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Business Travel Travel Management

What Are The Benefits Of A Corporate Travel Management Company?

Benefits of partnering with a corporate travel management company (TMC) include: access to a dedicated support team, reduced travel spend, risk management assistance, access to travel technology, enhanced reporting, travel policy creation and integration, and time savings. Read on to see how each of these benefits relates to both the travel manager and the business traveler.

7 Benefits of Using a Corporate Travel Management Company are:

  1. Access to a Dedicated Support Team 
  2. Cost Saving Strategies 
  3. Assistance with Risk Management
  4. Access to Technology and Tools 
  5. Enhanced Reporting
  6. Travel Policy Creation and Integration 
  7. Time Savings for Travel Managers and Traveler

1. Access to a Dedicated Support Team 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

A corporate travel management company (TMC) should offer its clients a dedicated support team. As a travel manager, you are responsible for creating and maintaining an evolving, complex program. Working with a dedicated support team to help manage your program has many benefits.

First, you can lean on a team of experts. Whether you are creating a new travel program or you are looking to improve your current one, a TMC should be able to make recommendations to help you meet your goals. 

At Christopherson Business Travel (Christopherson), our travel management experts average more than 25 years of experience in business travel. We have helped hundreds of organizations overcome the challenges of business travel and achieve a variety of goals. Not only do we recommend adjustments our clients can make to their programs, but we also specifically point out how we can help them get there. 

Another benefit of having a dedicated support team is that travel managers can rely on experts to provide best practices, industry updates, and seasoned expertise. When a business travel program is outdated, corporate travelers become frustrated. In a dynamic industry that changes rapidly, it’s important for travel managers to stay informed about current and emerging trends.   

Benefits for the Business Traveler

Depending on your booking and service needs, your travelers might have access to a dedicated travel advisor team, a certified online support team, or a combination of the two. By partnering with a corporate travel management company, your business travelers can feel confident knowing they always have trusted experts to turn to 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Having a dedicated support team to assist with travel challenges (like delayed flights or overbooked hotels) significantly improves the overall traveler experience. A TMC also considers traveler preferences and loyalty information when helping them book travel within policy. At Christopherson, your travelers can access a small, dedicated team of travel advisors, so they always know who to contact for support. 

Some TMCs offer support via a call center, which can be frustrating. Call center agents won’t be familiar with your travel preferences or policies, and travelers often don’t receive the level of customer service they deserve. With a dedicated team, you’ll have personalized service and relationships you can count on.

Another benefit of having a dedicated support team is providing VIP services for your executive travelers. At Christopherson, priority response time, requesting special accommodations, and frequent traveler enrollment assistance are just a few of the VIP services we provide.

2. Cost Saving Strategies 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

Corporate travel management companies help businesses save money by securing the lowest possible rates on travel. Consider the following hypothetical scenario: You reach out to a large hotel chain to negotiate a corporate rate for your business. You attempt to use your predicted number of reservations of 150 nights as leverage for a lower rate. The hotel is able to offer you a discounted rate of $160 a night. 

Now imagine that your corporate travel management company reaches out to the same hotel chain. Instead of 150 nights, your TMC is leveraging the 15,000 nights they anticipate booking among  75 different accounts. It probably comes as no surprise that the hotel is able to offer your TMC an even lower rate of $140 a night.

This example illustrates how working with a TMC increases your buying power and, ultimately, saves you money. Also, by consolidating your hotel spend, a TMC can continue to negotiate lower rates on your behalf year after year.

When it comes to your travel policy, corporate travel management companies make compliance effortless through integrated technology. You can find more details about this below, but one of the reasons travel policies exist is to help manage costs. If your travelers are booking outside of your policy, chances are they are paying more than you would like because they’re not accessing your negotiated rates. 

Next, let’s consider unused airline ticket funds. It’s inevitable that business travelers will have to cancel trips due to scheduling changes, which can potentially leave money on the table. Nearly 10% of all business travel airline tickets go unused. As a travel manager, how do you ensure these unused ticket funds aren’t impacting your bottom line? A TMC can monitor these funds, helping ensure they are used before they expire. 

Christopherson’s AirBank tool is our solution to managing unused airline tickets. AirBank captures those funds in a centralized database and then prompts travelers to reuse them during their next booking. AirBank’s transparency encourages active participation in the reuse of the ticket. This helps prevent loss of funds, cut costs, and eliminate waste. Managers can also access real-time status updates and reports on those unused tickets and the subsequent available funds.

Lastly, when partnering with a corporate travel management company that charges fair and transparent fees, travel managers are able to more accurately budget for their travel program costs. Christopherson’s all-inclusive pricing structure includes all account management, technology, integrated reporting systems, and tools. Some TMCs operate on an “a la carte” model which can quickly become costly and unpredictable making it more difficult to budget.

Benefits for the Business Traveler

By negotiating lower rates, travelers are often able to choose from higher-end hotels than they would be offered without the purchasing power of a TMC. This improves their overall travel experience and makes for happy travelers. 

Unless a tool or system like AirBank is in place, it is easy for travelers to forget about the unused airline tickets they have at their disposal. By providing travelers with money-saving tools like AirBank, travelers can easily cash in on those tickets whether booking online or with an advisor.  

