Categories
Travel Industry Travel News Vacation Travel

Virtuoso Travel Week: Agents shopping for your next travel adventure

Shopping’s never been more fun!  I’m excited to tell you that soon a whole contingent of Andavo Travel (the vacation planning division of Christopherson) travel advisors from across the country will be heading to Virtuoso Travel Week, the world’s largest luxury travel show, held each August in Las Vegas.

This event brings together the world’s leading luxury travel providers and travel agencies for a week-long, collaborative event where advisors shop cruises, hotels, tours and destinations for their clients. This one-of-a-kind event gives Virtuoso Member travel agencies and advisors the exclusive insider access they need to fulfill their clients travel dreams, turning ordinary trips into extraordinary experiences.

Do you have a particular adventure you want us to seek out for you? Perhaps you’re thinking of an African safari? Maybe you’re dreaming of cruising in a zodiac in Antarctica? Or biking through Asia? This is the perfect time for us to ‘shop’ for your next vacation, so give your Andavo agent a call and let’s discuss your travel interests.

For more info about Virtuoso Travel Week, view this 1-minute video:

Contact us today to start creating your next unique adventure.  www.AndavoTravel.com/vacations

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

The perfect vacation won’t plan itself. Andavo Travel can help.

The world is a mighty big place, and vacation planning can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s when it’s nice to have friends familiar with every corner of it. At Andavo Travel (the leisure division of Christopherson Business Travel), our well-traveled agents use first-hand experiences to customize vacations and have been orchestrating travel dreams to worldwide destinations for more than 30 years.

A screenshot of our Find An Advisor tool.
Find the perfect agent to plan your dream vacation with the “Find An Advisor” tool on AndavoTravel.com/Vacations.

Wondering how to find just the right Andavo travel agent?  Visit this new page on our website!

AndavoTravel.com/Vacations

Use the “Find An Advisor” tool to search for a travel agent that specializes in the interest or destination you’re looking for. Browse agent photos, bios, and recent blog posts to help you decide who is the best fit for you. We know you won’t be disappointed.

We are specialists in the art of travel. We save you time and deliver extraordinary travel experiences. We put our global connections to work to ensure that you receive the most advantageous pricing, access, upgrades, and amenities. Benefits that are simply not available to the general public.

Now, more than ever, the time you spend with family, friends and even yourself is your most valuable investment. We look forward to putting our passion for travel to work for you.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Take A Walk On The Vacation Side Of Life

Did you know that Christopherson Business Travel also has a vacation travel division, called Andavo TravelTwo brands under the same roof, and we here on the vacation side of life would love to assist you in planning your next vacation. Or perhaps you’re thinking of inviting the family along on your next business trip, to maybe extend your stay and enjoy a little relaxation? We can help with that too. Andavo Travel is a Virtuoso member agency and, as such, is chock full of excellent travel advisers. You can review some of our ranks across the country and choose the one that is just right for you.
How Andavo Travel can help you personally:

  • Avoid hours of internet research and price comparisons
  • Utilize our expertise: Our well-traveled advisers use firsthand experiences to customize vacations
  • Enjoy global connections: Personal contacts at 1,000+ airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts worldwide
  • Provide an advocate in case of flight cancellations, delays or lost luggage

How Andavo Travel can help a company:

  • Arrange groups, meetings and incentive travel
  • Plan company retreat travel
  • Reward employees with travel gift certificates, redeemable via Andavo
  • Offer discounts for a vast array of travel suppliers through our exclusive contracts
  • Participate in your employee health/benefits fairs

What is Virtuoso?

  • Virtuoso is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies
  • Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisers have global connections with the best travel providers, which means access to the best travel offers that consumers can’t get on their own
  • For Andavo and Christopherson clients, this means access to exclusive, complimentary travel offers:
  • Room upgrades
  • Meals
  • Limousine transfers
  • Spa treatments
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • Subscriptions to renowned travel publications

Andavo Travel can be reached at 866-327-7600 or vacations@andavotravel.com.

