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Business Travel Travel Industry

How Should Travel Suppliers Accommodate For Women Business Travelers?

Many travel suppliers are missing the mark on the fastest growing majority of their customers — women business travelers. According to The Women In Business Travel Report, conducted by Maiden Voyage, 47 percent of women who travel, travel on business and 80 percent of all travel spend is managed by women. This makes them currently the fastest growing segment of business travelers.

So, what are these travel suppliers doing to accommodate this growing segment of their customers? Though there have been studies and enhancements over the past few years, there is still a lot of room for improvement.  

Where should travel suppliers be focusing on to further accommodate women traveler preferences?

Safety and Security

Joe Bates of the Global Business Travel Association observes that women have a greater focus on safety and security. “It would be things like, ‘Is the hotel located in a safe part of town? How do I know the taxi company I’m using is a reputable one?’ … Things of that nature tend to resonate much more with women than with male travelers.”Bates says. 

It’s not rocket science that staying safe is a priority for women traveling alone. MaidenVoyage.com, who conducted the survey, is a website that connects female business travelers with each other to rate hotels and share experiences. Hotels are then scored based on specific safety concerns, such as 24-hour front desk attendants or on-site secure parking. What is most often discovered is that hotel staff can go even further in analyzing their actions and behavior to make guests feel more secure. Does your staff loudly announce the hotel room number at the front desk? Do they consider which room to book for a single women traveling specially? Thinking about these tiny details in the hotel services experiences can change the experience for solo travelers.

Dedicated Services & Amenities

Another reason the increase of women business travelers should be on traveler supplier’s radar, is their tendency to be the planner in future travels. Women make up 85% of purchase choices for households. Their opinions hold firm weight in the long run. Was their experience in the hotel enjoyable enough to plan a family location or future business trip to include your hotel again? 

Hotel amenities and quality of the services are overall more particular to women. This is why some hotels are leveraging this by adjusting amenities. Some hotels have added complimentary curling irons, hair straighteners, increased electrical outlets in the bathroom, and enlarged makeup mirrors. 

The Hyatt Group has done extensive research into this demographic. After an 18 month survey, they improved their services by adding the ‘Hyatt Has It’ program and additional amenities. Guests can rent or purchase items they may have forgotten to bring. Whether it be a room humidifier or extra hair conditioner, Hyatt has positioned themselves as the reliable friend who can ensure your comfort while visiting.

Business travel services are always changing, and in this respect, I think it’s changing for the better. Though originally targeted for women, having a larger focus on safety protocols and elevating usability of hotels and complimentary items are things that can benefit everyone.

Read Next:

Who books business travel earlier? Men or Women?

Christopherson Business Travel Named #1 Woman-Owned Company In Colorado

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Beware – Hotel Wifi Is Not Always Secure!

 Whether it be a vacation splurge or just a place to rest your head before an important meeting, hotels have worked hard to become an easy place to trust and feel secure.  That’s why I was initially surprised when I read a recent article. A study by Trustwave found that 38 percent of known cyber breaches occurred through hotel wifi. You read that correctly – almost 40 percent of all known cyber breaches occurred in our home away from home! Additionally, many of these hotels are well-known chains including: Trump Hotels, Hard Rock Cafe, Hilton and Hyatt, to name a few. This is not just a lack of security at smaller hotels or motels, this is an issue affecting even the big dogs. 

How to protect yourself from cyber breaches through hotel wifi:

So, what are you suppose to do? As a business traveler, you need to be prepared professionally in a moment’s notice, and conquer any personal responsibilities at the same time. Before you take the chance of using the free or cheap wifi at your hotel, make sure you take these precautions.

