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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

As business travelers we all need a break, however we travel so much for work that the thought of another trip (even if it IS a vacation) makes many of us us want to sit down and just say NO! My advice? Take an organized tour or cruise. From the minute you step on the plane to the minute your journey ends, everything is taken care of for you. But first and foremost you must obey the Ten Commandments of Travel. They might not have come from God, but if you follow them, you very well could be treated like one. Enjoy!

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

  1. Thou shalt not expect to find things precisely as they are at home, for thou hast left home to find things different.
  2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the basis for a great vacation.
  3. Thou shalt not let other tour members get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.
  4. Thou shalt not worry. The person who worrieth hath little joy and few things are fatal.
  5. Thou shalt not judge all the people of a country by one person with whom thou had a problem.
  6. Thou shalt in Rome, do somewhat as the Romans do.
  7. Thou shalt be on time, for if thou art late thou shalt make thy own way to the next hotel.
  8. Thou shalt carry thy passport at all times, for a traveler without a passport is one without a country.
  9. Thou shalt learn to say “Thank You” in any language. Verily, it is worth more than gold.
  10. Thou shalt acquaint thyself with the currency of the land in which  you traverse, and thus thou shalt not be cheated.
  11. Thou art welcome in every land. Treat thy hosts with respect and thou shalt be an honored guest.

So let it be written–it’s not too late to purchase a gift certificate from Andavo Travel, Christopherson Business Travel’s vacation planning division. Certainly, nothing could be better than opening up a present full of vacation excitement on Christmas morning. Call our travel experts today! 801-327-7600 or 1866-327-7600

Categories
Travel Management Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Take A Walk On The Vacation Side Of Life

Did you know that Christopherson Business Travel also has a vacation travel division, called Andavo TravelTwo brands under the same roof, and we here on the vacation side of life would love to assist you in planning your next vacation. Or perhaps you’re thinking of inviting the family along on your next business trip, to maybe extend your stay and enjoy a little relaxation? We can help with that too. Andavo Travel is a Virtuoso member agency and, as such, is chock full of excellent travel advisers. You can review some of our ranks across the country and choose the one that is just right for you.
How Andavo Travel can help you personally:

  • Avoid hours of internet research and price comparisons
  • Utilize our expertise: Our well-traveled advisers use firsthand experiences to customize vacations
  • Enjoy global connections: Personal contacts at 1,000+ airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts worldwide
  • Provide an advocate in case of flight cancellations, delays or lost luggage

How Andavo Travel can help a company:

  • Arrange groups, meetings and incentive travel
  • Plan company retreat travel
  • Reward employees with travel gift certificates, redeemable via Andavo
  • Offer discounts for a vast array of travel suppliers through our exclusive contracts
  • Participate in your employee health/benefits fairs

What is Virtuoso?

  • Virtuoso is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies
  • Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisers have global connections with the best travel providers, which means access to the best travel offers that consumers can’t get on their own
  • For Andavo and Christopherson clients, this means access to exclusive, complimentary travel offers:
  • Room upgrades
  • Meals
  • Limousine transfers
  • Spa treatments
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • Subscriptions to renowned travel publications

Andavo Travel can be reached at 866-327-7600 or vacations@andavotravel.com.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Safe Travels! 30 Ways to Make it Happen

Did you know that you should sit behind the taxi driver so that you can see him but he can’t see you? Or that you should be aware of staged car accidents as they are meant to catch you off guard?  Or that you should never wear name tags in public?
In today’s world it’s more important than ever to think about what’s going on around you, near you, and to you. Here are 30 tips from the TSA to help ensure safe travels on your next trip:

30 safety tips for traveling

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.
2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.
3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.
5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.
6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.
7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.
8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.
10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.
11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.
12. Do not wear name tags in public.
13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.
14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.
15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.
16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.
17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.
18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.
19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.
20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.
21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.
22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.
23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friends or relatives contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.
24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.
25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.
27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.
28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.
29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.
30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Pack Two Weeks in Carry-on Luggage (With No Wrinkles!)

