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Business Travel

Business Travel Sustainability: All About “Green” Corporate Travel

During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses learned how valuable face-to-face interactions are to promote the development of business relationships.

The value of business travel for corporations is immeasurable and it is clear that travel is an essential business function. However, as we return to normal business operations and travel, corporations are reevaluating their corporate travel policies to include sustainable business travel.

While conversations about sustainability were being had before the pandemic, changes in work environments, operations, and HR practices put “green” corporate travel into sharper focus. As corporations shifted to remote work, the environment experienced the benefits of reduced congestion and emissions with less commuters on the road.

Conscious of the impact of travel on the environment, business travelers and their companies are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. To create a sustainable business travel program, enlist a travel management company such as Christopherson Business Travel.

What does sustainable business travel mean?

Sustainable business travel is the conscious effort to travel in an environmentally friendly way that reduces impact on the environment. From selecting carbon-neutral travel options to purposeful business travel, sustainability requires the responsible consumption of resources.

For example, air travel is responsible for 12% of all CO2 emissions globally, and 80% of those emissions are emitted by flights over 1500 kilometers, for which there are no other viable means of transport according to the Air Transport Action Group.

In an active effort to reduce aviation-related CO2 emissions, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) can reduce the carbon footprint of aviation fuel by up to 80%. Choosing airline partners that are committed to reducing their carbon footprints is one way to support sustainable business travel.

Ways to implement sustainable business travel

There are various ways to implement sustainable business travel practices into your corporate travel program. Here are a few suggestions:

Implement Purposeful Travel Policies

Adopting a purposeful travel mindset encourages companies to look at travel as an investment rather than a cost. Identify the types of travel your company does and evaluate its importance. Can certain meetings or trips be combined to conserve resources and reduce carbon footprint? Could some business trips be shortened? Is there a way to identify objectives for each business trip to measure effectiveness? Asking these questions and others will help you keep conservation at the heart of your business travel program and make the most of your travelers’ time on the road.

Go Digital

Use apps and other digital options to reduce paper waste from printing tickets and itineraries. Christopherson’s integrated software platform AirPortal provides a central, digital source for booking business travel, managing trip plans, and keeping track of itineraries.

Use Sustainable Transportation Options

Encourage, and maybe even reward, travelers for selecting hybrid or electric rental cars. Require the booking of direct flights. Ask travelers to consider rail travel for shorter trips. While carpooling, public transportation, and rideshares may be the right options to meet your sustainability requirements, be sure to evaluate the impact of those services against your risk management plan and corporate culture.

Partner with Travel Vendors Committed to Sustainability

Book hotels that are LEEDS-certified and are conscious about water usage, plastics, and have environmentally-friendly practices, such as buying local soaps, lotions, and food. Request CO2 reporting from your preferred airlines and check their rankings on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Select rental car companies that offer hybrid and electric vehicles.

Educate Travelers on Sustainable Business Travel

Inform business travelers of your newly-adopted practices and teach them how to travel sustainably themselves. Organizations can even implement reward programs to encourage adoption of your company’s sustainable business travel practices.

While there are many ways to travel with an eco-friendly mindset, here are a few practical suggestions for business travelers:

  • Pack lighter to lessen fuel burn and decrease emissions
  • Use earth-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics like metal or silicone straws and wooden cutlery
  • Recycle
  • Bring your own water bottle
  • Hang up hotel towels to use again the next day
  • Forgo daily hotel cleaning services to reduce water usage
  • Eat at locally-owned, locally-sourced restaurants rather than chains and/or select organic food options from local farm-to-table providers
  • Avoid purchasing individually-wrapped products or travel-sized shampoos and soaps

Why is sustainable business travel important?

While business travel is often a key measurement of economic success, it’s important to remember that travel also has social and environmental impacts.

For the altruistic, sustainable business travel practices protect and preserve our natural resources for the future. For those more driven by bottom-lines, sustainability sells. Business Insider reports that today’s shoppers “want more than just quality, often looking for products and brands that align with their personal values. … Protecting the environment topped that list.”

