Categories
Business Travel

The ‘Thrifty Hotel Bandit’ and Hotel Amenities

One night over a business trip dinner, I met the ‘Thrifty Hotel Bandit’. He was a very seasoned salesman. on the back half of his career. Seemly a regular road warrior, like myself. But as we continued talking and the night drew on, he shared his dirty little secret with me.  For years, his work took him on the road. Weekly, he would spend time away from home and in different hotels across the country. One of the main perks being the hotel toiletries and additional amenities.

Over the ‘years’ his obsession grew, and his haul of “free” hotel treasures reached epic proportions. He told me he hadn’t bought toiletries in years, and that his linen closet was overflowing with mini-shampoos, floss, and bars of soap.  His towel collection — you guessed it, a never-ending selection of white, fluffy, hotel-issued cotton.  As he laughed, he couldn’t quite put into words how embarrassed his adult children were of him. Now of course, he said that he only ever took what couldn’t be missed, and what would fit in his carry-on suitcase.

However, the thing that stuck with me the most was his comment that “all my guests love my closets!”  A weird comment I thought, until I dug a bit deeper. On every trip, he would take one single wooden hanger home, and with as much of a road-warrior as he was, every one of his closets was now fully stocked with shiny, wooden hotel hangers!

It was an unusually unique dinner conversation, and one that I will always remember!  The Thrifty Hotel Bandit was a clean-cut, healthy and happy man…but down deep, a crazy obsession drove his excitement for every new business trip!

Business travel is funny like that. You are put into situations you normally wouldn’t find yourself, talking to people you would otherwise never meet. I’m grateful for meeting the ‘Thrifty Hotel Bandit’, but think I will personally keep my hotel amenities shopping to a minimum.

Read next from our blog-

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees

How to avoid hotel cancellation feesHotels, like any business, are always looking for ways to make more money. As a result, they have created fees and surcharges that were unheard of a few years ago. One example of this is the enforcement of cancellation policies.

Hotels have always had some sort of cancellation policy–meaning, the amount of time you have to cancel your room prior to your stay, before they charge you for that reservation. While there are some hotel reservations that cannot be canceled without an immediate penalty of one or two nights being charged to your credit card–this is most common in resort areas or in cities with a major event scheduled during your stay–the majority of hotels that cater to business travelers still allow cancellations up to a specified time prior to arrival, without fees being incurred.

In times past, most “no-show fees” could be waived if you simply called the hotel and explained your situation. But hotels are cracking down. They are beginning to charge regardless of reason, should you cancel after the grace period. In doing so, hotels can then keep the money they’ve made from your cancelled reservation, and hopefully re-sell the room to another traveler, thus doubling the revenue on that one room.

However, there are ways to help reduce the cost of cancellation fees and hopefully save you some money.

  • Join a hotel loyalty program. If you “attach” yourself to a particular hotel brand and begin earning points by always staying at their hotels when you travel, you will then be recognized as a “brand loyal” customer and the hotel will be more likely to work with you on an occasional no-show reservation. Think of it this way: The more points you accumulate, the more valuable you become to the hotel. And the more likely they are to accommodate your situation.
  • If your travel takes you to the same city frequently, try staying at the same hotel each time. The employees at the front desk will get to know you by name and your loyalty could pay off if you ever need a favor.
  • If you cancel your reservation and the hotel is refusing to grant you a waiver of their cancellation policy, ask if you can have a credit for a future stay. Many business trips are not necessarily cancelled, just postponed due to some unforeseen circumstance. If you know you’ll be returning, the credit can be applied to your next visit.
  • If your travel plans change frequently, avoid hotels that charge at the time of booking. You may also want to avoid those that have a 14, 7, or even 3-day cancellation policy. There are plenty of brands that still allow a 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. cancellation on the day of your arrival.