I’ve heard the stories, but I thought they were just that … stories.
Not until I recently tried it did I believe that you could pack for a week (or even two!) using a carry-on sized suitcase (22″ x 14″ x 9″, or 56 x 36 x 23 cm).
The International Luggage Center located in North Salt Lake, Utah has one of the largest showrooms in the world, having over 500 cases to choose from.
You can visit their website here—and be sure to watch their “Power Packing” videos.
I hope you are as pleasantly surprised as I was at what can be done with a 22″ x 14″ x 9″ piece of luggage. Think of it as saving time and money.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

TripIt is for the traveler on the GO!

Several months ago Christopherson Business Travel announced our partnership and integration with TripIt. Who would have thought that this innovative smart phone application would become so popular? For those of you missing out, TripIt is an application designed to simplify online travel planning. Users can generate a master itinerary with maps, directions, and weather for any destination. Activity planning can be accomplished through the comprehensive itinerary. Plans can be easily shared, monitored, and updated through available downloads.
As a Christopherson AirPortal user your can sign up for TripIt from the AirPortal front page. From that point on your trips will be automatically sent to your smart phone via TripIt. TripIt will be especially useful for those who travel often. It generates a master itinerary with all travel information in one place, ready to share with coworkers, family, and others. Your information flow will be streamlined and collated into one easily managed application.
There are two plans: Basic TripIt and TripIt Pro Enterprise program. The basic program is good but the Pro Enterprise program is where it’s at. Basic TripIt is free and right now, Christopherson Business Travel has a great deal going on for TripIt Pro Enterprise.
With TripIt Pro Enterprise you will be notified of gate changes, airline flight delays, baggage carousel changes, alternate flight options and more. For the Christopherson rate of $39 a year, your travelers can enjoy the luxury of a worry free travel experience. If your entire company would like to be part of the TripIt Pro user family then we can sign you up for only $1 per ticket issued.
Contact a Christopherson account manager today for a 30 day free trial. Call 866-327-7700 or email us at allam@cbtravel.com. It won’t take you 30 days to wonder how you ever stayed on top of your travel without TripIt!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Airline Fee Tracking Made Easy

You either hate them or accept them, but for the most part airline ancillary fees are here to stay. When I look at the larger picture, it’s definitely worth the additional $10 to $100 to fly instead of drive to a destination that would normally take more than 6 hours and up to several days to drive. To help make the translation of service fees a bit easier, the USA Today Travel section posted a very helpful list of airline fees on March 10th.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Do fees make you want to drive instead of fly?

Categories
Travel News

Same Old Airport Food? OTG To The Rescue!

Are you tired of the same old food and slow service at many airport restaurants? Well, OTG Management appears to be listening and it’s creating mouth watering experiences for many!
What started in the JetBlue Terminal at Kennedy Airport with Food Network is beginning to revolutionize your dining experience while traveling. OTG Management is offering cuisine instead of fast food at many airports. However, if you are in a hurry the answer may lie within the JFK Airport, Gate 15 & Terminal 3. This is where innovation is coming to life! You can ‘dine’ in a hurry or take time to multi-task prior to your flight: fuel your body, charge your cell phone, and work on your laptop all in one place.
Take a look at your enhanced options and the forward thinking of OTG Management when it comes to food and airline & airport partnerships. OTG has been listening to the rumblings of the hungry traveler’s stomach grumbling for more!

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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

TSA …. Get ready… Get set… Go!

Starting in May of 2009, here at CBT, we began gathering the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) with each reservation and new traveler profile. Through this process, over ninety percent of our traveler profiles are TSA Secure Flight compliant.The TSA has now given a definite “effective date” for us to pass along!
Starting September 15, 2010, when you are booking travel for November 1, 2010 and beyond, if SFPD is not included in the reservation, your ticket will be inhibited. The quoted or held fare will not be guaranteed until this information is entered into Christopherson’s system. The TSA is mandating that SFPD must be present in all reservations within 72 hours of scheduled departure.

