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Why Every Business Should Embrace Corporate Travel Technology

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.

Risk Management

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.

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How To Choose The Right Travel Management Company For Your Business

Most corporations spend about 10% of their revenue on business travel. However, that investment tends to pay off. Companies typically see a $2.09 profit increase and a $9.50 revenue increase for every dollar spent on travel.

Still, it’s difficult for many organizations to track and report those metrics. Additionally, business travel expenses often fluctuate, making it hard for companies to budget for it.

For these reasons and more—including concerns about employee safety—it is critical to hire the right travel management company (TMC). A travel management company will help you manage business travel risk, improve reporting, expenses, and more to ensure your investment in corporate travel pays off.

Here’s a short guide on how to choose the right corporate travel management company for your organization.

What To Look For In A Corporate Travel Agency

There is a persistent myth that corporate travel agencies are interchangeable and that one is as good as any other. This myth stems from the misperception that corporate travel management companies are simply travel agents that only help you book flights, rooms, and car rentals.

However, experienced corporate travel management companies provide far more valuable services that extend beyond typical travel agencies. As a result, they are an invaluable partner that can elevate your corporate travel program with the right strategy.

To ensure that you select the right corporate travel agency, look for the following features and services that will provide you with the most value, saving you time and money.

Cutting-Edge Business Travel Technology

There are many business travel management software providers. But the right corporate travel management company will have integrated, digital solutions that deliver the right tools to your employees. In addition to technology for corporate travel managers that track expenses, report metrics, manage unused tickets and assist with risk management, your corporate travel software should offer business travelers easy access to booking options, itineraries, policies, risk plans, and their support team.

From self-service options to mobile apps, your business travel technology should be up-to-date, real-time, and fully integrated. Look for a corporate travel management company that provides software that helps you manage your entire program conveniently, centrally, and cost-effectively, all while keeping a pulse on your employees’ locations in case of emergency.

Furthermore, if you are a corporate travel manager or are responsible for tracking your business travel expenses and ROI, your corporate travel management company’s technology should deliver real-time reporting with actionable data.

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Experienced Travel Agents & Business Travel Support Teams

There is no substitute for experience. The business travel industry transforms quickly and is often the first indicator of how economic, geopolitical, weather and climate situations are going to affect global industries and economies. The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of that.

When situations like these arise, they can often affect travel prices, the availability of travel vendors’ services and products, and sometimes, the safety of an organization’s business travelers.

An experienced corporate travel management company has its finger on the pulse of the travel industry and will know when and how these factors may impact your business travel program. Additionally, a TMC provides a team of expert travel agents, an account manager, and additional client service members who can assist you and your business travelers in navigating those changes or any other domestic or international situations that arise.

When business travelers encounter those unexpected, or even concerning, situations, they need access to someone who can assist them immediately. Your company may not be able to facilitate 24/7 availability for traveling employees. When looking for a corporate travel agency, look for a partner who provides immediate access to expert travel agents 24/7, 365 days a year.

Christopherson’s travel agents are particularly skilled at swiftly helping business travelers en route who have encountered these kinds of sudden and unforeseen situations. This level of skill and expertise is invaluable to maintaining your duty of care standards.

Ultimately, your travel management company’s team of travel agents, account managers, and support personnel should be consultative advisors who offer personalized solutions and deliver a plan that meets your needs, saves your company money, and aligns with your goals, travel policies, and risk management plans. It can also be beneficial to find a corporate travel agency with experience in your industry sector and an understanding of your frequent business travel destinations, whether domestic or international.

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Corporate Travel Policy Integration

Every business travel program should create a corporate travel policy. These policies ensure that both the organization and its business travelers are protected. They also help companies save money and manage the risk associated with business travel.

The right corporate travel management company will have the expertise to consult with you on current best practices of corporate travel policies. They will also have the technology needed to integrate that policy with all your booking options, helpful benchmarking tools, and your HR feed.

Additionally, the right corporate travel management company can guide you in presenting and communicating your corporate travel policy to your business travelers. Maintaining a current travel policy that 1) aligns with your corporate culture, 2) offers a measure of flexibility, and 3) is clearly communicated, allows you to set expectations while keeping business traveler satisfaction high. It also ensures that all your bookings are compliant which saves you money, gives you data to leverage when negotiating rates, and provides the intelligence you need to manage risk.

While business travel risk management is one of the most important duties of a corporate travel manager, it can sometimes be a bit of a grey area.

For example, what happens when employees participate in extra-curricular activities while “off-the-clock” but are still traveling for business? What if an employee gets into a car accident on their business trip, but the accident occurred not while engaged in business but while they were on their way to meet a friend? Should the consumption of alcohol be allowed while business traveling? Should your travel program address phone usage or other safety standards while driving?

These questions and more are another reason corporate travel policies are important and the right corporate travel management company can help you define what you want to allow or not allow within the scope of business travel.

Risk Management and Business Traveler Safety Tools

In addition to utilizing corporate travel policies to facilitate duty of care requirements, companies should also outline plans for managing business travel risk. Such plans ensure the lines of communication in an emergency are defined, open, and accessible if a business trip goes awry.

The right corporate travel management company will help you outline and implement your risk management plans. Risk management plans should consider business traveler safety needs and outline contingency options to enable quick pivots and immediate service when employees are on the road. Your corporate travel management company’s technology should also offer solutions for real-time notification of emergency, disaster, and weather alerts.

Intelligent Reporting & Travel Data Options

Suhail Doshi, the CEO of Mixpanel said, “Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.”

There is a world of difference between data and actionable data. The right corporate travel management company will deliver the reports and tracking software you need to access actionable data that measures performance and helps you analyze areas for improvement.

When your corporate travel management company provides easy-to-read reports with the right data, you can more easily justify the investment in business travel and prove the ROI of your corporate travel program to your management team. With proven, actionable data, you can also see where to save while identifying additional expenditures that yield greater profit and revenue.

When searching for a corporate travel agency, ask for a demonstration of their reporting software and look at the data they deliver. Ask if they are customizable and ensure they track metrics that will assist you in your future decisions.

Corporate Event Management Team

A challenge for many corporate travel managers is the additional level of detailed coordination required for corporate event planning. Organizing large conferences, making group travel arrangements, and negotiating with vendors can prove overwhelming on top of the numerous daily tasks associated with managing a corporate travel program.

But the right corporate travel management company will have an experienced corporate meetings and events team with specialized expertise in group air travel, incentive trips, and the various types of business travel events.

Such business travel events may include small gatherings like executive retreats and team meetings, or large events like trade shows and conferences. Regardless of the size of your event, your corporate travel management company’s meetings and events team has the ability to help you plan, manage, and execute details like audiovisual needs, catering, activities, ground transportation, attendee registration, and more.

Additionally, corporate meetings and events teams ensure each event is uniquely themed and aligns with your organization’s vision for the type of experience you’re wanting to create. They also maintain established relationships with trusted vendors worldwide to ensure the quality of that experience.

Business Travel Vendor Negotiation Expertise

When you partner with the right corporate travel management agency, you are able to leverage the collective buying power of that travel agency. Additionally, you can rely on your account manager to identify the power of your own spend data to strategically negotiate rates that benefit your bottom line.

Why Use A Corporate Travel Management Company?

If your company engages in business travel, partnering with a travel management company will save you time and money. An effective travel management program includes the following and more:

  • Intelligent corporate travel software
  • Centralized data and reporting
  • 24/7 support
  • Online and agent booking options
  • Risk management support
  • Expert vendor negotiation
  • Cost savings
  • Simplified and streamlined process

The right corporate travel management company should provide a comprehensive travel management plan that helps you navigate the unique needs of your own corporate travel program and caters to the needs of your business travelers.

How To Choose A Business Travel Management Company

Here is a quick checklist of things you can do to screen and choose a travel management company:

  • Review their website to understand their services
  • Ask for a demonstration of their travel software
  • Assess their solutions against your greatest needs
  • View sample reports
  • Read case studies
  • Ask for references
  • Check online reviews
  • Inquire with an RFI

Why Choose Christopherson Business Travel As Your Travel Management Company

Christopherson Business Travel is the travel management company you need to manage your travel program. What sets us apart is our unique approach to balancing the need for personalized, consultative service with technology that leads the way in this fast-paced world and ever-changing industry.

We take pride in improving our clients’ travel management programs and providing best-in-class service to meet the needs of their business travelers.

Contact us today!

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How to Book a Business Trip in a Post-COVID World – Christopherson Business Travel

With vaccines being quickly distributed, COVID numbers going down, and governments around the world easing restrictions, business travel is definitely on the uptick again. But even if road warriors are dusting off their suitcases, there’s no denying that business travel looks different now, after a global pandemic.

So how do you book business trips in a post-COVID world? Here are three things corporate travel managers and their travelers should consider as they resume travel.

1. Be Purposeful: Book Trips That Have an ROI

Throughout the pandemic, most companies either eliminated or significantly reduced the amount of business travel they approved. But even businesses that continued to travel, whether in part or in full, still had to determine what travel was permissible.

Permissible travel, according to the consulting firm Festive Road, is business travel that is government approved, company approved, and employee agreed. But as the amount of permissible business travel increases, corporate travel managers will need to pivot once again in order to successfully manage the return.

One aspect of that pivot is determining how to identify, support, and manage business travel that actually provides a return. While the convenience of Zoom highlighted the savings to be had in not traveling over the last year, it also showcased how important face-to-face meetings are. Companies realized the significance of in-person interactions because they build trust, aid in closing deals, and solidify relationships. Those high-value meetings are the sweet spot of business travel because they have purpose.

What Is Purposeful Travel?

Identifying purposeful travel entails corporate travel managers working with other stakeholders in their company to determine what types of travel are valuable. This may require a shift in focus:

  • While some may have seen business travel simply as a perk or status symbol before COVID, purposeful travel requires a reason and ROI.
  • Where business travelers may have previously jumped on a plane at any chance, purposeful travel asks that they consider the possibility of a virtual meeting first.
  • Where companies may have previously deemed travel as an expectation or requirement of a role, purposeful travel swings the balance back to considering employee well-being and work/life balance.
  • While limited consideration may have been given to the impact of business travel on the planet in the past, purposeful travel places the value of sustainability at the center of an organization’s conversation.
  • Where travel may have been a cost center before the pandemic, purposeful travel now identifies it as an investment.

As corporate travel managers outline what purposeful travel looks like for their organization, they will also want to consider company culture, competitors, and clients. Purposeful travel policies should:

  • encourage the corporate culture.
  • allow you to maintain a competitive edge.
  • meet client expectations and maintain strong relationships.

What that looks like from company to company will vary. Festive Road provides a review model to help companies evaluate and identify how to be purposeful as their corporate travel resumes.

Booking purposeful business trips will look different for every company. It may mean fewer, but longer trips with more meetings. It might require goal-setting or identifying desired results prior to travel. It could encourage the implementation of new accountabilities to measure success and ROI.

2. Be Safe: Book Trips That Align With Risk Management Plans

COVID, despite all its challenges, did help companies identify the gaps in their corporate travel programs—firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the safety and security of their business travelers.

Organizations are now more aware of the need to be prepared for the unforeseen situations that can arise when business travelers are on the road. They see the importance of policies and technology that allow them to maintain constant awareness of their travelers’ location. They have a greater appreciation for the value travel management companies (TMC) provide as partners who can assist and advocate for them during crisis moments.

10 Business Travel Safety Considerations for Corporate Travel Managers

As travel resumes, maintaining the safety and security of your business travelers begins with a strong risk management plan that’s supported by real-time technology. As road warriors begin booking trips again, here are ten things corporate travel managers might consider doing to better manage risk moving forward:

  1. Update risk management plans.
  2. Ensure that corporate travel policies are aligned with the risk management plan.
  3. Identify communication strategies for future crisis possibilities.
  4. Evaluate the company’s need for any travel to high-risk locations.
  5. Assess travel approval settings.
  6. Remind travelers to update the contact information in their traveler profiles and require the inclusion of mobile numbers and emergency contacts.
  7. Work with their TMC Account Manager to make sure any new policies are integrated with their booking tools.
  8. Turn on safety notifications and alerts for business travelers.
  9. Re-communicate the organization’s safety procedures and travel policy to their traveling workforce. You may also want to consider mandating the policy.
  10. Provide safety, security, and policy training to business travelers so they feel supported and informed.

3. Be Informed: Book Trips Knowing What to Expect

Companies and their travelers are now more aware of what can happen when they don’t have all the information they respectively need when crises arise during business travel. Some organizations struggled to bring travelers home when COVID lockdowns began and countries closed borders around the world. Other companies had a much easier experience because they had the resources, information, technology, and support to make it happen quickly.

Similarly, some business travelers faced repatriation with uncertainty and perhaps a measure of anxiety, while others knew exactly who to call to change their plans and make it home safely.

While companies have a duty of care responsibility to inform and educate their travelers and ensure their safety on the road, there are things business travelers can also do to successfully book business travel in a post-COVID world.

Review Risks and Know Restrictions

By being aware of the risks associated with a particular destination, you can make plans with your company for your safety. Additionally, not all restrictions have been lifted around the world. In fact, some are still changing with frequency. Rely on real-time tools and your company’s TMC resources to know what’s required before you book a business trip.

Use Your Company’s Approved Booking Process

Whether it’s online or with a corporate travel agent, booking through your company’s approved process ensures that your manager and travel team can locate you and help you if you encounter an uncertain situation.

Know Your Company’s Travel Policies

When you understand and follow your company’s corporate travel policies, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing what to do and how you will be supported if you encounter a crisis like COVID on the road.

Keep Contact Information Updated

Before going on a business trip, make sure the contact information in your travel profile is current and includes your mobile number and emergency contact. Also make sure you take with you (or can easily locate offline) contact information for your company’s travel department as well as your company’s travel management company agents or support team.

Ultimately, booking business trips in a post-COVID world will require companies and their travelers to rethink how corporate travel fits into their strategies and provides a return.

Christopherson Business Travel’s corporate travel experts can evaluate your travel program to encourage purposeful travel. Our Account Managers provide customized travel management plans that help you integrate the policies, partnerships, and technology you need to successfully navigate the new business travel landscape.

To learn more about Christopherson’s services and technology, contact us today.

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Hotel Sourcing Strategies for 2021 Business Travel

Twenty-twenty was an unprecedented year in the travel industry in many ways, one of the most surprising being what the Hotel Reservation Service (HRS) calls “the dawn of a buyer’s market” in the hotel industry.

Like all dawns, this one was preceded by darkness. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the hotel industry have been numerous, including:

  • overhauls to cleaning protocols;
  • implementation of social distancing and touchless options;
  • reducing and revamping food and beverage offerings and service;
  • revamping and limiting housekeeping services;
  • closing and reopening fitness centers, spas, and pools;
  • and, most importantly, numerous hotel closures, staff layoffs and furloughs, and impending bankruptcies.

In his annual trend analysis report, Bjorn Hanson, adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, says most hotel vendors are suddenly facing “the lowest occupancies in history (generally forecast to be 50 percent for the US for 2021) and the largest decrease in average daily rates in history (20 to 35 percent).”1

With health and safety protocols driving booming Zoom sales and other virtual meeting options like GoToMeeting, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, the pandemic has impacted travel buyers and managers, too, as they struggle to forecast when, where, and how much their employees will travel in 2021.

“It’s a buyer’s market. This is a certainty that may be clouded by the reduced level of corporate demand today, but it is nevertheless true. With rates down, occupancy down, and too much supply, travel buyers have the power to ask for better terms with hotels, which are desperate for volumes,” says TRIPBAM. “Yet, with the majority of corporates still halting or significantly holding back on business travel, delivering volume or providing accurate projections of expected volume for when travel resumes becomes difficult.”

In spite of these uncertainties, there are some concrete steps travel managers can take to secure better hotel rates in 2021.

1. Evaluate Changing Business Travel Patterns

If your employees frequently travel between your branch offices or to and from specific project sites, your 2021 hotel offerings may look similar to your 2020 or 2019 program’s.

However, Account Manager Carol Del Giudice suggests that most business travel patterns will be significantly different post-pandemic. “Companies that shut down physical offices now have virtual ones, so travel patterns are changing. They are meeting clients in neutral places because of those office closures.” And “neutral places” often means areas with hotels outside of negotiated contracts, so many travel managers should shift lodging options accordingly.

The question is whether you should respond to the shift by increasing or decreasing the number of hotels in your program, or both.

2. Assess Your Corporate Hotel Needs

Consider revising the number of properties/vendors in your hotel program if:

  • You are no longer traveling to a particular area as a result of office closures (yours or your client’s), a change from in-person to virtual meetings, a change in project location, border closures, etc.
  • You need to concentrate room nights at fewer properties to negotiate better rates
  • Your vendor has permanently closed a preferred property
  • You are willing to adjust your hotel program, including changing the number of properties and renegotiating rates, as the pandemic evolves and your travel needs change
  • Your vendor contacts have changed and you are no longer satisfied with the service
  • Your vendor is refusing to negotiate lower rates for 2021
  • Your employee duty-of-care policy requires properties with cleanliness/safety certification or accreditation
  • Your travelers have provided negative feedback regarding a vendor’s health and safety measures
  • You have new projects or offices requiring more convenient lodging locations
  • You can negotiate lower rates or different types of rates to decrease your hotel spend

3. Understand Your Rate Choices

Static rates—a flat rate implemented for an agreed-upon term but with seasonal fluctuations and date exceptions—are the most common type of negotiated rate. In addition to being available only 60–85 percent of the time, static rates may be a vestige of another era in travel. But they could still have a place in your travel program. As part of a dual-rate strategy, static rates can serve as a rate cap that controls travel spend when the market fluctuates.