3. Assistance with Risk Management 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

Businesses have a legal and moral responsibility to keep their travelers safe from threats while they are on the road. Threats can range from something as serious as an outbreak of an infectious disease to losing a passport. Regardless of the circumstance, it’s important that travel managers are aware of threats as soon as possible and have a process in place to keep their travelers safe. 

Assistance with risk management is a huge benefit of working with a corporate travel management company. In a recent study, only half of the travel managers surveyed felt confident that they could locate their travelers within two hours of an emergency. When working with a TMC, travel managers often have access to risk management tools that make them more efficient and effective in times of crisis.

Christopherson’s SecurityLogic tool provides travel managers real-time information regarding which of their team members are currently traveling and where those travelers are

For example, Christopherson’s SecurityLogic tool (available within our AirPortal platform) provides travel managers real-time information regarding which of their team members are currently traveling and where those travelers are. SecurityLogic allows you to quickly see if your travelers are in or will be in an affected area. 

SecurityLogic’s alerts inform travel managers of events that could impact employee travel or compromise their safety, and the Safety Check feature can be used to verify traveler safety. 

Travel Risk Management Tool

Benefits for the Business Traveler

When businesses utilize the full range of benefits tools like SecurityLogic provide, travelers feel safe and secure while on the road. When traveling, staying up-to-date on breaking news can be a challenge. Travelers will find comfort in knowing that if they are in or traveling to a potentially dangerous area, their employer is proactively warning them of any threats and has a plan in place to keep them safe. 

4. Access to Technology and Tools 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

Without updated technology, travel managers are left to manage their travel programs manually using spreadsheets and emails, which can be time-intensive. Integrating best-in-class technology into your travel program is a sure way to save you time and money. 

Corporate travel management partners streamline your processes for requesting travel, approving travel plans, and expense reporting. Christopherson’s AirPortal software platform has your negotiated vendor contracts, travel policy, and travel approval system built-in, ensuring compliant travel booking. All reservations filter into your custom reports and align with your managed travel program. AirPortal can be integrated with valuable benchmarking tools, preferred booking tools, and your HR feed. These technologies make your program efficient and integrated. 

Mobile App For Corporate travel Managers

AirPortal 360 Mobile, the mobile version of our travel manager dashboard, is the first and only comprehensive mobile app for travel managers that allows you to manage your entire travel program from the palm of your hand. With AirPortal 360 Mobile, travel managers can locate travelers in real-time, verify their safety, view itineraries, monitor travel plans, enroll/deactivate travelers, and manage traveler profiles from anywhere.

When working with a corporate travel management partner like Christopherson, you will also have access to tools like Virtual Pay. Virtual Pay eliminates faxing credit card information to hotels by creating single-use credit cards for each hotel booking. The unique card is then sent to the hotel for booking payment. This process helps eliminate traveler reimbursements, improve billing accuracy, and consolidate hotel spend.

Benefits for the Business Traveler

With access to a robust set of tools and technology, travelers are more organized, efficient, and satisfied with their travel program. Booking compliant travel, reimbursing expenses,  and locating travel plans becomes a breeze. Traveler profiles ensure that loyalty programs and preferences are always considered at the time of booking. 

5. Enhanced Reporting 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

Arguably the most important aspect of any successful program is the ability to access, aggregate, and visualize the data to inform decisions. Some corporate travel management companies offer reporting tools that allow you to view your entire travel program in one location.

Domo, AirPortal’s integrated business intelligence and data visualization program, delivers real-time insights that help you take action and manage a smarter travel program. By aligning metrics that matter to you in one centralized location, you can start to visualize the story your data creates. 

With complete visibility into your travel program, you can quickly identify the departments that spend the most on travel or which hotels are booked the most. This allows you to draw meaningful conclusions that help you improve processes and save money. 

With Christopherson’s ValueLogic technology, travel managers can also assess the ROI of our partnership. Customizable reports show exactly how and where we’re saving our clients’ money.

Benefits for the Business Traveler

While travelers don’t necessarily need access to the full range of reporting options that travel managers need, data from these reports is essential to your travelers’ ability to book within policy, reconcile credit cards, monitor unused tickets, and identify when their profile information needs to be updated. Good data also makes life easier for travelers in the long run. 

6. Helps Create and Maintain Your Travel Policy 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

When creating or updating a policy, it’s helpful to have experts consult with you on current best practices in your industry. A travel policy should be a living concept and evolve with the industry. Corporate travel management companies help ensure your travel policy is up to date and integrated throughout your booking tools, benchmarking tools, and HR feed. 

Benefits for the Business Traveler

Keeping your travel policy current is a great way to keep your travelers happy. And with policy integration, travelers can be confident their bookings are always compliant. 

7. Saves Travel Managers and Travelers Time 

Benefits for the Travel Manager 

Streamlined and integrated travel programs save travel managers time by keeping them organized and efficient. Whether you’re managing the ins and outs of a large global travel program or have a small team of road warriors, working with a TMC makes your day-to-day efforts easier by helping you implement the processes and plans that will help you reach your goals and support your travelers. 

