Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Take The Challenge: Eco-Friendly Tips For Corporate Travelers

Making eco-friendly choices as a corporate traveler can be difficult. You’re focused on closing the deal and getting back on the road, right? Sometimes, thinking long term can feel impossible while traveling. This Earth Day, I dare you to adjust just a few of your habits for the week. Some of these eco-friendly tips for corporate travelers are actually easy to maintain too. You might even find yourself using them long term.

Can you tackle these eco-friendly tips for corporate travelers?

  • Coordinate itineraries with colleagues to share cars or rides. Reduce carbon emissions by carpooling to the airport, hotel, or meeting together.
  • Use a city bike or scooter instead of short taxi rides. Bike and scooter programs are readily accessible in most major cities these days. Plus, it provides time to get some exercise and clear your head for a few minutes.
  • Take a train if traveling to a nearby city. Trains have less of a negative environmental impact, and are often overlooked as an effective and reliable transportation system.
  • If you need to use a paper map or brochure, put it back when you are done. Reuse is one of the main recycling principles. Letting others use the map or brochure again reduces overall waste in our landfills.
  • Use up the free swag before buying more office supplies. Remember all those cute pens and notebooks from conventions, vendors, and hotels? It’s time to take them out of that junk drawer and start using them. Make a goal of using up your existing supply of office materials before buying new pens and notebooks. Or, if you know you won’t use it, make a goal of not taking the swag in the first place.
  • Bring your own collapsible grocery bag. You’ll be surprised how often an extra bag comes in handy! These bags are collapsible and wont take up much room in your briefcase or purse. You can also use it as an emergency carry-on if you’re in a crunch.
  • Unplug before leaving home. Your electronics are always running, even you aren’t using them. Save power (and reduce your electricity bill!) by unplugging your coffee pot, tv, lamps, chargers, blender, etc, before you leave for a trip.
  • Install smart lights around your house. These LED lights are wifi enabled and connect to an app on your phone. Worried you left the kitchen light on before leaving for your business trip? Check from the app on your phone and turn it off! Save energy and money on your electric bill by setting up a timer system for your porch light or lights around your house. With various brands, they also connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and HomeKit. They are a bit pricey, but worth it in the long run when it comes to energy saving practices and convenience.

Are you a master of staying green while on a business trip? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Read Next:

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Car Rental Tips From A Business Travel Expert

Like most seasoned business travelers, I’m typically on the road for work related travel. But recently, I was vacationing with my family over a holiday weekend. The airport was hectic—and the car rental area was no exception. Long, slow lines of people were waiting for the various car rental companies to finalize their rentals. Fortunately, as a business traveler with a car rental membership, we bypassed the lines and were quickly on our way. It was the first time in quite a while that I realized how valuable having a membership to a car rental company can be. I thought I’d share some important tips on renting a car for business travel. Many of which that are overlooked by even experienced travelers.

Top car rental tips every business traveler should know:

  • Have a membership – Hopefully my story above persuaded you with the ease of having a membership to a car rental company. When you first sign-up, important information like divers license number, contact information, insurance, etc., are filled out and completed ahead of time. Everything concerning your account will then be fully automated and ready to go. No more standing in long car rental lines! Additionally, being a member typically includes deals that keeps your overall rates lower.
  • Find the preferred car rental company through your TMC. Most TMCs have a partnership with car rental companies, which enhances the savings and rewards for their clients. Look into your preferred partnerships if you have a TMC. At Christopherson, we work with clients to establish preferred vendor relationships and frequent traveler enrollment. Overall, this streamlines the process for both your travel managers and travelers, ultimately reducing traveler friction.
  • Stick with one car rental company – If you don’t have a preferred car rental partner, it’s time to do some research. Find a car company with perks that best suits your company’s needs and stick with them. You may benefit as well from a primary and secondary partner.
  • Take 30 seconds to walk around the car and inspect it before renting. Every time a rental car is returned, it is inspected for damage, cleaned, and put back on the lot. Or at least is should If there is damage on the car before you rent it, it likely hasn’t been seen or claimed yet. Meaning, you will likely be held responsible of the damage and its repair costs when you return the car. Car rental employees work hard, but small details can easily fall through the cracks. Be diligent about the state of the car before you take responsibility for it.
  • Check for errors inside the car. Make sure the gas tank is full and there are no warning lights on the dashboard. And always remember to return the car with a full tank of gas unless you have opted to prepurchase fuel with rental car company
  • Know your personal insurance coverage or company’s coverage. Before renting a car, most companies will ask if you need additional coverage (at an additional expense). Know what to accept or decline ahead of time by understanding your personal insurance coverage, and additionally what your company might cover. Christopherson also helps our clients by outlining their coverage in their travel policy and providing it in an easy-to-find location in our Airportal platform.
  • Keep your auto insurance card on you. In some states, you will be charged a mandatory liability insurance fee for not having your auto insurance card on you when renting the car. Most insurance companies have a downloadable version that you could keep on your smartphone to simplify the problem.
  • Verify the return location. Typically it will be the same place you rented the car, but occasionally, it will be different. It never hurts to double check, especially if you’re running to catch a flight.
  • Avoid syncing your phone to your rental car, if possible. Though it’s convenient, syncing your phone to a rental car can leave your information exposed to the next renter. If you need to, be sure you know how to unsync it once you’ve returned it.