When booking a flight, passengers will be required to provide the following:

  • Full name (as it appears on passenger’s identification document)
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Redress Number (if available, see below)

 
“One of the biggest challenges facing our clients is when they are booking travel for prospective employee interviews,”says Sheila Thorp, CBT Technology Manager. “Even though HR departments cannot ask for the age of a recruit, as the travel booking agency, we are required by law to have it on file in our system. If our clients are having issues collecting the required information, I urge them to contact their Christopherson account manager to set up a process.” She also reiterates, “If you have not updated your CBT profile with all the required information, please login to AirPortal or contact  an account manager at allam@cbtravel.com.”

Redress – for passengers who feel they have been misidentified

Those who believe they have been mistakenly matched to a name on the watch list are invited to apply for redress through the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP).  Secure Flight uses the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process, thus preventing future misidentifications for passengers who may have a name that’s similar to an individual on the watch list.  For more information on the redress process, visit www.dhs.gov/trip.
If you would like to know more about these changes, we invite you to visit TSA’s Secure Flight Web site at www.tsa.gov/SecureFlight where you can find a detailed program overview, travel tips, frequently asked questions and more.
 

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 Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Combining Business Travel with Leisure Travel

Have you ever been on a business trip and wished you could see more than just the inside of a plane, rental car, hotel room, conference room, etc.?  Well, here is your solution, at least if your business travel takes you to the beautiful state of Utah.
Did you know that Utah has 7 national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, Great Basin and Natural Bridges), with many more national parks nearby including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde?  We also have 7+ national monuments and plenty of national forests.
Utah has enough to keep everyone happy and busy including everything from snow skiing to water skiing, caving to climbing, cycling to hiking, sailing to flying and ballooning to rafting.  You already know that we have the greatest snow on earth and you can be snow skiing in the morning and hiking Zion National Park in the evening all during the same season.
When you come to Utah, don’t miss out on the natural beauty that is easily within a day’s drive of where ever you may be doing business.  You also won’t want to miss out on some of our great restaurants, Café Diablo near Capitol Reef, the Bit and Spur near Zion National Park, and the scrumptuous local restaurants in the Salt Lake area such as Faustina, The Oasis, The Tin Angel, The Rio Grande and many more.
For more information, please visit the websites of the Utah Travel & Tourism or the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Center
For travel arrangements for business or pleasure the travel agents with Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel will be happy to assist you with the highest level of service.  Please contact us at 801.327.7700, 866.327.7650.   Prepare yourself for an adventure that you’ll never forget and start enjoying your business trips!

Categories
Travel News

TSA Update ~ DELTA

May 24, 2010 – Delta Air Lines continues to work with the TSA to ensure ongoing compliance with TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) standards. Adherence with the required TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data standards is required for Delta and all airlines for travel to/from/through the U.S. effective November 1, 2010. Specifically, the regulation requires customers to supply the SFPD information at the time of ticketing. This includes full name, date of birth, gender and optional redress number.
Agencies are asked to provide SFPD information by July 1, 2010. While Delta will continue to accept agency reservations without complete SFPD data beyond July 1, passengers whose flights depart on November 1 or later will be required to see a ticket agent if SFPD was not included in their reservation.
All airlines with flights to/from and within the United States will be required to adhere to SFPD standards, including Delta’s joint venture partners – Air France and KLM. These partners are under separate TSA timelines. Specific Air France and KLM TSA Secure Flight information will be communicated separately.
It should only be a matter of time before the other airlines will be making official announcements regarding their timelines. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to be prepared to meet this important TSA requirement.
Additional Resources
• Complete information on Secure Flight can be found at • A complete list of acceptable forms of I.D. can be found at www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/index.shtm
• Information on the Redress process can be found at www.dhs.gov/trip
• For more on TSA privacy policies, or to review the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, please see the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

I would like to file a Report please…..