Benefits for the Business Traveler

Centralized, integrated travel programs save travelers time by simplifying the booking process, making it easy to get travel approved, providing the resources and service needed to make their actual trip a breeze. Gone are the days of frantic inbox searches for flight plans, not knowing whether your booking falls within policy or where your frequent flyer number is. Travelers can spend time actually doing what they were hired to do rather than wasting time weighing the costs of different flight options or figuring out logistics of an upcoming trip. A travel management company has the expertise they can rely on.

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Business Travel Travel Technology

3 Tools To Analyze Travel Data

Business travel management is a beast of a task. So when we had an opportunity to instantly analyze travel data and identify trends, we just couldn’t resist. Last July, Christopherson teamed up with Domo to bring top travel management solutions across both platforms.  Domo, a leader in business analytics, is known for compiling  data and instantaneously providing helpful insights and action items. These insights can be used by anyonefrom the CEO to the traveler to help them make data-driven decisions.  With Domo, we created three apps to further analyze travel data, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking; so our client’s travel programs can be as efficient as possible.  

Tool #1 – Travel Leakage Analyzer app

One of the top goals of any travel management program is to reduce overall travel costs. Developing a travel policy, making vendor partnerships, and the rigamarole of reporting, all goes towards saving the bottom line for your company. Even with all of the efforts from your travel manager and help from your dedicated TMC, not all of your employees will follow the protocol to a tee. Whether a traveler is in a last minute bind, or they forgot the policyout of contract bookings are bound to happen.

The Travel Leakage Analyzer app works instantaneously to find these gaps, or leaks, in your non-compliant bookings. The app automatically pulls travel data from our AirPortal platform and financial systems like Concur. It then provides a top-level view of your travel spend over a period of time. With this knowledge, you can plug the holes of non-compliant bookings, or make informed recommendations on future policies or vendor contracts. 

Tool #2 – Hotel Spend Analyzer app

Sure, you could go through every receipt to understand which hotel provided you the lowest rate over the past year. Or maybe spend hours analyzing which hotels your travelers booked with the most. We know you don’t have time for that.  With their Hotel Spend Analyzer app, analyze your hotel data from our Airportal platform and seamlessly take out the information you’re looking for. That means no time wasted in clunky excel sheets or blurry eyes from staring at the computer for hours. Discover underlying trends in your hotel bookings, like total rooms, average daily rate and total spend by region, even down to the specific hotels. Breakdown data by regions in your hotel booking history, to set future benchmarks or use for negotiating lower rates with hotel vendors. 

Tool #3 – Domo? app

This dashboard Domo app allows Domo users to easily and intuitively connect multiple real-time travel data feeds into the Domo platform. Perfect for travel managers, it accesses data, analyzes the travel data, and providing real-time solutions. These app makes it fast and simple to put the relevant insights into the hands of travel executives and managers.

 

At Christopherson, we’ve always strived to be the first in cutting-edge travel technology. With our partnership with Domo on the three apps, we know we’ve made it easier for clients to instantly identify travel trends, reduce travel spend, and optimize hotel booking. In fact, our Domo app is continually a Featured App in Domo’s Appstore. These additional apps to analyze travel data are available to companies who already use Christopherson and Domo.  Contact us to learn more about our integrated apps or our overall approach to travel management

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

How Christopherson Reduces Travel Costs

You most likely know that partnering with a travel management company will streamline your travel experience. Your company will also be more organized with easy access to all your information. And the added peace of mind for the security and communication with your traveling employees doesn’t hurt either.  But the additional question we’re frequently asked is – how is Christopherson going to save my company money? Well let’s talk through some of the main ways that we are able to reduce travel costs for our clients.

How Christopherson reduces travel costs for our clients

  • Our AirPortal technology allows our clients to track just about everything. Our new clients often discover that they’ve been previously losing money without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s black holes within compliance. Our AirPortal dashboard provides a top-level view of travel management programs, often providing insight into previously unknown areas of your travel program. By providing a transparent look at your travel program, you can fully understand ways it’s working, but also areas for improvement.
  • Part of the AirPortal suite includes our AirBank technology tool. It tracks all unused air tickets, ensuring you never miss out.
  • Our experienced account management team. As part of their role as your designated account manager, they will always be on the lookout for ways to additionally save your company extra money.
  • Superior vendor relationships. One way our account managers provide above and beyond cost savings, is with their various vendor relationships. Through our connections, we can pass on great deals and contracts to our clients, ultimately saving you money.
  • Our relationship with airlines. One of our favorite tricks is passing on discounts we personally get from the airlines directly to our clients.

 

Our clients often come to us with differing pain points. But cost savings is typically high on everyone’s list.  That’s why we work so diligently to continually provide ways that Christopherson lowers the cost of your travel. If you are interested in learning more about how we can specifically save your company money, please contact us for a free consultation.

