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Business Travel

What is Corporate Travel Management?

Did you know that nearly 1.3 million business trips are taken in the U.S. every single day? According to the Global Business Travel Association that number is expected to rise. Yet, only 60% of companies have a corporate travel policy, the lack of which exposes their company to unnecessary risks like legal complications or overspending. Incorporating a corporate travel management plan can help a company realize a positive ROI on their travel, protect employees while on the road, and improve morale and employee retention rates.

So what is corporate travel management?

Corporate travel management is more than the simple act of booking flights and hotels. It is the integration of an organization’s travel program with a travel management company that can provide expertise in managing travel risks, logistics, budgets and reporting, company travel policies, VIP travel services, unused tickets, and more.

A well-run corporate travel management program empowers employees with industry-best technology, mobile access, and data-based decision making that increases the value of business travel.

What Does A Corporate Travel Management Company Do?

Corporations, non-profits, universities, government agencies, and private businesses of all sizes hire corporate travel management companies to facilitate their corporate travel program. For companies with large travel programs or extensive travel needs, an in-house, on-site travel team may be an ideal service set up, while smaller companies might rely on the corporate travel management company’s agents and online booking tool. Regardless of company size, all clients enjoy the convenience and cost-savings that are accessible through a corporate management company and prefer the peace of mind that comes from having experts handle their business travel needs.

Other benefits of hiring a corporate travel management company are:

  • Reduced costs—From booking airline tickets and hotels to car rentals and insurance, utilizing the leveraged negotiating power of a corporate travel management company helps organizations reduce overall travel expenses. Integrating travel policies and better managing unused airline tickets all lend to reduced costs. Plus, utilizing the expertise of a corporate travel agent means better planned business trips, access to low fare searches, and other money-saving/time-saving opportunities the most savvy business traveler may not be aware of.
  • Managed policies—Corporate travel policies protect your company from unnecessary risk and inform your business travelers of your expectations. These policies are in place to avoid legal problems, meet government and local regulations and requirements, and provide for your employee’s safety while traveling. A well-run corporate travel program that maintains strong risk management and enjoys greater cost savings is based upon travelers’ compliance with a well-written, well-communicated, and fully-integrated corporate travel policy.
  • Time management—Leaving business travelers on their own to plan their trips and find low fares across myriad internet sites with a plethora of options ultimately wastes time. By employing the expertise of experienced corporate travel agents who have the technology and know-how to quickly plan and execute on your travel plans means both time and money is saved with a corporate travel management company.
  • Integrated Online Booking—While there are multiple online booking websites as well as options to book directly with a vendor, doing so potentially means you’ve got reservations in multiple locations for one business trip. A better option is to provide corporate travelers with an online booking tool that is integrated with your program, policy, and negotiated rates so they can still have the autonomy of booking travel online, while keeping those bookings in a centralized location. This also allows the corporate travel manager to maintain duty of care standards and locate travelers in an emergency. A corporate travel management company can provide this technology and assist with full integration.
  • Data & Reporting—Measuring the success of your travel program is critical to justifying travel costs and prove the ROI. A corporate management company will provide the data you need to make informed decisions and deliver the right reporting tools to track spend, savings, traveler behavior, and more.
  • 24/7 365 Day Traveler Support—When your travelers are on the road, they may encounter situations that require support at any hour. By partnering with a corporate travel management company that delivers support 24/7 365 days a year, they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having the assistance they need when they need it.
  • Mobile Technology—With mobile technology, your travelers can access their itineraries from anywhere in the world, receive alerts to breaking conditions, and immediately contact support. A mobile access point that has all the needed information at their fingertips is critical when searching for hotel confirmations, car rental locations, and flight information.

What Is The Difference Between a Corporate Travel Management Company and a Travel Agency?

If one word were used to explain the difference between a corporate travel management company and a travel agency, it would be “partnership.”

By partnering with a corporate travel management company you have a relationship you can rely on to help you create and implement travel policies, negotiate vendor agreements, access and integrate the latest trends and best practices, fulfill reporting requirements, and more.

While a travel agency may seem similar, travel agencies typically only manage the booking of travel and do not provide in-depth management, analysis, or expertise on how to build a thriving, cost-effective corporate travel program.

Ultimately, with a corporate travel management company, you get a high level of care and concern for the health and success of the entire corporate travel program as well as the experience to manage it with expertise.

What Tasks Will A Corporate Travel Management Company Perform?

A corporate travel management company ultimately provides the corporate travel software, services, and solutions that help manage business travel spend, traveler bookings, travel policy, unused tickets, vendor relationships, and more. Along with delivering support 24/7 365 days a year, a corporate travel management company also provides risk management tools and support so you know where your travelers are in real time in the event of an emergency.

A few of the tasks corporate travel management companies assist with include:

1 – Book travel and provide itineraries. Whether booking business travel online or with a corporate travel agent, the arrangement of your logisitcs—from flights to hotel to ground transportation—are organized for a seamless travel experience. All bookings are also integrated with corporate travel policies for cost-savings, compliance, and risk management.

2 – Expert vendor negotiations. A key benefit of corporate travel management companies is having the expertise of an Account Manager to assist you in vendor negotiations. Through their expert analysis of your travel program’s patterns and volume, they can leverage your spend with airlines, hoteliers, and car rental companies to get better rates and perks for your travelers.

3 – Traveler profile management. Today’s travelers are savvy. They want to maintain and enjoy their reward program status and be able to count on experiencing their travel preferences even when they’re on the road for work. A corporate travel management company can help you manage those individual and unique traveler profiles so every reservation is booked with those preferences and membership numbers integrated. Perks, rewards, and points are earned and travelers don’t have to enter their info every time they book. It’s a win-win.

