Travel Leakage Analyzer app works instantaneously to find these gaps, or leaks, in your non-compliant bookings. The app automatically pulls travel data from our AirPortal platform and financial systems like Concur. It then provides a top-level view of your travel spend over a period of time. With this knowledge, you can plug the holes of non-compliant bookings, or make informed recommendations on future policies or vendor contracts.
Tool #2 – Hotel Spend Analyzer app
Sure, you could go through every receipt to understand which hotel provided you the lowest rate over the past year. Or maybe spend hours analyzing which hotels your travelers booked with the most. We know you don’t have time for that. With their Hotel Spend Analyzer app, analyze your hotel data from our Airportal platform and seamlessly take out the information you’re looking for. That means no time wasted in clunky excel sheets or blurry eyes from staring at the computer for hours. Discover underlying trends in your hotel bookings, like total rooms, average daily rate and total spend by region, even down to the specific hotels. Breakdown data by regions in your hotel booking history, to set future benchmarks or use for negotiating lower rates with hotel vendors.
Tool #3 – Domo? app
This dashboard Domo app allows Domo users to easily and intuitively connect multiple real-time travel data feeds into the Domo platform. Perfect for travel managers, it accesses data, analyzes the travel data, and providing real-time solutions. These app makes it fast and simple to put the relevant insights into the hands of travel executives and managers.
At Christopherson, we’ve always strived to be the first in cutting-edge travel technology. With our partnership with Domo on the three apps, we know we’ve made it easier for clients to instantly identify travel trends, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking. In fact, our Domo app is continually a Featured App in Domo’s Appstore. These additional apps to analyze travel data are available to companies who already use Christopherson and Domo. Contact us to learn more about our integrated apps or our overall approach to travel management
Already knew that the perks from TSA Pre-Check were pretty sweet? Well it looks like they’re getting sweeter. Already being tested in a few airports, TSA has started using a new identification technology for Pre-Check travelers. They will no longer need to show a boarding pass at security. Instead, a photo ID will be all they need to pass through to their gate.
TSA Pre-Check New Identification Technology
Their Credential Authentication Technology will verify authenticity of a passenger photo ID and validate information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system. With this system, boarding passes will only be needed once you board they plane. Reducing the hassle of finding the boarding pass, whether on paper or on a smartphone, is expected to decrease wait time through security. And more importantly, this new technology will be used to detect and reduce the number of people who use fraudulent identification to board a plane.
How it works:
Pre-Check travelers simply hand their photo ID to the TSA agent at the security checkpoint. The agent will scan the ID using the credential authentication technology system. From there is will verify the authenticity of the document and cross-reference against the Secure Flight database.
This system is currently being tested at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It will continue to expand to other airports in August.
What is TSA Pre-Check
TSA Pre-Check is a service provided by the Travel Security Administration. For an additional fee ($85 for a five year membership), travelers get to speed through security checkpoints at airports nationwide. Those interested apply online, submit to a background check, fingerprinting and in-person meeting with a TSA officer. Once they are approved, they can use the TSA Pre-Check security line. Additional perks include not removing laptops, shoes, belts, liquids or jackets through security.
I personally have been on the fence on deciding to pay for a Pre-Check membership or not. But seeing the TSA is continuing to innovate their processes is exciting. Who knows what additional perks they may bring within the next five years!
Here’s good news for hotels – preferred hotel properties are getting even smarter. STR, the leading travel industry data provider, recently partnered with Google to study the association between Google searches and hotel demand. This study found there is a strong correlation between Google search trends and hotel bookings.
The STAR report, STR’s leading product for hotels, allows hotels to study their individual property performance and benchmark against their competition. Specifically, the product allows individual hotel properties to follow trends in ADR (average daily rate) and RevPar (revenue per available room) to ensure they are performing well in contrast to their competition.
Using London and New York City as their case study locations, they tried their theory. Both cities are global hubs with existing high traffic. They both also have achieved occupancy levels above 80% for at least the past seven years.
They were able to conclude that higher Google search volumes can be associated with higher STR demand levels. With the positive conclusion of this study, hotel executives can look to Google in combination with STR benchmarking data to make a more accurate prediction on hotel occupancy levels.
Whether you are a hotel executive, travel agent, or vender, this is a sign that if you aren’t promoting on Google, you may be missing out. With this high correlation of hotel rates and Google searches, other travel searches may have similar correlations. Staying relevant and easy to find online is becoming more and more important for businesses.
How to use Google to get more searches and bookings
Promote your website on Google or through a booking site.
Use all of Google’s available tools to help differentiate. Add your phone number, official website and any positive reviews to Google.
Try out Google’s new ‘Plan a Trip’ tab. It easily allows users to plan each step of their trip within Google.
For more information and access the entire study, click here.
It could be the ‘type A’ personality in me, but I often think there’s room for improvement in most situations. I’ve also noticed this trait in many travel managers, procurement officers and executives. In positions as busy as these, isn’t the job more manageable with a structured and reliable system? Fortunately, I know Christopherson can provide that oh-so-necessary organization for travel management tasks. Our technology allows for peace of mind and instant access to information for company’s travel management needs. Why are we so confident that we can provide that satisfaction? Read some of our top benefits below:
How Christopherson provides organization for travel management
With our AirPortal 360™ Dashboard and Mobile App, you have a 360° view of your travel program instantly and at all times.
No more digging through your inbox to find a traveler’s itinerary. Christopherson’s SecurityLogic® will tell you exactly where your travelers are in seconds. You can even look at their past or upcoming trips by customizing your search.
Eliminate that spreadsheet tracking your company’s unused tickets. AirBank® technology seamlessly tracks the unused funds from cancelled tickets. We even provide reminders, ensuring they are used before expiring.
All of your traveler’s pertinent travel information and preferences is stored in our Traveler Profiles, allowing you to take one less step when booking. There is no need to keep a series of post-it notes on your desk with traveler’s information written on them.
Lastly, eliminate the need to “shop” for fares prior to booking a trip. With PolicyLogic™, your company’s travel policy is built into our software. When travelers book their travel either with an agent or through one of our online booking tools, your travel policy will always comply.
By choosing Christopherson Business Travel as your travel management partner, you are signing on from streamlined and organized travel management. We are at the forefront of travel technology, and have been since we opened our doors in 1953. Contact us to learn more about our AirPortal® platform, and how we can declutter your travel management procedures.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Charles Brossman, a prominent risk management author and consultant speak at GBTA- North Carolina’s Education Breakfast. His informal but informative conversation educated our group on the legal terms associated with risk management. These terms, coupled with real- life examples, left us thinking about ways to improve the risk management programs for our own organizations.
How Christopherson provides risk management security
Guess what? By partnering with Christopherson as your Travel Management Company, you already have the shoe on the right foot. Housed in our AirPortal 360 platform, SecurityLogic allows travel managers can access real-time threats. This includes security updates, weather, traffic, airport delays, and disaster alerts. These alerts can be automatically pushed to travelers via text and email. With the intuitive Safety Check feature, you can request safety verification from your travelers, from anywhere in the world. Once activated, the traveler will immediately be messaged. Knowing that you are worried about their safety and they can also quickly respond. Additionally, SecurityLogic provides multiple global map overlays. All travel information is geocoded to street-level accuracy. So you can zoom into any country, city, or street to find risks near your travelers. Learn more about how Christopherson can assist with your duty of care and risk management goals.
Charles Brossman is the author of the book “Building a Travel Risk Management Program: Traveler Safety and Duty of Care for Any Organization”. For more information on Charles Brossman and his services, see his website.
Christopherson Business Travel provides full-service travel management for companies. With advanced technology and customized service, we are one of the top TMCs in the nation. Contact us to learn how we can save your company time and money on future travel.
Almost two months ago, Delta introduced their much-anticipated new baggage tracking process. Originally announced last spring, their new checked luggage process is now active in 84 airports. If you are a frequent business traveler, make sure you take advantage of this new technology.
Delta’s New Baggage Tracking System
What makes Delta’s new tracking system so innovative? Bags checked through Delta Air Lines receive a tag. These Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags transmit an individual frequency, making them easier to locate. This is the same technology as used in E-Z Lane toll passes, id badges, electronic locks and even library books.
Once the RFID tags are attached to the luggage, they continue down the conveyor belt to the designated plane. A red light/green light system identifies the bags and their correct flow. The system shuts down when a bag is scanned and found to be headed the wrong way. If this happens, an agent easily locates the bag and moves it to the correct flow. Delta claims it has 99.9 percent accuracy of luggage making it to their correct destination.
Mobile app provides instant information for the flyer
Delta’s conjoining app notifies the flyer when their luggage reaches baggage claim. More incredibly, it allows the flyer to see their bag’s journey throughout the day. I already know I’ll be obsessively monitoring my bags the next time I fly with Delta!
Christopherson Business Travel is a leading travel management company in the United States. We specialize in exceptional customer service and forward thinking travel technology, making the lives of our clients and their travelers easier.