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Business Travel Travel Technology

How Christopherson Provides Organization for Travel Management

It could be the ‘type A’ personality in me, but I often think there’s room for improvement in most situations. I’ve also noticed this trait in many travel managers, procurement officers and executives. In positions as busy as these, isn’t the job more manageable with a structured and reliable system? Fortunately, I know Christopherson can provide that oh-so-necessary organization for travel management tasks. Our technology allows for peace of mind and instant access to information for company’s travel management needs. Why are we so confident that we can provide that satisfaction? Read some of our top benefits below:

How Christopherson provides organization for travel management

  •  With our AirPortal 360™ Dashboard and Mobile App, you have a 360° view of your travel program instantly and at all times.
  • No more digging through your inbox to find a traveler’s itinerary. Christopherson’s SecurityLogic® will tell you exactly where your travelers are in seconds. You can even look at their past or upcoming trips by customizing your search.
  • Eliminate that spreadsheet tracking your company’s unused tickets. AirBank® technology seamlessly tracks the unused funds from cancelled tickets. We even provide reminders, ensuring they are used before expiring.
  • All of your traveler’s pertinent travel information and preferences is stored in our Traveler Profiles, allowing you to take one less step when booking. There is no need to keep a series of post-it notes on your desk with traveler’s information written on them.
  • Lastly, eliminate the need to “shop” for fares prior to booking a trip. With PolicyLogic™, your company’s travel policy is built into our software. When travelers book their travel either with an agent or through one of our online booking tools, your travel policy will always comply.

By choosing Christopherson Business Travel as your travel management partner, you are signing on from streamlined and organized travel management. We are at the forefront of travel technology, and have been since we opened our doors in 1953. Contact us to learn more about our AirPortal® platform, and how we can declutter your travel management procedures.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Seamless Technology Integration Is Vital For Travel Management

While Travel Management Companies (TMCs) provide many solutions for businesses, I’ve found that one of the most valuable is offering effective system integrations.  A managed travel program needs the flexibility to easily connect to many diverse systems that are required for a complete and effective travel management system.

That’s one reason why we created our own proprietary system, AirPortal. Not only does this provide access to our own unique travel solutions, but it manages all of the information flowing between these systems as well.  AirPortal also provides the user interface for our clients, giving them one central location from which to manage their travel program. 

Our new AirPortal Integrations highlights many of the integrations that we offer, including some ‘one click’ installs.  Take a look and see what we can do for your travel program.  If you have a key vendor that is not on the list, give us a call — we are always adding additional integrations.

integrations8-9

The following are some of the category choices that we offer:

  • Data Feeds/Reporting
  • Traveler Safety/Security
  • Virtual Payment Solutions
  • Online Expense Tools
  • Online Booking Tools
  • Traveler Apps/Integrations

So, leave the heavy lifting to us and get on with the rest of your day. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company that specializes in innovative travel technology and consultative customer service. Contact us to learn more about our proprietary technology and how we continually save our clients time and money.

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Business and Leadership Business Travel Travel Management

“The Handshake” and Communication Protocols for Better Business

handshake communication for business travelAll communication between computers requires that the devices agree on the format of the data. The parameters of a communications channel must be established before the digital “handshake” will allow the communication to begin.

All communication between humans also requires that both parties agree on the parameters of the communication before they meet–shall we use digital, telephone, or a physical handshake for this meeting?

In 1889 Jules Verne imagined that the “phonotelephote” would replace the need for physical handshakes. This is no longer science fiction. All of us are now inundated with email, text messages, and WebEx meetings. And yes, we still use the old-fashioned telephone too. But according to a recent article in The Economist, “Companies are spending more on sending their staff out to win deals.”

At Christopherson Business Travel, we’re seeing the same trend, with our airline bookings up 13% year-over-year. While some of this growth is from new clients, much of it is coming from existing clients who are sending their people out to meet face-to-face, shake hands, build relationships, and win deals.

Whenever we experience a poor-quality internal conference call, we remind ourselves it’s a good thing that people need to see each other face-to-face in order to obtain greater effectiveness. After all, that’s the business we’re in. For more than 60 years, we’ve been providing companies of all sizes across the globe with cost-effective, personalized, and hassle-free business travel management and resources. Plus, our exclusive AirPortal® travel technology applications are the only tools you’ll ever need to manage your business trips.

If you’re looking for better business travel management so that you and your team can extend more than a virtual handshake to your clients, our executives would be happy and share more information about our services and technology.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Christopherson Business Travel to Attend GBTA Convention 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson to Release New Business Travel Technology January 7

AirPortal 360 Dashboard for business travel management

In the coming New Year, on Monday, January 7, Christopherson Business Travel will be launching our enhanced and newly redesigned AirPortal® technology platform. Our development team has completely rebuilt our platform from the ground up in order to provide greater ease, convenience, and cost-savings to our clients.

Three of the guiding principles of this redesign have been to increase the sophistication, dependability, and visibility of our products and services. In keeping with these objectives we are giving our clients more access to information than ever before. Of course, with this increased visibility comes increased accountability, which we look forward to providing.