The Account Management team at Christopherson Business Travel is constantly being asked for help in ways to enforce compliance to travel policy guidelines and rules.  We recommend travel data reports to accomplish this.
Ever wonder who is always booking last minute, continually making changes, utilizing a favorite vendor when another might be less expensive?  Want to make sure you are meeting your commitment goals with preferred vendors?  Perhaps it might be a good idea to get a daily report on tickets booked the day prior to moniter if a certain trip is necessary or five people are attending a tradeshow when three people would be sufficient.   How a about credit card reconciliation report?!
Our DATALOGIC tool powered by iBank is one of the most powerful reporting tools in the industry.  DATALOGIC reporting delivers over 120 standard reports and a virtually unlimited number of user defined reports upon demand or on a scheduled broadcast basis. With DATALOGIC reporting your can focus on Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, Policy/Risk Management, Activity Management, Spend Management and Reconciliation Analysis.
As a Christopherson Business Travel client you are given access to DATALOGIC to design, produce and deliver your own reports on the fly.  Not enough time to do this?  Not a problem.  You tell us what you need we find or create the report for you and send it out as frequent as desired.
Remember –  there is never a fee for DATALOGIC access or to receive reports.
Please let us know if you would be interested in a demonstration of how this tool can make your life simpler and less stressful.  Contact Christopherson Business Travel for a demonstration today.  allam@christophersontravel.com
Air Activity Report 101 created, broadcasted and filed.  Now go have a great day!

Categories
Travel Management

Managing Your Hotel Policy

Managing a hotel program can be a daunting task, but an unmanaged hotel program can be costly to a company’s travel budget.  Travelers don’t seem to want to be told where to stay or how much they can spend, but mandating a hotel program can provide savings in several ways.  If you arrange travel through a travel agency ask them for assistance in creating a company travel policy or fine tuning your existing travel policy.
With a detailed travel policy and the assistance of your travel agency, you will be able to ensure that your travelers are booking preferred hotels and you will be able track your hotel expenditures by hotel property and hotel chain.  With this valuable information your travel agency/account manager will be able to build relationships and negotiate rates on your behalf.
Providing preferred supplies with anticipated revenue you should see lower rates, additional amenities that would typically come with a price tag attached and better service from hotel staff.  As your travelers become familiar with your hotel program and follow the guidelines presented, and if permitted to join hotel reward programs, their experiences will improve and they will soon see personal benefits and the overall value to the company.
If your current travel agency does not provide this service through a dedicated account manager, please feel free to contact us.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Christopherson Andavo announced as 2010 Ritz Carlton STARS member.

February 2010 saw the addition of Christopherson Andavo Travel to the exclusive ranks of the Ritz Carlton STARS program. The hotelier renowned for combining luxury and hospitality invited Christopherson Andavo to this elite group making it one of ONLY TWO travel companies in the United States with this distinction.
As a member of the STARS program, Christopherson Andavo clients will now enjoy unparalleled recognition and amenities at Ritz Carlton properties worldwide.
Whether you are planning a corporate retreat, a business stay, a vacation or even a wedding, contact one of our travel advisors to find out just how much value this new partnership can bring to you.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

What is your Travel GPA?

How do you stack up in the travel market place?  As a company did you meet your travel goals and expectations for 2009?  Did you uitilize your hotel and car rental contracts to the fullest?  How do you compare to companies of similar travel spend and patterns?  What about compliance?  Are your travelers adhering to preferred contracts and vendors?  Is Travel Policy compliance in your focus this year?  What is your Travel GPA?  Do you think you deserve and A or the dreaded F?
Christopherson Business Travel has recently teamed up with a company called….. Travel GPA.  By utilizing this program we will be able to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your travel program.