4 – Arranging business meetings and events. Whether you are planning a small executive retreat or have a 50,000 person conference to arrange, a corporate travel management company often has a dedicated meetings and incentive trip team to help you handle the unique needs of planning a corporate event. From coordinating audio visual equipment to arranging the shipments of displays to managing attendee registration, a corporate travel management company can direct every detail of the experience you are trying to create.

5 – Integrating corporate travel policy. Having access to integrated corporate travel technology allows you manage a more sophisticated, streamlined, cost-saving travel program. One of the most important things to integrate when you begin working with a corporate travel management company is your travel policy. Doing so allows you to take advantage of your negotiated corporate rates, ensure that you aren’t overspending, maintain better duty of care, and more easily track and report on spend.

What Challenges Do Corporate Travel Management Companies Help Companies Overcome?

As mentioned previously, one of the greatest benefits of partnering with a corporate travel management company is being able to rely on their experience and expertise. This becomes particularly valuable when challenges arise for business travelers on the road. Here are just a few difficulties organizations may face and how a corporate travel management company can help.

Cancelled trips or delayed flights – On average, a cancelled business trip costs a company around $900. Corporate travel management companies help mitigate that cost by:

  • providing ‘round-the-clock service so travelers have rebooking assistance in the moment
  • providing technology to manage unused airline tickets if the trip is cancelled
  • providing assistance in working with vendors for refunds, vouchers, or any recourse available

In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, the partnership of a corporate travel management company proved to be essential with the flurry of cancelled business trips.

En route support – Any company with multiple travelers on the road in either domestic or international locations (or both) experiences the challenge of providing support to everyone at all times. A corporate travel management company with 24/7 365 day traveler support mitigates that challenge by delivering assistance to your travelers no matter where they are in the world. For example, if an employee is delayed due to weather conditions or misses a flight or forgot to book a hotel, support can be facilitated, flights can be rebooked, or accommodations quickly made.

En route safety – Duty of care should be a top priority for any company with business travelers. By employing comprehensive travel policies, communicating safety protocols and emergency plans, and utilizing risk management technology, companies can decrease the risks associated with business travel in measure. And if a safety or emergency situation does arise en route, corporate travel management companies can provide the support companies need to get their business travelers home safely.

The New Reality of Business Travel in A Post-COVID World

Managing traveler safety, wellness, and the overall experience throughout the next decade is going to be a top priority for corporate travel managers. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the necessity of better managing risk, increasing policy compliance, and implementing strong communication plans.

As we move farther into 2021 with the rollout of vaccines and a return to more normal life, business travel has already begun to resume. Companies are eager to make up lost ground in developing business relationships. After all, nearly ? of business travelers believe that it is difficult to build working business relationships via Zoom calls.

But business travel will certainly look different and any employee hesitation to travel will need to be addressed. Companies need to communicate how their preferred travel vendors are complying with COVID-19 regulations for safety and cleanliness. Companies will also need to take into account border restrictions or required quarantines on either end of a business trip.

A corporate travel management company can provide the resources travel managers need to keep travelers well-informed and make smart, safe decisions for their travel program.

How To Choose A Corporate Travel Management Company

Whether you’ve supported your business travelers internally for two months or twenty years, contacting a corporate travel management company to learn how they can service your unique needs is an essential step to streamlining your travel program.

Here are a few things to look for in a corporate travel management company:

  • Innovative technology with mobile access for travelers
  • Online booking tools and experienced corporate travel agents
  • 24/7 365 customer support
  • Account management to guide your program
  • Extensive vendor networks and leveraged connections
  • Data analytics and reporting tools
  • Global travel expertise

Why Christopherson Is Your Corporate Travel Management Solution

Christopherson Business Travel delivers the industry-leading technology companies need to save money on business travel, achieve their corporate travel program goals, and meet their travelers needs. We also employ the expertise of Account Managers who develop unique travel management plans that help clients deliver an ROI on their business travel. And we provide an easy, integrated booking experience both through the online booking tool or with our corporate travel agents that leaves business travelers satisfied.

To schedule a demo of our program and tools, click here.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Technology

What Does a Travel Management Company do?

A travel management company (TMC) is a travel agency that provides extensive business travel support to organizations of all sizes. A TMC can simplify your workload, help you manage travel risks, reduce travel spend, serve your travelers, and provide integrated and centralized data reporting.

1. Simplifies and Streamlines Your Workload

Corporate travel management is complex. As a travel manager, you are often juggling a lot of different tasks within your company. Trying to keep track of employee travel preferences, travel plans, unused tickets, and more can be a daunting task. Travel management companies streamline your processes and support your business travel program through service and technology.

Christopherson Business Travel understands that technology is key to simplifying your workload. That’s why we built our AirPortal software platform. AirPortal provides customized dashboards for both travel managers and travelers with access to all the tools each stakeholder needs to manage the travel program and their business travel, respectively. This suite of tools within AirPortal streamlines the ability to manage risk, spend, profiles, travel plans, unused tickets, booking options, and more.

Each traveler is able to create a unique profile within our travel management platform that securely stores their travel preferences and loyalty program information. These profile details are fully integrated to ensure ease and convenience at the time of booking. When working with a TMC, travelers are able to book travel online or with an expert travel agent, based on your unique service needs. Your company travel policy is also custom-built and integrated to ensure all bookings are compliant.

AirPortal uses artificial intelligence to show the user what’s most important. On both the travel manager and traveler dashboards, AirPortal provides My Action Items, a feature that lists pressing or time-sensitive tasks and reminders so you always know what’s most important today. For example, if a traveler books their flight and rental car, but not a hotel reservation, a line will populate in their My Action Items alerting them of this gap in their travel plans. Or maybe a travel manager missed a travel approval request. This too will appear in the My Action Items feature of their dashboard, along with any other pressing tasks.AirPortal360 Travel Management Company

Some travel management companies like Christopherson also integrate their travel management software directly into valuable benchmarking tools, preferred booking tools, and your HR feed. Facilitating these integrations allows you to access everything you need from one centralized location, saving travelers and travel managers time, and ultimately money.