Now for some details…

Branding Changes Include:

  • Re-naming our entire business travel technology platform AirPortal®
  • Designing a brand new look and feel to our company website, CBTravel.com
  • Retiring the TravelAccumen® brand/product and replacing it with AirPortal 360™, our new, fully-customizable Travel Manager Dashboard
  • Creating AdvisorCare®, a newly developed dashboard for travel advisors which provides timely, actionable information right to their fingertips

Core Product Improvements within AirPortal® Include:

  • SecurityLogic® – multiple map overlays and views, simple search, plus alerts and notifications
  • AirBank® – tracking of tickets from inception, greater visibility, and a complete audit trail of all transactions and activity
  • Airtineraries®Redesigned format with ‘trip at a glance’ and integrated travel policy summary
  • ProfileLogic®Expanded to include organization by departments and teams
  • Tech Help Desk Robust ticket tracking, automated assignment, and analytics

But it doesn’t stop there, we’ve also added new functionality:

  • PolicyLogic®new product that includes travel policy design and vendor contract management, with travel policy integration and compliance coming in 2013
  • Consultative Services new product that integrates account management client-dedicated time directly into the AirPortal® platform, providing increased management and client visibility
  • Widgets – a variety of new interactive widgets that allow the user to drill in from a high level view all the way down to the transaction level.  New widgets include: AirBank®, Travel Spend, ValueLogic®, Consultative Services, Expiring Tickets, and Savings per Itinerary.

Hopefully you can see why we are excited to launch our new AirPortal®. More detailed information about these updates, enhancements, and new products will be released in the coming weeks.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel — A Technology-based Travel Management Company

I Love Technology

I love technology because of all the interesting things you can do and build with it. I love how it can bring a wealth of knowledge directly to me in mere seconds. I also love how it can bring people, separated by thousands of miles, together. Technology allows me to store the contents of an extensive library on a disk that fits in the palm of my hand. I can take pictures, listen to music, talk face-to-face with my wife and kids, search the internet, read a book, and play games on a computer that I carry around in my pocket.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

As a teenager I introduced my parents to a personal computer (PC). If I remember it correctly, it went something like this:

Me: “Hey Mom and Dad this is a computer.”

Dad: “What is that?”

Me:  “That is a mouse.”

Dad: “A mouse?”

Me: “Yes a mouse.”

Dad: “That’s weird. What is it for?”

Me:  “You hold it in your hand and then move it around to click on things.”

Dad:  “Wow that’s amazing, can I try.”

Me:  “Sure, just move it over there and then double-click.”

Dad:  “What do you mean?”

Me:  “I mean click the button twice.”

Dad:  <Click> … <Click>

Me:  “No, you need to click it faster…”

Let me just say it was a frustrating, yet rewarding process. I was eventually able to teach my parents how to double-click a mouse, browse the internet, send email, create Word documents, and change the wallpaper (one of my father’s favorite things). My father had a love of learning and the internet brought a wealth of information right to his fingertips. That was about 12 years ago. Technology has obviously evolved a lot since then and continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

Christopherson’s Business Travel Technology

Travel technology is particularly evolving more quickly than advancements in other industries. We all know that traveling is an expensive, yet necessary part of doing business in a global economy. Managing a corporate travel budget can be challenging and expensive. However, here at Christopherson Business Travel we have made the process much easier.

One of our main focuses as a technology-based company is to provide the tools business travel managers need to manage their travel budgets, keep track of employees as they travel, run accurate reports and access essential data. We have conveniently packaged these tools into a web portal (definition: a doorway, entrance, or gate, especially one that is large and imposing), appropriately named AirPortal®. Throughout the last year, Christopherson’s software development team has completely rebuilt AirPortal® to bring it up to date with the latest web technology standards. Over the next three to six months we will be releasing a slew of new tools and information within AirPortal®. We look forward to sharing more about these enhancements and updates in the coming months.

Please stay tuned.

And if you’re interested in learning how Christopherson’s Business Travel technology can help your company save time and money, please contact us.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

AirPortal and Concur: A partnership that fuels the takeoff!

concur and christopherson business travelSynergies can create amazing results. We, at Christopherson Business Travel, know this first hand, having partnered with Concur and leveraging the power of our own internally developed AirPortal® software platform. Fulfillment matters.

As shown in this article, current cost cutting and technology trends are creating a great environment for Concur, providing 35% growth in 2011 and outpacing that number in 2012. CBT ripens that environment by combining Concur with AirPortal® and the expertise of the 12th largest (and fastest growing) TMC in the country. CBT customers must agree, having fueled Concur transaction growth by 157% in 2011 and 169% YTD in 2012, more than quadrupling Concur’s own growth.

The combination of Concur, AirPortal®, and CBT means only one thing: 3… 2… 1… TAKEOFF!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

The Security of Knowing Where Your Travelers Are

There is something called “duty of care,” which is a corporation’s legal and moral responsibility to their employees who travel for business. It was defined by Dr. Lisbeth Claus, a human resources professor at Willamette University, as “the obligation employers have for the health, safety, and security of their employees when they travel across boarders.”
Knowing where your travelers are is crucial to maintaining this responsibility. Companies can avoid a lot of stress (and potential legal fees) by having plans in place prior to any type of emergency, whether it’s weather or terrorist related, or due to traveling in high-risk areas. There are many programs available to help keep travelers safe and help keep employers out of the court room, including large organizations such as SOS International or training provided by Kevin Coffee, President & CEO of Corporate Travel Safety.
For a corporation, the first step is creating and implementing an internal plan of action. The second step is having a tool available that will assist in locating travelers at any given moment. Christopherson Business Travel has developed (and makes available to clients) SecurityLogic®. This proprietary technology allows a company’s travel manager the ability to view real time data of where travelers are at any given time (including flights, hotels, and addresses) based on reservations booked through Christopherson. To learn more about SecurityLogic® and the many others services provided by Christopherson Business Travel, contact us to set up a demo.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Booking travel online is less expensive. Is it really?