Does anyone else remember the nightly news slogan from years ago, “It’s 10 o’clock… do you know where your children are?” This catchphrase, of keeping an eye on your loved ones, still resonates today. The past few weeks the airwaves have been flooded with terrorists attacks in New Jersey, New York, Washington State and Minnesota. And now, Hurricane Matthew is about to hit the east coast, potentially causing massive damage. I also find myself thinking of family, but also co-workers and other business travelers when distaster strikes.
Working in an industry filled constantly with travel and constantly changing schedules, it’s hard to know where everyone is in a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, it’s important now more than ever to not only get in touch with employees or co-workers, but have a plan in place should disaster occur.
Communicating with your business travelers during a disaster
Having an established plan in case of an emergency is the first step. Ask yourself, what is your company’s current protocol should an event occur in a city your employee is currently traveling? Do you have their email and cell number readily available? Will you need to dig through emails to find their itinerary? Who will be in charge of making these safety calls to traveling employees?
Answering these questions ahead of time will make your company more prepared, should an event occur. Developing a travel policy usually helps to establish these protocols. If you don’t have a travel policy, check out our travel policy FAQ to get started.
SecurityLogic provides peace of mind for travel managers
One of my favorite features of the Christopherson software is our SecurityLogic technology. Perhaps it’s because I can be a worrywart, but the value of this immediate and interactive technology is a lifesaver in dire situations.
For a travel manager, the goal is simple – locate all of your business travelers instantly. Through our AirPortal360 interface, you immediately know how many employees are traveling at a moment’s notice. We supply a world map view, with pins representing your travelers. From there, you can overlay alerts, warnings, and weather. Really anything that may influence your business travelers is viewable from the map.
Using the rest of our technology suite, we offer easy access to your traveler’s itinerary and contact information. Travel, security, and human resource managers are able to locate travelers and send them messages. Your business travelers can then respond to the security check and let you know they are safe. Our SecurityLogic takes the guessing out of what could be a hectic situation and provides immediate answers.
Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We’re passionate about assisting companies with their travel, and we think our travel technology and consultative account management does a pretty great job at it. Contact us to learn more about SecurityLogic or our other travel technology tools.
At Christopherson Business Travel, we strive to continually develop travel technology that effortlessly eases travel and travel management headaches. We’ve learned that while an engaging and useable platform is necessary, quick analysis and actionable take-aways are becoming crucial components to our clients. That’s why we further developed our AirPortal 360 technology to include actionable intelligence. We provide actionable items that your team can run with immediately in addition to our existing technology.
AirPortal includes many tools that help travel managers and travelers. Travel managers can keep tabs on various aspects of their travel programs. We have always focused on creating tools that are elegant and easy to use. Now with actionable intelligence, we take it one step further by reaching into the various products and retrieving the items that actually need attention. This helps ensure that important items do not slip through the cracks. This give travel managers the confidence that they are supporting both their travelers and their managed travel program.
Additionally, we make sure travelers have their own dashboard to view their itinerary and documents. With our My Travel dashboard, they can quickly access their travel information in one place. Here they can effectively communicate their hotel plans, unused tickets and additional items, further completing compliance and duty of care responsibilities.
Traveler’s Actionable Intelligence includes:
Travel Approvals Pending
Trips Missing Hotels
Unused Tickets Expiring
Credit Card Expiring (coming soon)
Passport Expiring (coming soon)
AirPortal users receive a daily digest email with a list of their action items. The user can choose the time of day they would like their daily digest delivered. From the email they login into AirPortal Actionable Intelligence Dashboard and handle the items that require their attention.
To learn more about our new AirPortal 360 Dashboard, contact your Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager or fill our the contact form on this page. Want to learn more? Read our company philosophy or additional travel technology solutions.
While Travel Management Companies (TMCs) provide many solutions for businesses, I’ve found that one of the most valuable is offering effective system integrations. A managed travel program needs the flexibility to easily connect to many diverse systems that are required for a complete and effective travel management system.
That’s one reason why we created our own proprietary system, AirPortal. Not only does this provide access to our own unique travel solutions, but it manages all of the information flowing between these systems as well. AirPortal also provides the user interface for our clients, giving them one central location from which to manage their travel program.
Our new AirPortal Integrations highlights many of the integrations that we offer, including some ‘one click’ installs. Take a look and see what we can do for your travel program. If you have a key vendor that is not on the list, give us a call — we are always adding additional integrations.
The following are some of the category choices that we offer:
Virtual Payment Solutions
Online Expense Tools
Online Booking Tools
So, leave the heavy lifting to us and get on with the rest of your day. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company that specializes in innovative travel technology and consultative customer service. Contact us to learn more about our proprietary technology and how we continually save our clients time and money.
My last experience going through customs was pretty typical. I deplaned, walked endlessly through the airport, collected my bags and then madly ran to get a spot in line at customs. Sure, you can shorten your wait time if you bring only carry-on luggage or you are an extra fast runner, but overall the process definitely has room for improvement.
One option to speed through customs is signing up for the Global Entry program. Similar to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry expedites you through U.S. custom lines based on your pre-approved status. Offered through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there is a multi-step approval process needed before your trip. It is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and accepted by a few other countries. It does have some restrictions for eligibility, including criminal convictions, outstanding warrants, or previous violations of immigration or custom regulations. If you are eligible, you can create an account on their Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), and complete the application. There is a $100 non-refundable fee required for each applications. From there, your application will be reviewed. If it is conditionally approved, you will then be instructed to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Once fully approved, you can skip all processing lines, paperwork and significantly reduce your wait time!
The app Mobile Passport offers an alternative to the Global Entry program and is available at growing number of airports in the country. All you need to do is fill out the Customs and Border Protection form in the app on your mobile phone and enter your flight information and submit. Once this is complete, you will receive a electronic confirmation with a QR code and you can proceed to the line at customs indicated for “Mobile Passport Control”. Like the paper version of the form, the form in the app can be filled out for family members making traveling with kids just a tiny bit easier. As another benefit, it is free to use with no additional charges!
Whichever process you choose, you will make the customs process easier and less stressful. Use the comments below to tell us about your experiences using either Global Entry or Mobile Passport!
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.
I recently wrote the blog, What does a Travel Management Company do? In the process of writing it, I realized that we use industry phrases, assuming everyone understands what we are referring to. Take Duty of Care for instance. If you were to ask your next door neighbor, your hair dresser and your mother what Duty of Care is, you will probably get three totally different answers. I even googled Duty of Care and found more than three different definitions! But this definition by Merriam-Webster was the most simple and straightforward: ‘a duty to use due care toward others in order to protect them from unnecessary risk of harm’.
Duty of Care and your travel management program
So what does that mean for travel? Simply put, it is an employers moral and legal obligation for the safety of their employees while traveling. In the university setting, this even includes students! Many countries, including the US, are in the process of developing strict laws to help protect business travelers. But until these laws are worldwide and regulated, corporations and universities without a managed travel program run the risk of serious consequences in the event of an emergency.
How SecurityLogic assists with Duty of Care responsibility
To assist corporations and universities with their duty of care obligations, Christopherson Business Travel developed SecurityLogic. Our clients have access to global alerts and valuable tools to ensure the safety of your travelers. With SecurityLogic, travel managers can access real-time security, weather, flight delays, and disaster alerts. They are then automatically pushed to travelers via text and email. And, with the intuitive Safety Check feature, you can also request safety verification from your travelers anywhere in the world.
SecurityLogic provides multiple global map overlays, and because all travel information is geocoded to street-level accuracy, you can zoom in on any country, city, or street to find your travelers through the tool’s customized search options. With customized search options our clients can quickly locate their travelers by name, department, date, and/or location.
An effective duty of care program is essential for every corporation and university. To discuss if SecurityLogic is a good fit for your company, feel free to contact us using the form on this page.
Delta is making history by updating their luggage handling process, benefiting business travelers and leisure travelers alike. This new technology uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), as opposed to the existing hand-scanned barcodes. The technology uses scanners to read embedded chips in luggage tags via radio waves to track the bags.
This system will automatically catch improperly loaded luggage and assist the luggage handlers as well. Currently, when a traveler misses their connection, ground agents must manually scan each bag to find the specific piece of luggage. With RFID scanners, inventory will be taken quickly and at defined checkpoints to efficiently find the lost bag and route it appropriately. Delta is investing $50 million in the technology and have plans to install this at 84 locations, covering all hubs and about 85 to 90 percent of its total bag volume. Delta handles 120 million bags of luggage annually, this improvement will affect the majority of the luggage.
Interestingly, Delta is the first of all airlines to make such a vast improvement on luggage technology. Additionally, they have plans for real-time tracking and monitoring for the passenger. Push notifications through the Delta app will be available for the traveler, so they know when their bags hit different checkpoints. This is believed to have a 99 percent accuracy rate, ensuring proper routing and loading.
Travelers will begin seeing this technology in the fourth quarter of 2016. Read more about Delta’s other promotions, or watch their video explaining the technology further.
Traveling is so much more than booking a ticket and getting the seat assignment you want on the plane. From a company’s perspective, safety of the traveler is a major concern. Considering duty of care, the company holds responsibility for the traveler’s well being. Many companies use a risk management team to educate their travelers. But what if your company has not yet implemented a plan? Read our tips below to start implementing a duty of care travel security plan for your corporation.