Usually, learning the eccentricities that is the car rental industry comes through personal trial and error. Hopefully this blog gave you a few additional tips to keep in your pocket until next time you rent a car for business travel. Did we miss any? Leave a comment below.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel Management

Enterprise/National as a Ground Transportation Supplier

To be effective, corporate travel programs require many moving parts. One critical area involves nurturing wonderful supplier relationships, including ground transportation. We’ve found that Enterprise/National offers customized benefits for many of our clients.

Customized benefits from Enterprise/National:

  • Dual Brand Agreement (National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car). Programs are customized and negotiated based on the company’s specific travel patterns and traveler needs.
  • One loyalty number “Emerald Club” that is provided and works for both brands globally.
  • Global Billing options are available.
  • Local Account Management and support provided for any customized agreement.
  • 100% location compliance with corporate pricing.
  • Supporting lines of business that can help with other areas of ground transportation: Enterprise RideShare, Enterprise CarShare, Enterprise Fleet Management, Enterprise Truck Rental, Exotics by Enterprise, Enterprise Car Sales.

Christopherson Business Travel maintains excellent communication with the many Enterprise/National Representatives throughout the country.  If you need a referral to the right contact in your area, please allow us to be your resource for making an introduction.

We’ve spent the last 60 years dedicated to finding travel management solutions for busy companies. From customized travel programs to advanced technology, we provide peace of mind. Contact us to learn more about how Christopherson, along with our preferred partners, and assist you with your travel needs.

Read Next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Car Rental Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Click here for Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Click here for Part 2: Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

Using car rentals for business travel provides flexibility in getting around and can sometimes be less expensive than taxis. But while business travelers are generally aware of air and hotel safety precautions, not many of us think too much about car safety. Here are nine tips:

1. Don’t forget the basics.

Most savvy business travelers know to decline car rental insurance because it’s usually covered by their company or credit card. But it’s double check before you go. Also, always do the “walk around” the car. While it may seem unnecessary, the one time you forget may be the time you are blamed for someone else’s mistake. Before driving off the lot, make sure everything is working and that you know where signals and indicators are located. Trying to adjust your side mirror on the freeway does not make for a safe driver.

2. Keep your keys safe.

Keep your car keys with you and out of sight at all times. Years ago, car rental companies eliminated their logos from the cars, as they became targets for theft. While this precaution is helpful, you can still spot travelers by their car rental keys. Usually the ring has both sets of keys on it and a big tag with the make, model, color, and license number on it. Since you are traveling, a thief will know your car may have valuables in it.

3. Choose your parking space wisely.

Be careful when parking at events where thieves will know you will be gone for a set period of time (such as sporting or entertainment). Park “trunk out.” If storing items in your trunk, this makes your trunk visible in an aisle where more people are apt to see suspicious activity. When parking on the street, choose a busy area, i.e. in front of a store, hotel entrance, under a street lamp, or a busy corner. If the street seems too vulnerable, park in a parking garage where the likelihood of being broken into is less. However, still be aware of your surroundings. Being in a place where people can’t see you leaves you open to other acts of violence.

4. Load and hide your stuff before you reach your destination.

Everything you plan on leaving in the car should be stowed and hidden before you arrive at your destination. If, upon arrival, you take the action of stowing your valuables, you are exposing your possessions for all to see.

5. Don’t leave any possessions visible in the car.

It takes a thief five seconds to smash the glass, grab your valuables, and be out of sight, even with the alarm sounding. Keep in mind, it’s not only valuables in plain sight that are a target, but any bag or box may have something valuable to a thief. Even if replaceable, you are left with a broken window, which now you must deal with the car rental company to report the damage.

6. Unload your stuff away from your parking space.

If you have to remove luggage or valuables out of the trunk, do so away from your parking space, if possible. Should a thief see you taking it out, he/she will know that you’ll likely return with it, leaving you vulnerable as a target.

7. A neat car is less likely to get robbed.

On longer trips or road trips, we tend to leave more items in the car as we don’t want to haul everything back and forth to our hotel room at each stop. But leaving bags, or even covering items with jackets only attracts interest. If there isn’t much in the car, there is less curiosity.

8. Check for your valuables as soon as you return to your car.

If you have any suspicion, do a quick check of your items before leaving. A common tactic of thieves is to take a camera out of the camera bag, but leave the bag. You are then long gone before you notice the missing item, and can’t pinpoint when it might have been taken.

9. Take your time upon return.

Most major car rental companies have automatic check-in and readily available receipts from the rental return attendant. But take a moment and really check the car. But how many times have you stored your sunglasses or phone in the same area you do in your personal car, only to leave it behind at the return station?

As a final reminder when business traveling, don’t forget the four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Categories
Travel News

Traveling Green – What is your Carbon Footprint?

In honor of Earth Day last Friday, I thought I would share with you how companies large and small are looking at their carbon footprints. As an account manager, recently I have had companies request data regarding their carbon footprint and miles flown. It got me thinking about who the greenest companies are within the travel industry. Some of the information I was able to find took me by surprise.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Upgrade me please…

After scanning through various articles this week I came upon one titled How to Score an Upgrade: Air, Car and Hotel on CNN Money.com.  I was so enthralled that I thought I would share parts of it with you along with some extra’s from Christopherson Business Travel.

