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Business Travel

What To Look For In Higher Education Travel Management

Higher education institutions, like universities or colleges, have a lot on their plate. It’s truly amazing to stop and consider all of the thoughtful planning, training, instruction, discussion, and action that takes place on their campuses. And most don’t even consider the internal divisions, silently working behind the scenes; like the higher education travel management department. Every traveling professor, visiting lecturer, and even study abroad students and faculty need the support from their university or college to ensure travel is compliant with their specifications and with the safety of the traveler in mind.  What is often surprising to us at Christopherson, is that many higher education institutions don’t utilize a TMC to manage their travel, or have not recently evaluated their existing travel needs in some time. So we put together a list of the top needs we hear from universities or colleges interested in streamlining their travel management programs.

Top priorities to consider for your higher education travel management needs

  • Experience – It’s important for universities of colleges to rely on a travel management company that has extensive experience building and handling travel management programs for higher education institutions. As large and multi-faceted as higher education is in general, it’s easy to see why their travel management would be just as complex. For example, Christopherson has 45+ university and college clients. To maintain the support they need, we’ve built teams of travel advisors who specialize in higher education travel management.
  • The ease of one-stop shopping – Efficiency is key. Why waste time tabbing through different websites to book air, car hotel and more? Save time and book everything, as well as access full itineraries or traveler profiles in one convenient location.
  • Travel profiles and ease of everyday travel management – Going hand in hand with one-stop shopping, ensure your new system will be organized, or even enhance your capabilities. Our AirPortal dashboard, for instance, provides an easy, top-down view of your travel actions and program. Quickly access traveler itineraries without searching through old emails or different pages. Also easily keep an eye on possible issues like unused air tickets or expiring credit cards.
  • Around the clock support – Travel happens outside of the 9 to 5 workday. Always ask about the after-hours care process for your travelers who may be stranded or delayed.
  • Duty of care support for your travelersDuty of care for your employees, professors and traveling students may be one of the most controversial issues within higher education travel management. Choose a TMC who has a reliable risk management tool, like our SecurityLogic tool.
  • Specialized needs for your school – every school is different, and it should be treated as such. Consider what programs or departments your institution offers and ensure the TMC has the functionality to support it. For example, ask about specialized travel for sports teams, or their study abroad capabilities.

Higher Education travel can be a complicated system to manage. When choosing the right TMC to manage your travel, always start with an evaluation of your current needs. If you have any questions or additional thoughts about top priorities for university travel management, please feel free to contact us.

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Business Travel Travel Management

Why Universities Use TMCs

When I tell people what I do for a living, they always look surprised when I mention working with universities and higher education. Because Christopherson Business Travel has the word ‘business’ in its name, it’s easy to assume that that’s our only client base. The truth is that colleges and universities need as much travel management as corporations. Here is why many institutions of higher education choose to take travel off of their own shoulders and work with a TMC:

Reasons universities work with travel management companies (TMCs)

1) Universities often have many departments. All of those departments can be a lot for one person or one department to manage. The average university travel program includes; athletics, faculty and staff business travel, study abroad/ student trips and groups. This means at any one time, a university has dozens of people, with varying ages and levels of travel experience on the road. Christopherson employs a University Travel Team of agents who are highly experienced in booking all segments of university travel.

2) As an employer, a university has a duty to ensure the safety of their travelers. This is where we come in. With SecurityLogic, which is housed in our proprietary AirPortal 360 technology, travel arrangers are able to stay informed of the location and security of all travelers. SecurityLogic is a dynamic reporting and communication tool created to facilitate your duty of care responsibilities.

3) Keeping payment methods secure. It is very rare that all university travelers will have their own university specific credit card. So it is quite common for schools to elect to use a departmental card, or ghost card, to be utilized by several travelers. With Christopherson, regardless of your payment configuration, the appropriate card is stored in the Traveler Profile. Once it is stored, it is masked for your protection.

4) 24/7/365 agent access. Things happen when your travelers are on the road and we are here to help your travelers find options. Between our University Team of Agents and our after- hours support, we have you covered.

5) Consultative account management. Managing a university travel program can be a daunting task and you want someone in your corner with more than just a little experience. Our highly experienced account managers take a consultative approach in ensuring the success of your program.

Christopherson Business Travel has been successfully fulfilling the travel needs of higher education clients for more than 30 years and currently manages travel programs for more than 30 colleges and universities.

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Travel Industry Travel Management

Higher Education Travel Experts

Colleges and universities need convenient and cost-saving travel management. With more than three decades of experience managing higher education travel, Christopherson provides that expertise. In 2014, we created a University Travel Team, dedicated to meeting the distinct needs of colleges and universities. Understanding the unique challenges that higher education institutions face, we developed solutions to meet those needs. Christopherson offers the perfect blend of mega-agency buying power and high-touch, consultative service.

Christopherson Specializes In Higher Education Travel Management

Christopherson’s University Travel Team and online options provide domestic and international travel arrangements for faculty, staff, athletics, and university executives. We also coordinate air and ground transportation, hotel accommodations, study abroad programs, educational tours, and team travel.

Configuration

Christopherson customizes your university’s service configuration. Whether you book with our University Travel Team agents, the online booking tool, or even on-campus agents, we tailor your configuration to meet the needs of each university. We also offer a VIP desk for university executives.

Customization

Christopherson fully customizes each University online booking tool site to include travel policy, preferred suppliers, grant tracking, approval policies, and more. Furthermore, we offer our online support team to assist travelers with navigational and system questions via phone or email.

Dedicated Account Managers

Account Managers with higher education experience will oversee your account, offering consultative services and insight into higher ed best practices. Your travel dollars are maximized as they apply their proven proficiencies and extend the following account management services:

  • Analyzing travel patterns and offering suggestions for money-saving improvements
  • Uncovering new savings opportunities and negotiating with vendors
  • Validating the quality of your travel program through ongoing evaluations and reviews ensuring that quality standards are met

Christopherson has been a frontrunner in implementing collegiate and university travel programs. Recently, after implementing a comprehensive travel program at a large southeastern university (which had previously been unmanaged), the school, in less than a year, boasted an agency compliance average of more than 90 percent and more than 55 percent online adoption. (The remaining 45 percent of the university’s bookings are group travel, athletic travel, and international bookings being made by Christopherson’s University Travel Team.) Similarly, Christopherson consolidated another large, multi-campus, fragmented travel program from 12 agencies to one. Today, this university has achieved agency compliance of more than 90 percent and more than 60 percent online booking tool compliance (five percent more than their initial goal).

Interested in learning more? Contact us to get in touch with one of our business executives, or keep reading about our university-focused services.

Categories
Business Travel

Christopherson Gets All A’s in Higher Ed Market

Christopherson Business Travel continues to grow at unprecedented rates, despite the difficult economic climate. In 2013, sales reached $384 million and the company is projected to hit a half billion dollars in sales within the next two years.

Much of this growth can be attributed to achievements within the higher education market. So far this year, Christopherson has added the University of Washington, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of San Francisco, and Rice University as valued clients.

Christopherson has become a front-runner in higher education travel as a result of the services and expertise it provides these institutions. With a collegiate-focused University Travel Desk, extensive experience in academic travel planning, and a thorough understanding of university athletics, Christopherson’s services can be tailored to colleges and universities of all sizes. Additionally, Christopherson’s technology platform, AirPortal®, is customized to meet specific university requirements and the company’s agents are experts in the Fly America Act, Open Skies Agreement, as well as NCAA regulations.

If your college or university is looking for skilled professionals to help you manage your travel program, Christopherson would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our expertise.