  1. Always keep firewall and anti-virus software on and up-to-date. This is your first line of defense, so make sure it’s a good one.
  2. Be wary of connecting to a duplicate or twin wifi network. Most often you are given a wifi name and password at check in. A common hacking tactic is creating an evil twin network that has a very similar name to the valid hotel wifi network. People often assume the name of network or simply choose the free wifi with the most signal strength. Always verify at the front desk before joining a new or unknown wifi network.
  3. Disconnect when not in use.  Don’t leave your drawbridge open if it doesn’t need to be. Minimize your risk by disconnecting when you aren’t actively using the wifi.
  4. Avoid financial transactions when using free or public wifi.  If this transaction is not avoidable or time sensitive, make sure the site you are using is secure. You can tell if it is secure based on the site url. A secure site’s url will begin with ‘https:’ instead of ‘http:’
  5. Use a company VPN, if possible. This is a company-created computer network that provides employees with remote access to company servers. It encrypts your online activity, so others can’t see what your doing and allowing access to company drives and software. 

Most importantly, never let your guard down when it comes to potential cyber breaches. It may feel like an inconvenience at the time, but it could lead to a lifetime of repercussions.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our consultative customer relationships and one-of-a-kind travel technology, we provide dedicated and superior travel management service.

Read Next- Avoiding High-Tech Scams While Business Traveling 

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Avoiding Unnecessary Hotel Fees While Traveling for Business

Anyone who has boarded a plane in the last few years knows that you’ll pay an additional fee for something somewhere along the way. Whether it’s to check your bags, get a better seat, or even to bring a carry-on bag along, there are fees all around us.

But the next big push in fees seems to be coming from the hotel industry. While some hotels have always charged for in-room WiFi service or movies, a new round of fees are on the horizon as hotels try to offset their costs.

At a recent hotel stay in Michigan, I was charged $3.00 for the small safe in my room, even though I didn’t use it. When I asked about the charge, I was told that it covers the fee for the purchase of the safe, the installation, and the insurance that they carry on them. While some fees seem reasonable (you use it, you pay for it), other fees seem out of line. For example, some hotels are considering charging for using the towels at the pool, fees for housekeeping service, and automatic gratuities for the bell hop or other staff services you may or may not use.

The best way to avoid excessive fees is to review your bill before you check out. Most hotels have a check out feature on the T.V. in your room. Simply go to your room account and look over your bill. If you see anything suspicious, or that needs further explanation, contact the front desk. For example, if you see a gratuity listed for something you didn’t use, or for which you’ve already left a tip, then ask for the charge to be removed. In all cases, review and settle your bill before you depart the hotel. It’s much easier to have your bill adjusted at the front desk than from home once your trip is over.

For more information on hotel fees and how to avoid them, click here.

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
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
Travel News Vacation Travel

Hotels Reimbursing for Checked Baggage Fees!

With the dreary forecast of rising airfares and additional and increased ancillary fees, I was pleasantly surprised to read that hotels are coming to the rescue.  I recently saw that two hotel chains are offering a program in which they reimburse you for your checked baggage fees.  The Kimpton hotel chain and Intercontinental Hotels are offering programs for a limited time that allow you to submit proof of fees for reimbursement.  There are some restrictions and minimum night stays, but this is a great way to recoup some of your expenses and enjoy a little extra spending money.  Check out their websites for additional information!

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 Vacation Travel

Four Seasons The Biltmore – Santa Barbara Nov 5- 7

Wine Lovers,  Romantic Getaway

or BFF Weekend!

The Biltmore, Santa Barbara

November 5 -7, 2010

Take advantage of this fabulous offer for the Four Seasons Santa Barbara.

Located on the beach, 90 minutes north of LAX and minutes from the center of town.

Andavo guests receive these added values:

  • Upgraded room on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily continental breakfast for up to two in-room guests.
  • Lunch for 2, once during stay, excluding alcohol and gratuity.
  • Welcome amenity in room on behalf of Andavo Travel.

AND…

  • A $100.00 per day, per room, credit to spend for Spa, restaurants or sundries shop.

This is nearly $230 in savings per day! Only our exclusive preferred partner relationship with Four Seasons allows us to offer you these special values!

Contact:  Collette Peck  801-327-7609 collette.peck@andavotravel.com

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

Christopherson Business Travel…. on the move!