AIR:

Your odds: One in one hundred.
Pick your plane wisely. Passengers on certain Boeing 757s (with 26 first-class seats to 158 in coach) have a better shot than those on an Airbus 320 (12 first-class, 126 coach). Check out a plane’s layout at seatguru.com.
Scope out the cabin. The more empty seats in first class, the better your chances of landing one. To check out the load factor, go to the airline website just before check-in, start to book a business-class ticket, and click “view seat map”.
Ask at the right time. The best day for upgrades is Saturdays; fewer elite travelers fly then. Go to the agent and say something like: “If you need to bump people from coach to first, please consider me. I’m low maintenance — and my back is killing me.”

HOTEL:

Your odds: One in five.  Occupancy rates for the first half of 2010 were estimated at a dismal 56% (down from 63% in ’07), reports Smith Travel Research.
Ask your Christopherson agent for negotiated specials. Christopherson has negotiated rates in various cities where you might be traveling to. For example, most likely when booking the Christopherson rate at the Hilton in Salt Lake City your chances for an upgrade are good plus you receive a complimentary loaded buffet breakfast, free parking, free internet and double Hilton points.
Stay at business hotels on weekends. You can improve your upgrade chances by staying Thursday to Sunday vs. midweek.
Ask multiple times. Use the special-requests option when booking your hotel.  Once your reservation has been made by a Christopherson specialist, call the hotel directly. Talk to the desk clerk at check-in, “We’re here celebrating special event. Any chance of an upgrade?”
Check in late. Most guests show up around 3 p.m., so arrive after 7, when the front desk knows which rooms are left.

CARS:

Your odds: One in 20. Many car vendors cut fleets in 2008 and 2009, making upgrades less common.
Choose the right car. If a company runs out of the vehicle class you reserved, you will be upgraded. Book a midsize car — it’s the most in demand.
Reserve at the right time. Friday nights and Monday mornings are peak pickup times. That means there’s less chance the car class you specify will be available.
Ask for special offers. Ask your Christopherson agent for any free or discounted weekend days (Avis coupon code TUCAO53 and mention your corporate AWD number. Exp 4/2011. Coupons available at Christopherson Business Travel while they last). Check with your credit card company or coupon travel magazines.
For more information Christopherson’s corporate competitive advantages please contact one of our account managers at allam@cbtravel.com.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

In case you haven’t heard….

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

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

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

Christopherson Business Travel…. on the move!

Since we are celebrating our country’s history let’s take a look at some of our own….
Christopherson Business Travel…. on the move!
Sales results 2002 – $79.9 million.  Sales were over $200 million in 2009.
Voice mail implemented April 2003 – The vote is in 75% of our clients surveyed said they would like us to have voice mail and 85% of the employees agreed!
Christopherson billboard advertising campaign 2004 –Remember those great blue billboards with those clever sayings?  “We draw the line at packing your bags”, “Hear that? It’s your bottom line saying “Thank You”, and “Travel Agency for Capitalists and their tightwad CFO’s” to name a few. 
Denver travel agency purchased 2005 – Travel Connections  was purchased which added 14 new team members and $15 million in new travel bookings.
AirPortal® trademark approved 2006– Great news!  The name AirPortal® is exclusively ours.  AirPortal was the beginning of many great things to come from our incredible technology team.
Christopherson selected as #1 in the “Readers’ Choice Awards” survey by Connect Magazine 2007 – The survey was taken among high-income readers in business decision-maker positions.
Christopherson Business Travel and Denver based Andavo Travel Announce Merger 2008 –
The combined operations formed one of the largest travel management firms in the United States and the largest national BCD Travel affiliate.

Christopherson Wins the Alfred P. Sloan Award 2009 – What a great place to work!
And now for some frivolous but ‘thought you might like to know’ facts….
A LONG TIME AGO: Nov 21, 1783 – Who thought then, at the early start of aviation history what air travel would mean. The modern age of aviation began with the first untethered human lighter- than-air flight on November 21, 1783, in a hot air balloon designed by the Montgolfier brothers.
WHAT’S A “QANTAS?” You probably recognize the name of this Australian national airline… but what’s it mean? It’s an acronym for: Queensland and Northern Territories Air Service.
ANY QUESTIONS? As printed on an American Airlines package of peanuts: “Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts.”
NO TIME TO NAP: The shortest scheduled airline flight is from the Scottish island of Westray to its neighbor island, Papa Westray. Flight time: 2 minutes!
THINK YOU LIKE TRAVELING? The world’s first travel agency was founded by Englishman Thomas Cook in 1850. Not only did he introduce the concept of the hotel reservation, Cook also personally organized and led the first round-the-world tour, lasting 222 days and covering over 40225 kilometers!
HA! HA! HA!  A young and foolish pilot wanted to sound cool on the aviation frequencies. So, this was his first time approaching a field during the nighttime.  Instead of making any official requests to the tower, he said: “Guess who?”
The controller switched the field lights off and replied: “Guess where!”
And last but certainly not least…
WHAT?!  Hijacking of airplanes was outlawed in 1961.

Categories
Travel News

What Happens When……..