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
Vacation Travel

Does a travel agent fly for you?

Contrary to popular belief, a travel agent won’t always cost more. In fact, it is possible you will pay less than booking a vacation yourself because agents might be aware of promotional offers and occasionally have access to exclusive deals. Some agents will charge a fee for their time in planning a trip. In general, however, using a travel agent will often cost about the same as booking it yourself, experts say. Read the complete article from Gregory Karp, Chicago Tribune for all the pros and cons…

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Airline ancillary fees… Working out the frustration

I attended a webinar this week and was thrilled to discover what I think is a great step in the right direction when it comes to identifying and clarifying some of the extra costs of airline travel today.  If you have the right credit card, you can now receive reports through AirPlus International on award  fees, baggage  costs (first bag, second bag, etc.), services fees (upgrades, standby, bulkhead etc.), onboard charges and miscellaneous charges.  AirPlus is certainly taking this subject very seriously and even though it is not a perfect solution, it is the best one out there today.
“The AirPlus Ancillary Fee Reports are designed specifically for corporate travel managers to gain insight into airline ancillary fees! AirPlus is the first payment provider to offer such clarity.
A set of five detailed reports are available monthly for AirPlus Corporate Card customers and are based on a company’s card data. These reports are compiled using reporting data sent through by airlines and include hundreds of different fee types! Gain control over these fees with the transparency that AirPlus brings with these new reports.”
These reports include robust details for further data mining and reporting. They include the type of fee, the airline, the ticket/document number of the fee, the passenger name and amount. This data is useful for budgeting a company’s future travel program spend and may prove useful in supplier negotiations.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Rising cost of fuel isn’t only reason it’s more difficult to find cheap airfare

Airlines have the upper hand on airfare prices for more reasons than just fuel cost:
– The improving economy. Business travelers are expected to take 441 million trips this year, a 3% increase from 2010. As a result, airlines are reserving more seats for pricey last-minute bookings.
– Fewer seats. During the recession, airlines reduced the number of routes and planes they fly. As travel demand picks up, this shrunken supply of seats allows the industry to charge more. Planes are 82% full on average, compared with 70% full before the recession hit in late 2007.
– Consolidation. Six airlines have combined into just three over the past 14 months — Delta and Northwest, Continental and United, Midwest and Frontier — leaving bargain-hunters with fewer choices.
Your Christopherson agent has access to all airline fares and inventory and will be your best guide to finding the best airfare options available.

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

Leisure Agent Named One of Travel Agent Magazine’s Top 25 Agents for 2010

Andavo Travel, a Christopherson company that specializes in luxury vacation travel, is brimming with talented agents.  What makes a top travel agent? Looking to find answers to this query, Travel Agent Magazine invited their readers to tell them why they were at the top of their field. They narrowed it down to the Top 25 Agents for 2010.
Andavo’s own Jeffery DalPoggetto made it onto this exclusive list.  Jeff is in Andavo Travel’s Marin County, California office. We congratulate him for winning this top award!
To reach Jeff or another one of our exceptional leisure travel advisors in the Marin office, please call (415) 945-6200.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

In case you haven’t heard….

After a review of Avis Budget’s $1.33 billion bid by Dollar Thrifty’s board of directors, Dollar Thrifty turned down the offer.   Even though Avis’s offer is higher than the $1.13 billion dollar offer in place with Hertz, Dollar has decided to decline Avis’s offer.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set Sept. 8 as the effective date for a new $10 fee on foreign visitors, which will help fund the new tourism promotion program created by the Travel Promotion Act.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car will start delivering electric cars to some non-airport locations in January.
The company will initially deliver 500 Nissan Leaf vehicles to neighborhood branches with the infrastructure to support the cars.
Tourism businesses in the Gulf Coast region could lose between $7.6 billion and $22.7 billion in visitor spending over the next three years, according to research commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.  In addition to developing recommended actions for the government, U.S. Travel  endorsed an idea  earlier this month where BP would set set up a $500 million emergency marketing fund that would be disbursed as grants to local destinations for information and marketing campaigns.
Spirit Airlines… another fee?  When speaking with an airport employee becomes an option rather than a necessity, Spirit Airlines is thinking about charging for that service, CEO Ben Baldanza told ABC News on Tuesday. “When there’s a way for customers to do it themselves electronically, at that point, we could consider charging a few dollars to interact with a human,” he said. “But if the only way we can do the transaction for you is to talk to a human, we’re not going to charge you for that.”

