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Business Travel Travel Management

Increasing Employee Compliance With New Travel Policies

Implementing new travel policies can get tricky. Yet often the real battle comes later, when you’re trying to get employee compliance on these new changes. More often than not, these new policies were sculpted with the traveler’s needs and happiness in mind. The truth is there are many reasons business travelers should want to comply, not just because the company seems to demand it.

What employees receive when they comply with the travel program:

  1. Their safety. It’s the company’s duty of care responsibility to ensure their traveler’s wellbeing while they’re traveling on the company’s behalf. Should an emergency arise, there will be no confusion if a traveler has followed the protocol of the travel policy. Plus, tools like our SecurityLogic provides instant location information, based off of their itineraries.
  2. Saves costs for the company. Vendor contracts have been painstakingly created and negotiated. It only makes sense to stay within guidelines.
  3. If done correctly, increases traveler satisfaction. As important as overall costs are for the company, ensuring their travelers are comfortable often leads to more productive meetings. By understanding what will keep your travelers happy, and ensuring they rely on your travel program to receive it, makes it a win/win for everyone.

5 ways to use traveler satisfaction to increase compliance

    1. First and foremost, talk to your travelers. Survey your employees and try to negotiate the inclusions that are important to them. They are, after all, the people enduring the trip.
    2. Recognize frequently expensed items like lounge access or Wi-Fi. Try to get these things included for frequent travelers.
    3. Don’t be afraid to get creative in negotiations. For example, if travelers are frequently expensing Starbucks, consider negating a breakfast credit to be used either in the restaurant or coffee shop (rather than a traditional breakfast) at your preferred hotel.
    4. Travelers are more likely to comply to vendors if you provide them the WIFM (what’s in it for me). Traveling for business in general may be enough of a perk of the job for some. So make sure they understand the additional benefits included in their policy. You’ve worked hard to get them these perks, so make sure they know they have it available.
    5. Continued internal communication about travel programs. This tip seems so basic, but is often overlooked. Travel management has a tendency to become a siloed conversation within companies. Sure, new employees are briefed when they come on, but how many really know what’s included in their travel policy? Many may not even realize they’re booking outside of the policy. Or reasonable alternatives to their preferences are available. Try by taking a step back and putting yourself in their shoes for a few minutes. When was the last time they were briefed on employee compliance and the travel policy? What information is available when they’re booking or if they have questions? Do you have communications protocol if a new vendor contract is created? You could make a goal to send out a quarterly update email entailing any changes or reminders of basic protocols.

Overall, getting employee compliance with travel policies requires help from both sides of the table – the company and the traveler. By understanding their needs, you can help create a superior travel experience. And hopefully the travelers will understand the importance of complying with the policy when they see the benefits for their wellbeing and safety.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Business Travel—A Status Symbol For Millennials?

It shouldn’t be a shock to you that the millennial generation is the largest segment jumping into the workforce. As baby boomers ease into retirement, millennials are stepping in, often starting with the most stressful and burdensome tasks. In most cases, this includes business travel. But in a somewhat surprising turn, a new study from Hilton Hotel & Resorts, finds that millennials are ultimately enjoying business travel and the perks that come with it.

That’s right, while many in the past have seen business travel as a burden, millennials are jumping in head first and loving it. They often see traveling on behalf of their company as a work perk. In fact, 65% of young professionals in the U.S. consider business travel a status symbol. Additionally, 39% would not take a job that did not allow them to travel for business. And 81% of those surveyed say they repeatedly travel for business because they get more work done in person.