For example, the Company Dime reported that TRIPBAM’s static rates were an average 3 percent higher than market rates in September 2020. That’s why TRIPBAM CEO Steve Reynolds suggests treating your negotiated static rate as a rate cap.

“In January, travel buyers were getting a 25–30 percent discount off market rates; now they’re getting 2 percent, or maybe even [sic] negative discount, because market rates have dropped 35 percent on average,” said Reynolds.

Dynamic rates—normally a percentage off the best available rate (BAR) that is negotiated with individual properties—are applicable 100 percent of the time. There are no room-type restrictions, blackout dates, or seasonal fluctuations. And when the market is difficult to predict, a dynamic rate lets travel managers take advantage of bargain basement room prices.

“We recommend a shift to dynamic rates,” said Client Consulting Services Manager Dallas Stewart. The discount won’t always be as high, but you’re still getting a better rate than BAR on blackout dates. It’s pretty standard for dynamic rates to be 10–15% off BAR.”

Chainwide rates—a flat percentage off BAR that is applicable to all hotels within a specific chain—generally don’t include amenities or provide last room availability. According to Stewart, chainwide discounts are most applicable to high-volume programs with an annual spend of $250,000 or more within the same chain family. They are also advantageous when your travelers stay at one hotel brand in various locations and may be more relevant in a pandemic market that emphasizes consistent health and safety measures above cost.

Amanda Hyun, Director of Sales and Marketing for Cambria Hotel Napa Valley, says that travel buyers’ number one concern is currently health and safety and notes that in this market it is “crucial now more than ever to outline the different cleanliness standards.”

4. Consider Using a Blend of Rate Types

As mentioned earlier, a dual-rate strategy may provide the best cost-control option in 2021. Implementation and Account Support Manager Adelina Litter suggests that travel buyers negotiate static and dynamic rates for 2021 to take advantage of the lowest rates throughout the year.

In September 2020, BCD Travel surveyed travel buyers to ascertain trends in rate sourcing. As shown in the graphic below, a significant majority—82%—said they would use a mixture of static and dynamic hotel rates in their 2021 travel programs.

“Creating just the right mix of rate types and amenities included in the negotiated rate process has always been a balancing act, even for the most seasoned sourcing professionals,” said Business Travel News in a recent white paper. “But in the next year or two, as the impact of the pandemic unfolds, the pressure to mix savings with safety, and flexibility with perks, will require even more finesse. Luckily, the vast majority of organizations are already starting from a good place in their programs—they just need to keep evolving in changeable times.”

According to Del Giudice, hotels are keeping lines of communication open to help travel managers understand these changes.

“Most hotels are reaching out to clients with an existing program. They are lowering rates and trying to get travelers back into their hotels. The onus is on the hotelier to make stays more appealing to the traveler, so they are offering more points, more amenities, and lower rates,” she said.

Hyun agrees that price is always near the top of travel buyer’s want lists. “One way we are combatting this for those who are on a static rate program is to offer the lowest rate guarantee at time of booking. Many of the national accounts are on this program now as it will default to the lowest rate available when searching on booking platforms and the GDS.”

5. Reconsider the Hotel RFP

With decreases in staff and fewer operating hotels, many relationships essential to the RFP process have dissolved. So travel managers must reach out to unfamiliar contacts and, in some cases, contacts in different positions within the company, to complete the RFP process.

“Travel managers are finding that some of their contacts are on furlough or have been let go. This makes it even harder to know who to reach out to and find a contact that’s familiar with them and their program,” said Client Consulting Services Manager Adelina Littler.

Hyun estimated that only 33% of RFPs were released during the traditional season and that “many are waiting until Q1 to submit or do a roll over with rates.” Hyun sees more companies—about 60%—switching to a dynamic pricing model “with anywhere from 10–25% off BAR on net, non-commissionable rates.”

6. Use Your Data

Whatever rate strategies you implement, keeping a close eye on travel patterns and travel spend enables you to adjust your program as the pandemic situation evolves and better prepare for 2022 rate negotiations. Littler and Stewart advise travel managers to audit hotel rates using benchmark options in the Prime Analytics reporting tool available in AirPortal.

“Track your discounts through your Domo and Prime Analytics reporting tools. Look at year-over-year spend and savings by benchmark, as well as by preferred properties. Track the savings at least every six months in preparation to negotiate rates for 2022,” said Littler.

According to a BTNGROUP white paper, most travel buyers agree with Littler’s recommendation: more than 50% of them review their hotel rates two to four times annually.

7. Consult Your Account Manager

If you’re unsure how to pursue rates for your travel 2021 program, take advantage of the consultative services offered by your account manager.

“We can offer the best approaches and give clients guidance whether they want to negotiate new rates or even pursue a hotel RFP,” said Stewart. “While we suggest that clients skip the RFP this year, since many hotels don’t currently have the sales reps to manage the RFP process, we can give them access to an RFP tool if they prefer.”

Suggested Strategies and Best Practices

With so much fluctuation in the travel industry, it’s important to remain focused on your lodging goals, whether that’s sourcing safer hotels, improving traveler satisfaction, or getting lower rates—or a combination of those elements. Keep these strategies and best practices in mind as you tailor your hotel program for 2021:

  • Use dynamic rates or a mixture of rates.
  • Review hotel health and safety measures before you roll-over or negotiate new rates.
  • Remove from your program hotels that don’t have pandemic-related health and safety accreditations or prominently displayed health and safety measures on their websites.
  • Concentrate your room nights at fewer properties to obtain greater savings.
  • Review and audit rates often—at least twice annually.
  • Use a hotel RFP tool only if absolutely necessary.
  • Keep abreast of ongoing marketplace changes.
  • Use benchmarking to audit hotel rates.
  • Evaluate the need to improve hotel attachment rates.
  • Educate travelers regarding the increased safety and savings that come with booking compliance using preferred vendors.
  • Mandate use of preferred vendors and consider implementing a liability waiver if travelers book off-channel.
  • Be prepared for hotel satisfaction metrics to change as hotels respond to returning business travel—your program may determine whether you negotiate contracts for shorter or longer durations.
  • Be prepared to add hotels to and remove hotels from your program as needed.
  • Verify that required amenities are included in your negotiated rates so your travelers don’t incur additional charges.
  • Consider obtaining lower rates for extended stays that result in less frequent travel for your employees (e.g., office to project base trips).

Endnotes

1 Hanson, Bjorn, PhD. US Corporate and Contract Hotel Rate Negotiations for 2021 Forecast – Negotiating at a Time of Unprecedented Uncertainty. Trend Analysis Report. September 22, 2020.

Disclaimer: As business travel needs vary from corporation to corporation, changes in vendors are company-specific managerial decisions, not a result of Christopherson Business Travel publications.

 

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7 Ways to Reduce Corporate Travel Spend

How to Reduce Corporate Travel Spend

Last-minute bookings, flight changes, additional amenities, hotel and airfare market rate fluctuations, and passenger changes can bloat your travel spend allowance, leaving you with expenses upper management may find hard to digest.

While business travel is notoriously hard to budget, travel management companies (TMCs) combine expert personnel with software and reporting tools to keep costs in check and align your travel program with your travel budget, no Alka-Seltzer® required.

In fact, the Global Business Travel Association estimates that TMCs save companies who spend at least $250,000 in annual travel from 5% to 50% of their travel spend, which is a significant savings.

Christopherson Business Travel can help you realize savings and reduce corporate travel spend using these seven methods.

1. Manage Unused Tickets

Before 2020, it was commonly estimated that 10% of business travel airline tickets went unused. However, the pandemic’s travel restrictions flooded many businesses with unused tickets, some with a total value of more than $1 million. That’s definitely an expense worth tracking and managing.

According to Christopherson Account Manager Patti Bragg, “The number one travel issue right now is unused tickets, especially when a company has guest travelers or non-profiled travelers. You need an unused ticket tracking and reporting system to see those tickets, be able to reuse them, and get those funds back. This one travel management feature really provides a lot of savings.”

To recoup unused ticket expenses, Christopherson provides a tool that tracks the entire life cycle of a ticket—from purchase to use—and automates unused ticket management, whether your travelers book online or through an advisor.

2. Capitalize on TMC Rates

You can reduce the rates you’re paying for airfare, lodging, and transportation by taking advantage of a TMC’s affiliate memberships and corporate buying power.

Hotels

Our memberships in the BCD Travel Global Hotel Program, Virtuoso, and the THOR Hotel Program provide clients with discounts, enhanced amenities, and benefits at more than 86,100 properties spanning 189 countries and 6 continents.

Depending on the property, our memberships can provide benefits such as free upgrades, breakfast, and Wi-Fi, as well as reductions on best rate pricing. So while you’re saving money, your travelers will enjoy additional perks.

“Our hotel programs really benefit clients who do lots of conference travel or group travel, clients for whom lodging is the major travel expense, and clients who don’t regularly log enough room nights to get company-specific rates. These clients can access our consortia rates. It’s a great value we bring to each account,” said Bragg.

Airlines

As an industry leader, Christopherson receives priority privileges and benefits from major carriers, which we pass on to you to improve your service and save you money.

You’ll also get preferred seating on multiple fare classes and exclusive access to international airfare, and your travelers will access Southwest Airlines’ full content, including Wanna Get Away fares, as well as TMC-only change and cancellation perks on major airlines, such as Delta, United, and American, that result in cost savings.

Rental Cars

If you don’t have company-specific negotiated rates, you can capitalize on Christopherson’s corporate buying power and standing negotiated rates with all major rental car companies, including National, Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, Budget, and others.

Your account managers may also help you obtain better rates by introducing you to additional vendors who can give you deeper discounts.

For example, a client who preferred renting cars from a particular company asked Christopherson Account Manager Susan Moon how they could reduce their rental car costs. Moon was able to look at the client’s travel spend and identify savings opportunities. By engaging two other vendors in the discussion, she introduced the client to other companies that could provide lower rates.

3. Obtain Automated Savings

Rate Monitoring Tools and Services

Finding a lower price after you’ve made a purchase is one of the most frustrating scenarios for consumers. That’s why we provide expert travel advisors and automated tools to ensure you receive lower rates when they are available for the trip options you’ve selected.

Airlines

We use a quality control fare-checking module to automatically search every itinerary for lower fares until the time of departure. When lower rates are found for an identical itinerary, that booking is returned to your travel advisor or our online team for review and response, ensuring that you receive the lower fare.

Hotels

Like the airline industry, hotels raise and lower their prices based on market conditions and inventory. Our hotel rate monitoring tool screens travel advisor-booked reservations for lower rates. Rates are checked 72 hours prior to travel and, if a lower rate is found for an “apples to apples” comparable room, your reservation will be changed and the savings tracked and reported.

To increase your savings through use of preferred vendors and negotiated rates, Christopherson also offers a tool that automates hotel program compliance and simplifies duty-of-care requirements.

After identifying itineraries without hotel bookings, the tool sends automated reminders to travelers requesting that they fill in this gap in their travel plans, which ultimately helps you get more bookings with your preferred hotels and increases your negotiating power.

4. Negotiate Lower Rates

Based on your travel spend and volume, Christopherson’s account managers can assist with hotel rate negotiations or provide you with automated tools to obtain the lowest possible rates within your travel policy parameters.

For example, one of our account managers used a tool to help a large account consolidate a 100-property hotel program that resulted in a 38.9% cost savings in hotel spend.

Moon reported a similar rate-reduction experience: “Earlier this year we negotiated with United Airlines on behalf of a client. Because of the client’s travel volume, we were able to save them $100,000 on airfare alone,” she said.

5. Receive Consultative Services

Providing consultative services—such as getting to know the client’s culture, discussing their travel policy and budgetary goals, and conducting account reviews—is a vital component of reducing corporate travel spend.

“Every account needs consultative services. Having a ton of preferred hotels isn’t necessarily best, because booking more nights at the same hotel chain increases the client’s buying power. We look at these kinds of travel patterns during the client’s travel program review to help them reduce corporate travel spend,” said Christopherson Account Manager Paul Foster.

6. Book Online

For many businesses, reducing corporate travel spend includes getting travelers to use an online booking tool. When travelers use an online booking tool, rogue travel spend—travel booked outside of your TMC—is brought back under the TMC “umbrella.”

The benefits of reigning in rogue travelers include booking more nights with your preferred hotels, which in turn leads to better rate negotiations, and accruing fewer booking fees, as all travel segments are booked at the same time, during a single transaction.

“If a client has a high number of bookings with travel advisors, we discuss the nature of their business and whether they can save fees by using the online booking tool more. We provide training as needed to make sure their travelers and travel managers have the necessary expertise to book online,” said Christopherson Account Manager M’Liss Hunter.

7. Act on Your Data

New clients and those with previously unmanaged programs are always surprised at how much information we can give them. We provide a platform that collects and consolidates your real-time travel data in one accessible place, offers powerful reporting tools, and can even alert you if your monthly travel expenditures exceed your year-to-date budget.

If your data reveal that “Matt” in “Department XYZ” is booking business class, you can act on those data to reduce your corporate travel spend by (1) revising your travel policy so business class isn’t an available option, or (2) you can discuss booking comfort class only with Matt and back up that conversation with visible, data-at-a-glance dashboard cards.

“If companies aren’t aware of their data, they can’t use it to reduce corporate travel spend,” said Hunter. “If they know about it, they can track it and analyze it.”

Data analysis is the confluence of consultative account management and data reporting tools: this combination of service and technology allows you to capitalize on your travel program and reduce your corporate travel spend. And that’s nothing to bellyache about.

After a year and a half I can clearly see the value based on the level of customer service and the transparency into our company’s travel spend.”

Jared Hughes, CFO, Forefront Healthcare

Want to reduce your corporate travel spend even more? Mandate your travel program, as explained here.

You can also  contact our Business Development Team for more information on Christopherson’s money-saving tools and services.

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Business Travel Company News and Announcements Travel Industry Travel Tips

How to Ensure the Well-being of Your Corporate Travelers

Did you know that protecting the well-being of your business travelers benefits your company? Here’s how: 

Your people are your most prized asset. But expecting one of your business travelers to take red-eye flights, then come in to the office after days on the road, and produce an implementation plan en route to the conference treats your valued employee more like software than a software developer.

Comparing business travelers to “athletes in a suit” during a recent GBTA webinar on reducing traveler stress and anxiety, Dr. Lucy Rattrie said that companies often have unrealistic expectations for their employees. “You’d never expect your favorite sports team to get up at 3 a.m., fly somewhere, ace a sports game, fly home, and get up for training at 6 o’clock the next morning.”

The stress associated with frequent business travel—compounded by the duress of productivity, performance, and personal sacrifice—leads to traveler burnout, especially for employees who travel 14 or more days per month. This duress can be demoralizing, causing depression, job dissatisfaction and disengagement, resulting in the expensive process of employee replacement.

Use permitted by Dr. Andrew Rundle and Business Travel News.

Ensuring employee well-being—safeguarding their mental, physical, and social welfare—is a common law duty of care responsibility that applies to traveling employees, whether they are meeting a prospective client across town or presenting at a conference across the globe.

“Employers have the moral and legal responsibility and obligation for the health, safety and security of their employees, especially those traveling on behalf of the employer.”

Stephen Page, Assistant VP, Lockton Companies Insurance Brokerage

Here are three ways companies can increase traveler satisfaction and well-being and enjoy the benefits that come from happy, healthy business travelers:

1. Communicate Your Concern

Letting your travelers know you’ve got their backs alleviates many travel-induced stressors, so communicating this concern is vital. Yet 61% of business travelers surveyed by Amadeus said either their company “doesn’t take steps to actively improve traveler well-being or they are unsure whether the company does.”

In another study, only 44% of international business travelers said they were offered real-time information on security issues and only 43% were given tracking information for their business trips, leading more than half of these employees to believe their well-being is of little consequence to their employer.

“People are spending time away from their lives for your business, and if you treat [travel] as just a cost center, eventually those employees will treat your business as just a job. Ignoring that for any company that is investing in developing and retaining talent is a huge risk.”

Harmony Miller, HR Manager, GRI

You can communicate your commitment to traveler well-being by:

  • Verifying key health and safety information, such as emergency contacts and personal itineraries, before each trip
  • Holding traveler training to discuss your emergency plans/protocols
  • Empowering travelers and travel managers with mobile apps that provide security alerts, destination maps, and links to their itineraries, like SecurityLogic.
  • Lessening the headaches of travel by allowing travelers to rebook canceled or delayed flights through travel advisors
  • Reviewing and discussing your travel policy at least annually to ensure it’s in line with institutional and personnel changes

“Employers can further support a culture of health by adopting policies that mitigate the wear and tear of business travel and by providing their travelers with tools and training for handling stress while on the road.”

Dr. Andrew Rundle, Associate Professor, Columbia University

2. Develop a Traveler-friendly Policy

Although booking a 5 a.m. flight for a 9 a.m. meeting may save the cost of an overnight stay at the Marriott, Amadeus shows that poor traveler well-being can “create costs for employers through higher medical claims, reduced employee productivity and performance, absenteeism, presenteeism and short-term disability.”