TSA Week at a Glance: 7/26/10 thru 8/01/10 – www.tsa.gov

  • 8 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints
  • 18 firearms found at checkpoints
  • 6 passengers were arrested after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents
Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Combining Business Travel with Leisure Travel

Have you ever been on a business trip and wished you could see more than just the inside of a plane, rental car, hotel room, conference room, etc.?  Well, here is your solution, at least if your business travel takes you to the beautiful state of Utah.
Did you know that Utah has 7 national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, Great Basin and Natural Bridges), with many more national parks nearby including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde?  We also have 7+ national monuments and plenty of national forests.
Utah has enough to keep everyone happy and busy including everything from snow skiing to water skiing, caving to climbing, cycling to hiking, sailing to flying and ballooning to rafting.  You already know that we have the greatest snow on earth and you can be snow skiing in the morning and hiking Zion National Park in the evening all during the same season.
When you come to Utah, don’t miss out on the natural beauty that is easily within a day’s drive of where ever you may be doing business.  You also won’t want to miss out on some of our great restaurants, Café Diablo near Capitol Reef, the Bit and Spur near Zion National Park, and the scrumptuous local restaurants in the Salt Lake area such as Faustina, The Oasis, The Tin Angel, The Rio Grande and many more.
For more information, please visit the websites of the Utah Travel & Tourism or the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Center
For travel arrangements for business or pleasure the travel agents with Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel will be happy to assist you with the highest level of service.  Please contact us at 801.327.7700, 866.327.7650.   Prepare yourself for an adventure that you’ll never forget and start enjoying your business trips!

Categories
Travel News

TSA Update ~ DELTA

May 24, 2010 – Delta Air Lines continues to work with the TSA to ensure ongoing compliance with TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) standards. Adherence with the required TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data standards is required for Delta and all airlines for travel to/from/through the U.S. effective November 1, 2010. Specifically, the regulation requires customers to supply the SFPD information at the time of ticketing. This includes full name, date of birth, gender and optional redress number.
Agencies are asked to provide SFPD information by July 1, 2010. While Delta will continue to accept agency reservations without complete SFPD data beyond July 1, passengers whose flights depart on November 1 or later will be required to see a ticket agent if SFPD was not included in their reservation.
All airlines with flights to/from and within the United States will be required to adhere to SFPD standards, including Delta’s joint venture partners – Air France and KLM. These partners are under separate TSA timelines. Specific Air France and KLM TSA Secure Flight information will be communicated separately.
It should only be a matter of time before the other airlines will be making official announcements regarding their timelines. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to be prepared to meet this important TSA requirement.
Additional Resources
• Complete information on Secure Flight can be found at • A complete list of acceptable forms of I.D. can be found at www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/index.shtm
• Information on the Redress process can be found at www.dhs.gov/trip
• For more on TSA privacy policies, or to review the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, please see the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov

Categories
Travel News

For all those business travelers caught in the recent snow storms–listen up!

If you were that business traveler, had booked your travel through Christopherson, and were stranded in any of the recent east coast snow storms; you were in good hands. Why—because the last time you were stranded we took exceptional care of you then. This situation happens every year and every year our agents amaze me in how they service our clients. Here are just a few ways they assisted stranded passengers over the past few weeks.