Providing guidance through account management is another way a travel management company can streamline and focus your travel program toward reaching your goals. Account managers should work with you to carefully analyze your program to see where you’re succeeding and where the gaps are. Based on that analysis, they should then provide a custom travel management plan to help you know where improvements can be made. This kind of consultative account management allows travel managers to lean on the expertise of seasoned industry professionals

2. Helps You Manage Risk

Duty of Care is the legal and moral responsibility each organization has to keep its employees safe from threats. Such threats could include extreme weather or natural disasters, political strikes and civil unrest, car accidents, theft, personal attacks, or terrorism—the list goes on. As a travel manager, how do you maintain confidence that you are upholding your obligation to protect and care for your travelers?

A travel management company can help expedite your knowledge of threatening situations in areas where you have travelers and facilitate your response and/or assistance. At Christopherson Business Travel, our clients utilize our SecurityLogic tool to access critical, real-time security data, quickly locate travelers and verify traveler safety.

SecurityLogic Corporate Travel Management Company Example

In a recent study, only half of the travel managers surveyed felt confident that they could locate their travelers within two hours of an emergency. If your travelers’ plans are not stored, managed, or accessible from one centralized location, trying to locate employees during a crisis could be a messy and stressful task, not to mention potentially disastrous.

SecurityLogic provides travel managers with a real-time list of who is currently traveling and where those travelers are. SecurityLogic also allows you to quickly see if your travelers are in or are going to be in an affected area.

Travel alerts inform you of events that could impact employee travel or compromise their safety. Travel managers have the option to click through to the news source to get even more information. For extra security, you can set up auto-alerts that push directly to travelers via text and email to verify safety.

Click here to see a quick video tutorial on SecurityLogic.

3. Reduces Your Travel Costs

Partnering with a corporate travel management company can significantly reduce your overall travel costs. TMCs have expert knowledge in all aspects of the travel industry, including contract negotiations. Your account manager should be able to negotiate with your preferred vendors to ensure you are paying the lowest amount possible.

Cost Savings from University Corporate Travel ColoradoBusiness travel plans often change or get canceled. Did you know that nearly 10% of all business travel airline tickets go unused? As a travel manager, how do you ensure those funds from unused airline tickets are used before they expire? Keeping track of all the changes in your traveler’s plans could be a fulltime job in and of itself.

Travel Management Companies should ensure your unused tickets don’t impact your bottom line. Christopherson’s AirBank tool, found within AirPortal, captures those unused airline tickets and prevents the loss of those funds by prompting their reuse at the time of booking, whether online or with a full-service advisor.

Working with a business travel agency also ensures employees are booking within your company travel policy. By booking within policy, you can take advantage of your corporate rates, ensure you aren’t overspending, and make expense tracking and reporting a breeze.

Lastly, by partnering with a TMC you are saving time. Every hour you do not have to spend dealing with a travel headache, is an hour you can utilize elsewhere. Travel managers shouldn’t have to troubleshoot flight delays, manually keep track of itineraries, or pull reports from multiple locations. Travelers can find information quicker, make last-minute updates to travel plans, access 24/7 support from a trusted travel expert, and locate all expense receipts in one location.

4. Serves Your Travelers

Companies rely on corporate travel to close new business, foster relationships with current accounts, or inspire and connect departments within their own organization. In order to ensure those travel dollars are well spent, businesses need to prioritize the traveler experience to avoid fatigue and travel burnout. This is where a travel management company can shine.

By utilizing a tool like AirPortal, travelers can access all their travel plans in one location. No more frustrated inbox searching! Travelers are also alerted when they have incomplete trip plans. This allows you to avoid the high-stress situation of arriving at a new destination and realizing you forgot to book a hotel. Avoiding these small hiccups makes for a better traveler experience overall.

Let’s dive deeper into the actual booking process. Whether your travelers like to book online themselves or with a travel agent, partnering with the right travel management company can provide huge upside.

First, adhering to company travel policy is effortless. Regardless of which booking option they choose, your travelers are only offered options that fit within your policy. Traveler preferences are also documented, integrated, and considered before any bookings are confirmed, which makes for happy travelers!

Most importantly, TMCs should offer around-the-clock expert support and consultation. We all know that flights are sometimes delayed or canceled. Occasionally hotels are overbooked. Having access to a dedicated travel advisor team or a certified online support team means your travelers can feel confident in knowing they always have a trusted expert to turn to.

High-stress circumstances during business travel can lead to traveler anger and resentment towards their employer. These situations need to be solved quickly and with little effort from the traveler. With Christopherson Business Travel, your travelers have an expert in their corner to deal with unforeseen issues no matter the day or time.

5. Provides Integrated and Centralized Data Reporting

Next, let’s dig into how a travel management company can help the travel manager as well as the finance department. Many businesses struggle to analyze data because this information is coming from multiple departments and software. Christopherson’s AirPortal platform takes all your data points and presents them in a meaningful and centralized way.

Your AirPortal reporting and analytics tools can help you identify which departments or individuals spend the most on travel, which travelers book outside of your policy, and trends to see where you can save money. Having clear, concise reporting ensures accountability across all departments and helps you to make better-informed business decisions.

In addition to AirPortal’s benchmarking and analytics options, you can also access ValueLogic, an ROI tool that allows you to see exactly how and where we’re saving you money. And since not all travel programs are the same, AirPortal’s reports can be customized to your specific needs, so you see what matters to you. The end result? Cost savings and a well-managed travel program.

