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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Christopherson’s Online Travel Support & Tools

Not surprisingly, the ability to book travel online is important for many busy professionals. Because we’re known for our travel advisor services and consultative approach; our exceptional online booking tools and support team can sometimes fly under the radar. With our team of industry experts and our company’s preferred partnerships, they are often the unsung heroes of easy booking and travel solutions. So, what makes our online travel support superior above others?

What does our online travel support look like?

Booking travel quickly and easily is a top priority for our busy clients. With our many years in corporate travel management, we’re well-versed in the unique challenges of online booking and support. That’s why we provide three specialized support teams and various online booking tools for our clients. Reliability is a necessity, and our services and technology ensures it runs smoothly.

Christopherson’s online support teams

It can be surprising to learn how complex online booking and support can be on the back end. It’s much more than just connecting buttons and going live. Designing our support team into three specialized groups has proven to be the best way to provide proactive and expert service for our clients. What’s even better, is our online support team are also experienced travel advisors. They often assist in other ways if needed! Here’s a closer look at our online support teams:

  1. Frontline support team – This team is dedicated to the phone and email support of the travelers. They are available to assist with anything the traveler may need while booking online. While most TMCs charge to speak with a support team, this is included at no additional cost for our clients.
  2. Reservation support team – They monitor the reservations going through our automated systems to ensure everything is working smoothly.  They contact travelers when there may be a payment issue, schedule change and handle the processing of our Airbank tickets to online reservations.
  3. Online tech team – This team handles the implementations, updates, audits and general maintenance of our 1000+ online sites.  Working directly with SAP Concur on any outstanding issues and builds, they are SAP Concur certified and regularly attend trainings.

Christopherson’s online booking tools

We work with three online booking tools: Concur Travel, Deem, and nuTravel. Because of our Concur Preferred Partner status and associated customer benefits, we often recommend our clients book through Concur Travel.

Being a Concur Preferred Partner

A Concur Preferred Partner is a travel management company that is recognized by SAP Concur to be fully equipped to manage travel needs, based on their relentless commitment to their clients and technical advancements. The company must also be a leader in the industry and fully aligned with SAP Concur’s mission and vision. They also have a history of constant collaboration with the Concur Travel team.

Christopherson is one of only 23 companies nationwide that hold this exclusive membership. In fact, we were one of the first to receive this distinction as a result of our innovation and integrations. We have worked closely with SAP Concur since 2003, and currently manage more than 1,000 sites for more than 750 companies using SAP Concur.

We are also the first agency to become a Concur Certified Agency. This new designation was earned by Christopherson’s online technology specialists, through training and testing, to ensure complete proficiency in the design and maintenance of Concur Travel sites.

What are the benefits of working with a TMC with Concur Preferred Partner status?

This preferred status is more than just a fancy title. It comes with perksmany that directly benefit the customer. So what does that include?

  • Full and open integration – Being a preferred partner enables us to offer comprehensive service and a commitment to innovation.
  • Priority escalation of Concur Travel issues – Think of this like cutting in line when an issue arises. Our perks are your perks.
  • Cutting-edge service and support – As your company grows, so will your travel program. Being a preferred partner gives us the ability to evolve, not only in the industry, but also as your travel needs change.
  • High quality service and responsive interaction – Being a longtime direct reseller of SAP Concur, you can be assured of high quality service and responsive interaction.
  • Access to Christopherson’s SAP Concur Certified Online Tech Support Team – Our specialists know the inside and out of SAP Concur, and are always available via phone or email.

See why our online travel solutions are continually recognized as one of the best in the industry?  And this is just skimming the surface of our extensive and ongoing services. Interested in learning more? Contact us with any questions or for a demo of our AirPortal technology.

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Travel Management Travel Technology

Booking travel online is less expensive. Is it really?

In the popular media there are lots of articles talking about which website will save you the most money, or about various online booking engines that will allow travelers to book the best deals.  Or there are the ads telling you to get the best deal by booking online directly with the airline.  This constant drumbeat has convinced some people that this is actually the case and so companies opt to use online booking tools in order to save a few dollars on service fees.  Does this really save them money?
Topaz International has done a study that compares Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz vs. the airline websites.  The study finds that Orbitz returns the lowest fare option 56% of time vs. Expedia at 54% and Travelocity at 47% of the time.  The difference is about $20.00 per transaction.  When Topaz compared these three websites to the airline websites, they found that the airline websites only offered a lower fare 7% of the time for an average savings of $36.00 while the Big Three offered lower fares 27% of the time for an average savings of $82.00.  When you read this you may think, “Well then, I will just book at Orbitz and save money.”  Before you do that, let me point out a couple of things.