  • Made the calls to the airlines and were on hold for hours—one agent 5 hours changing an international flight.
  • Provided clients with waivers from the airlines to obtain refunds when they were either unable to make the trip (meeting cancelled) or half way through their trip their return flight was cancelled. If you booked through the airlines websites or online agencies, you had to make the call to the airline and stay on hold for hours. One agent tried for an entire day to change a clients booking through the airline while his client went about his usual work schedule.
  • When passengers leaving to catch a flight, checked the airline websites, and found flights were showing confirmed (not cancelled); contacted us just to make sure. In numerous instances our computer system indicated the flights were cancelled. We then rebooked, reissued, and the traveler showed up at the airport with no surprises. That trip to Florida was made after all to close the business deal.
  • If you were lucky enough to have the airline call and explain just how they had re-accommodated you on another flight to return home only to find out it was two days later than originally ticketed, our agents were able to get you back much sooner.
  • Our after-hour emergency number was available on the weekend allowing for the same type changes, processing of refunds, and rescheduling.

Our many resources provide a “peace of mind” to business travelers whether they are our special numbers to make changes quicker; or, the ability to process airline waivers when changes are necessary so you don’t have to stand in line at the airport. We can provide options, for instances, rebooking your desired flight on another airline and processing the refund for your unused ticket. Time is money. For the price of our low service fee—we’ve got you covered!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor vs. online booking

On numerous occasions I have received a call from a “should-be” client saying that they have a problem with their reservation and asking for my help. When I ask, “Which agent assisted you?” their reply is “I booked it myself online” then I just cringe. I tell them that I cannot touch their online booking. I can offer suggestions to a solution but most of the time there is not much that can be done.
There is great value in using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor. We will not only save you time, but we will spare you the complexity and anxiety of the planning process.
The trusted Vacation Travel Advisors at Christopherson Travel have a world of resources at our fingertips thanks to our membership in Virtuoso, the leading network of top luxury travel agencies. We are able to offer privileged access, exclusive amenities and generous upgardes that you can’t get on your own. We specialize in designing a one-of-a-kind travel experiences for our clients. Coordinating a special travel experience is the goal of every personal advisor.
The next time you are planning a vacation use a personal Travel Advisor and save yourself many headaches.

Categories
Travel News

Professional, Knowledgeable, and Experienced Travel Agents

Recently while preparing information for an RFP (request for proposal), I was amazed at how much experience Christopherson’s travel consultants possess. Of our 21 corporate agents located at our Salt Lake City Reservation Center:
• Average years of experience is 24
• This experience runs from one agent with 10 years up to another with 33 years
• Average tenure with Christopherson Business Travel is 10 years
• Agent tenure runs from one with 3 years up to another with 16 years experience
• Every corporate agent is experienced in international travel
What does this mean for you – the CFO, company travel manager, travel coordinator, or traveler?
• Cost savings through experience and special programs
• Assured accuracy within your reservations
• Hassle free experiences
• Peace of mind
Add Christopherson’s exclusive travel technology and pro-active consultative account management to the mix of our professional, knowledgeable, and experience travel consultants and you receive services from the best and the brightest travel people in the industry today.