For the second time in less than a decade, we have seen a continental wide shut down of an air traffic system. The first time was in 2001, starting on 9/11 and lasting a little over a week. The second time was last month’s shut down of the European airspace as a result of volcanic ash.
So what happens when a major event such as these occurs? Are the airlines obligated to do anything for you and if so, what? What about hotels and car rental agencies? And cruise lines and tour companies, what do they have to do in such an event? Do you know where to find out what their legal obligations are and what your legal rights are?
As has been discussed here previously the EU and the US have different regulations concerning flight cancellations. Both governing bodies require the airlines to do more when it is something that the airline should be able to control. Similarly, both are more forgiving when it is beyond the control of the airline. In the case of 9-11, it was the government shutting down the airspace and the airlines had no control over that. And in the case of the volcanic ash, well, Mother Nature gets the blame and no one has control over that. Legally the airlines are not obligated to do much for a traveler when it is something beyond the airline’s control. If they cancel your flight, the airline can offer you a refund or they can reschedule your travel at a later date. The first one isn’t so bad if you are just starting your trip and your trip was time sensitive. The second is generally used if travel has commenced or you need to go sooner or later. We saw a great many people opting for the second. At Christopherson Business Travel, we spent hours finding alternative schedules, getting waivers from the airlines and then reissuing tickets for our clients. If, by chance, you had booked your travel direct with the airlines, you would have been the one on the phone for long periods of time to get your new flight arrangements made.
How do you know what the airlines will do for you? Each and every airline flying into, out of or through the US, has what is known as a Contract of Carriage and they must have it available at the ticket counter and the gate should a customer need or want it. Most have them on their websites as well. These contracts will vary from airline to airline so don’t assume that because one airline says one thing, that all of them will say the same thing. While it sometimes seems that the airlines are a bunch of kids playing follow the leader, it is not safe to assume that everything is exactly the same. So when in doubt, get a copy of the contract of carriage and read those parts that are pertinent to your needs.
Now what happens to you if you no show a hotel due to a volcanic eruption? Well, most hotels will waive a no show billing provided you contact them as quickly as possible. If you wait a week or two, well, they aren’t as forgiving as if you either call them as soon as you know that you aren’t going to make it or within a day of your scheduled arrival. I must point out, not all hotels will waive it. There are some hotels that don’t worry about good customer service and/or about creating good will. Here again, if you booked your hotel direct with the hotel or through Hotwire, Priceline or via the hotel chain websites, you will be spending your time and money tracking down the number of who you need to speak with and then calling them. If you booked through Christopherson Business Travel, your agent would take care of this at the same time he or she was taking care of your airfare.
Hotels are generally regulated by local authorities, such as cities or counties and in a few places states or even national governments will regulate them. There is no equivalent to the airline contract of carriage. This makes it much harder to know what your specific rights are and in the cases of hotels overseas can make it very hard to get things resolved in a manner that one would expect.
Car rentals are generally easier since most car rentals are not prepaid or guaranteed with a credit card. If it isn’t prepaid or guaranteed, basically the car rental agency has a car sitting on their lot that they were hoping to have rented to you. You aren’t stuck with a bill for it. Now if you prepaid the car rental or you reserved a car that required a guarantee and you no show, you may find yourself in a similar situation as you would with your hotel. The sooner you are able to contact the car rental agency and explain what has happened, the easier it to get them to work with you. If you did it yourself, well, I’ve covered that already.
Cruises and tours operate more like the airlines than hotels and rental cars. They have contracts that specify what they will and won’t do. The contracts also specify their policies for cancellations. These contracts are very specific as to what they have to do. It is a good idea to go over those before you put your money down. One thing that all the cruise lines and most of the tour operators offer is some form of “insurance” or “cancellation waiver”, that allows customers to cancel for a variety of reasons. Again, these have their own contract and each one varies from company to company, so it is VERY important to read and understand the terms of coverage before purchasing it. One downside to purchasing it from a vendor is that it only covers what you purchased from the vendor. For example, if you are going on a cruise and you purchase their cancellation coverage, it will cover the cruise, but if you didn’t get your airfare through the cruise line or you booked your own hotels or maybe you booked a shore excursion on your own, none of those things would be covered by the cruise line’s cancellation policy. So what are you to do to insure that you get your money back from those items?
There are travel insurance policies offered by third party insurance companies. There are many different options available in the marketplace. They range from policies that cover the minimum amounts and things, to policies that allow you to cancel at anytime, for any reason, that include trip interruption coverage, medical evacuation, to your baggage being lost, stolen or damage. And the idea that you only need insurance if you are elderly or just taking a cruise, isn’t really valid. We had someone who was going to Cancun on a family vacation who ended up in the hospital and couldn’t make the trip. Without the insurance the money spent purchasing the airfare and prepaying the hotel would have been lost. However with the traveler had purchased insurance and was covered. Christopherson Business Travel has agents licensed and trained to sell travel insurance. So when you booking your next trip, take a moment to consider if you want to get travel insurance.
Hopefully we won’t have any more major disruptions of travel in the future however even small disruptions can be trying for the person traveling. Let Christopherson Business Travel help make it a little easier for you by allowing us to utilize our knowledge, contacts and expertise on your behalf.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Car Rental Companies – Covering It All

