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Business Travel Travel Management

Do You Know The Most Common Business Travel Expense?

What do you think is the most common expense from business travelers? They need to get to their destination, so you might think it’s airfare or maybe a car service. They also need to sleep, so hotels would be another good guess. Would you be surprised to find that it’s actually dining expenses?

That’s right, Certify recently released a study examining more than 50 million expenses on their platform. Trying to understand how business travelers spend their money, they discovered a few insights along the way. 

Common expenses for business travelers

  • Dining is not only the most common expense, but also the expense that has increased the highest in the last three years. The average meal is now $5 more than it was in 2016.
  • Within those dining expenses, Starbucks remained the most popular vendor in 2018. Not really a surprise to fellow business travelers, right? It represented 23.4% of all dining expenses.
  • Hotels and fuel have also increased in the last few years. Hotels are on average $50 more expensive.
  • Airfares and ride hailing services have declined in price. (Thanks Uber and Lyft!) Airfares are about $40 less on average.

What does this mean for your business travelers:

  • Travelers are now accustomed to convenience and getting exactly what they want, when they want it. Having a travel program with this flexibility will keep your travelers more comfortable in the long run. If you don’t it’s time to start thinking of ways to include this in your travel policy and program.
  • Understand that costs overall have increased for the travel industry. Yes, flights have decreased and the sharing economy has also helped changed the game. But overall, travel is increasing and is expected to continue that way. Though obviously one of your main objectives is to keep costs low, try to be fair to your business travelers and their needs. They shouldn’t get the short end of the stick because fuel is more expensive.
  • Understand which expenses are most important to your travelers.  See if there is a way to provide that service within the travel policy at a better price point. Negotiate with vendors if possible and don’t be afraid to get creative.
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Business Travel

Get Ready, Generation Z Is Coming

Oh, Millennials. Their need for outlandish experiences, remote work options and avocado toast made a real impact on our work culture and society as a whole. It feels like we’ve finally figured them out, right? I hate to tell you this, but a new wave of young professionals are about to hit your office. Generation Z, the generation following Millennials, will soon be entering the workforce. The oldest of the demographic will be turning 23 this year and graduating from college. Like a proverbial wave to the job market, there are more than 61 million Gen Z individuals in the U.S., who will be making up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.

Generation Z – who are they?

Born between 1996 and 2010, this is the first group to not remember a time before internet and cell phones. Despite these modern-day luxuries, they watched the U.S. economy, and likely their family, struggle during the Great Recession. They are technologically savvy, as well as hard working. Though they are in some ways similar to Millennials, they hold their own values and belief systems and are eager to show it to the world.

What to expect from them in the workplace

  1. Importance of job security – Growing up in the recession, they likely saw their parents struggle with finances and possibly even job loss. Whereas Millennials may be known for their drive for a purpose or experiences, Generation Z are driven by a stable paycheck and job security. Additionally, one survey found that 35% of the Gen Z participants have already started saving for retirement. Providing great benefits, healthy company culture and a clear path for career development within the company will help this generation feel more secure. 
  2. True digital nomads. Generation Z’s can seamlessly switch to different digital screens without pause. Going from smartphone, to tablet, to laptop; they can multitask and quickly adapt when needed. This innate skill will make them an asset as technology advances and processes are in flux.
  3. More competitive and independent. Gen Z’s like to stand out for their own accomplishments and merits. They value working hard, and enjoy the reward that comes from it. They’ll quickly be looking for opportunities to manage their own projects and teams, and seek out ways to continue learning and honing their skills.

How Generation Z may affect business travel

  1. Expects to be catered to. Though they can be thought of as the “me me me” generation, it’s for a pretty understandable reason. We live in an age when we can research, watch, and buy essentially anything with the swipe of a finger. It will be interesting to see how this generation customizes their air travel or hotel experiences to their accustomed preferences. They’re willing to put in the extra effort to get the perks they know they enjoy.
  2. Prefers communicating face-to-face. Somewhat surprisingly, 53% of Gen Z would rather discuss matters in person, over technology like instant messaging or email. This may impact the amount of additional business travel required in the near future to cater to Gen Z employees or Gen Z partners. 
  3. Will expect more out of your technology. Instant connectivity is a given for Gen Z’s. They are accustomed to instant messages and chat boxes to resolve issues. From a traveler standpoint, they will expect these types of features to resolve their travel problems. From a company point of view, now is the time to reflect on your internal communication and technology systems. Are they intuitive and mobile friendly to your future workforce? Thinking proactively about ways to increase connectivity may help avoid some inevitable hurdles in the next few years.  

Overall, Generation Z is excited to get to work and get things done. Providing a work environment with efficient technology and policies focused on their goals is the best way to start off on the right foot.