 

Read our blog post, What are the benefits of a corporate travel management company?” to learn about more benefits a TMC can provide. 

 

Do You Need A Travel Management Company?  Customer Testimonial for CBT Travel Management

From Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits to start-ups, any organization that wants to save time or money on travel can benefit from using a TMC. Download our whitepaper “Do I Need A Travel Management Company?” to better understand how your travel program could benefit from a TMC.

Click Read next: 

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Business Travel Travel Management

2019 Travel Risks You Should Know

Having reliable risk management solutions is crucial for a well-rounded travel program. This is especially true if you are an international company or have travelers flying internationally. Last month, I attended a travel risk seminar presented by International SOS. As leaders in the travel risk field, it focused on latest stats and 2019 travel risks.

Top risks for business travelers in 2019

For good or bad, not a lot is expected to change in 2019 when in comes to travel risks. The risk of dangerous or extreme events is predicted to be about the same as compared to 2018. In fact, perceived risk from business travelers has been on the decline over the past couple of years. This of course, does not mean that hazards have disappeared. Instead, business travelers  may be more accustomed to the risks that they face.

  1. Natural disasters and extreme weather – In 2018, the U.S. faced devastating hurricanes and wildfires. We also saw earthquakes and typhoons shake countries across the globe. While many areas are still recovering, tumultuous weather and extreme storms are expected to continue in 2019 at the same rate.
  2. Epidemic and re-emerging diseases – With our fast news cycles, it’s easy to forget about growing diseases like Zika, Ebola and other infectious diseases found in other countries. Before traveling, be sure to research the diseases found in your destination area and prepare accordingly. 
  3. Terrorism and attacks in low risk destinations – Places we once considered low-threat are seeing increased rates of terrorist attacks, for example the UK and areas in Europe. This is anticipated to continue in 2019.   
  4. Increasing traveler volumes and the rise of global mobility – With lower airline fares and a better economy in the U.S., more people are traveling locally, as well as abroad. This rise in masses has its hand in increasing other risks, like illness, traffic and overcrowding.
  5. Political unrest – Did you know that six countries in South America will have a change in power this year? Shifts in power, like a new political party in office can sometimes lead to political unrest and even protests. It is important to be aware of the cultural and political energy in any area you plan a trip.  

Top ways for companies to stay ahead in 2019

  1. Review and update current travel policies – As technology and communication continues to advance, it’s important that your travel policies and protocols are reflected for the benefit of your travelers.
  2. Improve preparation and training – This goes hand-in-hand with the first bullet point. Understand where your policies may be lacking, but also update your team and provide additional training if needed. As with other security protocols, it’s essential your team knows what to do in case of an emergency.
  3. Expand with enterprise-wide solutions – Depending on the size of your company and the number of travelers, relying on a third-party travel risk management company may be your best option for handling travel emergencies.  
  4. Understand the protocol, should an emergency occur – Just a friendly reminder, some international travelers call their TMCs looking for assistance in the time of crisis. While TMCs provide essential information, it’s important to use it in conjunction with travel risk management companies, like International SOS. They are the emergency procedure experts, and who you want in charge in a dangerous situation. Ensuring your internal staff knows who to call, and under which circumstances, can eliminate hiccups when an emergency occurs.  
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Business Travel Guides Travel Management

The First Questions To Ask TMCs – Part 1

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

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

The first 6 questions to ask TMCs

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

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

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

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Business Travel Guides Travel News

How to Select the Right Corporate Travel Partners

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

Selecting the right corporate travel partners for your business:

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

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

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Business Travel

A Millennial Friendly Travel Policy?

While attending the GBTA Convention in Boston this past month, I was both expectant but still a little surprised about the buzz around the concept of millennial business travelers. After all, millennials have been in the workplace for roughly 15 years. During this time, this generation is still inspiring new ideas to pop up.  While there, I attended a couple of education sessions focused on travel policy. One session that I found particularly interesting, featured a panel of two travel managers.  They presented and answered questions on their individual company’s travel policies, including millennial travelers.

Millennial Friendly Travel Policy

• There is a common assumption that millennial travelers are collaborative and like big open public lobby spaces where they can relax and catch up on work. Actually, some are introverts and still appreciate having a work station in their hotel room.
• Millennials have a need to personalize everything and are more likely to dine out in a unique restaurant or go sightseeing on a business trip. It tends all about the experience for these travelers but, as this generation gets older and takes on more personal and familial responsibility, we might begin to see a shift in the “bleisure” time.
• Millennial travelers are 60% more likely to pay for an upgraded hotel room or seat on their flight. This one is actually true and they seem to be willing to treat their comfort as a personal expense.
All of this comes down to one word- OPTIONS. Build a policy that works for your company, is good for your bottom line and vendor relationships but also provides your travelers a few options and you will have happy travelers.

 

Categories
Business Travel Guides Travel Management

Guide To Creating An Effective Business Travel Policy

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

What is a business travel policy?

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

What are the benefits of having a business travel policy?

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

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

Is every travel policy the same?

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

How do travel policies differ?

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

How strict should your travel policy be?

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

What is important to include in a business travel policy?

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

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

Who should create the travel policy?

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

Who is covered under a travel policy?

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

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

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

Other things to consider when creating a business travel policy

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

 

Read next from our corporate travel blog:

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Effectively Manage Unused Airline Tickets

AirBank corporate travel managementWhen meeting with prospective customers, I continue to see companies that do not effectively manage their unused airline tickets.  Did you know that the industry average of business travel airfare that goes unused is eight to ten percent? Unused tickets are generally non-refundable fares and the airlines love it when customers fail to reapply the value to future travel.