Maintaining traveler well-being means making accommodations in your policy, but this actually benefits businesses. Having a “very attractive travel policy” interested 84% of business travelers when considering a different job requiring a similar amount of travel. According to 83% of respondents, a better travel policy would be equal to or more important than pay and responsibilities, so factoring employee well-being into a travel policy is essential to employee retention and recruitment.

According to ARC, allowing non-stop flights is the most preferred way to ease business travel friction, followed by providing better/more convenient lodging options, allowing business-class travel on extended flights, and allowing paid time off after long trips.

Lodging affects travelers throughout their stay, so a pleasant experience—or a bad one—has a big impact on well-being. If the hotel has limited options, travelers are more likely eat junk food, drink heavily, and be sedentary, all of which lead to burnout, an “occupational phenomenon” recognized by the World Health Organization.

Employees suffering from burnout or fatigue are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors that they might not participate in at home, according to International SOS. And burnout often requires an extensive recovery period.

“It took about six months for me to recover from what was considered burnout by my doctor. When I got to that point, it felt like chronic fatigue.” – Dr. Lucy Rattrie, Psychologist & Founding Partner, Business Travel Wellbeing Community

However, you can mitigate travel impacts on employees by aligning accommodations with your travelers’ needs. To promote well-being, select hotels with facilities and services such as:

  • Easy access to conferences and meetings
  • Fitness facilities and / or pool (or reimburse travelers for memberships to national gyms)
  • Healthy onsite and nearby dining or in-room meal prep options
  • 24-hour services
  • Employee-paid relaxation services such as massage and yoga

Mia Kyricos, global head of well-being at Hyatt Hotels, told the New York Times that our 24/7 world places increasing demands on work and life, so “well-being is top of mind for everyone today, and we think that’s going to continue in the future.”

3. Combine Business with Pleasure

If you’re looking to increase traveler well-being, allowing a “bizcation” or “bleisure” travel—personal days before or after a business trip—may make your travelers more willing to leave home and increase their productivity. Since business travel reduces social and personal time, adding bleisure provisions to your travel policy promotes a better employee work/life balance, which in turn facilitates employee well-being.

Employees also benefit from bleisure opportunities by reaching destinations they might not otherwise afford, such as Europe or Asia, and by accessing bucket list entertainment and activities like visiting the Museo del Prado in Madrid, ziplining Arebak Volcano, Costa Rica, or seeing Lady Gaga live in Las Vegas.

A study of international business travelers found that while 74% of respondents “saw business travel as an opportunity for adventure and exploration,” the corporate decision to include bleisure time “was inconsistent and at the direction of individual managers.”

Developing a bleisure policy for employee well-being doesn’t have to hurt the bottom line if its provisions are thoughtfully implemented, such as:

  • Allowing employees personal days if their originating or returning flight falls on a cheaper travel day
  • Providing bleisure opportunities if employees subsidize their travel insurance and / or any travel changes that increase trip costs
  • Defining employee responsibilities for bleisure travel including duty of care, expense tracking, communication, and travel arrangements
  • Permitting employees to travel with a self-paid companion to enjoy bleisure time and increase their connectivity with family or friends
  • Using bleisure travel as a benefit for employees who save your business money by complying with corporate travel policies

“Bleisure travel is ultimately a win-win for employers and employees,” said Chubb insurers. “By providing guidance and extending protection to employees taking bleisure trips, companies can safeguard their greatest assets, address issues before they arise, and reap the financial benefits of their support.”

Well Travelers = Willing Travelers

Since comfort and support are critical to traveler performance, implementing a travel policy that accounts for employee well-being not only lessens travel impacts on employees but also benefits the bottom line. Allowing travelers to maintain elements of their normal routines and have some travel-related personal or downtime means they will be better rested, eat healthier meals, exercise more, and feel more positive about their job and their time away from home—all of which means they’ll be more likely to travel again.

“Whether we give them an upgraded seat, or extend their trip for leisure, it’s the little things like that that play into the role of overall satisfaction of the traveler.” – Harmony Miller

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Business Travel Company News and Announcements Travel Management Travel Tips

7 Things Corporate Travel Managers Should Do Now

As travel managers approach the end of this challenging year filled with a pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, riots, murder hornets, and all, it’s important to identify ways to strengthen your organization’s travel program, prepare for the return of travel, and plan for the future. To that end, we sat down with a few members of our Account Management Team to discuss what travel managers should be doing now as you move towards the fourth quarter and set your sights on a New Year.

1. Review & Update Your Corporate Travel Policy

Many companies have travel policies, but quite often, they were written years ago and haven’t been reviewed since.

“I think the biggest thing companies learned from COVID-19 was that they have to have a solid travel policy in place,” said Dallas Stewart, Christopherson’s Manager of Client Consulting Services. “Those who did fared much better at keeping their travelers safe as the pandemic began to spread. Organizations that review their policies regularly, enjoy peace of mind and have clear risk management plans.”

Account Manager Susan Moon agreed, “Now is a good time to evaluate your travel policy and make sure you are prepared should something like COVID-19 arise again in the future.”

Every organization should review their policies to make sure they’re current and relevant. Christopherson’s Account Management Team continuously collaborates with clients to evaluate old policies, draft new ones, create addendums to existing policies, and share best practices.

Here is a sample of an addendum Christopherson developed for a customer as they revised their travel policy during the pandemic:

2. Organize Your Unused Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets are top-of-mind for most companies, and understandably so. It’s a big piece of cleaning up from COVID-19. Companies are overflowing with unused ticket credits as travel was cancelled or postponed. Travel managers want to know: How do I find out about my organization’s unused tickets? What do we do with them? How do we make sure we don’t lose those funds?

“First and foremost, we want our clients to know we are here to help,” said Adelina Littler, Manager of Implementations and Account Support. “Travel managers don’t have to know every detail of every unused ticket, how to apply them, or all the changing rules each airline has. That’s what we’re here for as their travel management company. As their partner we can help them generate the list of their unused ticket credits in our tracking tool, AirBank. That report outlines which travelers have unused tickets on which airlines, when the credits expire, and the value of the ticket. And our travel advisors know exactly how and when to apply those unused ticket credits when travelers start booking again.”

Account Manager Valerie Buckler continued, “Travel managers should definitely take this opportunity to review their unused ticket credits before the end of the year. While AirBank will track the ticket, apply the airline rules, and encourage the reuse of those funds, your company may have credits attached to the profiles of team members who are no longer traveling or who aren’t with the company anymore. By knowing who has what, you can work with your travel management company to do any necessary name changes or review other options so you don’t lose those funds. It is so important to us that we help our clients use the full extent of their unused tickets that came from COVID-19.”

While Christopherson’s AirBank technology alerts travelers of soon-to-be expiring funds and will prompt reuse at the time of booking, travel managers may also want to communicate any company-specific instructions in the event a traveler isn’t able to use the ticket before expiration.

Read Next: What You Need to Know About Unused Airline Tickets

3. Consolidate Your Business Travel

Many organizations might have previously balked at the idea of consolidating (or mandating) their business travel. But in light of the challenges experienced in 2020, companies with non-mandated programs have realized they don’t always know where all their travelers are or how to track them and ensure their safety in an emergency. It is undeniable that organizations that consolidate save money on travel and have better risk management plans.

“COVID-19 proved just how priceless it is to have all travel booked and reported through one agency and one source,” Susan said. “Doing so allows you to know where your business travelers are, how they’re being affected by extenuating circumstances, and report on every detail of your program and your travelers.”

“The benefits of consolidation are real,” continued Manager of Client Consulting Services, Sue Schroeder. “You have better risk management. You’re able to track and ensure the reuse of unused tickets so you’re not losing money. In fact, you enjoy cost savings because you can use the full extent of your vendor contracts. And you have an agency with advisors on your side to help you when flights are cancelled or pandemics hit and you need to get home.”

4. Clean Up Traveler Profiles

Cleaning up traveler profiles isn’t something that happens on a regular basis. But as many companies are still not traveling at full capacity, now is a perfect time to sweep the profiles.

Some organizations reorganized their workforces during COVID-19 while others may have been forced to downsize due to the economic pressures of the pandemic. Some employees who previously traveled may no longer be doing so, now or in the future. Our Account Managers outlined the following steps to ensure a clean traveler profile database:

  • Review your list of employees approved for business travel.
  • Identify any travelers who are no longer traveling. Make sure you transfer any unused ticket credits they may have before deactivating or deleting their profiles.
  • Set up profiles for any new travelers.
  • Have travelers review their traveler reward numbers to ensure they are capturing the full extent of their rewards, miles, and benefits once travel resumes.
  • Ensure that credit cards used for bookings and virtual payments are correct with expiration dates updated.
  • Verify that every traveler has an emergency contact listed in their profile.

“Maintaining a perfect profile bank is always a moving target,” Valerie shared, “but your Account Manager can help you with this and it’s great to start a New Year with a fully audited list of travelers.”

5. Take Advantage of Technology & Learn How to Use Your Full Suite of Tools

“Now more than ever, travel managers should be leaning on the technology their travel management company provides,” said Sue. And indeed, technology delivers the most up-to-date access to unused airline tickets, traveler safety, data, reporting, itineraries, and more. Technology allows you to work smarter and faster and run a more streamlined travel program.

Developing technology for corporate travel management has been core to Christopherson’s value proposition for more than 20 years. Our software platform, AirPortal, generates considerable cost savings for travel programs by delivering immediate access to valuable data and essential travel management tools.

Now is a perfect time to connect with your Account Manager to learn the ins and outs of a particular tool you may not be using or to dive deeper into the capabilities of one you use every day. Another way to take full advantage of the tools available to you is to evaluate your reporting.

“Many companies receive the same reports month after month for years, never stopping to think if it’s truly helpful,” Adelina explained. “I’ve encouraged my clients to review their reporting and ask themselves if these are the right reports and if they need any new information with everything that’s transpired over the last six months. Then I work with them to fill any gaps so they have the data and information they need once they resume traveling.”

6. Communicate with Your Travelers

Travel managers need to be communicating regularly with their travelers. They understand the uncertainty surrounding the travel industry and want clear messages from management as to how their organization is handling business travel and their safety.

“By committing to routine communication,” Valerie said, “you’ll get a better sense of how your travelers are feeling about the current environment. It also helps them know the company cares about them and their well-being.”

“Traveler well-being is becoming a buzz word in the industry and with good reason,” Dallas continued. “Companies need to understand how their travelers feel about business travel in the wake of the pandemic. Travel managers may want to consider sending out a traveler survey to get a pulse on what travelers are comfortable with. Their input will be invaluable.”

Travel is a very personal thing, even if it’s for business, and providing employees an opportunity to weigh in on policies and procedures will go a long way to increasing good will toward any changes that result from COVID-19.

7. Collaborate Within Your Company

As travel managers face a new, post-pandemic landscape, many are experiencing shifting realities or responsibilities. Travel managers may even feel the need to reinvent their position. We encourage you to lean into those changes and work with other departments to collaborate and improve the value of your travel program and department.

“Travel programs often ran independently, or siloed, from other departments in the past,” Dallas explained. “But the pandemic made it increasingly apparent that there needs to be more collaboration between travel, HR, legal, procurement, reporting, and executives. Doing this allows everyone to focus together on helpful creating policies and procedures that mitigate both traveler risk and company risk, while keeping employees safe and healthy.”

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

5 Facts Every Business Traveler Needs To Know About The Coronavirus

If you have seen the news or skimmed social media this week, chances are you have heard about the coronavirus outbreak in China, now with confirmed cases in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States. As a business traveler, you might not have the luxury of canceling or postponing your upcoming travel plans, so we put together the five most important facts to keep you informed and safe from this concerning outbreak.

1. What is the coronavirus and how is it spread?

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a respiratory infection in the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). During early cases of the novel coronavirus, it was thought to have spread from animal-to-person, however new cases of the virus have been identified in patients that confirmed they had no exposure to animal markets. Person-to-person transmission of 2019-nCoV has been confirmed but the exact way in which the transmission occurs remains unknown.

2. What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the coronavirus look and feel much like the flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you believe you might have come into contact with an infected person, seek medical attention immediately.

3. How can I protect myself from the Coronavirus while traveling?

The Center for Disease Control states the first way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Avoid coming into contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Use alcohol-based sanitizers throughout the day.

4. What should I do if I have travel planned to an affected area?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet recommended any travel restrictions. Business travelers should closely monitor the news, the CDC, and the US State Department for breaking\/changing information. Utilize your company’s travel risk management tools to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and possible travel restrictions. Give yourself extra time at the airport for potential health screenings, delays, and long lines. Employ the highest level of health and sanitation protocols.

5. How can my Travel Management Company (TMC) help?

Contact your dedicated business travel agent if you want to delay or cancel any of your upcoming business travel plans. Some airlines and hotels are offering free cancelations for people with travel plans to or through the affected areas and your TMC will be most knowledgeable on eligibility. Your TMC may also be able to assist you in avoiding high-risk areas without canceling your trip plans.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Packing Tips For A One-Day Business Trip

One-day business trips can be tricky. In some ways, they are so short it’s not even worth talking about. In other ways, they add additional stress, planning, and time to your work week. You may be surprised by the amount of forethought and strategy that is needed, specifically when it comes to packing. So what are some packing tips for a one-day business trip

10 packing tips for a one-day business trip 

  1. Choose the right carry-on bag. Unless your job requires additional bags or large items, you will likely only need a carry-on. Selecting the right carry-on can be tricky though. It needs to hold your computer and professional items, but leaves enough room for additional unexpected items. Years ago I attended a one-day business meeting in another state. They were very generous with gifts and I ended up carrying back a large yeti cup, a soft blanket and a large hardcover book on my lap on the flight home. If I had brought my backpack instead of more professional briefcase, I would have had room for everything and not looked like a hot mess. 
  2. Bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated and alert is more important than ever on these one-day business trips. Bring a water bottle with you to the airport. You can fill it up once you pass through security and use as needed throughout the rest of the day without waiting for breaks or lunch. 
  3. Remember extra business cards. You never know if you might run into someone new or how many people will be attending a meeting. Come prepared. 
  4. Bring company swag and fliers. Speaking of being prepared, be ready to rep the company if you’re meeting with external vendors, potential leads, or existing clients. Bring little goodies for everyone, as well as fliers, booklets or additional information you would readily turn to if you were in the office. 
  5. Remember changers for your phone and computer. I know, a no-brainer, but a second reminder never hurts!
  6. Bring additional computer adapters. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been in a meeting with faulty computer connectors to the overheard screen. Keep the meeting moving smoothly and look like a hero at the same time by bringing your own adapters. 
  7. Remember headphones. You never know if you might be next to a screaming child on the plane or working remotely in a chatty office. Be prepared with headphones. 
  8. Bring a snack. You might not eat it, but having a non-perishable granola bar, nuts, or pretzels on hand may save your sanity by mid-afternoon. 
  9. What else? What are the little things you need in daily life but never think about? Things like: chapstick, gum, hair ties, bobbie pins, extra pen, hand lotion, vitamins or prescriptions, etc. Take a step back from your routine and see what you may be missing for your day away. 
  10. Pack in time for yourself. De-stress by padding time in your schedule. Get to the airport early to check email. Or plan time to explore the area for a few minutes. It’s ok to take time for yourself even on a short business trip. 
    One-day business trips don’t really get the respect they deserve when it comes to planning. Fortunately, following these packing tips for a one-day business trip will help set you in the right direction.
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Business Travel Travel Tips

Take The Challenge: Eco-Friendly Tips For Corporate Travelers

Making eco-friendly choices as a corporate traveler can be difficult. You’re focused on closing the deal and getting back on the road, right? Sometimes, thinking long term can feel impossible while traveling. This Earth Day, I dare you to adjust just a few of your habits for the week. Some of these eco-friendly tips for corporate travelers are actually easy to maintain too. You might even find yourself using them long term.

Can you tackle these eco-friendly tips for corporate travelers?

  • Coordinate itineraries with colleagues to share cars or rides. Reduce carbon emissions by carpooling to the airport, hotel, or meeting together.
  • Use a city bike or scooter instead of short taxi rides. Bike and scooter programs are readily accessible in most major cities these days. Plus, it provides time to get some exercise and clear your head for a few minutes.
  • Take a train if traveling to a nearby city. Trains have less of a negative environmental impact, and are often overlooked as an effective and reliable transportation system.
  • If you need to use a paper map or brochure, put it back when you are done. Reuse is one of the main recycling principles. Letting others use the map or brochure again reduces overall waste in our landfills.
  • Use up the free swag before buying more office supplies. Remember all those cute pens and notebooks from conventions, vendors, and hotels? It’s time to take them out of that junk drawer and start using them. Make a goal of using up your existing supply of office materials before buying new pens and notebooks. Or, if you know you won’t use it, make a goal of not taking the swag in the first place.
  • Bring your own collapsible grocery bag. You’ll be surprised how often an extra bag comes in handy! These bags are collapsible and wont take up much room in your briefcase or purse. You can also use it as an emergency carry-on if you’re in a crunch.
  • Unplug before leaving home. Your electronics are always running, even you aren’t using them. Save power (and reduce your electricity bill!) by unplugging your coffee pot, tv, lamps, chargers, blender, etc, before you leave for a trip.
  • Install smart lights around your house. These LED lights are wifi enabled and connect to an app on your phone. Worried you left the kitchen light on before leaving for your business trip? Check from the app on your phone and turn it off! Save energy and money on your electric bill by setting up a timer system for your porch light or lights around your house. With various brands, they also connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and HomeKit. They are a bit pricey, but worth it in the long run when it comes to energy saving practices and convenience.