And always, to avoid unnecessary expenses, read or ask about the hotel’s cancellation policy. If it doesn’t fit your travel needs, consider booking a different hotel to save money and hassle should your plans change.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

The Security of Knowing Where Your Travelers Are

There is something called “duty of care,” which is a corporation’s legal and moral responsibility to their employees who travel for business. It was defined by Dr. Lisbeth Claus, a human resources professor at Willamette University, as “the obligation employers have for the health, safety, and security of their employees when they travel across boarders.”
Knowing where your travelers are is crucial to maintaining this responsibility. Companies can avoid a lot of stress (and potential legal fees) by having plans in place prior to any type of emergency, whether it’s weather or terrorist related, or due to traveling in high-risk areas. There are many programs available to help keep travelers safe and help keep employers out of the court room, including large organizations such as SOS International or training provided by Kevin Coffee, President & CEO of Corporate Travel Safety.
For a corporation, the first step is creating and implementing an internal plan of action. The second step is having a tool available that will assist in locating travelers at any given moment. Christopherson Business Travel has developed (and makes available to clients) SecurityLogic®. This proprietary technology allows a company’s travel manager the ability to view real time data of where travelers are at any given time (including flights, hotels, and addresses) based on reservations booked through Christopherson. To learn more about SecurityLogic® and the many others services provided by Christopherson Business Travel, contact us to set up a demo.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Top 10 Hotel Safety Tips

Making sure our clients travel safely is always a priority for us at Christopherson. Here are 10 hotel safety tips (from SuperMedia.com) to keep in mind on your next overnight trip.

1.  Be aware of your surroundings. This includes when you’re in parking lots, public areas, elevators, or the hallway to your room. Have your key ready in hand before you get to your door so you’re not distracted as you look and fumble for it.

2.  Keep your room number to yourself. Most hotels these days no longer print room numbers on the keys. But don’t share your room number with strangers, and don’t display your key in public or leave it where it can get stolen.
3.  Avoid staying on the ground floor. This will leave you much less vulnerable to break-ins and other incidents.
4.  Identify a fire escape route. Once you’ve settled in, map out the nearest fire escape route. Remember, in case of emergency, always use the stairs, never the elevator.
5.  Secure your valuables. If your room has a safe, store any extra cash, plane tickets, and other valuables in there. And never, ever leave valuables in a car in the hotel parking lot.
6.  Don’t open the door to anyone until you use the peephole to identify them. Don’t assume it’s housekeeping or maintenance just because the person says so.
7.  Keep the doors and windows locked while you’re in the room. This includes any windows or sliding glass doors. Avoid propping your door open, even for a short time. If your door has an extra bolt or chain, engage that as well.
8.  Make it seem like you’re home. When you leave your room for the day or evening, leave the TV or radio on. It may very well deter a thief if they think someone might be in the room. Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign.
9.  Enter and exit the building through a main entrance. This will help you avoid unoccupied or deserted areas. It’s also a good idea to park in a well-lit part of the parking lot, even if you have to walk a little farther to get to your room.
10.  Keep your children in sight. Children should not be allowed to play by themselves on hotel grounds. This, of course, includes the swimming pool, the playground and other kid-friendly areas, as well as the hallways, elevators, and lobby.

Categories
Travel News

J.D. Powers and Associates Travel Ratings

Every year J.D. Powers and Associates surveys thousands of people, including thousands of travelers, hoping to make life easier for consumers. As an Account Manager for Christopherson Business Travel who works closely with travelers and travel managers, I feel that the results of this survey can be very valuable as decisions are made that can significantly affect how pleasant a travel experience can be.  These results will not only assist corporate road warriors and business travelers, but those who travel for leisure  can certainly benefit from the results of this survey as they research car rental companies, hotels and airlines.  To read about consumer satisfaction among major travel industry vendors click here.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite

Here’s some news to make your skin crawl: Bedbug infestations will explode this year, particularly in the summer, experts say. The bloodsuckers are already entrenched in the city and, like cockroaches, tend to thrive in July, August and September, said Jeffrey White, a research entomologist for BedbugCentral.com.
“I firmly believe that this year is going to be worse than last year,” White said at a recent bedbug seminar. “If we combine the seasonal trend, with the bugs getting more and more embedded in our community, that allows the bugs to make that resurgence all the more stronger.”