Duty of care advice for busy companies:
Consider working with a third party-risk management organization like iSOS or iJET. Specializing in only medical and travel security assistance, they could be a good fit if you are only looking for assistance with safety. Review all costs associated prior to contracting.
Have a team approach. It is best to have all stakeholders involved in this decision including: travel department, security, HR, senior management, risk staff, and your designated travel management company.
Keep your travelers educated. Try different mediums of information like: travel policies, smart travel communications, web pages, and special alerts.
Keep communications simple and clear on who your travelers should call and what they should do in emergencies.
Travelers need to understand their ownership of their trip. If their trip is rescheduled or changed by the airline directly, your corporate travel management company will not get the updates so it is up to the travelers to notify the travel manager or key contact so contracted services can be rendered.
International travel comes with additional precautions. Travelers need to review their insurance coverage and ensure they have the ability to make larger payments for emergency tickets, hotel rooms and charter flights at a moment’s notice in case of evacuations.
Seek feedback from your business travelers to see what is working and not working.
Christopherson Business Travel has propriety technology called SecurityLogic® that will offer a jump start into launching a risk management program.
Data from Christopherson Business Travel’s technology platform shows that 99% of all overnight business travel requires a hotel. The other 1% of travelers are probably staying with family–or maybe they’re sleeping in their car. Unfortunately for most business travel managers, the typical corporate travel program is tracking less than 50% of those overnight stays. But if you don’t know where more than half of your travelers are sleeping, how can you fulfill your duty of care responsibilities in the event of an emergency or crisis? Christopherson has developed a solution to this problem.
With Christopherson Business Travel’s tool Hotel Attachment, travelers will receive an email notice if they have an overnight trip that is missing a hotel reservation. This email provides links allowing them to:
Add an existing reservation from a conference hotel or direct booking.
Request a hotel reservation through a full-service travel agent or self book it using a corporate booking tool
Send a reminder to book or attach the hotel at a later date
Decline the need for a hotel because they’re staying with friends
To better manage this daily process and provide actionable intelligence to the corporate travel manager, Christopherson recently released the Hotel Attachment Dashboard. Every day, the travel manager will receive a notice of upcoming stays that still need a hotel. Through the dashboard, they can view a graph that shows the company’s progress toward 100% hotel attachment. A list of upcoming trips with reminder buttons are also provided to ‘ping’ travelers and encourage them to either attach their existing reservations or make a reservation to complete their travel plans.
This is a win/win solution. Here’s why:
Business travelers benefit by ensuring they have a place to stay, along with a complete itinerary of all of their travel plans.
Corporate travel managers benefit by knowing where their travelers are staying if an emergency occurs.
The company benefits by having better negotiation power with hotel suppliers.
Installation of Hotel Attachment could’t be easier. If you are already a Christopherson client and are interested in our Hotel Attachment technology, simply contact your Account Manager for more details. If you’re looking for a new partner, Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management solution expert with more than 60 years of experience. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.
When security threats, like the Brussels bombings, occur, business travelers turn to their travel manager and their corporate travel agency and ask: What should I do if a bomb explodes where I am traveling? Where would I go? Who should I reach out to?
As a travel manager, it’s important to make sure that your business travelers, when faced with a travel emergency, have the essential information: 1) what to do, 2) who to call, and 3) where to go. In fact, it’s helpful to have an official document that outlines out your company’s travel security plan. Whether that document is a part of a general travel packet or separate, it should be read by business travelers before they take their first trip.
When preparing a business traveler safety and security document, think about the potential needs of a traveler facing a security threat. What does your business traveler need to know ahead of time in order to feel safe? Here are a few questions to assist you as you prepare your business travel security plans:
What would you do if your business traveler needs medical attention? Who should the company contact (think response teams and personal contacts)? What is the emergency number in that country?
How should you account for and locate the business traveler’s essential belonging? e.g. itinerary, passport, wallet, cell phone, baggage, equipment, medication, etc.
How do you plan to assess whether it’s safe for the business traveler to leave the area?
Once safe, where should the business traveler go? Is there an interum location locally? What efforts do you make to bring them home?
How will you assess the transportation situation? How can your business traveler determine if there the airports, trains, car rentals, or Uber available?
Where will your business travelers sleep that night?
Can they get food and water in the next 24 hours?
What is the established, best way to communicate?
The U.S. Passports & International Travel website is another resource. They provide a helpful checklist for traveling outside the United States. You can also search specific travel destinations for more information about that country or area.
Sending business travelers into the field comes with great responsibility. When duty of care has a solid foundation in your corporate travel management practice, you can maximize the benefits of business travel while minimizing liability for the organization and risk for traveling employees.
As a top business travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel offers business travel solutions to assist companies with their duty of care. Our technology tool SecurityLogic helps corporate travel managers quickly locate travelers in an emergency, verify their safety, and communicate plans to assist their needs. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us here.
Most business travelers have had the luxury of earning access to an airport lounge at least once. It is one of those business travel perks, that once you experience it, there will be moments when you think you can’t live without it. These moments might be during long layovers, after a long international flight, or when you just need a semi-quiet workspace for a last minute conference call.
LoungeBuddy is an app (available for iOS and Android) that helps corporate travelers view and book last minute space in airport lounges around the world. The app even provides photos, lounge amenities, and reviews from other travelers. LoungeBuddy also provides access to airport lounges to all travelers, regardless of status or type of ticket booked. Business travelers who qualify for lounge access can reserve space in popular lounges for free, while travelers who have not yet qualified for access can reserve space for a small fee (typically between $20 and $50). LoungeBuddy is available in several airport locations around the globe.
Business travel has become an integral part of conducting modern day business. But one factor that often goes unnoticed in the trip is the duty of care responsibility for the employee. Even companies with a good track record in business travel safety and security often have gaps in securing the well-being of their business traveler. While a gap in itself might seem small, any oversight could be perceived as negligence should something catastrophic happen. So how can companies be prepared for the unpredictable while their employees are traveling on their behalf?
SecurityLogic, our solution for duty of care concerns
Christopherson Business Travel’s duty of care tool, SecurityLogic, solves many of these open-ended questions facing duty of care responsibility for traveling employees. SecurityLogic helps travel managers access real-time security, weather, disaster, or delay alerts that may effect their travelers. Displayed on an easy-to-understand map, they can easily see where their travelers have been, are currently, and will be next. Creating insightful actionable intelligence, travel managers can anticipate any issues that may effect their employees. Almost more exciting, this data can be pushed to business travelers themselves via text and/or email. SecurityLogic can be customized by department or user, limiting or permitting access to certain travelers or traveler groups.
SecurityLogic also has a two-way check-in feature called Safety Check that allows travel arrangers to verify the safety of their business travelers. Travelers respond to the Safety Check request via text message or email, and SecurityLogic geocodes their location.
Recently, in response to a client need, Christopherson incorporated the ability to track large groups–where they are going and who is part of the group–via special icons on the SecurityLogic map.
By continuously enhancing our proprietary technology, Christopherson works diligently to improve peace of mind for duty of care responsibilities. Contact us to learn more about how Christopherson Business Travel tends to very specific needs of businesses.
At the beginning of 2016, Christopherson Business Travel announced that we’ll begin transitioning our integrated business travel management software platform, AirPortal®,from providing “business intelligence” to “actionable intelligence.”
To this end, we built our 2016-2017 technology roadmap to support this improved strategy. We have more than 40 technology projects in the pipeline, half of which are to enhance existing business travel technologies, while the other half will provide new solutions to other business travel management problems. Many of these projects will be completed for our major AirPortal technology release scheduled for July of this year.
The use of Big Data has been evolving for many years from data capture, to data analytics, to data visualization, to business intelligence. The next logical step is to convert business intelligence to become actionable intelligence. Author and educator Keith B. Carter wrote the following in his book Actionable Intelligence:
“Leaders from all industries yearn for more information. They want to be able to assess risks and opportunities quickly and efficiently. They want answers in enough time to be able to make a difference. They want to seize opportunities. They need intelligence that is in time and accurate. They want… actionable intelligence.”
Hotel Attachment. Hotel Attachment tracks travel itineraries with missing hotel reservations and assists business travelers by providing clear options to match their needs and complete their itinerary prior to their business trip
As the CEO of Christopherson, I was recently interviewed by Skift, a media group that provides news and insights on the travel industry, and shared additionalthoughts about actionable intelligence:
“The problem with business intelligence is [that while] it’s very interesting and it’s useful … it’s backwards looking, so all of the new stuff that we’re building, we’re building with a more actionable forward-looking lens … We’re building a work-to-zero task manager for our travel managers that shows them in an actionable way all of the pending things that they need to do.”
Communication and enforcement of travel policy is a common challenge for many companies. As a solution to that challenge, Christopherson Business Travel uses a blend of technology and established processes to verify that at the time of booking, policy guidelines will be enforced as designated by the company.
Should the policy need to be rewritten or enhanced, Christopherson can assist. Our Account Managers act as expert consultative advisors helping companies establish a fair, complete, and cost saving policy that benefits both the business travelers and the company.