Are you a master of staying green while on a business trip? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Read Next:

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How To Survive A Long Flight In Economy

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

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

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

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

 

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

How Business Travelers Can Spot Human Trafficking In Airports

Human trafficking has over the years become a global and multi-million dollar enterprise. As one of the world’s fastest growing criminal industries, the trade and its signs are largely unspoken. For instance, did you know that according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), nearly 25 million people are currently living in modern day slavery? That’s roughly the population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix combined. And while most people assume it’s an issue affecting only other countries, a surprisingly large portion exists within the United States. For example, 83% of people forced into prostitution in the U.S. are from the U.S. 

So why is a business travel management blog discussing human trafficking? As with any global business, international and domestic travel is necessary and usually frequent. In fact, the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 60% of victims – that’s roughly 15 million people – are transported across international borders.  This makes transportation hubs; like airports, bus stations, and train stations, actual hotbeds for human trafficking. It unfortunately also often the last time a victim is seen before being forced into the dark underbelly of human enslavement. Once the victim gets off the plane or bus, they tend to become almost impossible to trace and rescue.

This depressing and scary fact actually provides business travelers a unique advantage. As frequent travelers, they cross paths with virtually all walks of life on a business trip, and could become a huge proponent for stopping human trafficking. By being aware of the signs, and the correct outlets to report, this demographic may very well save lives. Signs of human trafficking are actually pretty easy to recognize. So easy in fact, that without being aware of the signs, they often go unnoticed. Paying attention to anything out of the ordinary, and knowing the actions to take if you suspect something could very easily save a life.

How to spot human trafficking in airports:

    1. Person is not dressed appropriately for their travel destination. Trafficking victims are often wearing clothes that seem out of place. They may not be the correct sizes, appear disheveled, or unprepared for the destination. In fact, they may be carrying very little luggage or no luggage at all. Also, it is likely the people he/she is traveling with is more well dressed and appropriately for the destination.
    2. May look malnourished, has bruises or other wounds, or ravenous appetite. In addition to their clothes, their overall appearance may be distressing.
    3. Traveling with someone else or people who seem to hold all the control. A telltale sign is two or more people traveling together, but don’t seem to be related or even friends. The trafficker is likely more confident, even controlling. The suspected victim may be followed if they move about the cabin or the airport.
    4. Can’t provide information on their location, destination, or flight information. Victims are often not told where they are, where they’re going, or even what might happen next. They may not even know the name of the person they are traveling with.
    5. Communication seems scripted. If you talk to the person in question, their answers sound scripted or lacks consistency. Traffickers sometimes coach their victims to say certain things to avoid suspicion. Fear and intimidation are two ways traffickers hold their power. They may try to avoid any interaction and defer communication to the possible trafficker.
    6. May have a tattoo with a bar code or male’s name.Many people have tattoos, so this tip is not always a sure sign. Traffickers or pimps often tattoo or brand their own names or the word ‘Daddy’ on their victims. Usually this is a sign to show dominance. Other indicating tattoos maybe dollar signs or cuss words.

What frequent business travelers should do if they suspect human trafficking:

  1. First and foremost – do not be a hero. Do not interact with them directly or try to rescue the suspected victim. The safest way to help human trafficking victims is to report it to the correct channels and as much information as possible.
  2. As a growing epidemic, most airline employees and flight attendants have gone through human trafficking detection training. Tell a flight attendant or security guard your suspicions and they will alert the authorities.
  3. Only if you can do so safely, take a picture of the possible victim and trafficker.
  4. Write down descriptions of the possible victim and trafficker. Note any significant tattoos, scars or body marks.
  5. Report your concerns to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Keep the number in your phone so it can be easily accessed if needed – 1-888-373-7888.

 

If interested in learning more, read this great resource on how to help victims of human trafficking.

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Car Rental Tips From A Business Travel Expert

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

Top car rental tips every business traveler should know:

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

8 Airport Travel Tips You Need To Know

Successfully maneuvering through a busy airport is a true sign of a seasoned business traveler. Managing long security lines, mindful packing, and hitting deadlines is a balance that few can handle. Below are a few of our favorite and most effective airport travel tips that keep us on track and ahead of the game.

Airport travel tips every business traveler should know

  1. Download your airline/airport app before leaving. While you still have adequate wifi, download the app for your airline or even airport. Usually, it comes with additional perks – like access to the plane wifi, free entertainment, your flight details, and more. Some airlines, like Delta, can even automatically check you in to the flight 24 hours ahead of time if you have the app installed.
  2. Follow AskTSA on Twitter. Not sure if a certain item is allowed on the plane? Tweet to @AskTSA for a quick response on any packing issues before you head to the airport.
  3. Wear a pocketed jacket. Clutter is the enemy of smooth travel. Wear a jacket with additional secured pockets to keep from rummaging needlessly through your luggage. Keep anything at hand you might need through the airport, like charging cords, a granola bar or driver’s license.
  4. Use quick-release straps to keep bags together and organized. These easy-to-use and affordable straps will clip all of your luggage together, making it easy to maneuver through the airport and additional travel.
  5. Take your vitamins. Not to sound like your mother here, but she does have a point. Airports are chock full of germs and viruses. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, keep a supply of multivitamins, cold relief medicine, cough drops, antibacterial wipes and tissues with you while traveling. You may feel over prepared, but it will beat purchasing the shockingly overpriced medicinal items in the airport or hotel. And should you end up next to someone under the weather, you’ll be prepared with an arsenal of supplies.
  6. Stay hydrated. Air travel literally dries you out.  Remember to stick to water while traveling and avoid alcohol and excessive salt.
  7. Always plan for abysmal wi-fi. Whether in the airport or on the plane, assume there will be no wifi. Even with the many advances in wifi and wifi providers, something unreliable always seems to come up. Instead, bring work items with you that don’t require internet access. Download a whitepaper before leaving, read an industry-related book, or focus on re-organizing your computer desktop. If you do have internet access, say a silent prayer for your good fortune, and keep your back-up items for another time.
  8. Get a day pass to a lounge. Or, perhaps bypass the slow internet, shortage on seats, and wait on outlets completely. Sign up for a day pass to a business lounge using LoungeBuddy. Now worldwide, LoungeBuddy provides single-use passes, depending on availability. If you’re on a sudden delay or just need a place to unwind, keep this site in your back pocket.

Whether you are a seasoned roadwarrior or new to business travel, there is always room for improvement as you travel through the airport. We hope you try out these tricks on your next adventure. Did we miss any of your favorite airport travel tips? Post them below in our comment section.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. We’re known for our full-service approach, custom technology, and superior customer support. Contact us to learn more about our dedicated services.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

8 Eco-Friendly Habits For Business Travelers

Many things unfortunately fall to the wayside when traveling for business. Diets and fitness goals run wild. Email has a way of getting out of hand.  And often overlooked—environmental conservation. Even simple things like recycling are unavailable. When we’re out of our normal routine, it’s easy to forget about the smaller eco-friendly habits that make a big impact in the long run. Here are 8 easy eco-friendly habits for business travelers, looking easy ways to reduce their impact.

Easy eco-friendly habits for business travelers

    1. Before leaving on a business trip, unplug your home appliances. Though not in use, your home appliances are still generating small amounts of energy. Plus, it saves you  money on your electricity bill.
    2. While staying in a hotel, reduce water waste by reusing your hotel towels and bed sheets. Most hotels now have in-room instructions to opt-in. Or, you can simply write a note to your housekeeper, or put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door.
    3. Bring a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug with you while traveling. This is a great tip in general for travel.  You’ll likely ignore the plastic water cups or coffee mugs in your room or in the hotel continental breakfast area if you have your trusty container with you. Plus, avoid dehydration while flying. Just remember to keep your bottle or mug empty while going through security lines.
    4. Pack other reusable items. Travel typically includes plastic silverware, plastic take-out bags, and other single-use items. Packing small reusable utensils or a fold-able shopping bag can help reduce your use of these common items. They’re small enough to keep in your bag and pull out if the moment arises. Check out these stainless steel straws to reduce your use of plastic straws as well.  
    5. Bring your own shampoo, toothbrush, shower cap, etc. instead of using the provided hotel amenities.
    6. Turn off lights when you’re not using them. And reduce the air conditioning or heat when you’re not in the room. Though spending time in a hotel can feel like a splurge, it’s important to continue to reduce your energy consumption too.
    7. Don’t use laundry services in the hotel unless you have a full load to wash. Hotels typically wash individual’s clothes separately, ultimately wasting water and electricity.
    8. Though sometimes unavoidable based on your schedule, location, or travel policy, try to fly nonstop when possible. Taking off and landing burns additional fuel. By avoiding additional take offs or landings, you can reduce your emissions by up to 25% with nonstop travel.

Have any other tips or suggestions for eco-friendly business travel? Leave a comment below.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

What Is A Corporate Travel Policy? Definition Series

When a new client comes aboard with Christopherson, one of the first items on the agenda is aligning their goals with the right corporate travel policy. But what is a corporate travel policy anyway? And how does it influence or affect the success of a company’s travel program? As part of our definition series blogs, we’ll examine this business travel industry topics, along with its subtleties and additional items to consider.

Corporate Travel Policy Definition:

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines created by a company for their business travel. Used by their travel managers and employees as they plan trips on behalf of the company, to typically outlines protocol on travel. For example, the requirements needed to book business class seats. The main objective of an effective travel policy is to keep travelers safe, while also adhering to the company’s guidelines. Reducing travel costs is usually a high priority too. If a corporate travel policy is easy to understand, oversees traveler’s security, and up-to-date; overall compliance of the policy will likely be higher as well.

Creating a Travel Policy for Everyone

This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a travel policy. How can you make a travel policy as efficient as possible for company’s bottomline, but also easy to use and convenient for the employee traveling on the policy? For example, a company creates a policy that requires the traveler to always select the cheapest ticket possible. Sounds like a solution for reducing travel costs, right? What’s often overlooked is the added stressors put on the traveler. What if the cheapest flight is a red eye with a 5 hour layover? Yes, it’s cheaper, but it’s hard to sustain employees morale when they’re facing the brunt of the ramifications. As Scott Gillespie, a travel industry expert, points out, an unhappy business traveler often leads to ineffective work. This ultimately results in lower ROI and even employee’s leaving the company. Is saving on travel costs worth possibly losing accounts or going through the rehiring process?

An effective travel policy finds the right balance of rewards and pleasures for the traveler, while also limiting what is ultimately unnecessary. For example, most companies have found that travelers are more compliant with the policy if they keep their accumulated flight and hotel reward points from their trips. A restriction may be a certain length of flight is requires before business class seats are considered for travel. By understanding the desires of your traveler, and setting reasonable limits, a company is more likely to find the middle balance of corporate travel policy.

Anything else I should know about travel policies?

Getting employees to comply to a travel policy is always difficult. And it’s usually for a few different reasons. One, is not enough education on the new policy. Sometimes travelers just don’t know they should be booking flights a certain way. Another is difficulty reporting travel. If expenses are missing or late, it could be a user experience issue. Business travel is hard enough, adding on a bulky or slow expense reporting system is usually a recipe for disaster. One interesting item that should be noted is the rate of compliance by different generations. How Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer to interact with data and compliance is quite different. Not surprisingly, Millennials are often more compliant when it can be done quickly through an email or app on their smartphone. Having a reporting or booking process that aligns with the behaviors of your business travelers is often essential. Read more about it in our in our Millennial travel policy blog.

Because the corporate travel policy is often the heart of a travel program, it is one of the first items we create or adjust when a client joins us. Our experienced account managers know what will work to reach your goals, alongside your company culture. Combined with our vendor relationships and specifically created technology to adhere to your policy, we ensure your travel program goals are always met. To learn more about our approach, technology, or cost-savings tactics, please feel free to contact one or our experts.

For a more thorough look at corporate travel policies, read our guide to creating an effective travel policy.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

14 Safety Tips For Business Travelers

One of the amazing byproducts of travel is finding yourself in out-of-the-ordinary situations. In most cases, discovering a new food, meeting new people or experiencing a new culture is an exciting thing. But unfortunately, this travel byproduct can also lead to harmful situations; like natural disasters, burglary or worse. In a time that feels like danger is lurking behind every corner, most travelers are realizing more preparation is required to stay safe. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of safety tips for business travelers, We’ve also included a few recommended products to keep close while on your journeys.

14 safety tips for business travelers

Before you leave:

  • Research, research and more research. Know what to expect at your destination city, around your hotel, and which neighborhoods to explore.
    • Try different news and information sources than you typically check before travel or planning a trip. You might be surprised by the additional information you can find this way.
    • If you are traveling internationally, always check the U.S. Department of State travel and individual country information. Find best practices for traveling, as well as travel advisories you may not have been aware of for different regions of countries.
    • Check foreign news sources, like BBC, which can provide insights not highlighted in U.S. news sources.
    • Reading the travel advisories on the Canadian or Australian Department of Foreign Affairs websites may provide additional insight as well.
  • Participate in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Register and provide your travel details, so the U.S. embassy will know that you’re in the area. Download the Smart Traveler App to stay informed and in contact.
  • Always find medical clinics nearby when you’re traveling by registering with the International Association on Medical Assistance for Travelers.
  • Splurge for the international phone plan. It will be worth it in an emergency. And reap the benefits by staying in touch while you’re out of the country.
  • Take photos of important documents and information, like passport, driver’s license, and a credit card. Keep a copy with a family member or friend at home, or in a locked site like DropBox.
  • Always have a support system in place before leaving. We, of course, recommend a trusted travel management company or agency, who will always be available should something arise. But travel insurance or a family member with your itinerary and information is always a good idea too.

While traveling:

  • Try to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb and dress like a local.
  • Stay in groups if you are planning on going somewhere a little risky. By staying with a pack, you will likely avoid pickpockets, theft and even kidnapping. Even in light of the Las Vegas and Paris events of 2017, the most common threat to travelers will be pickpocketing or other petty crimes.
  • Don’t unplug. Unfortunately major events can happen at any time, even if you’re on vacation. Bring your phone, keep it on, and subscribe to major alerts in your area. Our favorite is our SecurityLogic® Travel Alerts, which automatically alerts users of events, weather, and emergencies depending on their location.
  • Travel light and cheap.  Avoid designer luggage that may draw attention and keep expensive items at home.

Products to keep with you while traveling:

  • Personal emergency alarm – This lightweight device sounds a high-pitched alarm if you find yourself in an uneasy situation.  It’s perfect to take while sightseeing or if going for a run in an unfamiliar area.
  • Alarmed door stop – Feel 100% safe in your hotel room with a door stop alarm. Take it with you when you travel, and simply place next to any door that may need extra security. Should someone try to enter unexpectedly, the door stop will be engaged and sound an alarm.

Business travel can expose travelers to new situations and locations. To take full advantage of these opportunities, it’s best to be prepared and aware of potential risks. We hope this post helped plan your future trips. If you are interested in learning more about how our business travel management services supports your employee’s travel risk, please contact us.

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Guides Travel Tips

Gift Ideas For Business Travelers

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

2017 top gift ideas for business travelers

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

 

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

7 Questions Every Business Should Ask Before Contracting With A TMC – Part 2

Once your company decides to partner with a TMC, finding one that suits your company’s needs becomes the next challenge. If you missed it, see our part 1 of this blog series, addressing the initial questions to ask any travel management company during the vetting process. Now that you’ve asked the first round of questions from your perspective TMCs, it’s time to dive deeper. We’ve compiled additional questions to ask, regardless if this the first time you’re working with a TMC or just looking for a new fit.

Questions to ask before contracting with a TMC

  1. What are the typical savings for your clients? What’s the biggest bang for your buck? Unfortunately, when it comes to cost savings, travel management is not so black and white. Cost is often a major factor, but what are the other pain points affecting your company and its travelers? Having an understanding of what savings looks like to a TMC is an important perspective. 
  2. How much back and forth is needed to finalize travel plans? Depending on your set up and preferences, every company’s answer is going to look different. Seeing how each TMC handles this question can provide excellent insight into their customization options and overall customer service.
  3. Will I be working with a dedicated team? AKA – when the going gets tough, can I rely on people who know the ins-and-outs of my travel needs and preferences? Having reliable back up when you’re stranded alone in an airport at 2:30 am is what makes the difference between a good TMC and a great TMC. At Christopherson, you will have an account manager who always has your back, plus a collection of advisers.
  4. How do you handle travel mishaps? What happens if a traveler misses their flight? Or has a family emergency and needs to quickly change their itinerary? Asking how each company resolves unforeseen travel issues can save you time and energy in the future.
  5. Is there a general travel insurance provider? How well do they know business travel industries as a whole? Are they well-equipped to assist in other travel-related needs, like travel insurance or credit card pre-payment?
  6. Do you provide after hours support? When the unforeseen happens after 5pm, what it the procedure to assisting your travelers. Will they be waiting for a callback? Or will they receive immediate service and support?
  7. How are you different from other TMCs? Ask them for their elevator pitch. Make sure your concerns and their priorities are aligned before contracting with a TMC.

A reliable TMC who always has your back is an essential factor for any growing business. Make sure you choose the corporate travel partner that’s right for your company’s needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a TMC, or, just interested in more about TMCs in general. We’re always here to talk.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Tip: Pick A Reliable Aircraft For On-Time Flights

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

Tips to choosing a reliable aircraft

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

5 Funny ‘Road-Trip’ Movies to Watch While Traveling

Nothing beats passing the time on a long flight than enjoying a good laugh from watching traveling humor! I recently spent 9 hours on a plane over 2 days, and it got me to thinking about some great comedic road trip movies that I have seen over the years. Below is a list of some of my favorites, with a summary and a favorite quote from each.