Additional perks millennials enjoy about business travel

  • Exploring new cities – 64%
  • Eating in a new city – 62%
  • Covered expenses – 57%
  • Hotel stay – 55%

 

Their common business travel anxieties

  • 69% wished that they could extend their trips, turning it into a bleisure opportunity.
  • 59% regret not extending previous trips in the past to explore further
  • 54% not sure how their boss would react to a bleisure trip request
  • 44% worry asking to extend their trip would make them look bad to their senior leadership
  • 58% would like to fly in a day before meetings/events to prepare, but are nervous to ask. >

 

Common frustrations facing millenials and business travel

  • 38% can’t enjoy their weekend before traveling on business.
  • 38% continue to feel stressed after traveling for three to seven days
  • 46% say their employers don’t consider personal time when asking them to travel for business.
  • 44% said they gained weight due to traveling
  • 58% sacrifice sleep/wellness when traveling

 

Companies need to more clearly define their business travel culture

Looking at the frustrations felt by these young professionals, it’s easy to see that there is a gap in communication between the company culture, travel program, and traveler. Imagine being a young professional again You’re new to the industry, trying to look your assertive best and represent yourself the best way you know how. You don’t want to step on any toes, and you want to be remembered as the reliable employee who can take whatever is thrown at him/her. Asking for clarification on subtle details of business travel typically goes against that mindframe. It might be time to evaluate your travel program, as perceived from a new employee or new professional perspective. What type of company culture are you trying to promote? One that understands the importance of your employees work/life balance?

There also appears to be a gap in understanding of what is included in the travel program. 43% often misunderstood what could be expensed, resulting in owing the company money. This shows that perhaps the travel program is not as easy to understand as some companies think. It may be worth looking at your company’s travel program with fresh eyes, and revise where it needs updating or additional clarification.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate business travel company, with more than 60 years of experience. Our consultative approach assists companies to streamline their travel management, save money, and keeps travelers safe. Contact us to learn more about award-winning company.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

What Is A Corporate Travel Policy? Definition Series

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

Corporate Travel Policy Definition:

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

Creating a Travel Policy for Everyone

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

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

Anything else I should know about travel policies?

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Factor In Efficient Travel Programs

In February, the GBTA- North Carolina chapter had the pleasure of hosting Scott Gillespie, a true travel management thought leader.  Mr. Gillepsie is the CEO of t-Clara and frequent contributor to Business Travel News. His presentation focused on a question travel managers often find themselves thinking – how do I gauge success with my travel management process?

Identifying the difference in efficient travel programs

Gillespie based his findings from a recent study, sponsored by ARC, American Express Global Business Travel, and his firm, tClara.  Participants were 700 US-based road warriors who answered questions about their company’s travel policy. The questions focused on if their travel management policies emphasized convenience or budget.

Not surprisingly, travelers operating under strict cost-focused travel programs tended to be more dissatisfied. They admitted to nearly 13% less compliance with their travel policies. They also indicated a 15% higher rate of burn-out and were significantly less willing to travel within two years time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, travelers with companies that had convenience-based travel policies tended to be more productive on the road and had an overall better outlook about their jobs.

What travel managers should also be measuring:

So are these companies specifically prioritizing cost over the wellbeing of their employees? Of course not! Most companies just aren’t measuring employee satisfaction as a KPI. Gillepsie advised that each travel manager obtain an employee turnover report for employees in traveling roles from their HR department. Getting insights on high turnover rate is the first step to see if adjustments to the travel policy to result in higher employee retention. From there, it may make sense to look at other priorities for travel policies than budget.

Read Scott Gillepsie’s article for other key performance indicators and details on the survey.

 

With our 24/7 service, online support and exceptional service delivered by our travel agents, Christopherson helps ease any challenges that occur when your travelers on the road. In addition, your consultative account manager will assist you in making the necessary changes to your travel policy to decrease traveler dissatisfaction and increase productivity!

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Travel Management Travel Technology

SecurityLogic Provides Immediate Communication During Disaster

Does anyone else remember the nightly news slogan from years ago, “It’s 10 o’clock… do you know where your children are?”  This catchphrase, of keeping an eye on your loved ones, still resonates today. The past few weeks the airwaves have been flooded with terrorists attacks in New Jersey, New York, Washington State and Minnesota. And now, Hurricane Matthew is about to hit the east coast, potentially causing massive damage.  I also find myself thinking of family, but also co-workers and other business travelers when distaster strikes.