With the recent announcement of Hertz purchasing Dollar & Thrifty, all three major car rental companies now cover everything from corporate business to leisure travel business. The purchase announced earlier this week is in the amount of $1.17 billion in cash and stock. The purchase of Dollar & Thrifty will significantly expand the vacation/leisure portion of their business.
Hertz is already the world’s largest car rental company by locations and with this latest transaction it boosts their total to 9,800. “Together we will be able to compete even more effectively and efficiently against other multi-brand car rental companies, offering customers a full range of rental options in the U.S.,” Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement.
The three major U.S. car rental companies, each with two or more large brands are Hertz, Enterprise Holdings Inc. (Enterprise & National) and the Avis Budget Group. Enterprise Holdings Inc. has 7,600 locations, the Avis Budget Group has 6,900 and Hertz now has 9,800.
Competition is always the name of the game and Monday’s announcement comes after the Avis Budget consolidation in 2002 and Enterprise’s acquisition of Alamo and National in 2007. Advertising, marketing and commercials seem to be on the increase as well, follow these links for a little entertainment (some old, some new). To rent your next car, contact Christopherson Andavo Travel at 801.327.7700 or 303.740.3000

Categories
Business Travel

Shall I drive my own car… or rent one?

Owners, financial guru’s and sourcing managers, mileage reimbursement is a huge expense when employees drive their own cars for work purposes.  Did you know that based on a reimbursement rate of $0.50 cents anything over 120 miles driven by using a personal car is more expensive than renting one?   Companies both large and small that require their employees drive their own cars are reevaluating the reimbursement process and switching to renting cars instead.  Enterprise and Hertz (their off airport locations called Hertz Local Edition) both have programs that will bring your rental car to you.  The car will be delivered to your home in the morning and then you drop it off at the rental office and they will take you home.  It’s very slick and easy.  Here are a couple of other reasons why renting a car makes more sense then driving your own.  1- Less chance of breaking down on the road.  A rental car will usually have less miles and the necessary maintenance will have just been done.  Plus if it does break down you don’t have to foot the bill for the repairs.  Yes!!!  2- Less wear and tear on your own car.  Consistant long distance driving will wear your car out much faster than normal.  Save those miles on your own car and put them on a rental.  3- Renting a vehicle will give you the opportunity to try out a car you might want to own some day.  With National Car Rentals “choose your own car” program you get to decide from several makes and models which car to drive.  Perhaps a PT Cruiser… or a hot Dodge Charger has been on your list to try out.
Here is a mileage calculator link by Enterprise Car Rental that will help you determine if driving a personal car versus a rental car would be the greatest value.  Plug in the numbers and it will automatically calculate it for you.  Rental rates are based on current Enterprise daily rates and are also changeable.
To reserve your rental car contact any one of our professional travel consultants at 801-327-7700.  You’ll drive away happy!

Categories
Travel News

2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyer’s Cost Forecast

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has provided the following travel industry
2010 Forecasts for the following ranges for changes in rates/fares:

Average U.S. Domestic Rates/Fares

Average rates/airfares 2009 % Change expected for 2010
AIR $ 299 * -2% to +3% *
HOTEL $ 136 -2% to -8%
CAR RENTAL $   46 -1% to -3%

* Airline ancillary fees may increase the cost of an airline ticket by 30% or more

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more.  That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010.  Another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year.

Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010.  Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas:  number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).
NBTA President & CEO, Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M, CMM said, “Travel management is once again quickly responding to shifting business cycles to help companies optimize their travel investments to maximize profits.  As the economic recovery begins taking hold in 2010, companies will take advantage of low travel costs to send employees on the road in greater volumes, thus fueling the recovery.”
Banikowski continued.  “The uptick in business travel in 2010 will take place within the framework of a new corporate culture in terms of travel.  In the “new normal”, we see stronger travel mandates, greater use of pre-trip approval and audits, tighter restrictions on premium class travel, more focus on travel ROI, and enterprise-wide strategic meetings management.”
In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies

source:  www.nbta.org

Categories
Travel News

Attention all rental car drivers

Cashless toll roads are becoming a huge problem for car rental companies who in turn are hiring third party collection agencies. These agencies then tack on outrageous fees which show up on a renter’s credit card bill sometimes months later.
For instances on my last trip to Denver I did not sign up for the daily toll road access fee figuring I would not need to travel on E-470 (cashless toll road) which is exactly what happen. What if, however, at the last minute my meeting ended late, there was a horrific accident on I-225 backing up travel for hours; what would I have done? Most likely wanting to get home that evening I would have taken E-470 in order to make my flight and then worried about the fee later. With some rental car companies you have a choice of a daily toll fee of $8.95, or $32.95 a week…OR… by declining a fee and then driving on a cashless toll road receiving fines long after your expense report has been completed, approved, and paid.
In Jeffrey Leib’s article in The Denver Post, Nov 29, 2009, “Cashless E-470 takes toll on rental-car drivers in the form of fines,” he talks about how irritating the problem can be and how one traveler was fined $125 – only $11 being toll fees.
Christopher Elliot on his blog, www.elliot.org discusses this same problem, http://www.elliott.org/blog/are-car-rental-companies-overbilling-customers-for-toll-violations and how charges and fines are also showing up months later for supposed traffic violations, http://www.elliott.org/blog/help-my-car-rental-company-charged-me-for-running-a-red-light.
In other words – BE AWARE!!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Uncovering Hidden Travel Fees