Here are 8 tips when looking for bed bugs:

1- Inspect hotel room mattresses, bedding, furniture and closet hangers for signs of infestation.
2- Never put clothes in hotel drawers or on a hotel floor.
3- Travel with resealable bags large enough to hold clothes.
4- Use dissolvable laundry bags when traveling. The bags can go straight from your suitcase to the washing machine.
5- Check your laptop. The bedbugs are attracted to the heat and body oils on the computer.
6- Periodically inspect headboards and under the bed for signs of bedbugs. “After they’ve fed at night, they go and hide in the cracks and the crevices of the headboard and wait for you to come back to bed,” said Gemma Holmes, owner of the Nashville-based Holmes Pest Control.
7- Check the alarm clock on your nightstand, along with electrical outlets. “It’s a warm spot,” Holmes said.
8- If in doubt, after a trip don’t bring belongings in the house. Treat them for bed bugs first.
Though a bedbug’s bite is thought not to spread disease, the thought of having your blood sucked while asleep can be psychologically devastating, White said. “I’ve seen people completely emotionally crumble from dealing with it,” White said. “People just need to be educated. It’s not going away anytime soon.”
“The big problem is not getting bit, it’s bringing them home,” said Adam Greenberg, president of BugZip, a $10-$20 plastic covering that shields luggage in hotel rooms might give you more peace of mind than you think.
My advice would be to ask the hotel when the last time they treated for prevention of bed bugs. If they look at you with a blank stare you might want to turn and run the other way. Not all hotels that don’t treat for bed bugs have them but upon arriving home and finding you brought a few new friends with you, don’t be “bugged” about it. You have been warned!

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

Mobile Phones as Room Keys

It’s been the buzz since at least May of this year, but the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has a pilot program in process allowing guests to use their mobile phones as their room keys. If this pilot program is a success, IHG will offer this as an option to those who are interested, but the standard magnetic key will remain available to their guests. In fact, you will not only have the option of one or the other, but if you would like to use your mobile phone and still have the convenience of a magnetic key when you don’t want to carry your phone, this will be an option as well.
IHG realizes that some guests will have concerns regarding the security of the MobileKey program and these issues are addressed by Open Ways (a global solutions provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions), the technology provider.
IHG’s innovation center provides a short video describing the process along with addressing the myths and truths of this new innovative technology.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Travel Insurance: to buy or not to buy?

In a year rife with labor disputes and extreme weather – in addition to all the other things that can go wrong with travel, the question increasingly being asked by travelers is: “Should I purchase trip insurance?”.
Well, you’re in luck because here is a quick 5 point guide that should help you answer that question!
5. What-if’s. Evaluate your “what-if” scenarios.  What if I get sick in another country -will my health insurance cover me.  What if I have to cancel a trip because I’m taken ill or am in an accident? Check your personal insurance policy to see what’s covered when traveling and determine what non-refundable expenses you can afford to lose before traveling.
4.  Pre-existing medical conditions. Examine your policies to see if pre-existing conditions are covered.  Unknown fact: most insurance companies will not cover trip cancellations due to a family member’s illness because that is classified as a pre-existing condition.
3.  Unforseen events. Trip insurance usually only covers disruptions that are unforseen.  For example most providers will not offer coverage for disrupted trips to Europe after April 30 caused by Iceland’s volcano since it is no longer an unforseen event.  On the other hand, they will provide coverage if the policyholder’s hotel is uninhabitable.  As for airline strikes, it is best to determine whether the policy you are purchasing covers the airline you are flying as some insurance companies have a “black-list” of airlines they will NOT cover due to workers who are likely to strike or the carrier is in financial turmoil.
2.  Duplicate coverage. Avoid purchasing policies that cover things like lost or delayed baggage that are typically covered by homeowners insurance.
1.  Above ALL else – DO YOUR RESEARCH. Read the fine print.  Most trip insurance policies don’t cover things like fine jewelry or expensive equipment as part of your checked luggage. You will waste your money if you don’t read the fine print!
For additional information on trip insurance or all things travel related, don’t hesitate to contact your Christopherson Travel Advisor.

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

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

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
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
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!