In the popular media there are lots of articles talking about which website will save you the most money, or about various online booking engines that will allow travelers to book the best deals.  Or there are the ads telling you to get the best deal by booking online directly with the airline.  This constant drumbeat has convinced some people that this is actually the case and so companies opt to use online booking tools in order to save a few dollars on service fees.  Does this really save them money?
Topaz International has done a study that compares Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz vs. the airline websites.  The study finds that Orbitz returns the lowest fare option 56% of time vs. Expedia at 54% and Travelocity at 47% of the time.  The difference is about $20.00 per transaction.  When Topaz compared these three websites to the airline websites, they found that the airline websites only offered a lower fare 7% of the time for an average savings of $36.00 while the Big Three offered lower fares 27% of the time for an average savings of $82.00.  When you read this you may think, “Well then, I will just book at Orbitz and save money.”  Before you do that, let me point out a couple of things.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

In case you haven’t heard….

After a review of Avis Budget’s $1.33 billion bid by Dollar Thrifty’s board of directors, Dollar Thrifty turned down the offer.   Even though Avis’s offer is higher than the $1.13 billion dollar offer in place with Hertz, Dollar has decided to decline Avis’s offer.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set Sept. 8 as the effective date for a new $10 fee on foreign visitors, which will help fund the new tourism promotion program created by the Travel Promotion Act.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car will start delivering electric cars to some non-airport locations in January.
The company will initially deliver 500 Nissan Leaf vehicles to neighborhood branches with the infrastructure to support the cars.
Tourism businesses in the Gulf Coast region could lose between $7.6 billion and $22.7 billion in visitor spending over the next three years, according to research commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.  In addition to developing recommended actions for the government, U.S. Travel  endorsed an idea  earlier this month where BP would set set up a $500 million emergency marketing fund that would be disbursed as grants to local destinations for information and marketing campaigns.
Spirit Airlines… another fee?  When speaking with an airport employee becomes an option rather than a necessity, Spirit Airlines is thinking about charging for that service, CEO Ben Baldanza told ABC News on Tuesday. “When there’s a way for customers to do it themselves electronically, at that point, we could consider charging a few dollars to interact with a human,” he said. “But if the only way we can do the transaction for you is to talk to a human, we’re not going to charge you for that.”

TSA Week at a Glance: 7/26/10 thru 8/01/10 – www.tsa.gov

  • 8 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints
  • 18 firearms found at checkpoints
  • 6 passengers were arrested after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents
Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

I would like to file a Report please…..

The Account Management team at Christopherson Business Travel is constantly being asked for help in ways to enforce compliance to travel policy guidelines and rules.  We recommend travel data reports to accomplish this.
Ever wonder who is always booking last minute, continually making changes, utilizing a favorite vendor when another might be less expensive?  Want to make sure you are meeting your commitment goals with preferred vendors?  Perhaps it might be a good idea to get a daily report on tickets booked the day prior to moniter if a certain trip is necessary or five people are attending a tradeshow when three people would be sufficient.   How a about credit card reconciliation report?!
Our DATALOGIC tool powered by iBank is one of the most powerful reporting tools in the industry.  DATALOGIC reporting delivers over 120 standard reports and a virtually unlimited number of user defined reports upon demand or on a scheduled broadcast basis. With DATALOGIC reporting your can focus on Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, Policy/Risk Management, Activity Management, Spend Management and Reconciliation Analysis.
As a Christopherson Business Travel client you are given access to DATALOGIC to design, produce and deliver your own reports on the fly.  Not enough time to do this?  Not a problem.  You tell us what you need we find or create the report for you and send it out as frequent as desired.
Remember –  there is never a fee for DATALOGIC access or to receive reports.
Please let us know if you would be interested in a demonstration of how this tool can make your life simpler and less stressful.  Contact Christopherson Business Travel for a demonstration today.  allam@christophersontravel.com
Air Activity Report 101 created, broadcasted and filed.  Now go have a great day!

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

What is your Travel GPA?

How do you stack up in the travel market place?  As a company did you meet your travel goals and expectations for 2009?  Did you uitilize your hotel and car rental contracts to the fullest?  How do you compare to companies of similar travel spend and patterns?  What about compliance?  Are your travelers adhering to preferred contracts and vendors?  Is Travel Policy compliance in your focus this year?  What is your Travel GPA?  Do you think you deserve and A or the dreaded F?
Christopherson Business Travel has recently teamed up with a company called….. Travel GPA.  By utilizing this program we will be able to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your travel program.