Working in an industry filled constantly with travel and constantly changing schedules, it’s hard to know where everyone is in a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, it’s important now more than ever to not only get in touch with employees or co-workers, but have a plan in place should disaster occur.

Communicating with your business travelers during a disaster

Having an established plan in case of an emergency is the first step. Ask yourself, what is your company’s current protocol should an event occur in a city your employee is currently traveling? Do you have their email and cell number readily available? Will you need to dig through emails to find their itinerary? Who will be in charge of making these safety calls to traveling employees?

Answering these questions ahead of time will make your company more prepared, should an event occur. Developing a travel policy usually helps to establish these protocols. If you don’t have a travel policy, check out our travel policy FAQ to get started.

SecurityLogic provides peace of mind for travel managers

One of my favorite features of the Christopherson software is our SecurityLogic technology. Perhaps it’s because I can be a worrywart, but the value of this immediate and interactive technology is a lifesaver in dire situations.

For a travel manager, the goal is simple – locate all of your business travelers instantly. Through our AirPortal360 interface, you immediately know how many employees are traveling at a moment’s notice.  We supply a world map view, with pins representing your travelers. From there, you can overlay alerts, warnings, and weather. Really anything that may influence your business travelers is viewable from the map.

SecurityLogic by Christopherson

Using the rest of our technology suite, we offer easy access to your traveler’s itinerary and contact information. Travel, security, and human resource managers are able to locate  travelers and send them messages. Your business travelers can then respond to the security check and let you know they are safe. Our SecurityLogic takes the guessing out of what could be a hectic situation and provides immediate answers.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We’re passionate about assisting companies with their travel, and we think our travel technology and consultative account management does a pretty great job at it.  Contact us to learn more about SecurityLogic or our other travel technology tools.

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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:

 

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Business Travel Travel Management

7 Tips For Keeping Your Employees Safe While Traveling

Recent events like terrorist attacks across Europe and home-bred violence have left many questioning the safety and security of traveling. And unfortunately for some industries, travel is unavoidable. As an employer overseeing your employees,  it is your responsibility to ensure their safety, even while traveling on your company’s behalf. Duty of care and security issues are a growing concern in recent years, and they are expected to continue. So what can you do to create a safe environment even with these growing safety trends?

According to Business Insurance, the best way to keep concerns at bay is to keep both the company and its business travelers informed with facts and tips. Ensuring that everyone has been briefed with information and on the same page can be vital if the unexpected arises. So during this time of growing uncertainty, how can you and your employees feel more confident about traveling for business? Read our 7 tips below.

7 ways to keep employees safe while traveling

  • One of the first steps is providing information about the upcoming area. Having a real sense of what your road warriors are heading into or what can be expected is often the biggest comfort. Research and briefing on the country, city or neighborhood can often reveal interesting facts or tips. Also providing guidelines or schedules can provide more structure and context for travelers.
    • An interactive resource includes the U.S. State Department’s online Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows U.S. citizens to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate when traveling or living abroad. The purpose is to provide latest safety and security  information in the area, and inform the U.S. Embassy of your whereabouts, in case of an emergency.
    • Additional research can be beneficial depending on the area of the traveler. For instance, the US government has released an app for U.S.travelers attending the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. It provides tourist and safety information about the area, including the location of embassies, hospitals and emergency numbers.
  • Additional duty of care responsibilities for travelers. We know assessing this risk is your biggest responsibility. Has your organization demonstrated you have taken all practicable steps to meet your employee’s health, safety and well-being needs? Is it credible and well documented? Having open and clear communication with your employees are necessary for this assessment. And of course, if your employee does not feel comfortable traveling, you need to listen to these concerns and assess the situation.
  • Know your travelers specific travel needs. Be aware of any individual requirements needed by the traveler, and ensure they are given the appropriate information in order to manage, reduce or eliminate specific risks. Employers should be aware of pre existing medical conditions and confirm the traveling country has adequate medical facilities.
  • Invest in a business travel policy.  Travel policies are created to establish that companies are providing efficient support for their travelers, and travelers are aware of the support given too. Again, communication about what is provided and what to expect can go a long way.
  • Encourage employees to take appropriate health measures beforehand. Providing guidelines on the area to which they are traveling can prepare them for health measures as well.  Recommend your traveler visits their doctor to go over specific risks and prevention methods.
  • Ensure tech and cyber security has been discussed. This is another growing area of concern. Discuss cyber threat methods and the best ways to thwart them.
  • Finally, Make an evacuation plan or communication plan in case the unexpected arises. If the worst does happen, are you prepared? Are you able to immediately communicate with your road warriors if they are in an insecure area? Do they know the communication protocol should something arise? Unfortunately, the answer is usually ‘no’. That’s why we created SecurityLogic as part of our travel technology suite. This application alerts travel managers if a traveler is in an area experiencing threats or attacks. The travel manager can then immediately text or email from the application to immediately make contact and ensure the traveler is safe.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, dedicated to providing travel solutions for busy businesses. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in learning more about travel policies, our proprietary technology, or how we continually save companies time and money.