Christopherson also developed PolicyLogic®, software that provides consistent application of preferred vendors, travel policy, coding, and reporting needs, as well as a new functionality that alerts travel managers and arrangers when travelers are not using preferred vendors. Travel policy configuration allows policy rules around the following categories: travel itinerary, flights, flight fares, flight classes, ticket change, car, hotel, and messaging.
These specifics are integrated with Christopherson’s experienced travel agents, online booking tools, and our mid-office and back-office systems to ensure accuracy and compliance across all booking sources. We will customize and update training and point-of-sale scripts when needed.
If business travelers book online, each action displays in the user interface reservation workflow so users clearly see policy compliance as well as policy violations at the point of sale. This empowers travelers to make better-informed decisions and help drive cost savings.
All reservations are reviewed by Compleat with your company policies and negotiated programs in mind. This resource drives costs down by auditing every reservation for compliance to your company’s travel policy and preferred-vendor lists. Compleat will not allow a ticket to be issued until the reservation is in compliance or has been approved by a manager. With these compliance reminders and checks in place, Christopherson then takes policy savings a step further by tracking trends in policy compliance to identify problem areas.
Many business travelers feel that the worst part of traveling is having to pack and unpack a suitcase, plus the time required for the task.
Serial entrepreneur, Bill Rinehart, has found a solution to this annoyance: DUFL. DUFL is right up there with Uber and Airbnb as a travel game changer. The idea came after Rinehart finished a roundtrip from Phoenix to London, arriving home on Friday, only to start traveling again on Sunday. The time involved in laundering and preparing to travel again can be depressing. It takes away from valuable family time and enjoying one’s personal life. Here’s how DUFL works:
Download the DUFL app and create a new user account. DUFL will then send you a large suitcase.
Pack your DUFL suitcase to the brim with whatever you need for future business trips.
Mail the suitcase to DUFL’s storage facility via FedEx, DUFL’s partner. Upon receipt, DUFL will inventory and photograph inventory, photograph, clean and store your clothes so that they are ready for your next trip. All items will be uploaded to your account for your reference the next time you travel.
Request which clothes you’d like to take from your DUFL virtual closet, through the app, then enter your destination and arrival date. Items are expertly folded and your DUFL suitcase is guaranteed to be waiting for you in whatever city and hotel where you are staying.
Return the suitcase once your trip is over via FedEx. Return forms are included with your items and the suitcase is transported back to their facility where clothes are washed or dry cleaned and stored for your next trip!
If only this existed a few years back when I was traveling every other week! The service costs $9.95 per month to maintain your DUFL closet, and $99 for a standard trip, which covers three-day shipping to and from your destination. It also includes cleaning and repacking. DUFL was voted Best Travel App for 2015 by USA Today. To learn more, visit USA Today and Forbes. You can also check out DUFL’s FAQs at DUFL.com.
When meeting with prospective customers, I continue to see companies that do not effectively manage their unused airline tickets. Did you know that the industry average of business travel airfare that goes unused is eight to ten percent? Unused tickets are generally non-refundable fares and the airlines love it when customers fail to reapply the value to future travel.
This inefficiency is why we were motivated to create AirBank®. As one of Christopherson Business Travel’s first proprietary travel technology tools; we built it to capture, audit, report, and ultimately reuse any unused airline tickets. AirBank has continued to evolve with both industry and technology changes. AirBank now includes deeper fare audits and traveler notifications. Management of AirBank’s unused tickets is fully visible to Christopherson’s clients though our AirPortal 360™ dashboard.
It is rewarding to deliver hard dollar savings to our customers and the power of AirBank is just one element of our total travel management solution for business travel programs. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we are acclaimed for our proprietary technology and superior customer service. Contact us to learn about our additional travel technology tools or talk to one of our travel experts.
Business travel can be jolting. You’re in a new city and rushing across town, for a meeting that was scheduled before you knew how far away it was from your hotel. Take the stress out of travel details by being prepared ahead of time. I recently found some great apps for maps and navigation that might be helpful to fellow business travelers.
This free app plots directions almost down to the inch. It’s functional and useful whether you are in a car or on foot. Even better, it works offline, so you are never scrambling for a signal. It provides constant updates and makes it easy to set route preferences. iPhone | Android
You’re probably familiar with this app, but if not, Google Maps works to navigate your world faster and easier. Google maps uses it’s larger database of businesses and inforamtion to provide additional facts, like business hours or menus. iPhone | Android
The free version of this iOS-only app allows you to chart your own course based on weather, elevation, curviness, daylight and places along the route. This is the perfect app for road tripping business travelers. iPhone
CoPilot is a great app for those that might have limited or spotty cellular coverage as it offers offline navigation. It is available on many different platforms, and specializes for different types of travelers. iPhone | Android
Looking for other business travel tips? Read these blogs next:
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
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:
Make a hotel reservation.
Request another reminder for a later date.
Attach a hotel reservation made outside the system to the itinerary.
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.
Savvy travelers, especially those who travel for business, seem to be very focused on making every aspect of their trip as quick, convenient, and painless as possible. To learn some of their tricks, here are five products that will help you stay organized and efficient on your next trip.
1) The Corditoby This is Ground is a small leather cord roll that is made in the USA. Fitting two plugs and three small cords, it is the perfect way to store all those phone cords and adapters.
2) A smartphone wallet casewill allow you to keep your phone and wallet together, maximizing space in your carry-on bag. These can be found by a variety of different makers at a range of prices.
3) A jewelry roll will keep all of your accessories organized and minimize the time you spend untangling them while on the road.
4) A Sky Roll Garment Bagrolls clothing into a cylinder so your dress clothes never have crease marks. This minimizes the amount of ironing you will need to do upon arriving at your hotel.
5) A portable chargeris always useful, but a charging station like the one from AViiQ can take your efficiency to the next level.
What products would you recommend to enhance the business travel experience?
I recently had an opportunity to participate on a panel with three other travel industry executives at The Beat Live in Washington D.C. The panel topic was “We Want Mobile And We Want It Yesterday.”
Participating on this panel caused me to reflect upon how mobile travel services have evolved quickly over the past few years, and how Christopherson Business Travel has participated in the overall digital revolution, which essentially started about 15 short years ago.
As the Internet, smart phones, and tablets have evolved, we asked ourselves these questions over time:
Should we build a website for people to learn about us and contact us?
Should we offer an online booking tool so our clients can book their own travel with us?
Should we enhance our website to enable our clients to login and do business with us?
Should we offer a mobile app to our travelers so they can access their travel plans and alert them about flight delays, gate changes and more?
Should we expand our software development team to build a comprehensive proprietary travel management platform?
Should we build our own iOS and Android mobile apps so our travel managers can do their job remotely?
Should we make our entire technology platform “mobile responsive” so our clients can interact with us digitally anywhere, anytime, using any device?
Our answer was “yes” to each of these questions as we evolved and adapted to the digital revolution.
We have delivered mobile solutions with a combination of buying, building, and partnering, for example:
We bought the Concur Mobile App. We offer this booking app and Concur’s related expense app to our clients.
AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers all the essential tools travel managers need to maintain their duty of care responsibilities, keep track of travelers and itineraries, approve travel, access and manage traveler profiles, ensure policy compliance, and more—anywhere, anytime.
Mobile access to your travel management program is an essential part of the relationship you have with your travel management company.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Global Business Travel Convention in Orlando, FL. It seems that each year there is more and more focus on the “sharing economy.” Twenty-fourteen brought a lot of buzz as Uber made their Convention debut on the trade show floor. This year, Uber was back again, joined by other “sharing” companies like Airbnb and Lyft. In fact, the Convention theme this year was #sharing.
One general session in particular focused on the number of sharing economy services that are available to travelers and introduced many people in the room to the term “bleisure,” which is the concept of combining business and leisure. The common consensus from the session panel was that investment in technology is extremely important in delivering service to both business and leisure travelers.
Having said that, there is a lot of talk about the sharing economy being a “disrupter” to managed travel and how to overcome the challenges the sharing economy brings. In fact, over the last few years Concur has announced TripLink partnerships with Airbnb, Hotel Tonight, Uber, and Lyft. Recent data by Skift shows that 21% of millennial travelers are in favor of using the sharing economy for accommodations while only 10% of non-millennials would consider this model. Cars had a slightly higher usage with 34% of millennials and 15% of non-millennials using vendors like Uber and Lyft. Safety, product quality, and service were among travelers’ top concerns. Surprisingly few of the sampling of travelers surveyed were concerned about not receiving loyalty program benefits or points.
How well do you feel your travel program is embracing the sharing economy? Has this proven to be a disrupter for your travel program?
Alaska Airlines and Clear, a biometric secure identity company, are piloting a biometrics check-in program that allows a machine to scan passenger fingerprints when checking-in bags, going through airport security, and boarding planes. Biometrics is the science of measuring and analyzing human body characteristics such as fingerprints, eye retina/iris and other facial characteristics. The pilot program is being tested with a limited number of passengers at California’s Mineta San Jose Airport.
The ultimate goal is to move passengers through airports more quickly and to expedite the boarding process. Getting your fingerprint scanned is a familiar experience many international travelers are already accustomed to. Some European carriers are already using the system, replacing the need for passengers to present other forms of ID.