Categories
Travel Management

The Beauty of Full Service Travel

If text messaging while driving has been, or will be outlawed, do you think that means no laptop use while driving as well?  How many times are you driving in your car and you begin to create that mental list of things you need to accomplish, you know, the list that never actually gets written down on paper?  We’ve all been in those situations where we may not have a laptop at our fingertips, but 90% of us will have our cell phone with us.  This is one of many benefits that come from using a full service travel agency for your business and leisure travel.  The next time you are stuck in traffic and your mental list of ‘things to do’ comes to mind, and booking your next trip has surfaced to the top, you can take care of it easily using your Bluetooth and speed dial to call your favorite travel coordinator at Christopherson Business Travel.  There are times for on-line booking and on-line booking tools, but there is also savings to be gained by using your full service agency.
Using a full service travel agency can, in the long run, save time and money.  This savings can take place before, during and after your trip.  Though on-line booking tools can be convenient and are often known for obtaining low fares, your travel coordinator can provide you with those same fares and at the same time, give you hundreds of options for saving money that an on-line booking tool is unable to do.  Many times you are required to scroll through long lists of options and flights which can be very time consuming, and as the saying goes, ‘time is money’.  A travel agent also has the ability to add comments to your air, car and hotel reservations when you have special requests to ensure that your travel experience is a positive one.
Have you ever finished business early and haven’t wanted to spend Friday afternoon in a crowded and noisy airport?  If you have booked your travel arrangements with your full service travel agency it only takes one call to a familiar voice to make the necessary changes to your reservation so that you can avoid wasted time and enjoy more time at home.  I’ve always said that Dorothy penned it so well, “There’s no place like home”.   On-line booking tools at this time do not allow changes without contacting the airlines or a travel agent directly.
During your trip, when you may encounter problems with your air, car or hotel reservation, if you have used your full service agency, you have an advocate on your side.  There is nothing like having someone to call when a crisis arises and letting a seasoned travel coordinator resolve any issues that may arise with your travel arrangements.  This allows you to focus on the real purpose of your business trip, once again, saving time and money.
Truly, a computer will never be able to replace the human touch, but don’t say this out loud near the IT team.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Could You Be A Christopherson Andavo Client?

If you answer, “Yes, I want this service,” to any of the statements listed below, you should contact us immediately!!

  1. Have professional travel consultants available 24/7.
  2. Be able to book travel whenever and wherever.
  3. Have the flexibility and convenience to book a trip with an agent or through an online booking tool of choice.
  4. Provided one place to view all my past, present and future travel, all my department’s past, present, and future travel, plus travel for the entire company in one location, online with one singe sign-on.
  5. Know when an unused ticket is available, if it is reused, and if not, why.
  6. International travel specialists with 20+ years experience managing complex itineraries and providing special services worldwide.
  7. Re-check hotel and car bookings a few days prior to arrival date for lower rates and then rebooking them.
  8. Receive detailed and/or summary report on savings found by my agent(s).
  9. Special hotel and car discounts available through an agent OR booked online.
  10. In the case of an emergency, know within minutes the detailed whereabouts of your company’s travelers worldwide to act quickly.
  11. Proactive and consultative account managers working hard to maximize your ROI.
  12. Thorough meeting, incentive and conference planning.

Christopherson Business Travel is ranked the 14th largest travel agency in the nation (by Business Travel News) and therefore have exceptional relationships with ALL vendors so when you need some extra support or challenges need extra assistance – we definitely can help!

Categories
Travel Management

Christopherson Travel Offers Superior Service

Expect great service when you call a Christopherson Travel agent.  Here is just a sampling of what our clients say about our travel agents:
“Thank you for your INCREDIBLE patience getting his flights booked. I can’t believe how gracious you have been over this fiasco. We truly appreciate everything you have done. ”  (Heather)
“She always goes out of her way to help in any way I need, no matter what the crisis. And let me tell you, we have a crisis regularly!!! I sure appreciate all she does for me. ” (  Rena)
An incredible asset to your company. She always has a good attitude, is VERY knowledgeable, and is unbelievably patient with us.” ( Mary )
“I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate him. He cheerfully fulfills my every request – no matter how random, impromptu, or difficult. I can always count on him to not only respond quickly, but with a smile and a kind word (and of course, he always finds me the best flights). It’s clear to me that he cares about his clients and wants to give us the best service. ”  (Cathy)
“I just wanted to thank you for all that you do for our company and tell you that I love Christopherson Travel and Melissa is such a great employee. I thoroughly enjoy working with her and other employees at Christopherson. You guys are the best.”  (Alisa)
Thanks again for all of your help. You are a miracle worker, and you make my life so much easier!!  ( Kathleen)

Categories
Travel News

Experience The Difference: Christopherson Travel Expertise

The experience of our travel agents and our reputation with the airlines helps us save our clients money each and every day.