While there are many additional reasons to adopt sustainable business travel practices,  your team needs to understand why it’s something your company is advocating for. Getting your employees on board with what you are trying to accomplish is the best way to reach your goals of a more environmentally-friendly corporate travel program. Once educated, your business travelers will more aware of and make greener choices that benefit your company, their travel destination locales, and the environment at large.

How to make air travel more sustainable

While air travel does have an impact on the environment, sometimes it is the only choice for business travel. When this is the case, here are five things you can do to make your air travel more sustainable:

  1. Pack as light as possible to reduce the weight of your luggage and its impact on fuel use and emissions.
  2. Choose direct flights. Since take-off, taxiing, and landing a plane require the most fuel, reducing the number of times you take off and land can reduce your overall carbon footprint. In fact, choosing a direct route can reduce emissions by up to 50%.
  3. Select flights that will be flown by fuel-efficient aircrafts, such as the Airbus A350 XWB and Boeing 737 Dreamliner.
  4. Select flights that will be using biofuel blends. Nearly 170,000 flights from airlines such as Qantas Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Alaska Airlines use blends.
  5. Don’t print boarding passes, itineraries, or maps. Use digital apps and alternatives instead.

How can sustainable business travel save money?

Not only is sustainable business travel good for the environment, it can also be good for a company’s bottom line. Here are a few ways sustainable business travel policies save you money:

  • While the cost to rent hybrid or electric vehicles may be higher, you will save on fuel expenses in the end.
  • Ride-sharing options could be a cost-saving business travel practice but be sure it’s in line with your risk management plan.
  • LEEDS-certified hotels can sometimes be less expensive than hotels that are not LEEDS-certified.
  • Locally-sourced food is often cheaper as it cuts out long-distance distribution and transportation.
  • Identifying yourself as an environmentally-friendly business can improve your company’s reputation as consumers are increasingly interested in doing business with organizations that align with their personal values.

 

How can a travel management company help your business implement a sustainable business travel policy?

Christopherson’s corporate travel experts can help you implement green corporate travel policies that encourage eco-friendly behaviors while traveling.

As your corporate travel management partner, we will collaborate, guide, and assist as you seek out vendor partners who meet your sustainable business travel goals.

Our experienced corporate travel agents and your integrated online booking tool can help travelers book sustainable hotels, flights, and ground transportation.

And our AirPortal technology digitally aligns your entire corporate travel program by integrating those policies and plans so you can succeed.

To learn more about Christopherson, contact us today.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Factor In Efficient Travel Programs

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

Identifying the difference in efficient travel programs

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

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

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

What travel managers should also be measuring:

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

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

 

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

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

How Christopherson Provides Organization for Travel Management

It could be the ‘type A’ personality in me, but I often think there’s room for improvement in most situations. I’ve also noticed this trait in many travel managers, procurement officers and executives. In positions as busy as these, isn’t the job more manageable with a structured and reliable system? Fortunately, I know Christopherson can provide that oh-so-necessary organization for travel management tasks. Our technology allows for peace of mind and instant access to information for company’s travel management needs. Why are we so confident that we can provide that satisfaction? Read some of our top benefits below:

How Christopherson provides organization for travel management

  •  With our AirPortal 360™ Dashboard and Mobile App, you have a 360° view of your travel program instantly and at all times.
  • No more digging through your inbox to find a traveler’s itinerary. Christopherson’s SecurityLogic® will tell you exactly where your travelers are in seconds. You can even look at their past or upcoming trips by customizing your search.
  • Eliminate that spreadsheet tracking your company’s unused tickets. AirBank® technology seamlessly tracks the unused funds from cancelled tickets. We even provide reminders, ensuring they are used before expiring.
  • All of your traveler’s pertinent travel information and preferences is stored in our Traveler Profiles, allowing you to take one less step when booking. There is no need to keep a series of post-it notes on your desk with traveler’s information written on them.
  • Lastly, eliminate the need to “shop” for fares prior to booking a trip. With PolicyLogic™, your company’s travel policy is built into our software. When travelers book their travel either with an agent or through one of our online booking tools, your travel policy will always comply.