A+ points of Travel GPA:

  • Faster, more meaningful travel data. The data is live and can be scored against internal goals or benchmarked against the GPA database of over 20,000 companies.
  • Pinpoints actionable ways to save money. As an analytical dashboard tool, Travel GPA benchmarks against hundreds of KPI’s (key performance indicators) based on company’s air, car and hotel spend.
  • Grade your supplier contracts vs. Industry Benchmarks. This helps travel managers evaluate effectiveness of negotiated rates in a given market or segment.
  • Drive your program with the ONLY real-time reporting & dashboard. Travel GPA transforms reports in to graphical charts while providing global reporting and analytics solutions in several languages and currencies. Drill down from any data point within a report or dashboard and instantly customize any report by adding or deleting metrics and report parameters.

Christopherson Business Travel and Travel GPA put the world’s most actionable business travel data right in your hands.
Don’t miss the bus!  For more information on how you can become a valued client of Christopherson Business Travel and create your own Travel GPA please contact a Business Development Specialist at allsales@christophersontravel.com.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

TravelAcumen™ new product release by Christopherson Business Travel

With this weeks release of TravelAcumen™ Christopherson has taken our technology to a whole new level by integrating ALL of our technology tools into two powerful travel portals.

  1. AirPortal® ? Traveler Communication Suite Communicate better with travelers and improves their travel experience
  2. TravelAcumen™ ? Travel Manager Suite Reduces a company’s travel spend through improved travel management

The beauty of our dual second-generation travel portals is the single sign-on, fully integrated, platform. These portals give travel managers access to new tools, meaningful data and internal controls.

  • AirPortal® ? Traveler Communication Suite
  • AirPortal® – Traveler portal provides a single point of access
  • Airtinerary® – Intelligent itinerary for the business traveler
  • AirSelect® – Flight options matrix allows you to select the best option
  • TravelAcumen™ ? Travel Manager Suite
  • AirBank® – Audit, catalog, enforce and report reuse of your unused tickets
  • DataLogic® – Travel spend analytics
  • Hotel & Car Re-Check® – Monitors lodging and transportation reservations for lower rates
  • ValueLogic® – Measure the ROI on your travel management program
  • SecurityLogic® – Global security and crisis management platform
  • ProfileLogic™ – Advanced profile management

Over the years, Christopherson has created a powerful group of travel management technology tools; most of which were developed to provide a solution to a specific challenge which a client presented to us. Our proprietary technology has been developed in-house by our own team of developers and is exclusive to Christopherson.
We are excited about the release of TravelAcumen™ and the power and efficiency it is delivering to our corporate travel managers!

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Considerations when making changes to your travel policies for 2010

4Q09 is here and budgets will soon be reviewed again for 2010. If you are like most companies, you have cut your travel budget considerably this year and intend to stay as lean and mean as possible with most forecasts indicating increased airfares of 1% to 6%; hotels decreasing more; and rental cars increasing around 4%. With these facts in mind, what should be considered when making changes to your travel policies for 2010?

  • Airfares – look at ways to improve your advanced purchase bookings. With improving demand and carrier capacity cuts, the airlines will not hold those low fare seats open for booking as long as we have seen in 2009. Booking early will become more important in 2010.
  • Car Rentals – as rental car companies continue to cut fleet capacity consider consolidating to one vendor.
  • Hotels – with decreased rates continuing, properties are more open than ever to offer special corporate rates to companies with fewer total-room-night qualifiers.

Christopherson Business Travel makes reports available to indicate where you can improve your advanced booking practices with individual travelers and/or departments thereby maintaining your 2010 budget. Our account managers work with your preferred car vendors to decrease your rates or at the very least keep the rates in check; or, suggest other vendors to consider. We also review and analyze all your hotel rates and options to locate additional savings and added amenities for your travelers.
Christopherson’s AirBank® provides real-time views by travelers, travel arrangers, and travel managers in our single sign-on AirPortal® as to outstanding unused tickets available to insure your use of every travel dollar invested. Car and Hotel Re-Check® monitors your reservations a few days prior to arrival for lower rates, again, insuring you of every savings possible that will positively affect your ROI.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Best Value vs. Cheapest