Nearly every day we are hearing about new fees imposed above and beyond the advertised cost of airfare, car rentals & hotel rates.  These fees increase revenue for the airlines, car rental companies & hotels, but are they legitimate fees and are the charges always accurate?  Do we always receive the services that these fees are charged for?  Are these charges necessary?  Regardless of the answers to these questions, once these fees are implemented, it is very unlikely that they will ever disappear.
For corporations who are reimbursing travelers for business travel expenses and for individuals who are paying for leisure travel, it is wise to know what you are being charged for and if you are obligated to pay these ‘hidden travel fees’.  You should always read the fine print when making travel arrangements and then be ready to dispute any charges that are billed incorrectly.
Listed below are some, but not all, of the fees that we have been seeing recently~

Airline Hidden Fees

  • Baggage fees (try packing all you need in carry-on luggage or if possible, ship your luggage to your destination, via FedEx 3-day service, UPS or FedEx Ground, it can be much cheaper than paying the airline)
  • Fees for NOT checking in on-line
  • Mandatory curbside service fees

Hotel Hidden Fees
(In 2007 the hotel industry took in 1.75 billion in fees alone)

  • Mandatory bellman fees or fees for holding luggage
  • Hospitality fees
  • Resort fees
  • Surcharges and gratuities can be added to your bill automatically
  • Early departure fees
  • Fees for in-room safes even if they are not used
  • Some mini-bars have sensors that record when an item is moved and you can see charges for items you did not partake of.

Car Rental Hidden Fees

  • No-show fees are now being charged by many rental companies
  • High priced fuel costs if you don’t fill-up before returning the car
  • 1 hour late may result in a full day rental fee
  • Energy recovery fees charged to cover the companies cost of doing business
  • Fees for early returns or arranging in advance to drop off on a later date

To save money and frustration with your billing process, be sure to check ahead of time for what you are being charged for.  Be assertive, and ask before making your reservation, for fees you will be charged that are not disclosed up front.  Review your bill closely and dispute charges that you feel you are not obligated to pay.  You can always check with your Christopherson Andavo Travel Agent or Account Manager to better understand these hidden fees.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Considerations when making changes to your travel policies for 2010

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

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

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

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

How Christopherson Finds Additional Savings on Hotel and Car Reservations for Our Clients

In today’s economy, finding addition savings with business travel is upper most on CFO’s, travel managers, and business travelers’ minds.  One way Christopherson accomplishes added savings for our clients is through some of our proprietary technologies, in particular, Hotel Re-Check® and Car Re-Check®.  Similar to the airline industry, hotels and car rental companies are raising or lowering their prices based on excess “distressed” inventory.  Our tool automatically re-checks the rates booked in a reservation for a business traveler a few days prior to arrival.  If a lower rate is found, your reservation is changed to that lower rate thereby taking advantage of increased savings to your travel budget.  Whether you company’s policy is to book travel 14, 7, or less days from travel dates, Christopherson’s tool provides additional savings otherwise not realized.
Unlike monitoring air fares after purchase for a lower rate; when a lower rate is found, the airlines add an additional (exchange) fee.  Your savings, in this case, are diluted considerably whereas hotel and car companies do not charge an exchange fee.
Christopherson then tracks these savings through our ValueLogic® report keeping you apprised of all savings realized.  It is common for a company to save anywhere from $25-50 per night on a hotel.  For example just last week a client was sending several travelers to a convention.  Hotel Re-Check® found a few days prior to arrival the hotel room rate had decreased $40 per night—saving them $1,416 dollars!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

New Client Maximizes Return on their Travel Investment (ROI)

This new client found us on Google.  Not being satisfied with their present provider’s service or the cost for that service decided to make a switch to Christopherson Business Travel because CBT offered additional services, exclusive technology, and competitive transaction fees.

This new client was very surprised at how soon and how much they were able to save in just the first month with CBT.  Their initial goal was to convert most of their travel to our online booking tool.  While waiting for the online booking tool to be customized for them, our full service agent was able to save them an average of 23% on each trip (air, car, hotel, and fees). Our experienced, knowledgeable, and professional agents provide exceptional customer service AND positively affected this company’s bottom line. Now—that’s something to talk about!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Business Travel Downturn

There has been a sizable cutback in business travel during the recent economic downturn. We’ve seen many of our clients reduce their business travel budgets in the 20+ percent range. I’ve spoken to many of my associates, who own travel management companies around the country. They’re all seeing about the same percentage of client travel reductions.

Business travel tends to be a leading economic indicator. It is one of the first expenses a company reduces during an economic downturn and conversely, it tends to be one of the first things to go up during an economic expansion.

We have been fortunate because we have been increasing our market share, during the past six months, which has offset some of the travel reductions from our existing clients.

There is a certain amount of mission critical travel which can’t be avoided. We have seen our clients respond to the need to cut their travel costs in many ways.