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Travel Management Vacation Travel

Do It Yourself vs. Using A Full Service Agency

There are those who believe that booking travel is something that anyone can and should do.  There are those who believe that booking travel should be left in the hands of experts.  I think that both groups have some valid points however I think that those who believe that they should do their online bookings directly with the vendor and/or via a portal, such as Travelocity or Expedia or Orbitz are setting themselves up for problems. There is a great article that addresses some of the potential problems that happen far too frequently to those who do it themselves. http://www.consumertraveler.com/today/5-online-airline-booking-disasters/#more-27094.
If one wants to book online, I would suggest that one does so through a full service travel agency, such as Christopherson Business Travel. The difference will be the level of service that the customer receives if there is a problem. Unlike the online booking portals, a full service agency can and will, offer personal service if a traveler makes a mistake when booking travel or has an issue arise while traveling. Additionally, if one is using a full service agency and discovers that the trip that they are planning is more complex than they first anticipated, they can reach a real agent who will be able to assist them. So by utilizing a full service agency, a traveler can have the best of booking online and having access to professional assistance when needed and/or desired.
For corporations, the equation to determine value vs. service fee costs, needs to include the hidden costs associated with booking online. Hidden costs include things like, lost productivity due to employees spending their time trying to book their travel, lost productivity when an employee books an impossible connection or the actual cost of paying a salesman or engineer or manager to sit and book a trip. If an employee is making $50,000 a year and spends 30 minutes booking a trip, that’s about $12.00 worth of that employees time spent booking travel and does not include any fee charged by the online booking tool. Then comes the issue of employees who either unknowingly or knowingly, book outside the travel policy and cost their company money. When booking with a full service agency, such as Christopherson Business Travel, we can customize our online booking tool to help enforce a company’s travel policy, which is something that Orbitz, et al, will do for smaller companies.
And if a company is doing lots of international travel, I would strongly suggest utilizing an agent given all the changes that have happened in the last year, the increasing numbers of countries requiring visas or passenger information prior to the day of travel or that the TSA is now requiring airlines to provide them with the full name, the date of birth, gender and citizenship of each traveler, along with requiring the name on the ticket to match the name on the ID being presented at check in, all add layers of complexity to international travel. Additionally, agents have access to specials, such as they BUY COACH, FLY BUSINESS offerings from a number of airlines. This means that a traveler can purchase a full fare coach ticket and end up seated in business class. You won’t find these deals offered through the online booking tools, you will only get them from an agent. Agents can also suggest alternatives to avoid paying certain taxes or to get a lower fare by using various “tricks of the trade”.
So, to recap, I would suggest that even if you are an ardent DIY person, that you still utilize an online booking tool associated with a full service agency so that you can get service when you need it. And if you aren’t really savvy, I would suggest that it is beneficial to work with a full service agency because there is someone there to assist you, if you need it. And for those who do a lot of international or even a lot of complex itineraries, working with a full service agent can save you money, time and stress.

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Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

Christopherson Andavo Travel Partners with Concur’s Cliqbook

Christopherson is proud to announce a partnership with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative online corporate travel booking tool, Concur Cliqbook Travel. With the broadest selection of travel content delivered through an intuitive online experience, Concur helps organizations increase policy compliance by controlling costs before they occur.

  • Cliqbook is a powerful employee travel management solution that enables you to create travel bookings online.
  • Search vendor inventory through Christopherson’s valued affiliations.
  • Find, coordinate, and reserve your airline, rental car, hotel, rail, limo, or dining reservations for your business travel.
  • Comply with your company’s travel policy when booking your travel.

Concur offers on-demand Employee Spend Management services, enables organizations to globally control costs by automating the processes they use to manage employee spending. Concur’s end-to-end solutions seamlessly unite online travel booking with automated expense reporting, streamline meeting management and optimize the process of managing invoices, employee check requests and direct reimbursements.

Concur Screen Shot