Top road trip movies to watch while traveling:

  1. National Lampoon’s Vacation:  On a road trip to Wally World theme park, this family continually finds strange predicaments and catastrophes instead of a relaxing vacation. This is the first movie of five is about the misadventures of the Griswald family.  “The dog wet on the picnic basket!” 
  2. Tommy Boy: Starring Chris Farley and David Spade, the duos only chance to save Tommy’s family business is selling on the road. Watch them blunder through sales presentations and encounter various surprises on the road. “Fat guy in a little coat!”
  3. Dumb & Dumber: In an attempt to return a lost briefcase two imbeciles played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels find themselves road tripping across America.  “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
  4. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Following cancellations and delays, Neal Page, played by Steve Martin, attempts the near impossible to get home to his family by Thanksgiving. His biggest obstacle is being paired with the clumsy, over-talkative and accident prone Del Griffith, played by John Candy. “Those aren’t pillows!”
  5. Due Date: A 2010 remake of ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’, it holds its own as an original road trip movie. Played by Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis, they work together to get to LA before Robert Downey Jr’s wife goes into labor. “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

There are certainly some great road-trip movies out there, and I know that I have left out a ton.  The next time that you find yourself on the verge of a long flight, download one!  Traveling humor; while one is traveling themselves, is a great way to pass the time until you reach your destination!

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Relax While Traveling

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

Tricks to help you relax while traveling:

Plan ahead 

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

Don’t over-schedule yourself 

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

Unplug

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

Wellness

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

Family Pictures 

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

Save time for a vacation 

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

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Surviving a One-Day Buisness Trip

We are all so busy that, at times, a one-day business trip can have a lot of benefits. First, it saves your company money on an overnight in a hotel. Second, it takes less time away from any personal and professional duties and can make a person more productive. While the benefits are strong, the concept of doing such a trip can be daunting to some people.

Tips to surviving a one-day business trip:

1) Stay healthy. Catching an early flight, attending meetings, and then catching another flight at the end of the day is exhausting. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy to ensure you have plenty of energy to get you through the day.
2) Dress comfortably. Without access to a hotel, you will need to wear business clothes for the entire day. Invest in some that are wrinkle free and wear comfortable shoes.
3) Pack a small “what if” bag. You’ll need to be prepared in the event that you need to stay over. Extra undergarments, travel sized toiletries and a toothbrush can put your mind at ease.
4) Take advantage of any travel perks. If you have access to an airport lounge or a business center, these can be a great place to catch up on work. If you don’t have such access, you may consider using your extra time to enjoy your destination for an hour or two.
5) Lastly, if your trip includes a red- eye flight, you might consider purchasing an upgrade to ensure you get enough sleep to continue to be productive once you land.

A one-day business trip is eventually inevitable for most professionals.  But if you tackle it strategically, you can walk away with a productive and energetic day under your belt.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

The Power Of A Canadian Passport

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few run-ins at border crossings and airport security.  I get it — my “look” hasn’t always been the most clean-cut, especially when traveling.  But a surprising advantage I have, is being a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. The best example that I can share is when I was in Tunisia in Northern Africa, boarding my plane back to Malta in Southern Europe.

Traveling with a Canadian passport

On this particular trip, I was very bearded  – two weeks growth for a guy that can grow a beard in two days.  And my only luggage was a raggedy-old backpack.  Within just a couple of minutes of lining up at security, I saw soldiers starting to position themselves around the line-up.  Oddly enough, they seemed to be staring at me.

After getting into position, the soldiers closed in around me and told me to step away from the line-up.  While surrounding me with their military fatigues and machine guns, they didn’t look particularly happy and began asking questions.  Feeling a tad uncomfortable amidst the aggression and language barrier, I pulled out my Canadian passport, and the mood changed.  Angry faces immediately turned to smiles and laughter, and apologies followed.  The soldiers dispersed, and I was even placed at the front of the line for boarding! It’s certainly something that I have always remembered.

Even though I’ve experienced hiccups similar to this a few other times, I still always come to airport security lines prepared (though not always presentable). Below are a few essential pointers to smoothly get through international security lines, even with an unkempt beard.

Tips to breeze through international security lines:

  1. Have your ID and travel documents easily accessible.
  2. Ensure that you’re not carrying any items that can be deemed unacceptable in either your country of origin, or the countries that you are traveling through.
  3. Be conscious of the culture of the country that you are in and those around you, and be respectful.
  4. Be positive and responsive if questioned, as negativity and defensiveness can work against you.
  5. Dress is a presentable and non-threatening fashion, so that you don’t become a visual target for inspection.
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Business Travel Travel Tips

Airplane Etiquette – A True Gamble

Everyone loves sitting beside strangers on a plane, right?!  It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and you never know whether you have won or lost until you arrive at your seat! As frequent business travelers, we all have stories of interesting people we have met or conversations we have overheard while traveling.

10 things that NO ONE wants to hear from the person sitting next to them:

  1. “Whoa, that airport burrito isn’t sitting well.”
  2. “I’m so happy to get these sweaty shoes off!”
  3. “Does this look infected?”
  4. “Billy, stop touching that – you have pink-eye!”
  5. “I don’t know why I’m so itchy.”
  6. “Mmmm, this tuna salad sandwich tastes great!”
  7. “I am so angry right now…I just want to hit something!”
  8. “Can you help me pry off this ankle monitor?”
  9. “Can I borrow your barf bag?”
  10. “People keep telling me that I have Halitosis – what do you think?”

Hopefully, you have never heard any of these yourself!  Feel free to reply with your own examples, and let’s all enjoy a laugh together!

On the other hand, here are a few pointers on how to have the best airplane etiquette:

  1. Recline courteously. As personal space is shrinking on airplanes, so has leg room. Reclining seats have become an issue of heated debate. If you must recline, at least be aware of when you do and who may be behind you. Is it a 5-year-old child or someone over six feet? Are they currently eating or using their tray table?
  2. Be nice to the flight attendants. They are just doing their job. Just put away your laptop already, it’s only for a few minutes.
  3. Be prepared to get through security quickly. Make sure there’s nothing in your pockets before you get to the line. Unlace and loosen your shoes before you need to take them off. And gather your items on the other side quickly. You can put on your shoes and belt after.
  4. The middle seat gets the armrest. Another area for debate, but consensus says the person is the middle seat gets to use the armrests. Both the window seats and aisle seat can lean onto other areas. Let them have this one.

Have any thoughts to add about airplane etiquette? We’d love to hear in the comments section below.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’ve been providing travel management solutions to busy companies for more than 60 years. Contact us to learn how we can save you 15% on travel costs.

 

 

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Travel Management Travel Tips

CV Travel Is A Humanitarian Travel Lifesaver

Rose Pylidis, a Christopherson Business Travel Executive, volunteers her time with a humanitarian organization in South Africa every year. Their goal is to create awareness and funding for food, clothing, shelter and education for women and children affected by poverty, abandonment and HIV/Aids. She flies out every year, bags in tow, to visit places such as Mabopane and Makanyane to volunteer her time and energy.

Rose has been volunteering with this non-profit for 16 years, but this is her first time traveling with the help of CV Travel, a recently acquired Christopherson Andavo company. Specializing in humanitarian travel and faith-based travel, they organize travel and provide travel support. This is Rose’s recent experience traveling with their help.

Humanitarian travel with CV Travel

How did you book travel before using CV Travel? 

Normally I would just book my trips via the Delta website.  This time, I used CV Travel to book my trip. They took care of everything!  In addition to the discount pricing, the thing I most appreciated was the ability to take 3 pieces of luggage per person.  With six of us in the group, that enabled us to bring much-needed clothing for women, children, and babies, as well as additional school supplies.
What info did you need to provide CV Travel? 

What I so appreciated was their ability to offer us different flight options/pricing within 2-3 day arrival/departure variable.  All she needed was our names as they appeared on our passports to hold the space and then we had several weeks before we had to make the final payment.

How was it different than how you previously booked humanitarian travel? I had such

I had such peace of mind knowing that I could contact CV Travel with any questions or possible changes.  Also, the fact that everyone in our party was able to take 3 suitcases at no additional charge.

Do you have any humanitarian travel tips for others?

On a personal note, I do keep a checklist for my international trips and always make sure to include an adaptor for charging phones, computers, etc.   Also, I spray colloidal silver on any surface that will be used to put my food on, especially the tray on the airlines, as well as spray some in my mouth.   Regardless of the area, I always make sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray.   Another important thing to consider is to take clothes that can be layered.  Also, closed-toes shoes are important.   Even though bottled water is normally available, it wouldn’t hurt to take some type of water purification device, even iodine tablets.    For humanitarian purposes, packing items that don’t require a lot of space or don’t weigh much including – stickers, socks, toothbrushes, washcloths, hair ribbons and postcards from your local area. They love seeing where you come from and understanding how other people live.

Christopherson Andavo Travel is a full-service travel company, providing assistance with corporate, leisure, and humanitarian travel management. Contact us to arrange your next excursion.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

5 Favorite Travel-Friendly Athletic Shoes

I know many business travelers that enjoy working out after they’ve finished a day at the office.  Some enjoy running the streets as a way to explore a new city, while others prefer the convenience of the hotel gym.  Either way, this Virtuoso blog article piqued my interest, because it reviews travel-friendly athletic shoes that pair “packability” with performance.  Here’s what they recommend.

Top athletic shoes for business travelers

1. Hoka One One Hupana

Hoka uses midsoles that are thicker than most other brands. Though the Hoka One One Hupana appears bulky, it’s one of the lightest shoes on this page, and its mesh upper folds to pack flat. It is Virtuoso’s pick for wider feet. $115.

Hoka One One Hupana

2. Nike Metcon 3 DSX

With its flat, stable outsole and firm heel, the Nike’s Metcon 3 DSX is tailored for multisport gym workouts. The knit upper collapses, saving room in travel bags. It also eliminates pressure points by fitting against the top of your feet. $160.

 

Nike Metcon 3 DSX

3. New Balance 1500 v3

The ultralight New Balance 1500 v3 provides maximum compressibility, but with a more responsive cushion. It’s perfect for the outdoor runner, gripping well on gravel and wet surfaces. The wide heel and roomier forefoot offer excellent stability. $110.

New Balance 1500 v3

4. Addidas Terrex Agravic Speed

Though considered a trail runner, the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed it works well compacts well and provides superb traction and support. Its entire upper is constructed of a sock-like mesh for lightweight, easy traveling. $120.

Addidas Terrex Agravic Speed

5. Salomon’s S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra

Salomon’s S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra is known for being lightweight. Packing down to basically nothing, it is ideal for treadmills and activities that don’t require a lot of stability correction. It also has adjustable elastic cords instead of laces, always giving you the perfect fit. $180.

Salomon’s S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra

What kind of work out do you look for while traveling? Let us know in the comments below.

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Christopherson Business Travel manages travel for other companies. Our advanced technology, consultative account management, and around the clock service, provides time for our clients to focus on their passions. Learn more about our approach.

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Sighted: A Gym In An Airport!

When you travel for work, it’s hard to maintain your lifestyle. Finding time to exercise or follow a healthy diet can seem almost impossible when your priorities are centered on networking, deadlines, and adhering to a schedule. After a long day of meetings, I often find myself, pacing,  just to get in a few more steps in before my plane boards. Apparently, I’m not the only business traveler attempting to burn calories while waiting at the airport.

New Airport Gym

Enter Roam Fitness, a new company establishing workout facilities in airports.  Opening their first gym in the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, it’s the first of its kind to hit the air travel industry. It is located after the security gate at the D/E connector. Not only is having a gym in an airport a potential game-changer, but their amenities appear to be top-of-the-line and well aligned with business traveler’s needs. A few services they provide:

  • cardio equipment
  • free weights, medicine balls, stability balls, yoga supplies
  • TRX system
  • stretching space
  • bathrooms with private showers
  • towel service
  • lockers
  • clothes and shoe rentals for unprepared members
  • vacuum seal to contain sweaty garments post-workout

The company has plans to open other locations, with several more airports on the horizon. The airports in negotiations are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,  Pittsburgh International Airport, and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. They have their sights on 23 additional airports, mainly located in the United States, but also including Heathrow Airport in London.

Depending on your frequency to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, a membership may work with your budget. They offer day and month passes, as well as annual passes. These annual passes include additional perks, such as a 24-hour advance reservation on showers.

I’m probably not the only traveler excited for a healthy airport activity like a gym. This advancement in is a push in the right direction for a healthy lifestyle, especially for on-the-go business travelers.

Read next:

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Avoid Syncing Your Phone To A Rental Car

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

The compulsion to stay connected while traveling

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

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

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

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

Tips for avoiding hacking scams

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How To Prevent Jet Lag While Traveling

We’ve all been there – adjusting to a new time zone with headaches, nausea, disorientation, insomnia or exhaustion. Add on a day full of meetings or an important presentation, and you are certainly at a disadvantage. While air travel makes it possible to soar to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, the jet lag can take a serious toll. And while there’s no official cure to prevent jet lag, its effects can and should be mitigated for the sake of your business travel. We’ve compiled these tips from a collection of Virtuoso travel advisors to help you from falling behind on your next trip.

Five tips to prevent jet lag, from a collection of Virtuoso travel advisors:

“Set your watch to your destination time when you board the plane and act as if you’re already in that time zone. If it’s night there, try to sleep. If it’s day, do your best to stay awake.”
– JOHN OBERACKER

“To help you sleep during your flight, I highly recommend wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. I also bring my own neck pillow and cashmere pashmina that doubles as a blanket. And of course, flying business or first class will help you rest and be ready for your arrival.”
– MARY ANN RAMSEY

“If it’s feasible, schedule an overnight layover en route to your ultimate destination. During my recent family vacation to Hawaii, for example, I arranged flights with a hotel stay in San Francisco, which significantly lessened our jet lag.”
– LISA LEAVITT

“Stress-reducing massages and spa treatments are essential for reducing jet lag – think airport massages and jet-lag therapies on arriving at your destination.”
– PAÔLA MANSUR

“If you arrive during the day, stay active and get as much sunlight as possible. I recommend taking a private tour that will help you get familiar with your destination, requires minimal brain power, and keeps you from slipping into your bed too early.”
– KRISTEN LOWREY LARSON

 

Do you have any tips to prevent jet lag while traveling for business? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for busy corporations. With our top-of-the-line travel technology, account management, and 24/7 customer service, let us handle your travel so you can get back to what’s more important.

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Guides Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Guide For Frequent Travelers

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

Gift guide for frequent travelers

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Ultimate Travel Checklist for the Infrequent Business Traveler

Road warriors most often have their travel packing down to a quick science.  But what about the infrequent traveler?  We’ve created a travel checklist of not only what you may want to bring on your upcoming business trip, but also a “to-do” list for that upcoming trip.

Before you travel:

  • Sign up for all applicable loyalty programs (airline, hotel, car rental).
  • Make sure you have all loyalty program numbers in your reservation.
  • Download the airline mobile app for flight delays and gate changes.
  • Sign up to receive all travel alerts from your travel agency or airline app.
  • Understand your company’s health and travel insurance information.

Additional to-do items for an International business trip

  • Make sure your passport is current.
  • Alert the bank to prevent your card from being shut off.
  • Check out travel.state.gov for visa requirements, local laws and travel alerts.
  • Check the websites of the US embassy or consulate for the latest security messages.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization provide recommendations for vaccinations and other health precautions when traveling abroad.
  • Always carry contact information for the US embassy or consulate with you when traveling abroad.
  • Get a letter from your doctor about the medications prescribed to you. Some countries have strict laws on  prescription and even over-the-counter drugs.
  • Make sure your health insurance is valid overseas.  For example, Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage abroad.
  • Make a photocopy of your passport.

What to bring:

My most often forgotten item is my toothbrush.  Probably because brushing my teeth is the last thing I do before I walk out the door.  And by habit, my toothbrush goes right back to the holder next to the sink.  Here is a quick checklist for those necessary items we don’t want you to forget:

  • Work clothes
  • undergarments
  • socks
  • belt
  • Workout clothes
  • Workout shoes
  • sleepwear
  • hand sanitizer
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • shaving cream and razors
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • deodorant
  • first aid kit
  • over the counter medications (ibuprofen, aspirin)
  • prescriptions
  • glasses
  • contact lens solution, case
  • ear plugs
  • mobile device, laptop
  • phone charger, laptop charger
  • Business materials
  • Business cards
  • travel comforts – headphones, books, magazines, language guides

Looking for more travel packing tips? Check out some of our other packing blog posts:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Ideas For Roadwarriors

In our continued holiday series, we are focusing on gift ideas for roadwarriors this week. What a unique group of professionals, holding interesting skills and quirks. Think about it— who can continually drive in a car for hours on end and then on cue become energetic, friendly and enigmatic? That takes real skill and a unique individual you should praise. We’ve scoured the internet for the latest gift ideas for roadwarriors.