By choosing Christopherson Business Travel as your travel management partner, you are signing on from streamlined and organized travel management. We are at the forefront of travel technology, and have been since we opened our doors in 1953. Contact us to learn more about our AirPortal® platform, and how we can declutter your travel management procedures.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Ultimate Travel Checklist for the Infrequent Business Traveler

Road warriors most often have their travel packing down to a quick science.  But what about the infrequent traveler?  We’ve created a travel checklist of not only what you may want to bring on your upcoming business trip, but also a “to-do” list for that upcoming trip.

Before you travel:

  • Sign up for all applicable loyalty programs (airline, hotel, car rental).
  • Make sure you have all loyalty program numbers in your reservation.
  • Download the airline mobile app for flight delays and gate changes.
  • Sign up to receive all travel alerts from your travel agency or airline app.
  • Understand your company’s health and travel insurance information.

Additional to-do items for an International business trip

  • Make sure your passport is current.
  • Alert the bank to prevent your card from being shut off.
  • Check out travel.state.gov for visa requirements, local laws and travel alerts.
  • Check the websites of the US embassy or consulate for the latest security messages.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization provide recommendations for vaccinations and other health precautions when traveling abroad.
  • Always carry contact information for the US embassy or consulate with you when traveling abroad.
  • Get a letter from your doctor about the medications prescribed to you. Some countries have strict laws on  prescription and even over-the-counter drugs.
  • Make sure your health insurance is valid overseas.  For example, Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage abroad.
  • Make a photocopy of your passport.

What to bring:

My most often forgotten item is my toothbrush.  Probably because brushing my teeth is the last thing I do before I walk out the door.  And by habit, my toothbrush goes right back to the holder next to the sink.  Here is a quick checklist for those necessary items we don’t want you to forget:

  • Work clothes
  • undergarments
  • socks
  • belt
  • Workout clothes
  • Workout shoes
  • sleepwear
  • hand sanitizer
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • shaving cream and razors
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • deodorant
  • first aid kit
  • over the counter medications (ibuprofen, aspirin)
  • prescriptions
  • glasses
  • contact lens solution, case
  • ear plugs
  • mobile device, laptop
  • phone charger, laptop charger
  • Business materials
  • Business cards
  • travel comforts – headphones, books, magazines, language guides

Looking for more travel packing tips? Check out some of our other packing blog posts:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel Helps Companies Acheive Maximum Travel Policy Compliance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson in the News: Seven Corporate Travel Trends for 2016

Travel Market Report recently interviewed Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron, about his outlook for next year. Click here to read the full article and his thoughts on Christopherson’s overall increases in travel, investments in technology, and the growing meeting sector.

Corporate travel trends

 

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Car Rental Hidden Costs – Are they DRIVING you Crazy?

We’ve talked about this before, but I find that it’s always helpful to review the hidden costs of renting a car.
To begin, let’s say you’ve found a great rental deal for $20/day. Unfortunately that “great” rate doesn’t guarantee you a low-cost rental. Instead, upon returning your car, you find the price has skyrocketed and the bill now includes sales taxes, airport surcharges, insurance, and licensing fees. By the time all the extra charges are added on, the guaranteed result is a severe case of sticker shock … and a final cost double the initial alluring base rate.
So how can you avoid the shock of pricing overload? Here is a summary of car rental surcharges and a few tips for how to cut costs on your next rental.

Taxes and Airport Surcharges

Sales tax and airport charges vary considerably from state to state, and you won’t be able to avoid state and local sales taxes. Many local governments also charge fees to fund their own development projects, such as convention centers or sports stadiums, and some car rental companies also include a daily surcharge for economy recovery fees.
But avoiding airport charges is simple and something to always consider. You can eliminate airport concession recovery fees and customer facility charges by picking up and dropping off your car at an off-airport location. Weighing the possible inconveniences and the price of additional transportation to and from the airport against the concession fees charged by the airport location is, however, a must as doing so could save you more than 15% of your total price.