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Travel Management

Senior Level Employees Are The Most Frequent Expense Fraud Offenders

With our clients being travel management professionals and their business travelers, we understand how cognizant you are of staying on top of your travel budget. It can be a difficult and time consuming task. It can also be upsetting when business travelers take advantage of, or completely disregard, the travel policies in place. That’s how we felt reading this recent study analyzing reimbursement fraud in more than 114 countries.

The study was conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), analyzing data from more than 2,410 cases between January 2014 and October 2015.  They found that top executives were the biggest culprits of expense reimbursement fraud, accounting for about 24 percent of the cases. “The correlation between authority and loss most likely occurs because high-level fraudsters tend to have greater access to their organizations’ assets than lower-level employees, as well as a better ability to evade or override anti-fraud controls,” according to the report.

Expense reimbursement fraud was most prevalent in the technology field, found in 27% of cases examined. Following the tech industry, incidents of fraud were also high in religious charities and social services sector (25 percent of cases), manufacturing (22.9 percent), construction (20.9 percent), and health care (20.1 percent).

Small businesses with less than 100 employees had higher incidents of fraud, at 16.7 percent. Fraud culprits were also typically male. Globally, the rate of men involved in fraud cases was 69 percent, although it was 56 percent in the United States. Expense inaccuracies remained undetected an average of two years before they were found.

Studies like this exemplify the importance of having a clear travel policy with approval processes determined. Software like our PolicyLogic helps companies so travel policies have to be applied at or before booking. For example, first-class seating can be restricted. If a first-class seat is booked, the travel manager is notified and the ticket has to be approved before being issued. Such approval helps eliminate expense fraud opportunities. Your company works hard to keep to a specific travel budget; it’s beneficial to make sure there are checkpoints in place too.

Christopherson is a corporate travel management company, specializing in proprietary travel technology and expert customer service. Learn more about our award-winning team by contacting us.

Read Next: Christopherson Business Travel Helps Companies Achieve Maximum Travel Policy Compliance

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel Helps Companies Acheive Maximum Travel Policy Compliance

Communication and enforcement of travel policy is a common challenge for many companies. As a solution to that challenge, Christopherson Business Travel uses a blend of technology and established processes to verify that at the time of booking, policy guidelines will be enforced as designated by the company.

Should the policy need to be rewritten or enhanced, Christopherson can assist. Our Account Managers act as expert consultative advisors helping companies establish a fair, complete, and cost saving policy that benefits both the business travelers and the company.

Christopherson also developed PolicyLogic®, software that provides consistent application of preferred vendors, travel policy, coding, and reporting needs, as well as a new functionality that alerts travel managers and arrangers when travelers are not using preferred vendors. Travel policy configuration allows policy rules around the following categories: travel itinerary, flights, flight fares, flight classes, ticket change, car, hotel, and messaging.

These specifics are integrated with Christopherson’s experienced travel agents, online booking tools, and our mid-office and back-office systems to ensure accuracy and compliance across all booking sources. We will customize and update training and point-of-sale scripts when needed.