This inefficiency is why we were motivated to create AirBank®.  As one of Christopherson Business Travel’s first proprietary travel technology tools; we built it to capture, audit, report, and ultimately reuse any unused airline tickets. AirBank has continued to evolve with both industry and technology changes. AirBank now includes deeper fare audits and traveler notifications. Management of AirBank’s unused tickets is fully visible to Christopherson’s clients though our AirPortal 360 dashboard.

It is rewarding to deliver hard dollar savings to our customers and the power of AirBank is just one element of our total travel management solution for business travel programs. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we are acclaimed for our proprietary technology and superior customer service. Contact us to learn about our additional travel technology tools or talk to one of our travel experts.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Low Hotel Attachment Rates? Christopherson Has the Solution.

Christopherson Business Travel is pleased to introduce our newest technology tool, Hotel Attachment—a digital solution to the dilemma of low hotel attachment rates.

HOTEL ATTACHMENT CUTS SPEND, BOOSTS COMPLIANCE, & ASSISTS IN DUTY OF CARE

Hotel Attachment helps companies cut spend, boost business travel policy compliance, and in fulfilling duty of care.

Christopherson is committed to delivering convenient solutions that reduce spend, encourage compliance, and keep everyone safe and informed. Companies of all sizes face the common problem of low hotel attachment rates. Hotel Attachment fixes those low rates and provides the following benefits:

  • Allows for cost-savings by encouraging use of negotiated hotel rates
  • Encourages travelers to comply with travel policies and book with preferred vendors
  • Improves duty of care, should an emergency arise, because you’ll know where travelers are staying
  • Enables travelers to always have a complete itinerary with them when they’re traveling
  • Generates analytics that can help companies reduce spend and negotiate better with vendors
  • Digitizes the process with automated reminders prior to travel

HOW IT WORKS

 

Each day, Hotel Attachment identifies itineraries with missing hotel reservations. When such an itinerary is found, Hotel Attachment sends an email to the traveler with the following four options:

  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.
  4. Waive the need for a hotel reservation.

The traveler simply clicks one of the four options and our system digitally captures and processes their request. Travelers will receive a maximum of two emails—one 24 hours after the initial booking, and a final email seven days prior to travel.

With Hotel Attachment, companies and their travelers can ensure trip plans are complete, hotel compliant, and accessible prior to travel.

HOW TO BEGIN USING THE HOTEL ATTACHMENT TECHNOLOGY

We are eager to release this new, easy-to-use technology to our clients. It will be a valuable tool in Christopherson’s AirPortal arsenal and we are confident it will help companies run more convenient, cost-effective travel programs.

There are no usage fees for Hotel Attachment, and once the technology is “turned on,” we encourage clients to communicate both the functions and benefits of Hotel Attachment to their travelers and request that they always choose one of the four options when they receive a Hotel Attachment email.

For  more information, or to begin using Hotel Attachment, please contact a Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager.

 

Categories
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 Technology

The Hotel Attachment Problem

Hotel Attachment
Hotel Attachment, Christopherson’s new hotel compliance system, assists travel managers in fulfilling duty of care responsibilities and commitments to contracted vendors.

The Beat’s Editor-in-Chief, Jay Boehmer, recently reported on Christopherson Business Travel’s new hotel compliance system, Hotel Attachment. The article and its title, “Christopherson Thinks It Has Solved The Hotel Attachment Problem,” were bold and certainly provocative. I’m not surprised that some responses were somewhere between curious and even incredulous.

Our view is that a low hotel attachment rate is not a simple problem to solve. There are many complex reasons as to why hotel attachment rates are low. Christopherson decided to take a holistic approach to the solving the problem.

At a high-level, there are likely four main reasons a client would book airfare but not book a hotel at the same time:

  1. They need a hotel and simply haven’t gotten around to booking it yet.
  2. They need a hotel and don’t have enough information about their trip to book it yet.
  3. They plan to book their hotel through a different channel, or it was booked for them.
  4. They actually don’t need a hotel.

Of course, there are many nuances within those four categories. For example, under reason No. 3, the traveler may have booked their room “out of channel” because:

  • They were part of a group who booked the hotel room block separately.
  • They’re attending a conference or a meeting that included the hotel booking.
  • They were not able to get the hotel inventory through the GDS-powered booking option.
  • They were able to get a lower price using a different booking method.
  • They have a personal preference for booking their own hotel (better user experience).

But ultimately, it’s not good for a traveler to have an incomplete itinerary with no hotel data included. Our goal was to first, identify which of the four reasons a traveler didn’t book a hotel and then provide them with a simple, digital path to help them easily complete their itinerary and solve the problem. Our technology platform, AirPortal®, supports and powers the Hotel Attachment system and provides us with enough unique information about the traveler, the company they work for, and their specific airline booking to simplify that process.

As clients begin to use our solution, we will be able to track why travelers haven’t booked their hotel initially and gather data on how we solved the problem. This will give our travel managers business intelligence metrics to increase their hotel attachment rates, provide better duty of care, and give them better negotiating power with their preferred vendors.

Our solution is much more than a marketing email.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel Tips

Travel Managers: Tips to keep your travel expenses in line with your 2015 budget

travel managementAs businesses move toward the end of the first quarter, let’s take a look at some travel issues that could affect your bottom line should they go unchecked.

1. Frequent Flier Programs

Be aware of changes to frequent flyer programs as they can affect traveler habits which, in turn, could increase a company’s overall travel expenses. Miles flown has always been the driving force of these programs, but two major U.S. carriers (and my guess is that the third will soon follow suit) have replaced miles with ticket price for both status and rewards.

Come third and fourth quarters, companies could see increases in spending habits as travelers seek to ensure they retain their status for 2016 when these changes go into effect.