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

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

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Vacation division has new name Andavo Travel

In January 2008, Christopherson Business Travel, located in Salt Lake City, and Andavo Travel, located in Denver, began a merger process forming the nation’s 14th largest travel management company.
We are pleased to announce the merger process has concluded with a consolidated ownership and branding of our companies. Effective this month, we will be operating our entire leisure vacation division under the name Andavo Travel, a Christopherson Company. Our corporate travel division will be operating under the name Christopherson Business Travel. Both divisions are now under the common ownership of Mike and Camille Cameron of Salt Lake City, Utah.
As we emerge a unified leisure travel management company under the Andavo Travel name, we want to assure our long time Christopherson Travel vacation clients that the same travel advisors who you have come to know and trust will continue to service your vacation travel needs. Along with many other special offers and promotions only available through our agency, we are pleased to bring our clients the added value of our preferred partner programs through Andavo’s long time membership with Virtuoso®.
“What is Virtuoso®?”
Virtuoso provides Andavo Travel, a Christopherson Company connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies in the world. For our clients, this means access to exclusive travel offers which are not available to the general public. If you rely on experts to reduce the complexity of travel arrangements and ensure smart choices, our travel advisors are able to design exceptional customized travel experiences using the resources and relationships available only through Virtuoso®.

  • Global Connections: With personal contacts at more than 1,000 airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, and premier destinations worldwide, our travel advisors will put these relationships to work for you.
  • Unparalleled Expertise: Our travel advisors are among the most well-traveled people on the planet. They draw on their first-hand experiences when customizing vacations for our valued clients.
  • Customized Travel Experiences: From weekend getaways to trips of a lifetime, counting on the expertise of our travel advisors insures your greatest experience.
  • Confidence: Our clients rest easy knowing their personal preferences are reflected in every aspect of their itinerary, delivering the best value for their time and money.

At Andavo Travel, a Christopherson Company, our promise to our clients is to drive world class service through a foundation built on excellence, trust, integrity, loyalty, family, caring and community. Since our inception in 1956, our fundamental core company values reflect this philosophy and translate it into our daily business practices. For those who have a passion for travel, we invite you to take advantage of our specialized expertise and insider connections.
Thank you for being our valued client and for allowing us to service all your vacation travel needs.
Mike Cameron
President

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
Business Travel Travel Management

Preferred Hotel Contracts: Theirs, Ours, AND Yours!

Theirs –  Christopherson Business Travel is an affiliate of BCD Travel the third largest travel management company in the world.  By participating in their affiliate program we are provided with additional benefits and opportunities to enhance your travel program.  The BCD Hotel Program is one of those benefits.  Hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program are obligated to offer the BCD rate code at parity (equal to or less than any other travel management group or channel).  Over 93 percent of the hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program offer BAR (Best Available Rate) pricing, with a small percentage of the hotel chains offering an additional five to ten percent discount off BAR.  With over 29,500 BCD participating hotels in 155 countries, Christopherson Business Travel has you covered!
Ours – Christopherson Business Travel’s local negotiated hotel rates are among the best in the industry.  Since we are headquarted in Salt Lake City we have over sixteen negotiated hotel rates in the Salt Lake area that we offer clients that don’t have the room night requirements to acquire preferred rates on their own.  Hotels participating in the Christopherson hotel program offer lower rates, usually 20% to 40% off the lowest advertised corporate rate, guaranteed quality enhanced with amenities such as parking, breakfast, internet, a delicious in room amenity made up especially for Christopherson travelers, double hotel points and double airline mileage points all at no additional cost to you!  We are excited to announce that similar hotel rates and benefits are being negotiated by our offices in Denver and California.
Yours –  As part of travel management, it is our responsibility that your bottom line reflects the greatest savings possible.  If the number of room nights booked by your company presents the opportunity to negotiate an individual hotel contract for you, our account management team will go in with vim and vigor to obtain the best deal possible based on commitment level.  As savvy negotiators our approach is one of aggression without being over the top.  We will get you the best rate loaded with as many amenities that we possibly can.  Locking in these rates for two or more years is also an added feature that we negotiate.  When the economy turns around you will still be getting the benefits of your low negotiated rate.
KEEP IN MIND – All three of these options can be used at any time.  We present the value, you pick the option, and the “rest”  is up to you.   Sweet Dreams!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why Now Is A Great Time To Travel

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Travel News

Need Miles? Here some ideas

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

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

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