  • A traveler needed to make a change on a flight and called saying he thought he would just buy a new ticket. He was advised by his Christopherson travel agent that he actually had funds available on his reservation and instead of spending an additional $280.00 for a new ticket, his cost was only $50.00.
  • Another traveler was looking for flights to Washington D.C. and his agent recommended a schedule to a nearby airport that was half the cost.
  • Another customer was looking for discount seats for four people to San Francisco and could only see a price of 220.00 per person from Denver. With the help of an agent, they secured the flights for 149.00 per person.

There is a Christopherson Travel agent that has expertise for travel to any destination. Many of our agents have 10, 15 or 20 years experience in the industry and can help plan a trip whether the destination is domestic or international.

Categories
Travel Management

Travel Agent Working from 30,000 feet

Christopherson Business Travel is known for its’ amazing agents who go above and beyond expectations to serve our clients needs, but one agent recently took that to a whole new level…30,000 feet to be exact.
Our agent Jack was on a cross country trip which required a connecting flight. After sitting on the tarmac for an hour at his departure city he knew he would never make his connecting flight. Once his flight finally took off and rose to 10,000 feet he was allowed to access his electronic devices and connected his laptop to the new in-flight WiFi service. This allowed Jack to connect to our computer reservation system and re-accommodate himself on a later connecting flight.
The passenger next to Jack noticed what he was doing and asked if he could help him with his misconnection. Soon the concerned passengers across the aisle were soliciting his expertise as well. Jack is a frequent flyer and had been upgraded to first class on this flight. In a short time he had worked out travel arrangements for all 12 of the first class passengers. Conveniently 6 of them were Christopherson customers so the task was especially smooth.
Once the flight attendant learned what the onboard Christopherson agent was capable of she had him assisting her with all the concerned passengers in coach as well.
Although you may not find Jack or another Christopherson agent on your next delayed flight, you are just a click away from connecting with one of our agents via our exclusive AirPortal® or your with your email service.  No longer do you need to wait until you land to find out what your options are.
With U.S. airlines working night and day to outfit their planes with in-flight wireless access you too can have our travel management services at 30,000 feet.

Categories
Travel Management

Four Things For Summer Travel

As the summer travel season heats up and travelers encounter crowded, often oversold flights, sold out hotels, and overbooked car rental agencies, delayed flights, etc, I just wanted to remind travelers of a few basic things that will help them cope with the problems.
First, bring your patience with you when you travel.  This means rather than blowing up when the first thing goes wrong, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.   We, as a society, are almost always in a hurry to get to our destination and as such, we tend not to be patient when something delays us.  However impatience is often our enemy when something does go wrong. 
The second thing you should bring is your sense of humor.  Let’s face it, if you sit back and watch your fellow travelers, you will see a lot of funny behavior.   Also, humor can defuse a lot of potentially bad situations and turn them into something positive.
The third thing you should bring is your compassion. Have a little compassion for the employee of the travel company that you are dealing with. I promise you that the gate agent doesn’t want your flight delayed any more than you. So remember that all the passengers and the gate agent are in this mess together.
The fourth thing you should remember to bring are your manners. If there is a problem and you need help, you will get far more help when you say “Please” and “Thank You”, then if you start off yelling at the person who is going to help you. After all, you are asking for help, which implies that you need something from this person. Most folks seem less inclined to help someone who yells, curses or is abusive to them. So start out nice and polite. Being polite doesn’t mean that you have to take whatever they offer you however it does mean that you are more likely to get a helpful solution to the problem rather than a stone wall. And remember if being polite doesn’t work, you can always resort to yelling, screaming, etc. after you were the nice person. It’s much harder to go the other way.
So have fun traveling this summer and remember your travel agent is there for you.

