Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Zoom Up and Zoom Out: Best Business Practices from the CEO of a Multi-Million Dollar Company

Most frequent flyers have preferences for how they like to use their “flying time.” Personally, my inclinations vary from reading, to watching movies, to playing Scrabble with my wife, to catching up on e-mail. Delta’s addition of Wi-Fi on domestic flights has certainly changed my “flying time” habits over the last few years, as well. But the one constant flight activity I’ve found to be quite beneficial is something I call “Zoom Up and Zoom Out.”

Over the years I have used the time when I “zoom up” into the air to “zoom out” for strategic thinking. During my flights, however long or short, I do three things to help me get the creative juices flowing so I can think more strategically about the future:
1.    Catch up on my reading in trade publications
2.    Read a good business book or article on leadership or innovation
3.    Take notes on any ideas I may have in my travel journal

Reading trade publications gets me thinking about all the current trends and events occurring in my industry (travel management). A good business book or article helps me think about how I can do things better. And perhaps most importantly, my travel journal provides the opportunity to capture and record my ideas as they flow.

While many of those ideas get tossed out eventually, and while others may not be applicable or feasible at the time they are written, I’ve found that the real value of the travel journal is that I can watch the patterns and connections between my ideas over time. Sometimes ideas just need to evolve and mature, and I’ve seen how many of my thoughts, though perhaps small and independent when I write them down, become important pieces in bigger puzzle that forms over time. As you record your thoughts, they may not “work” standing alone, but together they might eventually create a viable strategy for your company.

So on your next flight, give it a try. “Zoom out” while you “zoom up.” The combination of doing those three things, in a setting without interruptions, can be very beneficial.


Mike Cameron is the President and CEO of Christopherson Business Travel, the independently owned leader in intelligent business travel management. Founded in 1953 and purchased by Mike and Camille Cameron in 1990, Christopherson, at that time, had two employees and booked $1 million in travel. Today, Christoperson ranks as the 12th largest business travel agency in the United States, operating from three full-service locations (Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California) as well as 35-client dedicated on-site locations, maintains a successful leisure travel division (Andavo Travel), employs more than 250 travel professionals, and booked $287 million in travel in 2011 for more than 900 clients across the country.

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“There Is No Place Like Home”

I often think about this phrase so eloquently spoken by Dorothy, you know, the star of The Wizard of Oz, and the truth behind it.  I love my home, and though vacations are nice, at some point, I’m ready to be home.

This being said, when walking into a restaurant, I like a warm and friendly feeling, like I’ve walked into the home of a friend.  When shopping at a department store I appreciate a friendly sales associate vs. a pushy salesman.  I am grateful for the bank teller that can answer my questions or quickly find someone who can.  What about checking into a hotel, isn’t it nice to be greeted by someone who makes you feel like you are the most important guest of the day.  Don’t you love the car rental agencies that let you pick out your own car?  For the accountant, a credit card company that makes it easy to reconcile your statement.  I think it’s all about feeling comfortable, much like the feeling you have when you walk in your own front door.  That’s the way I felt when I walked in the doors of Christopherson Business Travel as a new employee, like I’m part of the family.
It all boils down to the worn out phrase “Customer Service”.   As a new account manager with Christopherson Business Travel, I get to hear the glowing compliments from our customers.  It’s rare that I walk into a client’s office or speak with a client on the phone that they don’t make a point of telling me how much they appreciate the service they receive from the employees at Christopherson.  I know why this is…. You are at home with Christopherson Business Travel.  Oh, I realize there is always room for improvement, mostly because if we don’t keep our customers happy, someone else will.  That’s why I decided to share some thoughts regarding ‘pleasing and keeping the customer’.
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
Well done is better than well said.
Customers are an investment. Maximize your return.
PeopleSoft ad
You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.
They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.

The way to gain a good reputation,
is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.
In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
Doug Warner
Every great business is built on friendship.
JC Penney
Do what you do so well that they will want
to see it again and bring their friends.