Could this be the future of airline check-in and aircraft boarding? To view the complete Alaska Airlines article, click here.
Our view is that a low hotel attachment rate is not a simple problem to solve. There are many complex reasons as to why hotel attachment rates are low. Christopherson decided to take a holistic approach to the solving the problem.
At a high-level, there are likely four main reasons a client would book airfare but not book a hotel at the same time:
They need a hotel and simply haven’t gotten around to booking it yet.
They need a hotel and don’t have enough information about their trip to book it yet.
They plan to book their hotel through a different channel, or it was booked for them.
They actually don’t need a hotel.
Of course, there are many nuances within those four categories. For example, under reason No. 3, the traveler may have booked their room “out of channel” because:
They were part of a group who booked the hotel room block separately.
They’re attending a conference or a meeting that included the hotel booking.
They were not able to get the hotel inventory through the GDS-powered booking option.
They were able to get a lower price using a different booking method.
They have a personal preference for booking their own hotel (better user experience).
But ultimately, it’s not good for a traveler to have an incomplete itinerary with no hotel data included. Our goal was to first, identify which of the four reasons a traveler didn’t book a hotel and then provide them with a simple, digital path to help them easily complete their itinerary and solve the problem. Our technology platform, AirPortal®, supports and powers the Hotel Attachment system and provides us with enough unique information about the traveler, the company they work for, and their specific airline booking to simplify that process.
As clients begin to use our solution, we will be able to track why travelers haven’t booked their hotel initially and gather data on how we solved the problem. This will give our travel managers business intelligence metrics to increase their hotel attachment rates, provide better duty of care, and give them better negotiating power with their preferred vendors.
With summer winding down, now’s the time to plan those last minute getaways. In fact, I’m planning a wonderful road trip to Telluride, Colorado for a friend’s wedding this month. So in honor of the great summer road trip, I thought I’d share a few apps to help others on their way and enjoy their trip even more. Many of these suggestions also work offline, which is helpful when you hit a stretch of road without mobile phone service. Happy Travels!
Need entertainment for the hours of driving ahead? Overdrive allows you to borrow eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video titles from your local library. Audible is a membership program offering monthly audiobooks from a selection of more than 180,000 titles.
Pocket is an app that lets you grab stories, articles, videos, “or pretty much anything” you want to come back to read/view later. It also integrates with more than 1,500 other apps, including Flipboard, Pulse, and Twitter.
This American Lifeis a weekly public radio show and is also available as a free weekly podcast–often the most popular podcast in the country, with around one million people downloading each week–and like audiobooks, podcasts are great for road trips.
With many companies expanding their travel programs domestically, multi-nationally, or globally, business travel continues to become more and more complex, especially when it comes to risk and safety. Christopherson Business Travel understands the stress of fulfilling those duty of care requirements and provides valuable technology to help to reduce business travel risk.
Christopherson’s duty of care tool SecurityLogic®, allows travel managers to locate travelers quickly and push alerts to communicate instructions or information to travelers via text or email in emergency situations. Unlike other disaster recovery products, SecurityLogic continuously pulls data from the Global Distribution System (GDS), thereby providing real-time accuracy.
SecurityLogic also provides access to multiple global map overlays and because all travel information is geocoded to street level accuracy, travel managers can easily zoom in on any country, city, or street to find their business travelers anywhere in the world.
As an extra level of safety and communication, SecurityLogic has a two-way check-in feature called Safety Check, which allows travel managers to send travelers a check-in message to verify their safety. Upon receipt, the traveler simply responds to the message one of two ways: “I’m safe.” or “I need assistance” (with an additional field to explain their need). SecurityLogic then geocodes the traveler’s location using the GPS coordinates provided by the traveler’s cell phone.
SecurityLogic delivers the following key benefits:
Quickly locate travelers by name, travel date, and/or location
Request verification of safety and location from travelers through the check-in feature
Get real-time info on weather, airport delays, security, and disaster alerts
Push alerts directly to travelers via text and email
Use map overlays to view weather, traffic, and travelers anywhere in the world
Quickly zoom from global to street-level view
Travel managers can also find confidence in Christopherson’s service which is available 24/7/365. This means your business travelers can call us at any time to make changes to itineraries and get travel assistance in the event of an emergency or unexpected delay.
Travel managers and TMCs have always struggled with low hotel attachment rates, which the industry estimates to be less than 50%. This is problematic because the results of low hotel attachment rates are incomplete travel itineraries, weakened vendor negotiations, and compromised duty of care.
Christopherson Business Travel introduced a holistic solution to the problem at the 2015 GBTA Convention in Orlando, Florida–Hotel Attachment.
Hotel Attachment, a hotel compliance system, meets the needs of the travelers who want an acceptable hotel included in every itinerary. It also meets the needs of travel managers who want savings, 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.
Hotel Attachment identifies itineraries with missing hotel bookings and provides the traveler with four options to close that gap:
1. Make a hotel reservation
For agent bookings – traveler is presented with a form that connects to their booking agent
For online bookings – refers the traveler back to their online booking tool
2. Request another reminder for a later date
Presents a calendar to select date of next reminder
3. Attach a hotel reservation made outside the system to the itinerary
Pre-populates dates in a template based upon air reservation
Presents a map to zoom in a locate their hotel
Connects to Christopherson’s proprietary database to ensure correct hotel and GPS location coordinates
4. Waive the need for a hotel reservation
Requires an explanation as to how they’re meeting their housing needs
With Hotel Attachment’s digital reminders, companies can ensure trip plans are complete and hotel compliant prior to travel.
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.
“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.
United Airlines has created a new MileagePlus Premier Status Tracker, which allows travelers to see their qualifying miles and other account activity such as waivers and exemptions. It also helps track progress towards Premier flyer status and will notify you when you’re approaching new status.
How to use United’s MileagePlus Tracker
To access the tracker, visit MyStatus.United.com, or download the MileagePlus X app on your phone.
Log in with your MileagePlus credentials and see your current status at-a-glance.
From here you can also set your status goal, learn the requirements for each Premier level, and track dollars spent on your Chase credit card.
United will also be adding direct links from the My Account page on United.com (so as to eliminate the need for logging in twice) and hopes to expand the MyStatus site to be a “digital membership kit” complimenting the regular kit members receive in the mail. The site will also provide greater detail on benefits and special offers.
There are numerous reasons business travelers choose one airline over another, including convenient flight schedules, ticket price, aircraft type, or frequent flyer memberships. But in the last few years, a new reason for choosing one airline or flight over another has emerged: Wi-Fi.
Most major carriers have installed Wi-Fi in their wide body fleet but may not offer the service on smaller aircraft. If you use Wi-Fi in the air and if you choose an airline for that reason, it’s also important to keep in mind that airlines can substitute equipment at the last minute.
Major carriers who offer Wi-Fi on most of their fleet are:
There are a variety of pricing options available with each carrier including hourly, daily, or monthly. Some carriers even offer high-speed connections allowing you to stream video and music with their Wi-Fi packages. To ensure you have Wi-Fi when you need it, always check for service options and cost prior to booking your flights.
Technology continues to change the way we travel–especially over the last 20 years. With the release of the Apple Watch quickly approaching (April 24, 2015), the convenience that accompanies technology will become even more of a focus for frequent travelers and gadget lovers. With this is mind, here are some trendy new apps and technology that will make travel even easier (and maybe even more fun!) in the future:
1) Need a reservation at a popular restaurant in a major city? With apps like Table 8 in San Francisco and Los Angeles and I Know the Chef in New York City, you can buy–for a small fee–a same-day reservation at a restaurant that would normally be fully booked.
2) Choose your seat mate based on their social network profile with KLM’s Meet & Seat program. But don’t worry–you have to be registered for the program in order for your profiles to be viewed by other passengers. Registered travelers are also able to select certain aspects of their profiles to share.
3) Are you looking for some company and an authentic local dining experience on your next business trip? Websites like bookalokal.com and eatwith.com will connect you with local people to host you for dinner either at a restaurant or in their own home. Both of these services are available in select cities worldwide.
4) Payment is going mobile with apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Uber, Airbnb, and OpenTable are now accepting payment through the app. In addition, more and more establishments are installing the technology to accept mobile payment.
5) If you don’t have time to plan activities before your trip, you might be interested in the Trover app, which allows you to view photos and reviews posted by other travelers. There are also a few peer-to-peer sightseeing services such as Vayable.com where you can connect with a local person to get the most authentic experience.
Technology is definitely bringing people together, even when they are on the road for business. Which of these apps or websites will you use on your next trip?
SecurityLogic® is one of Christopherson Business Travel’s premier travel technology tools that allows you to locate and alert your company’s travelers anywhere in the world, at any time.
For example, let’s say I just landed in Paris (from Los Angeles) and my assistant (who is flying in from Atlanta) is meeting me at the airport. My business partner left this morning from Beijing to join us, but is delayed in Jakarta. Two of our executive board members are in the air from Dallas to meet up with us, and the attorney is en-route to the Chicago airport to catch his flight to join us for dinner.