The first trend is simply cost avoidance. Companies can “avoid” travel in many ways:

  1. Meeting alternatives. We are seeing more clients hold meetings using web conferencing tools like WebEx and GoToMeeting®.
  2. Training the trainer. Some Clients are sending fewer people to a training conference and then come back and train their teams.
  3. Shorten the trip. Clients are packing more meetings into a shorter period of time to trim an extra day’s expense on the hotel and car rental.
  4. Cancel incentive trips. This is partially in response to our government’s portrayal of AIG’s and other financial services industry incentive trips.

The second trend we have seen is clients are moving down the value chain. Clients who used to allow business and first class travel overseas have restricted their policy to only allow coach travel. Clients who used to stay at the higher priced hotel chains are moving down to the more moderately priced hotels. We’re seeing clients rent smaller cars and rent them with the less expensive off-airport car rental companies.

The third trend we’re seeing is clients are using this opportunity to renegotiate their contracts with their travel vendors. Most airlines have cut their capacity to right-size their “available seats” with the reduced travel demand. Hotels and car rental companies can’t do that as easily. With empty hotel rooms and lots of car rental inventory our clients have been able to get better deals.

Business cycles come and go. The successful companies are the ones who can respond quickly without affecting the value they provide to their customers. They will be stronger when the economy turns around… and it will!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why Now Is A Great Time To Travel

I know many people are planning on staying close to home during these tough economic times in order to save money or just because it seems like the right thing to do. Actually this is a very good time to travel for a variety of reasons, ranging from lower costs to smaller crowds to fewer competitors calling on clients. And I’m sure that there are other reasons that I haven’t thought of but apply to many people.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these reasons starting with the last one first.  As many companies opt to cut their travel expenses they are removing the sales call from their sales staff’s bag of tricks.  While it is true that much can be accomplished via the phone, webinars and the like, there is an equally important truth, which is when you actually visit the client face to face it gives you the opportunity to actually meet the client, see what the client needs and wants, as well as create a relationship based in part, on the perception that you consider this client important enough to show up, even when times are tough.  I have heard of a number of companies that have cut their travel by as much as 70%.  This means that a significant portion of their sales force isn’t traveling and as such isn’t competing at the personal level.  Airfares are down, hotel stays are down, even car rental rates are down, so this is a very good time to go.  As an example, the Marriott Marquis at Time Square in NYC, was $450.00 and up per night, this time last year, now the rates start at $254.00 a night.  This time last year, the lowest one way fare from Los Angeles to New York City was $161.00, today you can get it for $109.00.  Those are pretty typical savings that are available right now, which means that it is a much better deal to travel for business right now.

In terms of vacation travel, this year is shaping up to be a great year to go on vacation.  With so many people opting to do staycations, many of the places that are normally packed with tourists during the summer months, such as Disneyland and Disneyworld, Europe, Hawaii and cruises, are looking like they will be relatively uncrowded this summer.  So if you’ve always wanted to visit the Louvre in Paris but the thought of the massive crowds kept you away, this may be the best time to go and not have to be in line for hours.

This coupled with the discounts that are being offered the airlines, hotels, tour companies, cruise lines, etc., it makes this summer look like a terrific bargain.  When you compare prices between last year and this year, the difference is amazing.  Just before the end of March, there were roundtrip airfares between New York City and London, starting at $68.00, plus taxes and surcharges.  Now, they start at about $90.00 roundtrip plus taxes and surcharges and yes, there are very limited number of seats available at these prices and they do require a Saturday night stay and travel must commence no later than May 26th, 2009 and they have a number of other restrictions, such as the tickets must be issued within 72 hours of making the reservation and ticketed no later than 5 days prior to departure, whichever comes first.  However when compared to 2008, where the lowest roundtrip fare was $236.00 roundtrip plus taxes and surcharges, this year’s fare looks awfully enticing.   Then when you look at the difference of the relative strength of the US Dollar vs. the Euro and other European currencies, Europe looks much more affordable.

This clearly is the time to go because who knows when prices will be this low again.  So if you’ve been saying to yourself I want to go on a cruise but I want a really good deal or if you want to go to Disney or Europe or really anywhere, now is the time to go.

Categories
Travel News

Need Miles? Here some ideas

With summer vacations fast approaching and wallets seemingly thinner than they should be, more people are turning to their frequent flyer programs to help lower the expense of their vacation.  Some folks are discovering that their miles have been devalued over the last year or two and suddenly need a few more miles in order to secure the flights that they want.

Here are some options that may allow you get a few more miles.