Insurance

This is usually referred to by rental companies as “collision damage” or “Loss Damage Waiver (LDW).” For an extra $25 – $30 a day, you can avoid liability for any damage to the vehicle, provided you’re not found guilty of gross negligence. Insurance is optional, although in a few states it is compulsory and built into the basic car rental cost.
So, before you purchase the extra insurance, check to see if your regular car insurance covers you in a rental car. Some policies do. Most credit cards also provide insurance if you pay for your rental with that card. Larger companies also include car rental addendums in their company insurance which also covers office equipment and the like. Keep in mind that limitations may apply to all types of coverage. If you’re not comfortable with the risk, consult with your insurance administrator or travel manager.

Gasoline Charges

Returning a car with an empty tank will create an extra charges to your bottom line.  In most cases you’ll want to fill up before you return your vehicle. However, car rental companies now offer the option of purchasing a full tank of gas when you first take the car, enabling you to return the car with as much or as little fuel as you wish.
Keep in mind that there is no refund for unused fuel, so you’d be paying a little extra for the convenience of skipping the trip to the gas station. Also, you may be able to find a better per-gallon price by shopping around on your own.

Drop-Off Charges

An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies by location. In some instances there is no charge, however you could pay more than $1,000 for picking a car up at LAX and dropping it of at JFK plus around $0.35 per mile.
If your corporation has a car rental contract make sure it notes a “one way” rate. The rates will be higher than your normal corporate rate but will save money in the long run.

The 24-Hour Clock

If you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, most companies charge you one day only if you return it within 24 hours. Some companies will give you a 29-minute grace period before hourly charges kick in and after 90 – 120 minutes you may be charged for the full extra day. Some rental car companies are also now charging a late return fee of $10 per day.
Make sure you check the terms and conditions in your rental documents.

One Day Surcharges

Picking a car up only for one day will cost you more if those days are Monday through Thursday.  Because of the yield management process, it is more expensive for the car rental company if you pick your car up in the morning on Monday through Thursday and return it the same day. It eliminates the possibilities of another traveler needing that car for two or more days at a time. The one day surcharges are $5 to $7 over the normal daily rate and are “hidden” in the rate so you will not recognize you are being charged extra. Corporations can sometimes get this fee reduced or waived when negotiating a car rental contract.

Age Penalties

Renters under the age of 25 may have to pay additional fees of about $25 – $30 per day. Those companies who rent to drivers under 21 often charge much steeper surcharges. Those over 70 may also have to pay extra (if they’re able to rent at all).  Age restrictions vary by country and franchise, so be sure to check ahead.

Frequent Flier Fees

Car rental companies often charge a small fee when you request frequent flier miles for your rental. The fee varies by airline and can range anywhere from a few cents to $2 a day. Another choice would be to opt for the free day program instead of earning miles. There is not a charge for earning free rental days and are usually earned for every 15 days rented.

Categories
Travel Management

Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management

Companies with multi-national operations and those with employees who travel across borders are increasingly concerned about managing risk to their travelers, expatriates and assignees. When employers fail to comply with their duty of care obligations, the following situations can occur:

  • While working overseas, an employee gets sick and does not have access to adequate medical treatment 
  • During a natural disaster, a company realizes that it does not have sustainable business continuity plans, and/or employees cannot be evacuated easily and face unnecessary hardship
  • An employee travels to a country where malaria is endemic. She is not given prophylaxis or education on malaria by her employer. She contracts the disease and gets very sick.

These incidences are all avoidable. Unfortunately, the employers were not prepared and faced needless litigation, damaged reputation and interruptions to their operations.
To learn more about Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management please click on this white paper link by International SOS.