Delta and United Change Loyalty Programs: What Does That Mean for the Business Traveler

2. Hotel Fees

Hotels are adding more and more fees. One fee policy to watch for in particular is cancellation. Many properties are now requiring a full 24-hour cancellation rather than the 6:00 p.m. day of arrival cut off. Marriott is among those properties to have made a formal announcement, with others to follow. Not educating your business travelers to watch for these fees and policies, especially when booking online, may result in no-show bills.

Hotel Cancellation Policies Becoming More Stringent

3. Fuel Surcharges

With the current price of fuel dramatically decreased, some airlines are opting to reduce their fuel surcharges while others are not. These fees were initially instituted when the cost of fuel began climbing. Communicating–be it through websites, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms–to our “favorite” U.S. carriers that they consider a surcharge reduction may be in order, particularly since many competitors are now making these reductions. Many international carriers have conceded to lower these fees. Perhaps having a public conversation (the positive and negative of social media, certainly) might persuade U.S. carriers to be more aware of their loyal customers.

Falling Cost of Fuel and Airline Surcharges: Business Travelers Take Note

At Christopherson Business Travel, our Account Management team works to keep our clients aware of these and many other present and pressing business travel management issues. Through our consultative approach, we analyze a client’s travel program and make recommendations of where to make changes to save money and stay on budget.

Categories
Business Travel

Christopherson’s Newly Acquired All Seasons Travel Undergoes Rebranding

Christopherson Business Travel purchased All Seasons Travel in December of last year. As we continue to integrate our new Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama offices into our organization, we will be rebranding the Alabama operations into three separate divisions:

1. Christopherson Business Travel

CBT_SmallThe Alabama business travel team members will all operate under our Christopherson Business Travel brand, with Jeanine Eissler as the manager of the Southeast region. We have already won $20 Million in new business travel contracts in the Southeast, all of which is in the process of being implemented into our Alabama offices.

2. Andavo Travel

Andavo Logo_335x60The leisure travel agents and independent contractors will operate under our Andavo Travel brand (which specializes in luxury travel and hosted agent travel), with Meredith Price as the operations manager of the Southeast region. Our Alabama offices will also be part of Andavo’s world-class luxury travel consortium, Virtuoso.

3. All Seasons Sports Travel

AllSeasonsSportsTravel_Logo-v2All Seasons Sports Travel is a newly created division and will primarily focus on the fan-based collegiate sports travel that All Seasons has done so well for so many years. Ellen Ray has been named manager of this division. Click here to see the new website, AllSeasonsSportsTravel.com.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your travelers are?: 10 Duty of Care Best Practice Recommendations

At a time when there were no cell phones, the public announcement “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” appeared before the 10 o’clock news as a reminder to parents that children should be home prior to curfew. During my high school years, when I was out with friends, we would often joke “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your parents are?” Those same parents who used to be in for the night, were enjoying a new social life of their own, showing that life in America was changing.

Fast forward to today’s world, where information is readily available, and apply the same principle to your company’s travel program. For example, let’s say there’s been a disaster, you hear about it and you wonder, do I know where my travelers are? Are any of them currently traveling in the affected area? If so, are they okay? How do I reach them? Do I know how to contact their family members or friends?

What is duty of care?

Duty of care–we’ve all heard of it, but what does it really mean? A basic definition is to ensure that a person does not suffer any unreasonable harm or loss. If your actions as an employer do not meet the standard duty of care, then you are considered negligent and a lawsuit may result.

Corporations are responsible for their employees when they travel, particularly when and if they travel in a harmful situation. This can become challenging when 1) corporations don’t keep track of their employees, and 2) employees don’t tell anyone where they are going. On one of my business trips I called home and my family asked, “How’s Boise?”  My reply was, “I’m in Portland.” I certainly failed in communicating to anyone my exact plans.

Organizations are definitely doing a better job at making sure they know where their employees are traveling. Employees need to understand how important it is for the company to know where they are for safety reasons. A benchmarking study was done by International SOS on duty of care. A list of best practices were derived from gaps they found in the study.

10 Duty of Care Best Practice Recommendations

  1. Increase awareness
  2. Plan with key stakeholders
  3. Expand policies and procedures
  4. Conduct due diligence
  5. Communicate, educate and train
  6. Assess risk prior to every employee trip
  7. Track traveling employees at all times
  8. Implement an employee emergency response system
  9. Implement additional management controls
  10. Ensure vendors are aligned

Whether you are an organization, travel manager, or traveler, find a tool that best suits you to keep track of your whereabouts. There are many apps, agency tools, and third party vendors who can help in keeping track of employee travel. If you haven’t done so, give it a try. You will sleep much better at night knowing where your travelers are.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Three key strategies common to best-in-class travel management programs

With Christopherson Business Travel's strategic travel management services, companies can create best-in-class travel management programs.
With Christopherson Business Travel’s strategic travel management services, companies can enjoy best-in-class travel management programs.

According to Travel Market Report, “Travel accounts for a significant portion of total corporate expenses. But just how significant may be a surprise … Business travel accounts for anywhere between 8% and 12% of the overall enterprise expense budget. This is bad news for travel managers whose companies see travel as a cost center, but good news for those whose companies see travel as an investment in revenues.”

Market research firm, Aberdeen Group, identified three key strategies common to best-in-class travel management programs:

  1. Support travel management with analytics, integration and mobility
  2. Use mobile apps and portals to put expense management directly in the hands of travelers
  3. Leverage analytics and integration to drive transparency into travel processes and spending to improve corporate budgeting, planning, and forecasting

As a leader in the business travel industry and the 11th largest travel management company in the U.S., Christopherson Business Travel is committed to providing innovative and integrated travel management services that accomplish those three key strategies.

By developing proprietary technologies like AirPortal 360 and AirPortal 360 Mobile, Christopherson supports their more than 1,000 corporate clients’ travel programs with that much-needed analytics, integration, and mobility.