After a week of business in Paris, we are all off to a trade show in London, and then onto Dubai for a 6-hour board meeting. Because of our hectic trip, we decide to make a change on our return to be rerouted through Japan, in order to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the Tokyo night life.
Keeping track of all the variables, flights, cities, and travelers for such a trip could be confusing and time-consuming. But with Christopherson’s SecurityLogic, each traveler has been tracked every step of the way. Additionally, if our travel manager wonders if we are okay at any point in the trip, they can send us a Safety Check alert that will come straight to our phones, to which we can then respond with a yes or no depending on our situation and needs. Ultimately, SecurityLogic® brings peace of mind to the traveler, colleagues, and loved ones at home.
To learn more about this and other tools that can enhance your company’s business travel program, contact one of our executives for more information.
PDE allows customers to access a free on-board library of movies and TV shows through personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
United will have PDE on more than 200 aircraft across five fleet types:
54 737-900 ERs
152 Airbus 319s and 320s
Customers booked on PDE flights will receive an email the day before travel advising them that PDE will be available, so they may come prepared with their devices.
PDE is part of United’s long-term inflight entertainment plan to outfit all mainline aircraft with Wi-Fi connectivity, plus at least one other entertainment option. United is also adding in-seat power to all PDE fleets in addition to the nearly 500 newly installed charging stations at airports gates.
To determine if your upcoming flight offers personal device entertainment, check the Inflight Amenities tab in the Flight Status information within 24 hours of your flight departure.
Delta Studio is Delta Air Line’s new suite of on-board entertainment options, including the latest movies, live satellite TV, HBO, SHOWTIME, games, and thousands of songs. Through Delta Studio, all content will be free for International, First Class, and Economy Comfort passengers.
Domestic Economy passengers will enjoy more free content than ever before as well as a variety of premium content for purchase. Kick back and watch it all on:
245 aircraft equipped with seat-back entertainment systems
98 aircraft with overhead screens
891 Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft, which now include on-demand video streaming with access to in-flight entertainment via a variety of personal electronic devices
Ergonomically designed earbuds are also available on flights worldwide as part of Delta’s partnership with Billboard. The earbuds are complimentary for customers traveling internationally and in the First Class cabin, and they are available for purchase in the Economy cabin on U.S. domestic flights.
Staying one step ahead of your competitors seems to be the new business model standard and it’s no different for the airline industry.
United Airlines announced this month that they have introduced a new feature in their mobile app which allows travelers the ability to scan their passports and complete check-in for international itineraries.
eCommerce Managing Director Mark Nasr stated, “Our industry-first passport scanning function, in combination with the other check-in features on the mobile app, provides customers with more options and helps then save valuable time.” For United Airlines it is all about offering choice, control and convenience to their customers and co-workers.
To learn more about the United mobile app, you can visit their website.
While traveling I am constantly connecting to Wi-Fi. It is so easily accessible and keeps me connected while I am away from the office. I recently came across an article which reminded me of the dangers associated with using wireless hotspots and suggestions for safer use.
Although I’ve heard these tips before, it was a nice review and reminder.
1. Keep a clean machine.
Ensure your devices are up to date with the latest antivirus firewall protection and operating system patches.
2. Stop and think before you connect to public Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is available everywhere you go, including airports, hotels, restaurants, parks, and museums, but these networks are completely open and insecure. Use common sense when you connect to public Wi-Fi and be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you send.
3. Paid Wi-Fi doesn’t mean safe Wi-Fi.
Just because you paid for Wi-Fi access, doesn’t mean it is safe. There’s no encryption to stop anyone from eavesdropping on your communications, so make sure you protect yourself from hackers.
4. Beware of evil twins.
Hackers sometimes set up “evil twins”–Wi-Fi networks that look real or near legitimate public networks–but if you connect to them, all of your information can be captured. It can be hard to tell the difference, so confirm the name of the hotspot with the owner before you connect.
5. Use a VPN to encrypt information on all of your devices.
If you use public Wi-Fi while you travel, the only way to guarantee your security is to use a virtual private network (VPN) like PRIVATEWiFi to encrypt your personal data in wireless hotspots. Remember, Wi-Fi signals are just radiowaves. Anyone can “listen in” to what you send and receive. Antivirus or firewall software won’t protect you – but a VPN encrypts all of your communications no matter where your travels take you.
As a regular business traveler, I normally only book my trip only for the “necessary” duration. But on a recent trip to Denver, I had the opportunity to enjoy dinner in a quaint part of town that I had not been to previously, and the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should have extended my trip to include a “fun day” to explore the area.
Hindsight being 20/20, what I should have done was ask my Christopherson Business Travel agent for an AirSelect® email so I could’ve viewed all the flight options for various days. AirSelect is one of Christopherson’s proprietary technology tools and provides business travelers with a simple, straightforward grid of options showing the lowest fare based on scheduled departure and arrival times.
Having a travel checklist can help you stay organized and reduce your stress when traveling for business. Here are some of the latest travel checklist apps for iPhones:
Travel List is the easiest way to get ready for your next trip. Plan your itinerary, create a packing list, and you’re ready to go. Travel List makes sure you don’t leave anything behind. You can even enter the type of trip you’re taking and the app suggests items you might put on your checklist. ($1.99, iTunes)
TripList offers sample to-do lists. The pre-travel task category, for instance, provides helpful reminders to download music and charge your batteries before leaving. The basic app is free and a $3 upgrade allows users to share lists across multiple devices. (Free, iTunes)
Never forget to pack anything again. Packing Pro appeals to the detail oriented person, acting as a personal packing assistant. ($2.99, iTunes)
Stylebook is great for the fashion conscious traveler. This app helps piece together various outfits using photos of the clothes in the user’s wardrobe. ($3.99, iTunes)
It is difficult to keep up with the many travel related apps being released almost daily. But according to University of Michigan researchers, the new app Entrain, actually helps minimize jet lag.
The effects of jet lag have been shown to be reduced by taking proactive steps, such as altering your sleep patterns or exposing yourself to sunlight. Doctors have long believed that exposure to light is key. A master biological clock, called circadian rhythm, regulates when we become sleepy and when we are more alert. When you travel across time zones, that body clock must reset itself.
Entrain calculates the optimal sleep and lighting cycles to help you regain rest in your new time zone to reduce the effects of jet lag.
SpotHero is a free iOS or Android app that lets you find, compare, and reserve the most affordable spots in parking garages and lots in seven major U.S. cities. The app becomes especially useful when you haven’t planned your parking arrangements in advance.
Users can save time and money by being able to compare prices and locations while navigating the city’s parking rules and regulations. If you’re unfamiliar with the garage you’ve chosen, the app provides a street view image of your destination. You also have the ability to cancel your reservation any time until its start time.
With the app’s amenity icons you will know at-a-glance if a spot has in-and-out privileges, is a covered garage, is open 24/7, has shuttle assistance, and more. Parking options are available at airports, hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and points of interest.
The seven cities currently available in SpotHero are New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Newark, and Milwaukee. Whether you’re traveling for business or entertaining clients, SpotHero is a great way to find worry-free parking.
I travel frequently enough to appreciate airplane amenities such as large overhead bins and higher ceilings, but when I recently boarded one of Delta’s new Boeing 717s for a business trip to Atlanta, I was most surprised and delighted by the extra leg room and in-seat power outlet!
Doesn’t every commercial aircraft need power outlets with a USB port? How different the airport would look if travelers could charge their devices in-flight rather than scrambling to claim one of the limited outlets in the airport to power up before takeoff. We’re not quite there yet, but it was encouraging to see and experience this feature on board my Delta flight.
I was curious to know how often I might come across this aircraft in my travels and found that Delta acquired and refurbished AirTran’s fleet of approximately 80 Boeing 717s when AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines. Southwest did not want to integrate the 717s into its own fleet of 737s. Delta however, is well equipped to handle the complexity of operating many different aircraft types. And as Delta is leasing the 717s at a good price, they will be much cheaper to operate than the aircraft they are replacing.
As I was on my flight to New York this week, I couldn’t help but think about Malaysia Air Flight 370. What would it feel like to be on a plane that vanishes from site? What would, or could, I do to communicate with my family or company?
So far, 2014 has been plagued with numerous weather delays and flight cancellations, exceeding both 2012 and 2013 combined. But weather delays and interruption of travel is something we are all accustomed to from time to time. A plane disappearing with 239 passengers, political unrest in many areas around the world, and the possible threat of a new Cold War brings duty of care and the risk management of your travelers to a heightened focus for many companies.
Did you know that Christopherson Business Travel can provide your travel manager and risk department the latest in tracking technology? SecurityLogic® is a dynamic reporting and communication tool created to facilitate your company’s duty of care responsibilities. With customized search options that allow you to quickly locate travelers by name, date, and/or location, SecurityLogic also provides real-time weather, airport delay, security, and disaster alerts that you can then easily push to travelers via text and email. This technology truly keeps your travelers from being Lost in Space.