Best gifts for busy roadwarriors

  1. Tumbler – This RTIC brand tumbler is a recent favorite of our entire sales and account management team. This container is stainless steel and double wall vacuum sealed, keeping your drink extra cold or extra hot for hours on end. In fact, they claim it keeps drinks cold for up to 60 hours or hot for 12 hours. It comes with a clear plastic top with an open slit, but you can also purchase a spill proof top as well. Keep your beloved roadwarrior hydrated while always on the go.
  2. In-car navigation system – This is definitely the most expensive item on our list, but seems too good to be true. This advanced navigation system creates a ‘heads up’ display, so your driver’s eyes are always on the road. An interactive projection is illuminated onto a small part of the windshield, ensuring the driver has easily accessible navigation. Plus, it manages music, incoming calls and messages, and car information, like gas level and speed. This device provides information to the driver in easy, succinct ways, so they can focus on what’s most important, driving.
  3. Tile item locator –  This inexpensive bluetooth tracker helps locate items that tend to get lost easily, such as car keys, wallet, or jacket. Simply keep the small ‘tile’ attached to the item and virtually connect it to the user’s smartphone. Then, when the item goes missing, simply use the phone to locate. If within 100 feet, a loud song will play. If further, the item can be geo-located by the app. This is perfect for the busy professional who is always on the move and in and out of different hotels. Providing them the gift of peace of mind might be just what they need.
  4. Car Espresso Maker – An on-the-go espresso maker is perfect for the business traveler looking for an extra caffeine buzz. The device plugs into the cigarette lighter in any car to brew a perfect cup of espresso. Plus, it sits comfortably in the cup holder, to avoid spillage.
  5. Stereo aux receiver – One of the hardest parts of being a busy traveling professional, is a lack of connectivity when it’s vital. With this cheap stereo aux receiver, it makes any car bluetooth enabled. So your roadwarrior can connect to the music, podcasts, or whatever is important to them.
  6. Power inverter to charge any device – Another issue with consistently traveling for business is the stress of keeping devices charged. This power inverter solves that problem. It easily plugs into the cigarette holder and charges smartphones, tablets and even laptops. This device could be a real lifesaver for someone always on the go.
  7. Jewelry organizer – One of the downsides of traveling with jewelry is the inevitable tangle its creates. This easily portable jewelry organizer allows packing jewelry in one container, but individually from each other. With mini internal sections, your business traveler can always look great without the mess to clean up later. The bag is a little bulky but could be perfect for the fashion forward roadwarrior.
  8. A lock you can use on any door – This is a cheap gift, but perfect for any traveling professional. This small device instantly locks any door with no additional tools. It’s perfect for traveling, at home, apartments, motels, etc. Added security is always appreciated, and this device is small enough to bring along anywhere and easy to install in seconds.
  9. Night cable – This 10-foot charging cable with a weighted knot is perfect for any busy professional on the go. Hotels often have electrical outlets located behind desks or inconveniently low. The weighted knot on the cable ensures that once the device is unplugged, the cord won’t slip off the desk and fall to the floor. Help your roadwarrior with the burden of annoying cables. Plus, it’s perfect for the office, home or where ever your busy professional needs to work.

Read next:

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Travel News Travel Tips

Expect Delays With Passport Renewals

Almost ten years ago, the law requiring a passport to travel to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean was passed. Not surprisingly, the State Department saw a huge surge in new passport applications and passport renewals for the following few years. Now, 10 years later, those same passports are about to expire. And the State Department anticipates a rise in renewals, leading again to processing delays.

What to expect with passport renewals and other updates:

  1.  The typical timeframe for passport renewals is six weeks. With this increase in demand, longer delays are expected.
  2. Whether for business or pleasure, begin the renewal process of your process of your passport as soon as you can. Avoid the additional stress of waiting for the new passport in a time crunch if you can.
  3. Newer passports now include microchip technology, which is compliant with REAL ID act security and fraud prevention. But, depending on what state you live in, you may need an updated passport to fly domestically. Read more about the details of the REAL ID Act and commercial flying in our latest blog.
  4. Be sure to check children’s passports too. Child passports expire after only five years.
  5. Most destinations require a three-six month passport validity to even enter the country. Read the reasons in our passport tips blog. This is an often overlooked fact, leaving many unable to fly abroad. And yet another reason to know your renewal date.

The main point — if your passport is due to expire in the next few years, expect a long processing delay. You never know when a trip opportunity may suddenly arise, especially for frequent business travelers. Be smart and get the renewal process started ASAP.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. We specialize in superior travel technology and passionate account management. With more than 60 years of experince, Christopherson is privately owned and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Top Business Traveler Threats

When you think of ‘threats’ while traveling, you probably think of major catastrophes, like kidnappings, bombings, or terrorism. Fortunately, Buying Business Travel found the biggest threats facing business travelers are not nearly as ‘exciting’. These top business traveler threats are actually pretty commonplace. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of areas of concern and how to avoid them. 

Most common threats for business travelers

  • Petty Non-violent Crimes – These are crimes like pickpocketing or petty robbery. Even areas known for being safer to visit, like Europe, has their high risk areas for petty crimes. People seen as ‘weaker’, like women traveling alone of older individuals are often targets. The key is to stay alert and take precautions. Mitigate yourself looking like a target. Even if you are lost, don’t look it. Confidence can convey a lot. Keep your valuables out of sight, or leave them behind. Though it can be hard for business travelers, dress to blend in.
  • Road Traffic Accidents – The risk of being involved in a road accident while traveling is higher than when you are at home. Probably because you are in a variety of situations involving rental cars, taxis, car services, car pooling, etc. Looking internationally, the risk of road accidents goes up. Did you  know there are more road accidents in China than in all of Africa? The best way to prepare for this is with some research. If you are traveling abroad, make sure you are familiar with emergency response procedures. Also understand the car insurance if you are renting a vehicle.
  • Food Poisoning – Whether it’s from unhygienic preparation or just unfamiliarity, sickness from food is commonplace. The most common resulting from E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria, found in meats, eggs, fruits and dairy. Water quality can be a factor in food poisoning in other countries as well. Try the “If you can’t boil it, cook it, peel it, than forget it.” mantra when traveling.

Though these aren’t the most interesting threats, they are important nonetheless. Before you head out on your next business trip, be sure to prepare for these potential hazards.

Blogs to read next:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Ideas For Business Travelers: Travel Pillows

Business travelers are an elusive breed. They’re working on five things at once, fiercely independent, compulsively organized and have an impeccable sense of time. If experienced, they have their own tried-and-true habits for travel too. Overall, they are often the hardest to shop for around the holidays. So how do you find that perfect present for the person who doesn’t think need anything? Focus on innovation, of course! In this blog, we’re conquering one of the most uncomfortable aspects of travel—sleeping. The first in the series of gift ideas for business travelers, we’ve found our favorite and most innovative travel pillow solutions on the market.

Travel pillow gift ideas for business travelers


FaceCradle
 – This amazing pillow has 5 different modes for sleeping while traveling—more than any other pillow on the market. Unlike other travel pillows, it has two oval cushions, hinged together with a clip and strap accessory. The different positions create the perfect pillow for any traveler. The hinge assists the neck, avoiding uncomfortable angles. One of these positions is a wrapping the strap around the back of the traveler’s seat and clipping into the pillow. Leaning forward, the traveler can sleep comfortably while also being supported. It looks a little ridiculous, but could become a serious staple for the regular traveler. $46.00

face cradle - travel pillow

 

HoodiePillow – Just as the name implies, this is a pillow with a hood attached. The hoodie is oversized and big enough to accommodate headphones. It also blocks out light and is just a comfy as your favorite hoodie. It comes in both memory foam and inflatable, plus adorable options for kids. This company also sells standard pillowcases to be used at home or at the beach. $24.95 – $29.95

hoodie pillow - travel pillow for business travelers

 

OSTRICHPILLOW® by Studio Banana Things – The most bizarre looking in our gift guide, it also looks irresistibly comfortable. This encompassing pillow goes over the head, with various holes for the most comfortable power nap of your life. It could be a perfect gift for college students or workaholics as well. Studio Banana Things offers other versions for specific sleep positions. These pillows are slimmer and can be sold as gift sets. $99.00

travel pillows for business travelers

 

BauBax Travel Jacket – Claimed to be the “Swiss army knife of travel wear” by CNN Money, this company has everything you need to fly comfortably into one jacket. It comes in four basic styles for both men and women, including a blazer. A few of the features include a built-in inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, tablet pocket, passport pocket, earphone holder, built-in gloves, portable charger pocket, detachable hood, and blanket pocket. It was originally developed by a couple on an overnight international flight. Since its inception, the jacket is the highest funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter history.  $199.00

travel pillows for business travelers

 

Didn’t find anything that might interest your business traveler? Check back in throughout the holiday season for additional gift ideas for your business traveler or busy professional.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, passionate about simplifying travel for busy professionals. With more than 60 years of experience and award-winning service, we are one of the top travel management companies in the nation.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

7 Travel Tips To Prepare For The Busy Holiday Season

Even though it’s shining outside and still rarely need a sweater, the holidays will be here before we know it. Below are our seven travel tips for how to prepare now and feel more organized before the holiday stress settles in.

7 actions to take now before the holiday travel madness

  1. Buy tickets now. Right now. I will wait…If you are traveling for Thanksgiving and have yet to purchase plane tickets, you are likely going to pay a higher price than if you booked a few weeks ago.  According to FareCompare.com, think of it like adding an additional $2 per day that you don’t book on top of the already existing high prices. As we enter November, change that to an additional $4 per day. Now is the perfect time to book for Christmas or New Years plans, but book it ASAP!  
  2. Decide now if you will be checking baggage or taking a carry-on. Taking your luggage with you on the plane often simplifies travel. No waiting at the check desk or baggage claim always saves time. But will be you toting presents with you? What about on the way back? Depending on the airline, you may be charged for checking a bag or multiple bags. If you are, it’s cheaper to pay ahead of time than when you arrive at the airport.
  3. Sign up for TSA pre-check. This may be the real lifesaver when you’re already late arriving to the airport, security lines are backed down auxiliary hallways and all you can do is mentally scream as you watch time pass on the phone you’re clenching in your sweaty hands. Admit it, we’ve all been there.  We all know traveling during the holidays sucks, but we do it anyway. Because you are pre-approved by a TSA agent, you will skip the lines and move passed security to your gate. There is a non-refundable $85 fee, but it is good for five years. To begin the process you will need to fill out a form on the TSA website, and And then schedule a 10 minute appointment with a TSA agent for the background check. The process takes a few weeks overall, so begin now.
  4. Download travel apps, like TripIt. With all of the stress around the holidays, take the opportunity of being organized where you can. TripIt is a free app that organizes your travel itinerary and information all in one place. It will send you alerts and updates on your flight. With their Pro features, you can look for better seats, track rewards and connect with LoungeBuddy. Downloading the individual airline apps are helpful as well for up-to-date flight info and check in status.
  5. Follow airlines on social media and have contact information readily available. In case you are stuck in an airport with a delayed or cancelled flight, its best to be ready in a moments notice to change flights. Before you leave, find and save customer service numbers and airlines social media accounts. Twitter has become a fast-paced customer service tool for most airlines. You could possibly be re-booked on a new flight through and agent on Twitter before the first person in the long line at the airport kiosk gets a seat. Have all of this readily available will give you the head start you need should the situation arise.
  6. Connect your Marriott-Starwood membership account. In case you didn’t hear, Marriott International recently merged with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company. The hotels under this large umbrella includes Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, Courtyard and many, many more. As part of the merger, Marriott decided to combine the pre-existing reward memberships of both Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs. Now, if you previously had a membership on Starwood Preferred Loyalty , you must connect them through Marriott’s website. Or, if you haven’t signed up for this free membership- what the heck you doing?? This is the largest hotel company in the world! At some point you will encounter a related hotel and can accrue points to be used for future hotel stays, flights, or actually cool events. Like did you know you can bid your points on a stay in Washington D.C. and attend the presidential inauguration? Crazy, right?
  7. Make arrangements for pets, plants, etc. for when you are out of town. This is a pretty basic tip, but one often overlooked. Others will be leaving town too, it’s better to get a good idea of who will be around to water your fragile orchid for a week, or take care of fluffy while you are out of town.

Hope this gave you some reminders or new ideas for your holiday travel planning. Is there anything we missed? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook!

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Traveling on Election Day?

If you’ll be traveling on November 8th, Election Day, don’t fret, you can still make your vote count. I was asked to visit an out-of-state client on election day.  I panicked a bit until I learned that I could accept this invitation AND have my vote count.

How to vote while traveling on business

If you will not be in your polling precinct on election day, you’ll need to file an absentee ballot.  There are several very helpful, non-partisan websites to assist you.

  • Try USVoteFoundation.org or Vote.org.  Absentee ballot requirements vary by state, but these sites will guide you in the right direction.  Simply select your state from the drop down menu and you’ll get state-specific information on eligibility requirements, identification requirements and you can also request your absentee ballot online.
  • The first step is to fill out an absentee ballot application.  It takes less than one minute.
  • Next, you’ll need to mail in your application or hand deliver it to your county.  This is a basic verification process to be sure you’re on the voter rolls and you will receive your ballots.  It’s that simple.
  • Hint: Have your voter identification card handy when you visit these sites.  You’ll need your voting precinct number.

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Travel Better: Passport Tips

Imagine being at the airport and getting checked in for your trip to a fabulous international destination. But instead of being on your way, the airline employee behind the counter explains that you can’t travel out of the country.  Your passport has less than 90 days validity on it.

Extended validity for passports

Many folks aren’t aware that international countries require that you have three to six months validity beyond your travel date on your passport. Travelers assume that they can travel on their passport up until it expires. This used to be true with destinations like Mexico, but this rule has recently changed. The need for extended validity is due to unforeseen events happening in a foreign country. For example, serious illness may keep you in a foreign country for an extended amount of time.

Another question many people have is whether or not children need passports. All children, even new born infants, need a passport to travel outside the U.S. We recommend that you locate and examine your passport when making international travel plans. If you do need to renew, start the process immediately. Waiting on a passport in a time crunch is one of the most stressful experiences of my life!  If you found a great deal on tickets, international airline tickets can be issued prior to obtaining your new passport.  The name on the ticket must exactly match as it will appear on the new passport. When your new passport arrives, the information can be added to the airline record.

Remember that old travel saying “Have passport will travel!”? That is still true, only with a few exceptions. You won’t be able to travel if you can’t locate your passport or it expires within three to six months! Happy Travels!

Christopherson Business Travel provides corporate travel management services. Our private-owned company is known for our consultative account managers and specialized travel technology. If you are interested in assistance with you leisure travel, our experts in Andavo Travel are happy to help!

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Why Business Travelers Should Take Vacation

I’m just going to say it. Americans don’t take enough vacation. I understand though, I’m guilty of the same thing. Maybe you’re vying for a raise or proving your worth as an underdog. Add on an economy bouncing back from a recession, and Americans often feel guilty for taking time for themselves. But, did you know that we as a nation left 429 million unused days on the table last year? That’s a lot. Also, those unused vacation days simply gives money back to the employer. That’s a total of $224 billion that goes straight back to the company’s wallet. That’s your hard-earned time!

This issue goes further than just getting what you deserve. Taking a vacation, or even just a few days off, can positively influence your health and wellbeing. And conversely, not taking time to relax can cause health issues.

How it affects your health

Overwork and heart disease is scientifically, quantifiably correlated. In a well renowned study analyzed in 1991 but beginning in 1948, found that women homemakers who took vacation once every six years or less had nearly twice the risk of developing heart attacks or fatal heart problems than those who took time off at least twice a year. Another research study, spanning 50 years and published in 2012, found that a ten-hour-or-more workday increased the risk of coronary heart risk by 80% in both sexes. The researchers correlated the health issues with prolonged exposure to psychological stress.

Not surprisingly, this psychological stress can also effect mental health. In 2012, data was collected and analyzed from another prolonged study called Whitehall II. The Finnish Institute of Occupations Health found that people who work more than 11 hours (compared to those working 7-8 hours a day) were twice as likely to have a major depressive episode, even without previous mental health issues.

Additionally, the same Finnish Institute in a different study found that people who work  55-hours-a-week, as opposed to 40 hours, demonstrated lower cognitive function, poor vocabulary and reasoning skills. Taking your deserved time off can save you from serious and lasting physical and mental health issues.

Taking vacations actually helps with productivity

Conversely, when you do take time off, you will likely return to work more refreshed and eager to get the job done. This is something that we’ve known for years. And mostly likely, so does your upper management. Happy employees, given time to relax and let their minds wander, are often more productive in the long run.

Larger companies are beginning to change their policies, ensuring their employees get the break they need. Arianna Huffington, from the Huffington Post, recently developed an opt-in vacation email policy. They had previously made it clear that no one is expected to check work email or voicemail during time off or the weekends. Even with this policy they found employees working away during their time out of the office. So they developed their own software that will automatically delete or archive all incoming email during their worker’s vacation time. Their email additionally will then send an auto-reply, asking the sender to either resend the email when the person is back in the office or ask them to reach out to someone else. Though this is an opt-in feature, and I imagine those that truly need it will never use it, it exemplifies the work-life balance attitude that American has lost.

Hopefully your workplace understands the value of taking time off. Not only does it lower stress levels, defend against health concerns and make your more productive in the long run, it’s your hard earned time! Find out more information or how to discuss these points with your workplace at Project: Time Off.

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Business Travel Guides Travel Tips Vacation Travel

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

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

Carry-on packing tips for business and leisure travelers

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

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

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

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

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Travel Management Travel Tips

Respecting Business Traveler’s Privacy Even In The Face Of Zika

One of the first thoughts for a travel manager concerning the Zika virus is ‘how does duty of care responsibility come into play?’  After all, it is your responsibility to protect the safety and security of your employees, even while they are traveling. 