 

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Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Risks of Unmanaged Business Travel

Booking and managing travel is usually a breeze when everything goes as planned. It’s even kind of fun, right? Researching new destination cities is a change of pace from the norm. And finding a good bargain on hotel or airline prices is always a win.  Heck, why do you think we like travel management so much too? But as entertaining as planning business travel can be, most professionals are unaware of the negatives that come with it. Online travel booking sites are easy to use, but truly can’t provide the support that companies need for efficient business travel. The risks of unmanaged business travel, that come without using a travel management company, vary from minor to potentially serious.

7 risks of unmanaged business travel

  • Lacking access to travel experts. Growing accustomed to booking your own travel can be a learning experience, but you’ll likely never gain the years of expert travel tips that experienced account managers or travel agents acquire first hand. Relying on their know-how is one of the top benefits of working with a business travel company.
  • Losing out on loyalty programs, discounts, other offers. There are so many tips, tricks, memberships, vendor contracts, etc that most companies have never even heard of before.  Without a TMC to guide you, most companies miss out on serious cost saving benefits without even knowing it.
  • No framework to ensure compliance. Booking travel is one thing, but managing, reporting and analyzing the data is a whole other ballgame for most busy professionals. Having support to ensure compliance, ultimately reducing travel spend, is a major goal that most companies just can’t realistically afford to do on their own.
  • Leveraging the company’s travel spend appropriately. Instead of loosely managing, a TMC will be able to keep a close eye on your costs and any leakage along the way.
  • Comfort for your employees while they travel. A happy traveler is usually a more productive traveler. Automatically booking them on seats or rooms based on their preferences is one easy way to keep your travelers comfortable and efficient.
  • Overall management and order to travel. Keep all itineraries, preferences, and reporting in one place. No more searching through your inbox to find your traveler’s information. Travel technology, like our AirPortal Suite, is designed to keep everything you or your travelers need readily available and in one secure place.
  • Risk management and duty of care support. One of the growing major risks of unmanaged business travel is duty of care responsibility, or lack thereof. What if an emergency arises in an area that your employee is currently traveling? Staying in communication with them, and alerted should something arise is imperative in our world today. And sadly it’s often overlooked by most companies who manage their own travel.

While most online public travel sites are easy-to-use and appear cheaper on the surface, they ultimately can’t provide the cost savings, quality of service, or duty of care support that travel management companies can overall. Ready to learn more about how Christopherson helps companies stay organized, ensure compliance, and assist with risk management? Let’s chat.

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Business and Leadership Travel Industry Travel Management

Increasing Compliance With Your Millennial Business Travelers

In case you haven’t noticed, the Millennial generation have recently become the butt of  jokes at conferences, twitter chats, and professional gatherings. Millennials, or Generation Ys,  are the most recent generation to enter the workforce. Currently in their early 20s – early 30s, they are putting the traditional workforce into a spin with their differing work styles and priorities. Whether you are from the camp believing they have a productive work ethic or they are self-entitled children, we as a society need to learn how to adjust our work environments to productively work with them. As Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan, authors of the book ‘Managing Generation Y’ said “Organizations that can’t – or won’t customize training, career paths, incentives, and work responsibilities need a wake up call.”

Millennial Generation Characteristics

  • Millennials expect everything to be customizable to their preferences. If they don’t like their profile picture on Facebook, they change it. They can have just about anything shipped directly to their house. It’s how our world works now; almost everything is customizable and instantaneous. The difference is they’ve grown up with the expectation that if you don’t like something, there is always another solution available.  
  • They are on average highly educated, but value a higher work-life balance. This often makes them appear lazy and lacking respect when they take long lunches or work from home.
  • Growing up with computers and quickly advancing technology, they are quick learners to new technology and can easy adjust to new protocols or changes in the company.
  • They value experiences, especially travel. Millennials can make the best roadwarriors. Every city they enter is new and full of promise.
  • Sharing these experiences are highly valued. Why go to a new city and not take pictures?
  • Communication is important, but not in the traditional sense. Good luck getting them on the phone. They are more apt to sending a email or text than leave a voicemail.

Millennials and Reporting Compliance

Regarding travel management, Millennials have the highest rate of non-compliance. According to Tim Hines, the presenter at a Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association luncheon, they average 46% compliance. Compared to Baby Boomers, who are on average 80% compliant, the difference is concerning. If Millennials are always connected, why are they so bad at reporting their travel expenses? Well, the devil may be in the details here. Often the reporting process is lengthy or slow. For a group that expects results instantaneously, this can be a giant hurdle.   If you need something done, it should have a quick and easy approach.

6 Tips For Improving Compliance Rates:

  • Allow customization of the reporting platform and the ability to make adjustments.
  • Make the process as automated as possible. Use text alerts or automatic updates.
  • Enhance traveler experience, possibly with incenetives.
  • Leverage social tools, like Concur, TripIt, or Airtinerary.
  • Explore alternative communication methods like Twitter, Google Chat or Slack. Providing additional channels may open up lines of communication you didn’t know was needed.
  • Put them in charge of creating a new system for regulating compliance. They are quick to learn new technology. If they are responsible for finding something that will work for them, compliance will certainly be higher.
Categories
Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Christopherson Business Travel

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