If business travelers book online, each action displays in the user interface reservation workflow so users clearly see policy compliance as well as policy violations at the point of sale. This empowers travelers to make better-informed decisions and help drive cost savings.

All reservations are reviewed by Compleat with your company policies and negotiated programs in mind. This resource drives costs down by auditing every reservation for compliance to your company’s travel policy and preferred-vendor lists. Compleat will not allow a ticket to be issued until the reservation is in compliance or has been approved by a manager. With these compliance reminders and checks in place, Christopherson then takes policy savings a step further by tracking trends in policy compliance to identify problem areas.

For information evaluating business travel policies, Christopherson has provided this white paper outlining a few basic steps companies can take to guide travelers and ensure compliance.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Have You Reviewed and Updated Your Corporate Travel Program?

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

The Importance of a Travel Policy

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

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

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

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel Offers a Solution to Low Hotel Attachment Rates

Hotel AttachmentTravel managers and TMCs have always struggled with low hotel attachment rates, which the industry estimates to be less than 50%. This is problematic because the results of low hotel attachment rates are incomplete travel itineraries, weakened vendor negotiations, and compromised duty of care.

Christopherson Business Travel introduced a holistic solution to the problem at the 2015 GBTA Convention in Orlando, Florida–Hotel Attachment.

Hotel Attachment, a hotel compliance system, meets the needs of the travelers who want an acceptable hotel included in every itinerary. It also meets the needs of travel managers who want savings, knowledge of where travelers are in order to fulfill duty of care responsibilities, and the ability to satisfy the company’s commitments with contracted hotel vendors.

Hotel Attachment identifies itineraries with missing hotel bookings and provides the traveler with four options to close that gap:

1. Make a hotel reservation

  • For agent bookings – traveler is presented  with a form that connects to their booking agent
  • For online bookings – refers the traveler back to their online booking tool

2. Request another reminder for a later date

  • Presents a calendar to select date of next reminder

3. Attach a hotel reservation made outside the system to the itinerary

  • Pre-populates dates in a template based upon air reservation
  • Presents a map to zoom in a locate their hotel
  • Connects to Christopherson’s proprietary database to ensure correct hotel and GPS location coordinates

4. Waive the need for a hotel reservation

  • Requires an explanation as to how they’re meeting their housing needs

With Hotel Attachment’s digital reminders, companies can ensure trip plans are complete and hotel compliant prior to travel.

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Business Travel Travel Management

Travel Policy Guidelines—To Pay for Economy Seating … Or Not

My first experience with economy seating happened because there were no other pre-assigned seats available besides those in economy. Of course, panic set in due to the dread of not knowing if I would get a seat at the airport during check-in.

My thoughts were: What if I don’t get a seat and I have to take a later flight? I would miss my meeting. Maybe I could fly in the night before. But this would mean additional costs for a hotel. If I chose that option, would I bill it to the company? There are no travel policy guidelines for situations like this. What to do? I didn’t know about this business meeting until two weeks before my departure date and there are no seats other than those in the economy section. Do I need to get this ticket approved?

These, of course, are thoughts many business travelers have, especially during the summer months when the added impact of vacation travelers causes flights to fill so much sooner than usual.

I decided to wait a couple days and continued to check the seats early each morning–still, there was nothing but economy seating available for purchase. The anxiety was getting to me so I finally decided to go ahead and book the economy seat and then asked for permission, figuring the extra cost would be well worth the price. Stress released as soon as I submitted payment for the seats, and I would get to the meeting and home in one day. By the way—my request to purchase economy was approved because with no other pre-assigned seats available, this was the most cost-effective solution.

For my next trip, I had two months to plan and there were plenty of seats available so I booked a regular ticket. But I will also watch and consider whether or not I want to pay for the upgraded, more convenient seating. I learned from my previous experience that, besides the comfort, the small upgrade fee lets me board early, which allows me to carry my bags on with little hassle. And for this next trip, it might be worth the price to know I can enjoy those amenities plus the convenience.