Categories
Travel News

Travel A Worthy Experience

 
Wherever I go people ask me about travel destinations. My advice is always the same. I tell others to just go and see new places and don’t put off taking a cruise or that trip to Florida , Europe or even just a destination close to home. There is a fascination with traveling to different places , seeing how other people live and just taking time out from our regular routine. The travel environment may be in some ways more complicated today with airline restrictions and security procedures but there are also some real great opportunities. Just Today there are some great airfares out there :
Salt Lake to Los Angeles 169.90 round trip with taxes
Salt Lake to New York 359.90 round trip with taxes
Denver to Chicago 189.20 round trip with taxes
LAX to Honolulu 429.20 round trip with taxes
Give us a call at Christopherson Travel 1-866-327-7650

Categories
Travel Management

And the fee is?

The other day when a friend of mine was getting ready to leave on a trip and was flying on three different carriers, he asked me what the baggage fee was going to be for each airline. Now for the most part, one can remember the cost of a candy bar, a can of soda pop or even the price for a gallon of milk. But now days, the ability to remember the cost per baggage is like trying to remember what the price of gas was last year at this time. The Airline that you are a frequent traveler on might be easy to remember, but what about all the other two Airlines that my friend is going to board from one city to another in a 2 week time period.
I told him that I thought that the fee was one cost, when in reality, I was wrong. The next day at work I found the cool grid that BCD travel had sent out. Attached is this link for your reference that should be helpful. It seems like sometimes you can find some great airfare, but by the time you pay all the fees for all your baggage, you might be paying the close to the same amount as your ticket cost you. You never know, you might be like my friend. You will either buck up and pay the baggage fees, take a carry on and figure out a way to wear two to three sets of clothes in a two week period or you will ask your travel agent to ship your clothes to you. The 3rd option might end up to be more cost effective in the long run.
Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell him I charge a fee for the shipping….