US Airways is offering double qualifying miles.  The offer runs through April 30th, 2009.  You do need to register prior to traveling.  The url is https://www.usairways.com/awa/Content/dividendmiles/promotions.aspx.
United Airlines has a variety of offers which can be found at: www.United.com/mileageplus under the Airline Promotions section.  These range from bonuses of 10,000 miles for flying on specific routes to triple miles in some markets.  You do need to register in order to gain these benefits. Most of these offers require that travel is completed by late April or early May so you will want to get started as soon as possible.
American Airlines is offering members of the AAdavantage program the chance to earn double elite status miles from now until June 15th, 2009.  You do need to register at www.aa.com/dbeqm in order to get these miles.
Delta Air Lines is currently offering bonuses for flying between Cincinnati and select cities.  The have a weighted or scaled approach to their bonuses.  Travel must be completed no later than the 12th of May, 2009.  The first roundtrip is worth 3,000 bonus miles and by the time you complete your fifth trip you will get 10,000 for your trip.  You do need to register for this trip at: www.delta.com/cvgbonus.
Continental is offering a variety of promotions, including double elite qualifying miles.  Most of their current promotions require travel to be completed no later than May 31st, 2009.  You will need to register at www.continental.com/onepass and go to News and Offers for the specifics.
Other strategies for enhancing one’s miles can including using specific car rental agencies, staying at hotels and participating in their frequent guest programs, or one can get miles by taking advantage of various credit card offers or there are the shopping and service options. 
The car rental agencies typically offer some set number of miles per rental, regardless of the length and cost of the rental.  Generally these offers range between 250 and 1000 miles per rental.  You can use rentals to help build your miles incrementally over the course of a year.
The hotel programs generally allow you to convert their points into frequent flyer miles.  Depending on the program, it may not be worth converting the points to miles since the points can be used for free night stays.
The credit card programs frequently have hidden costs ranging from fees to utilize miles, to higher interest rates or fees to transfer points to miles.  My advice is to do your homework to make sure that the program works for you before signing up.
The shopping and services option that most airlines now are can be a gold mine of miles.  You can get miles for purchasing everything from music at iTunes, to buying dinner, to purchasing electronics at Best Buy.  Plus you can get miles for using Netflix, or Brinks Home Security or T-Mobile or for using partners when you do your mortgage or when you make investments through select brokerage firms, just to name a few options.  If you are going be spending the money for shopping or if you need to get a mortgage or you are buying an investment or any number of other services, why not get miles for it.
Last but by no means least, you can purchase a limited number of miles directly from the airlines.  So if you find that you are short by 1000 or 5000 miles, you can buy enough miles to get you to that next award level. 
Hopefully you will find that some or all of these ideas are helpful and allow you to maximize your miles and allow you to enjoy your summer vacation at little or no cost to you.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Secure Flight

What the TSA is going to require starting May 1st, 2009, is as follows:
1. The name on the ticket MUST match the name on the valid government issued photo ID presented at check in and at the TSA security checkpoints. This means that if the ID reads “John Q. Smith”, then the ticket must read “John Q. Smith”. If there is a name mismatch the traveler may be subjected to extensive secondary screening and may be forced to miss the flight or may even be denied boarding.
2. At the same time, the TSA is requiring the airlines and travel agencies, acting as an agent of the airlines, to gather the following information and submit it through the GDS to the TSA. We must submit the full name, including first, middle and last name, gender and date of birth. This must be done for every flight entering, departing or fly through the airspace of the United States. It is not required for flights that don’t enter that airspace. So fights between Sydney and Brisbane are exempt.
To be accurate, this is voluntary. A traveler may opt out however in doing so the traveler may be subject to additional screening or denied transportation or authorization. Also, the TSA may share information provided with law enforcement or intelligence agencies or others that it deems necessary.
See www.tsa.gov for more details about privacy.
So what does this mean to you, the traveler?  It means that whatever source you use for booking your travel will be asking you for more details about yourself.  You are likely to get the following questions.  First, how does your name appear on the identification that you use when you check in at the airport?  Second, what is your full, legal name, date of birth and gender?  If you are booking with an agent, you may not be asked about your gender however online booking sources will be asking that question.  You have the right to decline to answer any of these questions, however you will potentially be subjected to extra screening and the TSA reserves the right to deny you entry into secured areas, such as the boarding areas.  That would cause you to miss your flight.
That won’t be the only impact it has on travelers.  It may impact your frequent flyer accounts, hotel frequent guest programs and car rental programs.  Since most of these reward programs require that the name on the reservation match the name on the account this may cause some issues if your name on your identification doesn’t match the name on the program.  For example, if your frequent flyer account is in the name of John Public and your government issued photo id is in the name of John Q. Public, the name on your reservation isn’t going to match your frequent flyer account and therefore you won’t earn miles and you won’t get any of the benefits of your status.  So what do you need to do?  You need to contact the airline in question and change the name on your account to match the id that you use when you check in.  A word of caution here, if you travel internationally, the id that you will be using to check in with the airlines will be your passport and yet most people don’t carry their passport with them when traveling domestically and thus use their driver’s license as their photo id at check in.  You may want to make sure that both your passport and your driver’s license names match as well.
Okay, so you’ve started to change your name on all of your identification so that it matches and you’re changing your frequent flyer accounts to match your id.  All is wonderful and you are pretty much done, right? Wrong!  You will want to insure that all the hotel and car programs have the same name as your photo id.  Why?  Because when your reservation is made the name that goes on your ticket will be the one that your car and hotel are booked under and if those account numbers don’t match, you may not get your points and the perks that your status entitles you to.  So you will want to contact those companies as well and change your name to match everything else.
The bad news is most of the companies involved say that it will take four to six weeks to change your name on your account.  The good news is that you’ve got that at this point.
Given that this program doesn’t start until the 1st of May, unless it is pushed back again, it will take a while for it to ramp up since many people have already booked travel well into the summer months and their names don’t match exactly.  Our suggestion is to get started now and hopefully by the time that the TSA and airlines get this up and running, you will be ready to go.
Happy Travels!