A+ points of Travel GPA:

  • Faster, more meaningful travel data. The data is live and can be scored against internal goals or benchmarked against the GPA database of over 20,000 companies.
  • Pinpoints actionable ways to save money. As an analytical dashboard tool, Travel GPA benchmarks against hundreds of KPI’s (key performance indicators) based on company’s air, car and hotel spend.
  • Grade your supplier contracts vs. Industry Benchmarks. This helps travel managers evaluate effectiveness of negotiated rates in a given market or segment.
  • Drive your program with the ONLY real-time reporting & dashboard. Travel GPA transforms reports in to graphical charts while providing global reporting and analytics solutions in several languages and currencies. Drill down from any data point within a report or dashboard and instantly customize any report by adding or deleting metrics and report parameters.

Christopherson Business Travel and Travel GPA put the world’s most actionable business travel data right in your hands.
Don’t miss the bus!  For more information on how you can become a valued client of Christopherson Business Travel and create your own Travel GPA please contact a Business Development Specialist at allsales@christophersontravel.com.

Categories
Travel Management Vacation Travel

Reminders for the holiday travelers

Christmas will be upon us soon and along with it comes the stress and strains of holiday travel.    There are many articles out there talking about this. It makes some very good points about how not to lose your baggage during this busy travel time. I think that it behooves us to discuss some of the more basic issues that end up causing us stress while traveling during the holidays. Some of this stress is a result of other people’s actions, especially those who don’t travel much and therefore don’t know what the TSA rules and expectations are or that they should have removed their shoes, their jewelry, etc. before trying to clear security at the airport.
Then there is the self inflicted stress. You know, the stress that we inflict upon ourselves and our traveling companions. Some of the ones that I have inflicted upon others included leaving the itinerary home so I didn’t have the confirmation number and rate handy when the car rental company told me that they didn’t have a reservation for me. Or forgetting that my profile specified a sports car and I was traveling with 5 people. Or realizing that I don’t have any cash so I can’t tip the Sky Cap (and I wonder why my bag went missing). Yes, it’s very easy for experienced travelers to forget what it is like to travel with others.
In light of that, I have worked up a checklist that I like to use whenever I’m traveling with family members.

  1. Everyone has his or her ID before we leave the house.
  2. We have chargers for our PDAs, as our entire itinerary is available for us to view via Christopherson Andavo Business Travel’s AirPortal, which we can access via our PDAs.
  3. We have some cash, just in case.
  4. iPods are charged.
  5. Reading material is in the carry on, along with a change of clothes and anything that we can’t live without, including but not limited to, prescription drugs, toiletries and snacks.
  6. Gifts, unwrapped.
  7. Phone numbers for those that we are visiting, for our travel agent and for the after hours service, in case something goes awry.
  8. My wallet, suitably cleaned out of everything that I don’t need on this particular trip.
  9. And of course, our sense of humor, patiences and a smile.

I hope that someone remembers to put the luggage in the car before we leave the house.
Happy holiday traveling!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

2010 Travel Forecast…Doom and gloom or back on the fast track!

Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a member of the National Business Travel Association.  The below article is one of the many we have received from them with regards to travel forecasts in 2010.
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) — the leading global business travel organization — has provided its members with the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast. This latest installment of the widely-respected annual tool for the U.S. corporate travel industry forecasts the following ranges for changes in travel 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%).
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.

Methodology
The  NBTA 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast is based on primary findings from an online survey completed by 180 U.S.-based NBTA Direct Members (corporate travel buyers) between the dates of August 13 and September 24, 2009, as well as additional analysis of data collected from sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Smith Travel Research, IHS Global Insight, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

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

Thanksgiving

On behalf of the management and the employees of Christopherson Andavo Business Travel, we would like to thank all of you for your support, your business and your encouragement over the past year.  We would like to take a moment and reflect on all the things that we have to be thankful for this year starting with our clients and extending to our vendors, our employees, our management and ending with our friends and family.
We wish you all a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Categories
Travel Management