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Travel Management

Why People Should Use A Travel Agent

A few weeks ago, I spent cooped up in a travel trailer watching the rain come tumbling down for two days straight.  I was trapped in the trailer with my daughter, her friend and her friend’s parents, who had invited us to go to camping with them.  While sitting around waiting for a break in the weather we talked about a wide range of topics, including employment and travel.
He is in the military and she is a nurse and apparently they travel a couple of times a year, generally within the US.  When they learned that I worked for a travel agency, he asked me the usual questions about all the places I’ve been and isn’t wonderful how I get all these great deals on travel (the only advantage I have is that I see the specials when they first come out allowing me to be one of the first people to purchase the ticket, rather than one of the last) and then he asked me why people should use a travel agent.
I took a moment to compose my thoughts and then I explained why I would say that people should use a travel agent rather than doing it yourself.  I started with service.  Travel agents are service providers, you call and tell us what you want and we do the work to get you that service.  We are there to take care of you throughout the entire process of booking, traveling and even after you get home.  If you have a problem with an airline or a hotel or a car rental and you booked it yourself, do you know what your rights are and do you where to start?  Your travel agent does.  Not only does your travel agent have lots of contacts in the business, your travel agent has a relationship with the vendors that allows your agent to get special treatment for you at no additional cost or at a reduced cost. 
The next reason is knowledge and that is a big one.  Most professional agents have traveled extensively and have access to news about vendors,  resorts, hotels, etc., that the general public may not be aware of or they may not be aware of the importance of the news.  For example, a co-worker of mine had a client that was setting up a trip to fly between two cities in Southeast Asia.  There were two airlines flying the route, the customer asked for one and my co-worker had just read where that carrier had been banned from flying to/from the EU and the USA due to safety concerns.  My co-worker told the customer about the ban and talked the customer into flying on the other carrier.  It turns out that the original flight that the customer requested crashed, killing all on board.  Needless to say, the customer was very thankful that he had listened to his agent.   
Additionally agents get feedback from their customers which allows the agent to remain current about new situations that arise.  Sometimes this may be something as minor as having a customer tell you that a hotel is changing brands or that the visa both in the Istanbul airport has moved from the right side of the hall to the left side and is now a little further away from the stairs.  Or it could be something important like a construction project is starting next to a hotel and therefore the agent knows to steer people to other hotels or to request rooms on the opposite side of the hotel from the construction.
Then comes the biggest one, value.  Yes, you pay a service fee to use a travel agent however over time a professional travel agent will save you money and ensure that you get the greatest value for the money spent.   How does this happen?  It is a variety of things, ranging from insuring that you frequent flyer number is transmitted to all the partner airlines and car companies, to using connections to get you an upgrade on a cruise or a room at a resort to dealing with preferred vendors who offer amenities at no extra cost to the customer to just being diligent and checking repeatedly to see if the price has dropped.  Sometimes it simply knowing that an option exists.   Many people say there isn’t a good reason to use a travel agent on domestic travel because it is so simple, I disagree that  a travel agent can’t bring value to a trip, even if it is so simple to book.  Let me give you a couple of examples, a traveler is flying from Salt Lake City to Atlanta on Delta.  The traveler is departing on Monday morning and returning Wednesday night, the airfare is $1259.71.  If you book your own travel, you may think that this is the only option since that seems to be the lowest fare no matter which combination of flights you pick for those dates.  A professional travel agent can take a look at the fares and quickly determine that if you were to either fly into Atlanta on Sunday or return Thursday, you can drop the fare by as much as 50%!  That will cover the costs of a decent hotel and extra meals and still save you money. 
The other example would be if you are traveling to Orlando or other resort destination, your professional travel agent can easily compare the cost of doing everything ala carte or getting a package.  Packages may include a car rental and a hotel stay, admission to attractions,  in addition to the airfare.  The nice thing about packages is that you know the total cost, including taxes and fees, which may not sound like much until you get the bill.  Hotel room taxes in many resort areas are in excess of 10%, so on a six night stay at room rate of $150.00 per night, that’s an extra $90.00. 
I have a friend in the entertainment business who travels extensively.  Much of her travel is international and for several years I tried to get her to do her travel through me, instead she opted to do it herself.  A couple of years ago she visited the United Kingdom to attend a wedding of a good friend where she was going to perform a couple of songs.  She had listed the date on her website as a private performance, which is was, however when she arrived in the UK, she told Customs and Immigration that she was there as a tourist.  About 9 months later, she was returning to the UK, this time to be the opening act on European tour.  She landed in Heathrow, got to Customs and Immigration and was detained when she declared that she was a tourist.  Apparently, the authorities had discovered that she had visited the UK several times before and worked without the proper visa and this time they weren’t going to let her into the country.  They put her in a small room, where they kept her for 8 hours, then they handcuffed her and escorted her onto a flight out of the country.  She later told me that she hadn’t thought that she needed a work visa because she wasn’t taking a job in the UK, she was just passing through.  She no longer can visit the UK because of her error.  Now she calls me to set up her travel overseas and I make sure that she gets the appropriate documents so that she doesn’t have any additional issues.
Last one, about a month ago a friend of mine told me that she wanted to go to Bali this summer and that the best airfare that she could find was about $1500.00 from Los Angeles.  That was more then she wanted to spend.  I spent less than 30 minutes working on her itinerary and got her tickets, for the dates she wanted for $859.00.  Not only is she saving over $600.00, even adding in my fee, she’s flying on one of the ten best airlines in the world.  She has been advised of the passport and visa requirements, reminded of baggage limitations, had seats assigned, told how much time she needs to allow to check in and has been given access to a 24 hour, toll free number to call if she encounters any problems, just to name a few of the additional services that she received by booking through a travel agent.
So the simple answer to my friend was simply that without a travel agent, you’re on your own.