Zika and business travel

Zika typically has mild symptoms in adults, such as fever, rash, headache and joint pain. These symptoms are so mild that most people don’t even know they contracted Zika. Unfortunately, there are greater concerns for women who are pregnant or planning to start a family.  Pregnant women that contract Zika can have very serious side effects for their unborn child. They can contract microcephaly, a birth defect resulting in small head and brain size. New research has found it could also result in blindness, deafness, or learning and behavioral difficulties.

Your first reaction might be to just avoid all health concerns and not send women of child-bearing age on business trips to these infected areas.  Wrong. This violates laws of gender and pregnancy discrimination.  On the other hand, they have the right to not disclose family planning and future employment decisions. This is a real catch-22. You can’t keep them from traveling, but you can’t assume they want to avoid the area either.

So, what are employers to do?

Overall, as long as employers inform all of their employees of possible Zika risks, especially those of child-bearing age, and avoid other discriminatory actions, they can’t be held liable for any negative outcomes on fetal health. But you can be helpful and provide additional information for all employees.

Here are some additional ways to provide support and information to employees potentially traveling to Zika-affected areas without overstepping bounds:

  • Look for volunteers for travel.
  • Provide employees traveling to these regions with long clothing and mosquito repellent. Plan to keep them indoors with air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Keep open communication between your employees about concerns or questions.
  • If they are hesitant to travel to a these areas, provide them with additional resources and information so they can make a well-informed decision.
  • Never pressure your employees to travel if they are concerned for their safety or security.
  • Stay informed through the CDC government website. Currently over 50 countries and territories are included in recent Zika travel alert.

Want to learn more? Read our previous blog on Zika and Duty of Care

 

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Finally, Refunds For Delayed Checked Bags!

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

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

Tips to smoothly receive your refund for delayed checked bags:

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

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

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

Read next:

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Beware – Hotel Wifi Is Not Always Secure!

 Whether it be a vacation splurge or just a place to rest your head before an important meeting, hotels have worked hard to become an easy place to trust and feel secure.  That’s why I was initially surprised when I read a recent article. A study by Trustwave found that 38 percent of known cyber breaches occurred through hotel wifi. You read that correctly – almost 40 percent of all known cyber breaches occurred in our home away from home! Additionally, many of these hotels are well-known chains including: Trump Hotels, Hard Rock Cafe, Hilton and Hyatt, to name a few. This is not just a lack of security at smaller hotels or motels, this is an issue affecting even the big dogs. 

How to protect yourself from cyber breaches through hotel wifi:

So, what are you suppose to do? As a business traveler, you need to be prepared professionally in a moment’s notice, and conquer any personal responsibilities at the same time. Before you take the chance of using the free or cheap wifi at your hotel, make sure you take these precautions.

  1. Always keep firewall and anti-virus software on and up-to-date. This is your first line of defense, so make sure it’s a good one.
  2. Be wary of connecting to a duplicate or twin wifi network. Most often you are given a wifi name and password at check in. A common hacking tactic is creating an evil twin network that has a very similar name to the valid hotel wifi network. People often assume the name of network or simply choose the free wifi with the most signal strength. Always verify at the front desk before joining a new or unknown wifi network.
  3. Disconnect when not in use.  Don’t leave your drawbridge open if it doesn’t need to be. Minimize your risk by disconnecting when you aren’t actively using the wifi.
  4. Avoid financial transactions when using free or public wifi.  If this transaction is not avoidable or time sensitive, make sure the site you are using is secure. You can tell if it is secure based on the site url. A secure site’s url will begin with ‘https:’ instead of ‘http:’
  5. Use a company VPN, if possible. This is a company-created computer network that provides employees with remote access to company servers. It encrypts your online activity, so others can’t see what your doing and allowing access to company drives and software. 

Most importantly, never let your guard down when it comes to potential cyber breaches. It may feel like an inconvenience at the time, but it could lead to a lifetime of repercussions.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our consultative customer relationships and one-of-a-kind travel technology, we provide dedicated and superior travel management service.

Read Next- Avoiding High-Tech Scams While Business Traveling 

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

What Happens To Your Body On A Plane?

Not surprisingly, flying through the air at 600 miles per hour has some interesting effects on the body. Though flying at around 35,000 feet, the cabin is pressurized to mimic the altitude of 6,000 to 8,000 feet. That’s comparable to sitting on top of mountain. Count in hours of inactivity, exposure to germs, and recirculated air, it’s no wonder we feel a bit sluggish after a long plane trip. For frequent business travelers, it can be easy to forget what our bodies goes through every time we board a plane. Below are some of the typical side effects of plane travel and the science behind it.

What happens to your body on a plane

Taste

Airplane food has always had the reputation of being bland and unappetizing. Turns out there is a scientific reason behind the judgement. It’s not always the food that is the problem, but our surroundings. Pressurized cabin, high altitude and circulated cool dry air “makes your taste buds go numb, almost as if you have cold”, says Grant Meckels, the executive chef for culinary development of Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs.  Our ability to perceive sweetness and saltiness can dip up to 30% while flying, changing the way food tastes.

Solutions? Don’t waste calories on a plane. Take small snacks with you to keep your energy levels up, but don’t go overboard. Is it worth it if you can’t even taste it?

Drowsiness

We’ve all been there. You open up your laptop after take-off, create an attack plan for your to-do list, when suddenly it hits you– you can’t keep your eyes open. No, you’re not subconsciously avoiding work. Your body is feeling the difference of air pressure while flying.  At high elevations, the air pressure is much lower than at ground level. This decrease in air pressure causes your blood oxygen levels to also drop, making you feel tired and fatigued.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to avoid this sensation. Some airplanes are pressurized to resemble lower altitudes, like the Boeing 787.   They also hold more oxygen, so overall you should feel better during and after travel.

Dehydration

Dehydration has many symptoms like lightheadedness, dry mouth, and headaches. We all know to drink water, but it can be easily forgotten while scrambling through the airport. But did you know dehydration comes from other sources?  Cabin pressurization, the culprit again, creates a very dry environment with very little moisture in the air. The humidity level on a plane is on average 10 to 20 percent. This is much lower compared to a comfortable indoor temperature of 30 to 65 percent. This sudden change in moisture takes a toll on our body through dry skin, scratchy eyes, and headaches. Additionally, this arid climate can dry up the mucus in the nose and mouth, leaving us more susceptible to germs and bacteria.

Though not avoidable, there are a few tricks to keep you comfortable. Avoid alcohol while flying and drink plenty of water. Also, pack eye drops, nasal spray and lotion with you.

Swelling Ankles

Sitting for prolonged amount of time can wreck havoc on your circulation system. Add in the decrease in oxygen levels and no wonder ankles swell. If you are prone to this symptom, make sure you stand up and move around the cabin about once an hour. You can also try a few exercises that engage your leg muscles while sitting, like ankle rolls or knee lifts.  Pumping your calves usually helps too. Though in some cases, prolonged sitting can cause blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

Air travel is a marvel, but it comes with some negative repercussions to our bodies. Mainly cabin pressurization creates a cold and arid environment with less oxygen, leaving us dried out and sleepy. Next time you travel, try to come hydrated and prepared for your adventure at 35,000 feet.

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Travel News Travel Technology Travel Tips

How To Get Through U.S. Customs Faster

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.

Global Entry

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!

Mobile Passport

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!

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Guides Travel Tips

The Best Restaurants Near The Denver Convention Center

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

16th Street Mall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Larimer Square

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

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

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

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

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

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Guides Travel Tips

Packing For Conferences – What Should You Bring?

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

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

Link to the full checklist.

 

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

Read next- Travel Packing List for Dummies

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Business Travel Guides Travel Tips

What Is The Right Size For Carry-on Luggage?

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

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

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

LuggageInfographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Avoiding High-Tech Scams When Traveling

As business travelers, we rely so heavily on electronic devices to keep us on task and updated. So much so, that it can be easy to forget that others can hack these devices and prey on our need for accessibility. It seems like there are always new high-tech scams being created.

Common hacking techniques

Spoofing

“Spoofing” is when a replica is created to make you think you are safe. An example of this is when your friend’s Facebook profile has been hacked and they begin constantly posting Rayban sunglasses specials with prices listed in yen. Websites themselves can also be spoofed, ultimately tricking you into downloading harmful data. Even caller ID and GPS coordinates can be hacked using this technique!

Spamming

“Spamming” is unsolicited or junk e-mail. For example, I apparently have a rich uncle in Jakarta who wants to deposit money in my account, I just need to send him my bank number! These emails are sent to thousands of unsuspecting recipients at one time. It is often used in combination with spoofing, to make the originating address difficult to pinpoint.

Phishing

“Phishing” is the act of using spoofing and spamming to lure unsuspecting victims, hoping to deceive you into disclosing your credit card number, bank accounts, passwords, Social Security number, or other sensitive information. An example of this is a hacker calling you, pretending to be someone of authority. They then ask for your social security number or access to your computer. Or, when the credit card information of Target’s customers was hacked and stolen in 2013.

Tips to avoid being scammed

So, what can you do to avoid being a victim? The Federal Trade Commission recommends a few tips to avoid getting “hooked.”

  1. Don’t email personal or financial information.
  2. Use trusted security software and set it to automatically update.
  3. Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails (especially emails with subject lines like “Hi” or “Open Immediately”).
  4. Type in an organization’s website first, rather than automatically replying, and look for a URL that begins with https (the “s” stands for secure).
  5. Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late, call your provider.
  6. When using wireless hotspots, send information only to sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information.
  7. Last but not least, as much as it may be a pain to update or change your passwords, keep your passwords strong, secret, and safe.

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Which Airports To Avoid This Summer

With the prediction of this being the worst summer in TSA history due to an increase in travelers, you can’t help but wonder if the wait times and delays will measure up to all the hype. And additionally, what areas are being affected the most for frequent business travelers.
A new article from MileCards.com offers some insight into this predicament. Looking at airport travel delays for the past five years, they found some interesting trends. The month of June is considered to be the worst month of the year for delays at U.S. airports. Yep, more than winter months or holiday season. The main culprits are congestion and summer thunderstorms. The best months for arriving on time are September and January.

Delving further, the Department of Transportation report ranked the busiest airports during summer months since 2010 based on several factors like on time arrivals, the wait time between leaving the gate and taking off, and the wait time from landing to parking at the gate.

Worst Airports For On-Time Summer Travel:

  • Newark- 68.4% arrive on time
  • San Francisco- 68.4%
  • New York – La Guardia – 70.3%

Worst For Waiting To Take Off:

  • New York – Kennedy – 29.8 minutes average taxi out time
  • New York – La Guardia – 28.0 minutes
  • Philadelphia – 23.5 minutes

Worst For Getting To The Gate:

  • Los Angeles- 10.7 minutes average for taxi to gate
  • Chicago O’Hare- 10.5 minutes
  • Dallas – Fort Worth – 10.5 minutes

Worst Airport Overall:

  • Newark – (is this really a surprise?)

 

Which begs the question, what are the best airports to fly through during the summer?

Best For On-Time Summer Flights:

  • Honolulu- 86.4% arrive on time
  • Salt lake City- 86.2%
  • Seattle- 83.1%

Best For Waiting To Take Off:

  • Houston – Hobby – 9.3 minutes average taxi time
  • Dallas – Love – 9.9
  • Oakland- 10.2 minutes

Best For Getting To The Gate:

  • San Diego – 3.9 minutes to taxi to gate
  • Portland – 4.0 minutes
  • San Antonio – 4.1 minutes

Though a lot of business travel can be out of your control, doing what you can to avoid these airports can save you valuable time. Or, if there is no way to avoid going through Newark, for example, come prepared with extra things to keep you busy, just in case you are stuck taxiing.

Read next: 8 Tips For Getting A Better Airplane Seat

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate business travel company, nationally recognized for our travel technology and superior customer service. If you are interested in discussing how we save our clients time and money, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

When Are The Peak Hours For Airport Security Lines?

Airports across the country are seeing longer wait times in the TSA security lines recently, due to a deficit of TSA screening employees and an increase in travelers. The number of travelers are only expected to increase as well, as we move into the busier summer months. In the last few years, there has been a 10 percent decrease in employees, recently culminating in longer security wait times. Though Congress recently approved hiring more screening agents, it may take until the end of June for these 500 new employees to be hired and trained. Until then, airports and the TSA are recommending travelers to arrive two to three hours before their flights and avoid peak hours for flying.

So, when are these peak times for airports?

  • Weekends are the busiest travel days. This includes Fridays during the summer months.
  • Think of airports as similar to highways. They tend to be busiest on weekdays in the early morning and early afternoon, then again in early evening.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday are usually slower.
  • Mid-day is the slowest time all week.
  • Peak hours may differ based on city. For example, port cities like Miami see a burst midday on Saturdays as vacationers on cruise ships return and head to the airport.

On the day of your trip, investigate the current traffic at your local airport. The TSA website  lets you know of the current wait time at any airport in the U.S. Or try out the MiFlight app to stay updated on wait times.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Duty of Care and the Zika Virus

If you’ve watched the news in the last six months, you’re likely aware of the mosquito-borne virus in Central and South America called Zika. Unfortunately, corporate travel managers with business travelers who work in that area also need to be concerned with the Zika virus. What should you know about the virus and how does it affect the health of your employees and your duty of care?

What is Zika?

  • Zika is mosquito-borne virus that began spreading in Central and South American countries
  • It can be sexually transmitted through males who have been infected
  • The symptoms of Zika infection are mild, including fever, rash, conjunctivitis, joint/muscle pain, and headaches
  • Only 20% of people infected even notice Zika symptoms
  • It can lead to a birth defect called microcerphaly in infected pregnant women
  • There is no Zika vaccine at this time

Recommendations for Business Travelers

  • Pregnant women, and even women of childbearing age, need to be the most vigilant. It has been recommended that they defer travel to these Zika-affected areas.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a new finding that the prevalence of Zika is substantially less above 6,500 feet above sea level. It is believed that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the virus, do not live in these high elevations. If possible, stay in these high elevation areas during your trip.
  • Avoid bug bites by covering exposed skin and using bug spray. This handy infographic from the CDC provides additional tips to protect yourself.

What does this mean for a business’s duty of care?

Much about Zika is still unknown, however the World Health Organization has declared it an international health emergency. With that in mind, it is important to keep corporate travelers safe and healthy. Corporate travel managers should regularly monitor the CDC website and the World Health Organization website for updates and changes in protocol. Keep open communications with your business travelers about the virus and the risk. Make travel to infected areas optional. Locate medical facilities prior to business travel should an employee become infected and need attention in-country. Establish communication protocol to update and be updated by travelers needing help. Concerned travelers should also stay informed through the CDC.

As a top business travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel provides clients with SecurityLogic, a duty of care tool that helps corporate travel managers locate travelers in an emergency, verify their safety, and easily communicate information, should an emergency arise. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us here.

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Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

How Business Travelers Can Get Airport Lounge Access

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.

LoungeBuddy

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Business Travel Travel Tips

7 Tips for Staying Productive on Business Trips

Even the most seasoned business travelers can get off track while on the road. Below are
seven tips for utilizing the most of your time while traveling for business.

1- Create a checklist for tasks to be completed only while in transit

Make a checklist of all the little things you can complete while on the plane, train, or in the taxi before your day of travel. It can be small items like: check in with the office, reply to an email, or proofread a report. Having your list prepared before you leave will keep you on track and build momentum for staying productive.

2- Save your writing for the plane

Even when wifi is provided, it can be slow, unreliable, and a real pain. Instead of taking the risk, put on your headphones and get in the writing zone. Whether creating presentation slides or drafting a few email responses, writing on the plane is the easiest way to get through a few tasks that might require serious concentration.

3- Download TripIt

Keep your plane, hotel, rail or any other travel related itinerary organized by downloading the TripIt app. It organizes everything in one convenient place, making everything you will need easily accessible and always on-hand. If you use our software, your plane and hotel information can be easily pushed to your TripIt profile.

4- Drink plenty of water

Sounds basic, but this is often overlooked by business travelers. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated? Symptoms of mild dehydration include fatigue, foggy memory, irritability and anxiety–all traits you want to avoid when networking or presenting to others. Factor in jet lag, and you could be a hot mess by the time you land. Bring an empty water bottle with you and fill it up after going through airport security. Or buy a bottle of water once you get to your gate. Stay hydrated during your trip and stay on top of your game.

4- Familiarize yourself with the destination

Research the area around the hotel or conference venue. Where is the nearest grocery store or coffee shop? Having this knowledge will help you familiarize yourself with the surroundings and make you feel more confident once you are there. Plus, it can save you some serious time when you only have a few minutes to remedy a caffeine fix.

5- Always keep your phone charger with you. Always.

As your side kick on business trips, make sure your phone is always charged and ready to provide quick assistance when you need it. Plug it in when you have down time during the day, and charge it before going to bed. Nothing ruins an afternoon like chasing down a new charger, or frantically relying on secondary communication networks to coordinate events.

6-Be prepared with things to do during sudden changes and down time

Business travel can sometimes include sudden schedule changes or transportation delays. Come prepared with things to do during these times so you wont be left twiddling your thumbs. Download any additional documents you may need, or keep a list handy of short tasks that can be done, with and without a wifi connection.

7- Relax and recharge

To be your most productive self, you also need to be fully charged. Be sure to take time for yourself. Go to bed early or leave time to call home and check in with loved ones. Check out the local area for awhile before replying to those non-urgent emails.