Additionally, clients of Christopherson enjoy the added benefit of a consultative Account Manager whose job it is to help leverage that analytics, drive transparency in travel processes and spending, and improve corporate travel budgeting, planning, and forecasting.

Key strategies for best-in-class travel management programs 1, 2, and 3: Check, check, and check.

To learn more about how Christopherson can help your company implement these three key strategies into your travel program, please contact one of our business executives.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

AirPortal 360™ is a Travel Management Nerve Center

Effective travel management must meet and balance the needs of two key groups:

  1. Travel managers, who need to save their company money on travel and who also have duty of care responsibilities
  2. Travelers, who want service, safety, and convenience.

AirPortal 360 is a travel management nerve center.
AirPortal 360 is a travel management nerve center.

Our objective at Christopherson Business Travel, when we developed AirPortal 360, was to meet the requirements of both groups. While our key stakeholders are the companies for whom we manage travel because they pay for our services, we must also take good care of the travelers, in order to be successful.

AirPortal 360 is the solution that provides companies:

  1. One platform integrating full-service and online travel management.
  2. A 360° real-time view of their entire travel program providing high-level “situational awareness and increased visibility.
  3. Actionable intelligence allowing travel managers, our account managers, and our agents to respond to our clients’ needs.

The key components of our proprietary AirPortal 360 platform are:


AirPortal 360™ Dashboard

  • Provides SecurityLogic heat map on the homepage, plus customizable widgets to provide awareness and actionable intelligence

PolicyLogic™

  • Create a travel management policy to monitor and manage your travel program
  • Manage preferred vendor relationships and ensure compliance to help save money

ProfileLogic®

  • Set up a company and their travelers’ profiles and optionally organize them by division, department, and team

Airtinerary®

  • Access past, present, and future traveler itineraries

SecurityLogic®

  • Handle duty of care by identifying who, when, and where travelers are, and respond appropriately when there is an incident that requires action

AirBank®

  • Increase savings through recovery and management of unused airline tickets

DataLogic®

  • Provide real-time access and on-demand reporting of travel program data

My Travel™ Dashboard

  • Provide travelers with the information they need before, during, and after their trips

To learn more about how Christopherson’s AirPortal 360 platform can benefit your company’s travel program and save you time and money on business travel, please contact one of our executives.

 

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

The Science of Maintaining a Unique Competitive Advantage

competition_advantageWhen in business, whether you own the company or are an employee of it, it is important to understand the difference between “unique competitive advantages” and “business strengths.” Many companies will tout their “advantages,” but what they’re really presenting are just their basic strengths and most cases, are likely are only spouting clichés. An example of a common and overused business cliché is: “we will exceed your expectations.”

While business strengths are important, they are not differentiators. You need strengths just to stay in business. You need unique competitive advantages to grow and prosper, faster than your competition.

At Christopherson Business Travel we have approached the development of our unique competitive advantages as a science. This is the only way you’re able to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace.

In order for something to be defined as a “unique competitive advantage” we require that it pass a four-part test:
1.    It must be objective.
2.    It must be quantifiable.
3.    It can’t be a cliché.
4.    It can’t be claimed by our competitors.

An example of one of our unique competitive advantages is the recent introduction of AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app to provide corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company’s travel program from the palm of their hand. Read about it here.

The introduction of this newest unique competitive advantage garnered a great deal of media attention (see here), which is objective and quantifiable.

Can we objectively say that our unique competitive advantages have helped us grow faster than our competition? During the last five years we have more than doubled in size, growing from a $160 million company in 2007, to a $341 million company in 2012. Christopherson was recently ranked #11 in size, in the U.S., by Business Travel News (BTN). We were also the fastest growing of all the top 20 Travel Management Companies in the U.S., in terms of percentage growth. Read more here.

The BTN ranking and applicable growth rate are objective, quantifiable, not a cliché, and can’t be claimed by our competitors. Thus, Christopherson Business Travel can present our technology to be a “unique competitive advantage.”

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees

In April, we reported that United Airlines would be increasing their ticket exchange fees in most markets by $50. And, of course, it didn’t take long for Delta, American, and others to follow close behind.

Keeping up with airline fees can certainly be confusing. Download the quick-reference guide, created by Smarter Travel, below to ease stress and eliminate any confusion over all the fees now associated with air travel.

And, as always, your Christopherson Business Travel agent can help educate you on the latest airline changes and how they might affect your next business trip.

Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

How to get the lowest airfare–Understanding the fluctuation of flight prices

how to get the lowest airfare

As an Account Manager for Christopherson Business Travel, I’m often asked by our clients’ travel managers: “Why is it, when looking for a flight, that the price can change within minutes of purchasing the fare?”

Cost of airfare has the potential to impact both the traveler and the company. At the point of purchase, the traveler is trying to juggle getting both a reasonable fare and their schedule to align before the ticket price changes. And quite often, it’s the cost of airfare that pushes travel expenses over budget, thus impacting a company’s bottom line.

I like to compare purchasing airfare to buying stocks. The price of stocks and the price of airfare is not fixed and can change in less than a minute. Airlines rely on computer modelling to track sales and adjust fares accordingly as often as they want, just like the price of stock is adjusted depending on demand and the current economic and political climate. These variables, in addition to the following factors, can all influence the price of airfare:

  • Passenger load
  • Competitor pricing
  • Peak travel dates, holidays, and seasons
  • Fluctuating fuel costs
  • How much a traveler is willing to pay for a seat

Airlines will also often raise the prices on flights that have a higher percentage of business travelers vs. vacation travelers. They base this on the comparison of:

  • Flights with a high rate of last minute bookings, which tends to be an indicator of business travel clients vs. flights booked well in advance, which tends to be an indicator of vacationers who have been planning for months
  • Short-haul flights that business travelers can make in one day vs. vacation travelers who would more likely drive, instead of fly, that same distance
  • Travel dates during the work week vs. travel dates over a weekend

How can a Travel Management Company help businesses and their travelers when airfare is so unpredictable?