The app is now available in IOS and Andriod versions and includes the following functions:
SecurityLogic®: Provides a map to see who is traveling and where, plus the ability to alert travelers of delays and dangers
Airtinerary®: All your travelers’ itineraries—past, present, and future are accessible
ProfileLogic®: Access and edit your travelers’ profiles, deactivate/activate users, and reset passwords
PolicyLogic®: Summary view of your company’s travel policy plus access to your vendor contracts
Contacts: All the numbers you need, stored in one place
But as it turns out, AirPortal 360 Mobile does so much more.
Now that our corporate clients have been using it for four to five months, we have learned that the app is helpful in so many additional ways. For example:
One of our travel managers recently told us, “Every time I’m in a meeting, someone will ask me where so-and-so is, assuming that I have every traveler’s itinerary memorized. Now I do!”
When a group of travelers are attending a meeting or event together, there are always questions about who is arriving and departing when, who has a rental car booked, and how you will coordinate transportation. With AirPortal 360 Mobile, it’s done! Logistics are easy to coordinate because all that information is at your fingertips.
When traveling with others you often need to know who is staying at which hotels to schedule logistics and events. Again, done!
When traveling for business it is often necessary to find a coworker’s itinerary, should you be interested in booking others on the same fight. Done.
We are pleased with the adoption of AirPortal 360 Mobile and the way in which it has enhanced not only travel management, but also day-to-day travel coordination and the logistics of business travel.
Effective travel management must meet and balance the needs of two key groups:
Travel managers, who need to save their company money on travel and who also have duty of care responsibilities
Travelers, who want service, safety, and convenience.
Our objective at Christopherson Business Travel, when we developed AirPortal 360, was to meet the requirements of both groups. While our key stakeholders are the companies for whom we manage travel because they pay for our services, we must also take good care of the travelers, in order to be successful.
AirPortal 360 is the solution that provides companies:
One platform integrating full-service and online travel management.
A 360° real-time view of their entire travel program providing high-level “situational awareness and increased visibility.
Actionable intelligence allowing travel managers, our account managers, and our agents to respond to our clients’ needs.
The key components of our proprietary AirPortal 360 platform are:
AirPortal 360™ Dashboard
Provides SecurityLogic heat map on the homepage, plus customizable widgets to provide awareness and actionable intelligence
Create a travel management policy to monitor and manage your travel program
Manage preferred vendor relationships and ensure compliance to help save money
Set up a company and their travelers’ profiles and optionally organize them by division, department, and team
Access past, present, and future traveler itineraries
Handle duty of care by identifying who, when, and where travelers are, and respond appropriately when there is an incident that requires action
Increase savings through recovery and management of unused airline tickets
Provide real-time access and on-demand reporting of travel program data
My Travel™ Dashboard
Provide travelers with the information they need before, during, and after their trips
To learn more about how Christopherson’s AirPortal 360 platform can benefit your company’s travel program and save you time and money on business travel, please contact one of our executives.
For a while, it seemed like airline customer service was in a serious downward spiral. But during a recent look into how social media has become an important piece of airline branding and customer engagement, I found that airlines are actually using social media to solve customer problems. Here are a few examples:
JetBlue, with an impressive 1.7M followers on Twitter, does one of two things when passengers are complaining via Twitter about not getting enough information: 1) they respond to the person/people directly or 2) they call the airport to conduct a gate announcement to dispense the needed information. Their social strategist finds it important to reach out to travelers if they see something where they can be of assistance.
Recently, through direct messages on Twitter, a reporter at Digiday was able to rebook a flight after it was delayed for several hours through @DeltaAssist. A Delta spokesperson said they are not giving up on call centers, but that @DeltaAssist is just “one more way of reaching out to customers where we know customers are.” He further mentioned the Twitter account was specifically created to help customers in need.
In another example, a passenger was waiting to board a flight from Phoenix back to the East Coast when he read on Twitter that the inbound flight he was waiting for was at least 20 minutes late. When the passenger confronted the gate agent with the tweet, the agent announced, “Your information is better than mine.” Folks running the airline Twitter feed seemed to know more than employees on the ground.
With the recent release of Christopherson Business Travel’s new AirPortal 360™ mobile app, we have literally put the power of AirPortal 360 into the hands of travel managers, travel planners, and key executives. With just one or two clicks, you can now answer a variety of questions, such as:
Who is traveling today?
Where will our travelers be tomorrow or next week?
When does “so-and-so” return?
What hotel is he/she staying in?
What is our contract rate at the Hyatt in San Francisco?
What is the CD number for our Delta contract?
I forgot my password. Help?
A new hire started today. Can you get her set up to book travel?
I deleted my itinerary. Can I get another copy for my expense report?
One of our travelers was let go today. Will you please make sure he can no longer book travel?
You can also execute a number of important tasks, even when you’re not at your desk, including:
Locating all your company’s travelers
Viewing all your travelers’ itinerary details
Emailing an itinerary
Accessing vendor contracts
Enrolling new travelers
Contacting your Account Manager
Contacting your Agents
Immediately assisting travelers if flights are delayed/cancelled
Notifying travelers of weather, disaster, safety, or delay information
Here is some recent feedback from current AirPortal 360 Mobile users:
“Everyone expects me to know all of the details of every traveler. Now I do!“
“I use this app every day, it is so convenient and simple to use.“
“With three clicks I can get the data I need. Wow!“
So, can AirPortal 360 Mobile make your life easier? All signs point to YES.
Travel is so commonplace and easy in today’s world, most people don’t stop to thing about the evolution of the travel industry. Just how far have we come? Where did we start? Read our ultimate guide below for a history on our current travel and reservation system, which ultimately changed how we work and live.
Historical highlights in the evolution of the travel industry:
In 1841, Thomas Cook, a Baptist preacher, struck a deal with the Midland Railway to organize the transportation of members of his temperance society. Cook received a commission from the railway and effectively became the first recorded travel agent.
The rapid growth of the airlines began in the 1920s and Delta, American, and PanAm were formed at this time.
Joe Saunders, an entrepreneur from Omaha, started an “Automobile for Hire” business that is recognized as being the first recorded car rental company.
Later that decade, John Hertz would purchase one of Saunders’ competitors and form the Hertz company.
The evolution of travel technology and reservation systems:
In 1952, American Airlines installed the Magnetronic Reservisor. This is an electromechanical system of vacuum tubes and a magnetic storage drum. It allowed the airline to store seat availability on a centralized platform.
Around the same time, Trans Canada Airlines (TCA), in conjunction with the University of Toronto, developed the world’s first computerized reservation system. Called Reservations Electronically Controlled, it was commonly known as the Reservec.
American Airlines, aware of the early Reservec success, invested in the development of their own computerized reservation system. In partnership with IBM, they developed the Sabre computer reservation system. Used by travel agents, it acted as a clearing house for US travel.
By late 1970s, reservation terminals were installed in travel agencies across the US.
Meanwhile, Sabre, in partnership with the growing computer network services business, Compuserve, provided the first known instance of online bookings for both airlines and hotels via EAASY Sabre.
The increase in travel agent hotel reservations and the advent of smaller and more powerful desktop computer systems prompted the creation of hotel reservation systems. Now, the reservation systems could be located at the hotel front desk, increasing convenience.
In 1996, a small division of Microsoft, called Expedia, launched its website offering online bookings for air, hotels, and car rentals.
Later that year, Travelocity, owned by Sabre, launched its own site to help the “do-it-yourself traveler.”
The co-founders of Orbitz and Experdia realized consumers were shopping across multiple websites looking for deals on airline fares. They developed Kayak, allowing customers to find airline pricing results across multiple sites with one search. This model is known as metasearch.
Today, the travel industry has morphed into a combination of self-service internet tools and full-service travel management companies. One suits the ‘do-it-yourself’ traveler, while the other manages travel for businesses and organizations. Christopherson Business Travel provides a crossover with our proprietary travel technology known as AirPortal®. We manage travel for busy companies, but provide simple and straight-forward technology so they can easily book travel themselves too.
United is adding Wi-Fi to more and more of their planes. A Wi-Fi installation progress chart as well as additional details about United’s current Wi-Fi equipped aircraft can be found on United.com.
To determine if a flight offers United Wi-Fi, you can check the Inflight Amenities tab on the Flight Status & Information page for an upcoming flight, look for the Wi-Fi logo on the side of the plane as you board, or listen for the announcement by your flight crew once your flight has reached 10,000 feet.
You don’t have to stop being connected just because you are on a plane!
Recently, I traveled to our San Francisco office, where I followed my typical routine. I flew into the Oakland airport, rented a car, and headed north towards the Bay Bridge. While driving, I received a mobile travel alert from SecurityLogic®, one of Christopherson’s business travel technology tools, letting me know that the Bay Bridge was closed for several days while they connected a new section.
Receiving this information in a timely manner allowed me to modify my schedule and avoid the traffic jams I knew would result from the closure of this key artery in and out of San Francisco. Later, when I spoke with other business travelers I learned that they had been stuck in these traffic jams for hours–I just smiled to myself!
As the COO of Christopherson Business Travel, I have the opportunity to work closely with our talented development team as we create products and services for our clients. We focus our efforts in three core areas: traveler safety, cost savings, and accurate reporting.