As an agent, I frequently hear the phrase “I want the cheapest” from customers.  Over the years I have learned that what most people mean when they say this isn’t that they want the cheapest, they want the best value.  Sometimes a customer will insist that price is the only factor driving their decision as to what to purchase.  Sometimes customers will listen to their agent’s advice and sometimes they will choose to ignore it at their own peril.  For some people the best way to learn something is to experience it while others will choose to learn from other’s experience.
Some years ago I had a client who asked me to arrange a trip for her.  It was a combination work and vacation trip the week before Christmas.  She was flying from Salt Lake City to Dallas, where she was attending some meetings, then on to Buffalo where she was do a presentation.  After that she wanted to fly to Boston for the weekend to visit relatives and then to return to Salt Lake City.  I put together an itinerary that allowed her to do all this and brought her back on the nonstop flight from Boston.  After I presented this to her she told me that she had found it for $10.00 less online.  I admitted to her that I could do it for $10.00 less however it would require her to fly from Boston to Buffalo, then to Dallas and then to Salt Lake City and in my opinion that wasn’t a good deal.  She opted to go for the lower fare, so I went ahead and did what she asked.  The morning when she was to return from Boston, there was a snowstorm, which caused her to misconnect in Buffalo.  She ended up overnighting there because that was when the next available seat was.  Then she arrived in Dallas a day late and had to standby to get home to Salt Lake City.  I spoke with her following the holidays and I asked her how the trip went.  She told me that was the most expensive $10.00 savings she had ever experienced.
Not everyone would make the same decision that she did and certainly not most experienced travelers and yet experienced travelers still make some decisions about travel because they are unaware that they are missing an option or two.  An example of this is a friend of mine who insists that he can always get a better deal online than any agent can get him.  I admit that sometimes he does find a terrific deal.  Of course, he spends hours upon hours to find them and frequently they are significantly different from his initial request so he is no longer comparing apples to apples.  However there are times when he really misses the boat because he doesn’t want to pay my fee.  As an example, he was traveling from Salt Lake City to Brisbane Australia and he only wanted to have one connection in each direction.  He found a “deal” on one of the major online booking tools for $2300.00, when he called me and asked me if I could beat it, I was able to get him the exact same flights for $1363.99 simply because I knew how to break the fare in order to get a much lower price.  If he hadn’t called me, he would have paid $926.01 too much in airfare and he would have save $30.00 in the difference between the fees.  I would gladly spend $30.00 to save over $900.00.
I admit that I’ve never cared for the word cheapest as it seems to carry a very negative connotation for me.  It calls up the image of shoddy and tacky things that while being very low priced, also deliver a very low value for the money spent.  One of the advantages of utilizing an agent is that the agent brings additional value to the trip, be it in finding creative ways to save money or in pointing out that for a few dollars more you may be able to purchase a fully refundable ticket or get a ticket that allows you to get a seat assignment or that you can upgrade your car or hotel.  Generally most people prefer to get the greatest value for the least amount of money and in something like travel it is easy to lose sight of the value being offered for a couple of dollars difference in service fees or pricing.
A full service agency, like Christopherson Travel, offers you a great deal in terms of additional values that you may not get booking your travel on your own.  When you book your travel through us you get the expertise that comes from having agents with an average of 22 years in the industry, you get cutting edge technology like AirPortal, Airtinerary, Airbank, you get access to Christopherson Travel exclusive rates at hotels, with car rental agencies and on some airlines, you get visa and passport information and access to a 24 hour emergency support team.  All this for a few dollars more than what you would pay for doing it yourself.  You can see a demonstration of our technology at www.Christophersontravel.com.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Expense report assistance and other things.

It’s the end of the month and it’s time to get that expense report completed. You’re sitting there in your home office going through your receipts and you realize that you don’t have a copy of your itinerary from your last trip. You look at your clock and you realize that it is too late to call your travel agent to get it. You desperately go through your old emails trying to find it, alas, it’s not there. Now how do you file your expense report without it?
If you have ever experienced this frustratation I have a solution for you. Christopherson Business Travel’s AirPortal product has a number of features that make it very useful to the business traveler. One of the features is that you can access and print out all of your current and past dated itineraries, thus allowing you to track all of your travel.
Other features include the ability to see what unused or partially used tickets via AirBank, you have outstanding and what their original value was. This allows travelers to insure that they don’t miss out on utilizing the value of any unused tickets.
For a demo of what AirPortal can do for you, go to: www.ChristophersonTravel.com and click the link for the AirPortal Demo.

Categories
Travel Management

Travel Agent Working from 30,000 feet

Christopherson Business Travel is known for its’ amazing agents who go above and beyond expectations to serve our clients needs, but one agent recently took that to a whole new level…30,000 feet to be exact.
Our agent Jack was on a cross country trip which required a connecting flight. After sitting on the tarmac for an hour at his departure city he knew he would never make his connecting flight. Once his flight finally took off and rose to 10,000 feet he was allowed to access his electronic devices and connected his laptop to the new in-flight WiFi service. This allowed Jack to connect to our computer reservation system and re-accommodate himself on a later connecting flight.
The passenger next to Jack noticed what he was doing and asked if he could help him with his misconnection. Soon the concerned passengers across the aisle were soliciting his expertise as well. Jack is a frequent flyer and had been upgraded to first class on this flight. In a short time he had worked out travel arrangements for all 12 of the first class passengers. Conveniently 6 of them were Christopherson customers so the task was especially smooth.
Once the flight attendant learned what the onboard Christopherson agent was capable of she had him assisting her with all the concerned passengers in coach as well.
Although you may not find Jack or another Christopherson agent on your next delayed flight, you are just a click away from connecting with one of our agents via our exclusive AirPortal® or your with your email service.  No longer do you need to wait until you land to find out what your options are.
With U.S. airlines working night and day to outfit their planes with in-flight wireless access you too can have our travel management services at 30,000 feet.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

AirPortal®, now served with Rearden Commerce

Travel is a pretty data intensive industry. There is a lot to keep track of. One thing that makes it even worse is that the data and systems are so disparate (um, that would be disparate, not desperate – although one could argue at times they are both, hehe).
You have your itinerary in one system, your booking engine in another, your corporate reports in yet another. It just keeps going.
That’s why we developed AirPortal®. We want to provide a single login for all your travel needs.
Where it makes sense, we also want to provide you access to other tools directly from AirPortal®. That’s why, if your company chooses, we can integrate AirPortal® directly with any of four world-class, on-line booking tools: ResX, GetThere, Cliqbook, and now Rearden Commerce.