Christopherson Business Travel is a top business travel management company. We provide our clients reliable customer service and helpful travel technology. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us here.

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Travel Tips

Hotel Room Safety – Choosing The Right Room Location

Regardless if your travel is for  business or pleasure, domestic or international, there is a high probability that you will be staying in a hotel. Unfortunately in our world today, it is safe practice to keep security in mind while planning travel. Below are a few tips from an expert on security and safety in hotels.

The hotel room location matters in an emergency

Rob Walker, head of information and analysis for travel security at London-based International SOS, told the MailOnline Travel which rooms are the best to book for a better chance of survival in the event of a fire, attack, or disaster. If traveling in the United States, his suggestions include choosing a room above the first or second floors yet lower than the sixth or seventh floors. The reason? Those rooms are out of harm’s way in terms of burglars, but low enough that you could survive a fall if you needed to jump. It’s also within reach of most fire department ladders.

“We also recommend travelers request rooms on the side of the building further away from the lobby, which is likely to be the main entry point for any attacker,” Walker said. “It is preferable to also choose the side away from other public areas, such as hotel restaurants, as those areas can be a target area, and rooms that are not easily accessed from the street, so as not to be an easy target for criminals. Yet, ideally it is good to be near the emergency exit stairs.”

Additional hotel room safety tips:

Along with having things like an emergency evacuation plan ready to go, Walker recommends keeping a few other things in mind:

  • Avoid rooms with interlocking doors if possible.
  • Choose hotels that are not in high crime neighborhoods.
  • Make sure your room has the following: deadbolts, an eyehole, and evacuation procedures.
  • Pack a doorstop.
  • When you enter, prop your hotel room door open with your luggage and do a quick sweep to make sure there are no intruders.

Read next:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

uberFAMILY

uberFamily-NycIn preparing for a recent family vacation to Washington D.C., I was discussing with a friend whether we should bring a car seat or pay for a very expensive airport transfer so we’d be able to reserve a car with a car seat.

Her response was, “Why don’t you use Uber? You can request a car with a baby seat.” I felt so behind the times. How did I not know Uber did this? Of course, I was intrigued but suspicious, so I decided to do my own “parent research.”

What I Learned

Uber has a select number of cars in New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. that come with a car seat. Uber cars in Philadelphia also come with booster seats for children over age four. For rides where the car seat is requested, a premium of $10 is charged for the trip. Uber hired The Car Seat Lady to consult on the type of car seat and train the drivers on installing the seat. They only offer one type of seat (the IMMI Go) and it is only approved for children over 12 months.

Select drivers were invited to have the option of having the seat in their car. Prior to receiving the car seat, they had to go to a training where The Car Seat Lady was in attendance to learn how to install the seat. One driver told us that drivers were not allowed to leave with the seat until they were able to install it perfectly. This took several hours.

Our experience with uberFAMILY was great. There were times when we had to wait a little longer for a car with a car seat, but it was well worth it! I would recommend this to anyone traveling to D.C., New York, or Philadelphia. We always felt that our drivers were competent in installing the seat and it sure was easier than having to lug our own car seat around.

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Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

Are We There Yet?: Navigation Apps for Business Travelers

Navigation apps for business travelersBusiness 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.

HERE

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

GOOGLE MAPS

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

inRoute

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

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 an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, learn why we are continually ranked as a top travel management agency.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Tips for staying in shape while traveling

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

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

Click Here for an In-Flight Fitness Workout

Click Here for 18 Exercises for Healthy Flying

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

 

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Have You Reviewed and Updated Your Corporate Travel Program?

Travel managementAs an Account Manager with Christopherson Business Travel, I’m responsible for my clients travel management efficiency.  They often rely on me to assist with developing an effective travel policy to compliment their organization’s travel program. I’ve noticed that cost savings and service delivery have dominated the focus for most companies overall, whether the travel program responsibility is driven by the finance, human resource, or procurement department.

The Importance of a Travel Policy

The true cornerstone of an effective travel program is the travel policy. How long has it been since you sat down and went through your travel policy and efficiency? How does it line up with bullet points below?

  • Travel procurement begins with having a strong travel policy, because of its impact on travel spend and traveler satisfaction.
  • Having a strong travel policy, and traveler adherence to that policy, allows organizations to secure better pricing from preferred suppliers such as air carriers, car rental companies, and hotels.
  • The travel policy must be clear, enable travel, and provide guidelines. It must also align with your organization’s vision, mission, and values.

Christopherson Business Travel has already helped countless organizations across the country save money by providing assistance in developing an effective travel policy and more efficiently managing their travel programs.  To learn more about how Christopherson can help with your travel program, contact us today.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Data Security When Traveling Abroad

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

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

Five Products For Easier Business Travel

aviiqSavvy 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 Cordito by 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 case will 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 Bag rolls 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 charger is 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?

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

My Free Ride from Uber

uberUber continues to generate buzz in the business travel industry. I recently decided to try it out and signed up for my own account.

A friend provided me with a discount code so that I could try my first ride (up to $20) for free. The app was simple and the discount easy to redeem. The best part was that I too received a free ride code to share with friends. And even better–if my friends use that code, I get another 20.00 off. It’s a pretty great share/incentive plan.

If you’re unfamiliar with Uber’s service, you type in your destination when you need a “taxi,” the Uber map locates where you are, and once you click “pick me up,” it sends the closest driver to your location. The driver is there within minutes. It’s fantastic! If you haven’t used Uber yet, I recommend you try it soon.

Christopherson’s CEO recently wrote about an experience he had with an Uber driver and his thoughts on American free enterprise. Check it out here.

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Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Higher Bag Fees over the Holidays for Frontier and Spirit Airlines

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Car Rental Safety

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

Click here for Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Click here for Part 2: Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

Using car rentals for business travel provides flexibility in getting around and can sometimes be less expensive than taxis. But while business travelers are generally aware of air and hotel safety precautions, not many of us think too much about car safety. Here are nine tips:

1. Don’t forget the basics.

Most savvy business travelers know to decline car rental insurance because it’s usually covered by their company or credit card. But it’s double check before you go. Also, always do the “walk around” the car. While it may seem unnecessary, the one time you forget may be the time you are blamed for someone else’s mistake. Before driving off the lot, make sure everything is working and that you know where signals and indicators are located. Trying to adjust your side mirror on the freeway does not make for a safe driver.

2. Keep your keys safe.

Keep your car keys with you and out of sight at all times. Years ago, car rental companies eliminated their logos from the cars, as they became targets for theft. While this precaution is helpful, you can still spot travelers by their car rental keys. Usually the ring has both sets of keys on it and a big tag with the make, model, color, and license number on it. Since you are traveling, a thief will know your car may have valuables in it.

3. Choose your parking space wisely.

Be careful when parking at events where thieves will know you will be gone for a set period of time (such as sporting or entertainment). Park “trunk out.” If storing items in your trunk, this makes your trunk visible in an aisle where more people are apt to see suspicious activity. When parking on the street, choose a busy area, i.e. in front of a store, hotel entrance, under a street lamp, or a busy corner. If the street seems too vulnerable, park in a parking garage where the likelihood of being broken into is less. However, still be aware of your surroundings. Being in a place where people can’t see you leaves you open to other acts of violence.

4. Load and hide your stuff before you reach your destination.

Everything you plan on leaving in the car should be stowed and hidden before you arrive at your destination. If, upon arrival, you take the action of stowing your valuables, you are exposing your possessions for all to see.

5. Don’t leave any possessions visible in the car.

It takes a thief five seconds to smash the glass, grab your valuables, and be out of sight, even with the alarm sounding. Keep in mind, it’s not only valuables in plain sight that are a target, but any bag or box may have something valuable to a thief. Even if replaceable, you are left with a broken window, which now you must deal with the car rental company to report the damage.

6. Unload your stuff away from your parking space.

If you have to remove luggage or valuables out of the trunk, do so away from your parking space, if possible. Should a thief see you taking it out, he/she will know that you’ll likely return with it, leaving you vulnerable as a target.

7. A neat car is less likely to get robbed.

On longer trips or road trips, we tend to leave more items in the car as we don’t want to haul everything back and forth to our hotel room at each stop. But leaving bags, or even covering items with jackets only attracts interest. If there isn’t much in the car, there is less curiosity.

8. Check for your valuables as soon as you return to your car.

If you have any suspicion, do a quick check of your items before leaving. A common tactic of thieves is to take a camera out of the camera bag, but leave the bag. You are then long gone before you notice the missing item, and can’t pinpoint when it might have been taken.

9. Take your time upon return.

Most major car rental companies have automatic check-in and readily available receipts from the rental return attendant. But take a moment and really check the car. But how many times have you stored your sunglasses or phone in the same area you do in your personal car, only to leave it behind at the return station?

As a final reminder when business traveling, don’t forget the four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

10 Tips for Stress-Free Travel

I was recently asked for advice on how to make business travel a bit more bearable. Like most business-people, I go through spurts when I travel quite a bit. Here are some suggestions on how to make life on the road a tad bit easier.

10 Tips for Stress-free travel

  1.  Always use a travel agency. Not only can a travel agent get you out of a bind when the airline cancels your flight or if the weather causes cancellations or delays, but each reservation is automatically populated with the seat assignment you most prefer (even if you booked using the agency’s online booking tool). There are many reasons why it pays to book with a travel agency.
  2.  Book as soon as you know you’re traveling. This simply assures a better seat. We all hate traveling in the middle seat wedged between the teenager opposed to showering and a former NFL offensive lineman–especially on long flights.
  3. Park in the same area of the parking lot/garage every time. This way, when you get home at midnight after three days of grueling meetings and travel, you have a pretty good idea where your car is. At least you’ll be within range of the panic button on your key chain that will hone in to your car’s exact location.
  4. Enroll in Global Entry or TSA Pre Check. You’ll love not having to stand in the “regular” line at security. The longest line I’ve endured at TSA PreCheck was about ten people deep.  But the best part is not having to take off your shoes, belt, jacket, etc. You also won’t have to take your laptop or toiletries out of your carry-on bag, and you can feel assured that those in line with you have not been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants against them.
  5. Secure priority seating. There’s nothing worse than being in the last boarding group, lugging your roller bag all the way down to Row 34 only to be told by the overly cheerful flight attendant there is no more overhead bin space.  There are a ton of credit cards available whereby you always receive priority boarding on a given airline. Most also allow you one free checked bag.
  6. Stay consistent with airlines, hotels and car rental companies, when possible. It’s simply less confusing when you don’t have to try to figure out each leg of your trip.  I like to stay at the Hyatt Place.  I know the basic layout of the hotel, what meal options they offer, and I like their breakfast that’s included in the rate. Additionally, more often than not, the hotel is situated close to restaurants within my budget. Their properties are new, ensuring cleanliness. As for cars, I always rent from National because I love their Emerald Aisle program.  There’s no guess work when I need a car. I simply follow the signs, choose the car I want from the Emerald Aisle, and drive off the lot. Keeping consistent with airlines, hotels, and car rentals also ensures you’ll accrue frequent traveler points faster.
  7.  Dress comfortably. I know many business men and women feel they need to dress in business attire when flying. But personally, I think we all have to wear enough business attire. Instead, I wear comfortable layers. In my experience, half the time airplanes are too hot, half the time they’re too cold. Shed a layer, add a layer, but NEVER remove your shoes. That’s just not nice.
  8.  Travel with entertainment. Carry on a good book, load your phone with relaxing music, and don’t forget your tablet. But for heaven’s sake, use earphones. Remember, if you can clearly hear music blasting out of the one ear bud you have dangling down near your shoulder, so can all of those around you. Also, most airlines offer in-flight entertainment for no additional charge.  Tip: Nothing makes a half hour go by faster than a good game of Candy Crush. It’s mindless, but helps the time go by.
  9.  Purchase some noise canceling headphones. No one likes to hear the loud guy, or the crying baby, or the music blasting from the aforementioned dangling ear bud! I’m told Bose are the best, but there are less expensive versions available from $50 on up. If noise canceling headphones are not in the budget, try putting on regular ear buds and sticking the other end of the cord in your pocket. It won’t prevent you from hearing your fellow travelers trials and tribulations, but the chatty lady sitting next to you will think you’re listening to music and won’t start telling you about her grand kids.
  10. Consider getting a club membership. This tip is a bit expensive (starting at $500/year), but if you can swing it, it’s a fabulous luxury. Relaxing in a comfortable environment while enjoying complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wifi helps tremendously when flights are delayed and you’re stuck in an airport for an unbearable amount of time.

Really, it’s the simple things that make life on the road a little easier.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Potential Online Booking Scam for Hotels

A recent news report from Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate, KSL, explained that many rogue websites are popping up lately, misleading consumers to book hotel rooms through their site, which are, sadly, invalid vendors. Therefore, travelers think they are booking (and sometimes paying for) a hotel, but in reality, they aren’t.

“Here’s the problem … These websites have the same look and feel you’ve seen from hotel chains you know and trust,” KSL reported.

To ensure that you are making legitimate hotel reservations, always book through a trusted site or source such as a Travel Management Company or online booking tool. Additionally, official hotel websites will always be secure with an “https” prefix in the URL address.

For tips on what to look for to avoid these scams, visit KSL.com to view the report.

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

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

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

Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: How to stay safe and where to sit?

Safety while traveling is always an important topic and transportation, whether on a plane, train, or automobile, involves a certain level of risk. Here are a few tips to keep you safer.

Airplanes

While air travel continues to be safer every year, travelers who watch the safety briefing, sit as far forward from the rear of the plane, and wear seat belt even when not required decrease their chances of being injured in the event of an accident.

Trains

Trains are nine times more likely to derail from the front than they are to hit another train or car head-on or to be hit from behind. The safest seat on a train is a rear facing aisle seat one or two cars back from the center of the train.

Automobiles

The rear of the car is generally the safest place due to the fact that driving is a forward motion and most car crashes occur with frontal impact. Wearing your seat belt and sitting in the rear middle seat is the safest and gives you extra protection in the event of a side impact accident.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Safety On-board an Aircraft

Detective Kevin Coffey, President & CEO of Corporate Travel Safety, recently spoke at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day. Whether we are road warriors or once-in-a-while vacationers, Coffey reminded attendees of the safety precautions we should all be aware of. This post, which will address carry-on luggage safety, is the first installment in a three party series on the travel safety tips Coffey shared.

Most people think their valuables are safe when using a carry-on bag–that if our items are near us, we are protected. However, theft can still occur and people who steal on-board an aircraft have been both airline employees or fellow travelers. Here are 10 ways you can protect yourself and your carry-on luggage.

  1. Check Your Jacket Pockets – Before hanging your jacket, take all your valuables and your wallet out of the pockets. Anyone on-board has access to the closet and this is the first place a thief will look.
  2. Differentiate Your Bag – Many bags look alike. Just as you may distinguish your checked bag so you can find it easily at baggage claim, do the same with your carry on. This way you can avoid a mix-up with another passenger grabbing the wrong bag, or a thief saying they thought it was their bag.
  3. Stow Your Bag Upside Down – When a thief rummages through a bag, they reach their hand in the overhead bin, unzip the bag, and feel for items worth taking. This only takes seconds and most people do not know it has happened. If you turn your bag upside down, it is more difficult to get into. You can go an extra step and place valuable items in hard to reach places or zipper compartments.
  4. Stow Your Bag Across From You – Most people place their bag over their seat. Try placing your bag on the other side of the aisle. This allows for clear sight of your bag and who is getting into the overhead bin. When the bag is above you, you cannot see what the person is doing and if they are actually leaving your bag alone.
  5. Lock Your Bag – Extra security deters thieves while you are sleeping or in the lavatory. Such security may be a portable safe. This not only keeps your carry-on valuables locked up, but can be used in various situations to keep your personal items protected throughout your trip.
  6. Keep it Near You – Some people will stow their carry-on toward the front of the plane, while their seat is in the rear of the plane. But it is much easier for a thief to grab your bag and get a head start while you are still trying to deplane. Keep your luggage near you.
  7. Bury Your Cash and Wallet – Do not place your valuables in the outermost compartments where thieves have easy access. Keep a credit card to make on-board purchases and bury the rest in a hard to reach compartment.
  8. Be Aware of What You Put Under the Seat – Make sure there are no zippers or pockets facing the passenger in front of you. They have easy access to your items without you knowing. Do not leave your valuables at your seat when you need to leave your area.
  9. Common Sense – Keep your purse in front of you and your wallet out of your back pocket. This seems simple enough, but many of us forget this rule since we are preoccupied by all the other aspects of flying.
  10. If You See Something, Say Something – If you catch someone going through your bag, stay calm, as it could be an innocent mistake, but be firm. If you have caught a thief, tell someone immediately.
  11. As a final helpful tip, here are four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily. Plus, these items will get you out of a jam upon landing.

Read next:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

4 Ways to Avoid Fatigue During Business Travel

Screen shot 2015-05-13 at 5.08.52 PM All of us have likely experienced the tiring effects of business travel that last more than a few days. Here are four tips to reduce the effects of travel fatigue on extended business trips.

1. Slow Down

At the end of your day, take a few minutes for a walk or enjoy reading a book and having a cup of coffee outside on the patio or at a coffee shop.

2. Relax on the Road

Schedule time for a massage or take advantage of the pool and/or hot tub at your hotel.

3. Download an App

There are many apps that can help reduce stress and induce peace of mind. The Mindfulness App (iOS/Android), Yoga Studio (iOS), and Sleep Pillow Sounds (