While all three of these areas are essential elements of a successfully managed travel program, we feel particularly compelled to provide our clients with tools that support the safety, security, and comfort of the many thousands of travelers that we have on the road at any given time. These road warriors play an essential role in growing both the U.S. and global economies on which we all rely. So, we will continue our commitment to provide our clients and their business travelers with the information they need to make their travels safe and secure.
If you have not activated your SecurityLogic traveler alert system, contact your Christopherson Account Manager to discuss your configuration options, then flip the switch, and start providing your travelers with the timely information they need.
While the alert I received was simply a low, caution level alert that spared me from spending several hours in traffic, it may well have been informing me about a much more serious situation.
Christopherson Business Travel will soon be launching AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app to provide corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program from the palm of their hand—wherever, whenever. (Read the full press release here.)
As the mobile version of Christopherson’s intelligent travel manager dashboard, AirPortal 360 Mobile delivers a collection of essential management tools that allow travel managers, and other key players in a company’s travel program, to maintain and manage their duty of care responsibilities, ensure better policy compliance, keep track of travelers and their itineraries, and more.
In the recent Business Travel News (BTN) article, “Assessing Mobile Travel Services and Strategies,” BTN stated that, “However nimble a corporate travel program might be, changes in its culture inevitably occur more slowly than did the rapid, massive embrace by business travelers of mobile technology.”
At Christopherson, we have noticed that while mobile technology innovation has progressed rapidly for travelers, there has not been much innovation when it comes to mobile technology for travel managers. The mobile apps that do exist for that market only provide a third-party software developer’s niche service, and until now, there have been no comprehensive mobile apps to help travel managers oversee their entire travel program. AirPortal 360 Mobile is the solution to that void.
Christopherson has long been a leader in adopting mobile business travel technology, as evidenced by the fact that we were the first travel management company to fully integrate TripIt’s interactive trip management services for all Christopherson business travelers. This occured three years ago, prior to Concur buying TripIt. (Read TripIt’s full press release here.)
Christopherson will be unveiling AirPortal 360 Mobile at the 2013 Global Business Travel Association convention, in San Diego, CA, August 4-7. The app is first available to iPhone users, and the Android version will be released in September 2013.
We invite you to stop by our booth (#3625) to take a look and demo the app for yourself.
Christopherson Business Travel received the following notification from Delta this week, and wanted to share this valuable news with our travelers:
(July 24, 2013) – On July 22, 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it will add an additional opportunity for U.S. citizens to be eligible to receive expedited screening through TSA PreCheck lanes at select airports. To view the complete TSA press release, please click here.
Delta customers interested in enrolling will be required to submit an online application, complete an in-person interview at an enrollment site and pay an $85 five-year membership fee when the program launches later this fall. A U.S. passport is not required to enroll. Approved customers will be given a Known Traveler Number to store in their passenger profile when purchasing a ticket. Click here for more enrollment details.
Customers are encouraged to contact the TSA for more information on this new program via email at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov or 1-866-289-9673.
Initially, enrollment sites will be located at Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport. The TSA expects to expand at other locations in the future.
Customers who have received TSA PreCheck through Delta SkyMiles or through a Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program such as Global Entry, will not need to reapply; this is only for new entrants to the program.
While this additional opportunity provides a benefit to our customers who do not possess a valid U.S. passport, Delta encourages those who travel to international destinations to apply for the Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program to receive TSA PreCheck eligibility.
With Global Entry, customers receive quicker access through Customs and Boarder Protection checkpoints at key international gateways and may receive expedited screening through the TSA PreCheck program as well. Click here to learn more: www.globalentry.gov
As always, the TSA incorporates random unpredictable security measures and no one is guaranteed expedited screening.
Additional information about TSA PreCheck is available by visiting the following links.
Travel Market Report’s business travel editor, Fred Gebhart, recently wrote about a report published by the market research firm Aberdeen Groupon called “Travel and Expense Management.” The report concluded that business travel expenses account for 8% to 12% of an organization’s overall expense budget.
The report also emphasized the need for organizations to focus more on strategic management of travel and not just cost efficiency, and identified three key strategies common to best-in-class travel management programs:
Support travel management with analytics, integration, and mobility
Use mobile apps and portals to put expense management directly in the hands of travelers
Leverage analytics and integration to drive transparency into travel processes and spend to improve corporate budgeting, planning, and forecasting
As a travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel works hard to help you meet those objectives. In fact, Christopherson has already helped countless organizations across the country save money by reducing their travel spend and more efficiently managing their travel programs. The redesign of AirPortal®, our integrated business travel technology platform, and the creation of AirPortal 360™, our travel manager dashboard, allows us to respond to your corporate travel needs.
For additional details about how we can support your travel programs with analytics, integration, and mobility, contact one of our Christopherson Business Travel’s development executives or account managers.
Everyone sees Apple as the gold standard for great technology design. Their minimalistic, clean, user friendly interfaces are great because they are simple and intuitive. They hide the complexity of the technology from the user. Great design is an integral part of every decision they make.
Many technology companies have great technology (function), but they leave the user-interface (form) up to their internal software engineers. In these instance, the design often appears to be an afterthought, at best. Popular psychology tells us that those who are often best with the “left brain” work, the logical stuff, might not be as good at the creating great designs, the “right brain” activities.
When Christopherson embarked on our journey to completely redesign AirPortal®, our integrated business travel technology platform, and introduce AirPortal 360™, our travel manager dashboard, we wanted to treat form and function with equal importance. We made the decision early on to hire a creative, user-interface design company to help us with our “form.” But this also then creates a separate challenge, which is that if you get too creative, your technology might not be as functional as a simple, yet boring, design might be.
How did we bridge the gap? We created two separate designs–one was done by our outside design company and the other by our internal development team. We then sat down and merged the best of both worlds. We were also fortunate that we have one of those rare individuals on our technology team who has great skills on both sides of the brain. The process was interesting; designers are artists and they often think of their design as their “baby.” And who wants to tell anyone that they have an “ugly baby,” right?
In the end, we came up with a design that nailed our form-versus-function objectives. And while we’re certainly not Apple, we do think our new AirPortal 360 design is clean, creative, and functional–so please don’t tell us that you think we have an “ugly baby.”
Most people don’t have time to sort through the myriad of options that populate when searching for a business travel flight. It can certainly be an overwhelming task. We all have parameters and certain restraints that require us to arrive at, or depart from, our destinations at specific times. Ultimately there are only a handful of itineraries that will fit our needs.
But Concur has the ability to sort through the hundreds of options and filter out most of those that do not meet your criteria. Here are a few simple tips to help you more efficiently search for business travel flights using the Concur booking tool.
When filling out the search parameters in Concur, it is usually best to search by “Schedule” as, more often than not, you generally know the flights you want or you have time restrictions. Remember–any information you put into the search parameters will directly influence the search results.
If you want a specific flight, be sure that whatever time you enter into your search includes the flight time of the flight you would like to book. The field highlighted in green (Image A) indicates the amount of time prior to, and after, the time you selected. This is what the travel engine will use to populate your search options. In this instance, the tool will search for departing flights from 4:00AM until 10:00AM.
Once the flight results are displayed, you can further filter your results by clicking the icon at the top of the page for the carrier with whom you’d prefer to fly. For example, if you know you want to travel on a non-stop United flight, you can search for only those flights by clicking the row and column where United, Non-Stop results intersect–as indicated by the green highlighted field in Image B.
Please note that clicking on an airline icon, or on search options within the matrix, will filter both departing and returning flight searches. So if you are looking for a United outbound flight, but want Delta for your return, make sure you select the Delta icon after you chose your United outbound flight.
Also, if your search doesn’t display the necessary information, you can always adjust your search parameters by changing the fields found to the right of the search results as indicated by the pink arrow (Image B).
By following these simple steps, you can save yourself a lot of time and efficiently find flights that meet your travel needs.
Christopherson Business Travel provides fulfillment expertise for Concur Expense and Travel. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you to customize and implement your travel and expense process. Please contact one of our executives to learn more.
It seems we can’t board a flight without hearing or seeing an ad about airline Wi-Fi services. Airlines are practically climbing over each other to get the message out. “Airline A has the most planes equipped with Wi-Fi.” “Airline B has the best service.” “Airline C has the best deals to stay connected throughout your flight.”
But is it really worth the price?
I recently saw results from a survey that suggests most travelers aren’t willing to pay for the “privilege” of staying connected in the sky. Of the four thousand travelers surveyed, 84% said airline Wi-Fi should be free. While this doesn’t indicate how many travelers actually log on and pay for the service, it does tell us that the vast majority of travelers feel it’s not worth the price.
We also have to take into account the lack of power ports on aircraft. While airlines have made great strides in adding outlets and USB ports, you could still land in a seat without a way to charge your battery. So on that four-hour flight with only a two-hour battery, should you decide the cost of Wi-Fi is indeed worth it, you still may only want to purchase a thirty or sixty minute Wi-Fi pass rather than a segment or single flight pass.
Now, if you’re a traveler who just has to stay connected 24/7, then perhaps Wi-Fi may be worth the price. There’s nothing worse then sitting there, with smart phone in hand, wondering what’s in your inbox, knowing that the internet is just a click (and a credit card) away!