Travel Management Companies have the ability to leverage all of those price-driving factors to keep costs down and help the traveler make well-informed trip-driven choices. Here are some of the ways we, at Christopherson Business Travel, accomplish this:

  • Supplier negotiations
  • Analyze program leakage
  • Create and manage travel policy
  • Facilitate the duty of care for a company’s travelers
  • Assist in educating the traveler
  • Ability to track that the lowest fare was indeed offered to the traveler and the reasons why/if it was refused

To learn more about how Christopherson Business Travel can help your company find the most cost-effective airfares for your business travel needs, please contact one of our executives.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

DataLogic®: Your Central Source for All Business Travel Reporting Tools

At Christopherson Business Travel, we recognize the importance of backing up our claims with hard data. Through our comprehensive report aggregator DataLogic®, we provide our clients with easy access to an invaluable set of reporting tools and performance benchmarking analysis options.

Among those tools are DataLogic’s travel spend tracking dashboard, ValueLogic®, Christopherson’s exclusive software that manages the ROI of our travel management company, and the integration of two leading travel management reporting tools, iBank and Travel GPA.

With this assembly of options, DataLogic really is the central source for all the reporting tools essential to managing a highly effective business travel program.

ValueLogic®

By choosing Christopherson, your company gets more than just our word that we are the cost-effective business travel partner of choice. With ValueLogic, you can asses the ROI of our TMC partnership through fully-customizable reports that show exactly how and where Christopherson Business Travel is saving you money.

At any time, you have the ability to access and review the following critical information in real time data:

  • Airline, car, and hotel savings
  • Voided ticket savings
  • Average savings per itinerary
  • Unused airline ticket data (via AirBank®)

iBank

Christopherson maximizes the power of iBank by consolidating travel information into a clear, concise, and comprehensive view of your company’s travel spend.

iBank captures travel data from a variety of sources, including all major reservation systems and online bookings tools. We also provide secure internet access so you can view travel spend, measure preferred supplier usage, track travel behavior, monitor policy adherence, and improve profitability.

Travel GPA

With more than 90 benchmarking metrics available for analysis, Travel GPA identifies those key measurements that are clearly tied to your organization’s performance and then grades them good or bad with comparisons against your industry, a similar sized company, your travel spend from the previous year, or your current goals. Then, with the Travel GPA Report Card™, you can easily track how well your travelers are utilizing the contracts your company has for airlines, car rentals, and hotels.

*DataLogic is one of the many business travel tools Christopherson provides through our integrated technology platform, AirPortal®. To learn more about AirPortal, DataLogic, and how Christopherson can save your company time and money on business travel, please contact one of our representatives.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

New Christopherson Business Travel Website: CBTravel.com

It has been my pleasure over the past few months to work with an amazing team of people in updating Christopherson Business Travel’s company website, CBTravel.com. We are thrilled to provide both our current clients and prospective customers with a new look, more meaningful content, and the ability to learn more about our company and the business travel management solutions we offer.

We look forward to continually enhancing the experience we provide via our website and hope you check back often as we prepare to release new travel technology over next few months and share additional insight about our travel management programs.

We also appreciate any feedback you would like so share.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Changes Baggage Policy: What this means for business travelers

Beginning January 15, 2013, Delta Air Lines will be changing their baggage policy to match that of other airlines. More and more airlines are now only checking bags through to the destination on the ticket, as opposed to what is on the itinerary. Currently, Delta will check your baggage through to the final destination, regardless of how many tickets are created to get you there. Starting next year, that won’t be the case.

Let’s take a look at this new policy and what it means to you, the business traveler. Often, there are times when it will save money to split an itinerary and issue two or more tickets. These savings can be quite significant for business travelers, particularly those flying internationally. In fact, as a business travel management company handling travel for hundreds of companies worldwide, we have seen numerous itineraries where splitting a ticket actually saves several thousand dollars. Currently the agents at Christopherson Business Travel, check that option when trying to find the best price on an itinerary. Under the current policy, this doesn’t create any significant issues for the business traveler. However, under the new policy, it would only make sense to split a ticket is if there is sufficient time for business travelers with checked luggage to pick up their bags at baggage claim, then re-check in for the next leg of the split ticket, re-check the bags, clear security (again), and board their next flight.

Also, in addition to the extra time needed for baggage claim and re-check-in (if a ticket is split), business travelers would also need to pay additional baggage fees since they will be paying for each airline they fly on. This can add significantly to the cost of travel since it is likely that one or more of the carriers involved would be one on which the traveler doesn’t have status.

I’m sure some will ask why the airlines would do this, and others might say it is simply a means to collect more fees. The reality is that the airlines have decided they no longer want to bear the responsibility for a checked bag when they aren’t even on the ticket. For example, if you were to fly Delta to London and then connect to British Air to Edinburgh and it is done as one ticket, then Delta would be responsible for collecting any fees and for solving any baggage related issues. But if two tickets were issued on this itinerary and Delta were to check the bag all the way through to Edinburgh, they have only been paid for transporting it to London. And what if British Air were to misplace or damage the bag–who is actually responsible for making the customer whole? Additionally, if two tickets are issued, the second airline is not bound to accept the bags if they are heavier or larger than permitted on intra-European flights.

As evident, there are many sides and key issues to understanding this change in policy. Christopherson Business Travel will continue to seek options that result in lower prices for business travel, and we will let the customer decide if the money saved is worth the extra time and trouble. I also expect that business travelers will see all the airlines adopting this policy fairly soon.

To read the full official announcement from Delta regarding these changes, click here.