Full Service vs. Online

I often get into discussions with people concerning travel and how they book it.  There is a tremendous range of choices and reasons given.  I thought I would share with you some of what I’ve heard.
Some of the reasons given as to why people book online include wanting to be in complete control of their travel plans or to pay a lower fee and in some cases people travel to the same destination repeatedly and don’t need any professional assistance to book their trips.  All of these are valid reasons to book your own travel.   What is often overlooked is what you get by booking online through an agency such as Christopherson Andavo Business Travel vs.  Orbitz or an airline website.  Orbitz and the like, provide you with schedules, cars, hotels and pricing, so does Christopherson Andavo Business Travel.  We also provide reporting, we track unused tickets for you via our AirBank system, our corporate clients have access to an emergency line 24 hours a day, clients can view their all of their reservations and itineraries, past and present utilizing AirPortal.
Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a full service agency.  Our agents have a tremendous amount of experience and expertise.  When you book online, you are responsible for making sure that all the details are correct and that everything is booked correctly.  When you use a full service agent, the agent will make sure that the details are taken care of.  This includes making certain that your name on your reservation matches the ID that you will be presenting at check in and that you have a place to stay and that it is booked at the correct rate, if you need a car, that it is booked, using your corporate discount number and your individual number that permits you to bypass the counter.  In addition, the agent will work hard to get you the best seat assignments possible, they will utilize our exclusive technology to check for lower rates on your car and hotel prior to your scheduled departure.  They also will advise you of ways to cut costs or to get more value for your money.  For example, many people think that Southwest is always the lowest priced airline in a market.  The reality is that it frequently isn’t and other carriers may off a better deal.  Or that when flying from the USA to Marseille, that if you book on Delta.com, you can’t get seat assignments on the Paris to Marseille leg, however if you book that flight as Air France, who actually operates the flight, you can get advance seat assignments.  Other suggestions may include staying one more night in order to qualify for a discounted fare or to spend an extra $100.00 to get a fully refundable fare instead of having a nonrefundable fare that comes with a $150.00 change fee.  The agent will remind you that you need a valid passport for international travel and that you may need a visa to visit or transit a specific country.  As was recently reported, a couple going on their honeymoon to Russia, who had booked with one of the big online ticketing companies, were not advised that they needed passports and visas and thus ended up stuck in Germany for a couple of days while arranging to get a visa.  They thought that they would save a few dollars by doing it themselves, instead they ended up spending a lot more money.  A full service agent brings far more value to your travel than you may inititally think.   In addition, all of the customers who utilize a full service agent, receive the same basic benefits as those who utilize our online booking tools, as well, as all the other services that an agent brings to the table.
Either way, Christopherson Andavo Business Travel provides a greater value to our customers than they will receive booking online or with other agencies.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

What happens after you’ve purchased a ticket and the fare drops

USA today had an interesting article about this.  However I felt that the article left out some very important information that will make a difference in what will save you the most money.  The article does cover the basics of the various airline Low Fare Guarantees and it even mentions the online booking agencies that offer some sort of protection however it fails to mention something that full service agencies, such as Christopherson Andavo Business Travel can offer you and that is the ability to void out a ticket on the legacy carriers until midnight the following business day.  So if you have a ticket issued on Friday and you purchased it through the airline’s website and the fare drops on Sunday, depending on the airline, you may be out of luck or you may have to pay the fee and only receive a voucher for the remainder.  If, on the other hand you had purchased it from Christopherson Andavo Business Travel, you can contact your agent Monday, he or she can void out the original transaction, which means that you just got all of your money back (not as a voucher) and then book you on the lowest available flight.  This will save you money and it is a service that the airlines won’t offer to their customers.  They will stick with their 24 hour rule and sometimes, not even that.
The nice side effect of this service is that clients of Christopherson Andavo Business Travel will see this on their ValueLogic report that was described in an earlier blog by Susan Anderson.  This service can save tens of thousands of dollars for some companies.
Yet another reason to use Christopherson Andavo Business Travel for your travel management company.