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Business Travel Travel Management

Why Duty Of Care For Universities Is The Real Reason To Mandate Travel

From study abroad students to professors on sabbatical; universities have their own ecosystem when is comes to travel management. Just think of it, potentially thousands of students, administrators, professors and contractors can be traveling on behalf of an academic institution at any one time. That’s why it’s so surprising to learn that many universities and colleges do not utilize travel management companies for their complex travel needs. Many know that mandating travel would help them stay organized and reduce travel costs. But unfortunately, finding the right TMC often becomes a ‘back-burner’ item. Additionally, as the global and political climate become more unpredictable, the responsibility of duty of care for universities is also growing. Can learning institutions really afford not have a mandated travel management program in this day and age?

Increase in travel risk requires more duty of care for universities

Duty of care responsibility and the travel risk management that is required to maintain it, is a large task for even small startups. The responsibility required by a university or college can be mind boggling. Whether it be theft, terrorism, disease, or weather; the risks associated with travel have always been around. And unfortunately, it appears to be increasing. iJET, a leader in integrated travel management, found that 98% of their alerts were issued in just the past five years. Additionally, 78% of travel managers plan on making risk management a higher priority this year. Risk, from pickpockets to something catastrophic, is a global issue that only seems to be growing. It is naive to think that universities and colleges of any size can adequately protect their students and employees without the assistance of a travel management program.

How a lack of duty of care lead to disaster

In 2007, Cara Munn was an active 15 year-old excited to attend a school trip to China. Her private boarding school, The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, lead a month-long excursion around the country. Part of the trip included a hike on Mount Panshan. We now know that the trip leaders never told the students to put on bug spray. She was also allowed to hike down the mountain unsupervised rather than take a cable car with the group. Ten days later, Munn was rushed to Beijing hospital with a high fever, headache and wooziness. She eventually was airlifted back to New York. Due to the hike without bug spray, Munn contracted tick-borne encephalitis. This viral infection caused by ticks commonly manifests as meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis. Though Munn went on to finish high school and attended Trinity College, she has lost the ability to speak and some cognitive functions.

Ten years later, Hotchkiss School and the Munn family are still in the middle of a heated lawsuit. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold a $41.5 million verdict for the family. They found that the school lacked duty of care responsibility when they failed to warn or protect their students against the risk of a serious insect-borne disease. Though the case is now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the amount of time, money, stress and energy spent by the school has been insurmountable. And with the court cases appearing to favor the student, it’s becoming more and more apparent that education institutions need to have their duty of care and travel risk management protocol in place and in action should an incident arise.

The necessity of duty of care solutions for universities

Basically it comes down to one question. Can your institution afford to not have duty of care responsibility? Could you afford ten years worth of court fees like this example? What about the bad publicity and tarnished reputation that would come with it?

We’re lucky enough to live in a time where technology has made previously convoluted and confusing tasks simple and straightforward. Travel technology, like our AirPortal 360 Suite, provides support and guidance from the very beginning of your traveler’s process. Ensure they are booking within policy and easily keep track of their itinerary and preferences. Once they travel, monitor their progress and receive travel alerts around their location. Travel management and duty of care responsibility are more important now than ever, but luckily, our travel technology is easy to use and provides peace of mind. If you or your university is interested in learning more about travel management services, please contact us.

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Business Travel Travel Management

Why Universities Use TMCs

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

Reasons universities work with travel management companies (TMCs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Business Travel

Christopherson Sponsors Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management Conference

2014 09 30 SCTEM Panel Photo
Christopherson’s Business Development Manager, Kathleen Roberts (far right), with panel members at the SCTEM Conference

Christopherson was pleased to be a major sponsor of the annual Society for Collegiate Travel and Expense Management (SCTEM) conference in Westminster, Colorado, September 28–30.  The event organizers did a fabulous job of providing interesting and insightful keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and vendor networking opportunities.

The SCTEM conference attracts more than 150 attendees representing colleges, universities, and associated travel management and expense vendors from across the country. The event is a natural fit for Christopherson in that our current client base includes nearly two dozen colleges and universities nationwide.

The higher education niche requires unique travel management solutions and is not supported by all travel management companies. However, Christopherson has chosen to invest in both experienced service personnel and technology in order to deliver highly effective travel management programs to our collegiate clients.

Many thanks to the SCTEM board of directors for presenting another excellent conference. We appreciate our membership in the organization and look forward to future events together.

 

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Business Travel

Christopherson Gets All A’s in Higher Ed Market

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

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

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

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