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Business Travel Guides Travel News

How to Select the Right Corporate Travel Partners

I recently had the pleasure of attending the GBTA- North Carolina’s Education Day.  Themed ‘Bridging the Travel Gap’, it focused on helping both buyers and suppliers bridge the gaps that may exist during the purchasing process. The keynote speaker was Neil Hammond of Goldspring Consulting and he focused on Better Engaging the Buyer and Supplier Relationship. While he delivered a breadth of beneficial material, I really enjoyed his process on selecting the right corporate travel partners. By breaking it out into steps, it makes the process less daunting. It also allows for increased communication and guidelines, ensuring everyone’s needs are met for future travel management practices.

Selecting the right corporate travel partners for your business:

  1. Involve any key stakeholders to get internal support. Gaining this support is especially helpful when a introducing a new policy or changing vendors.
  2. Align your message internally in order to deliver the same message to your travelers.
  3. Educate key decision makers as necessary. Take the time to explain why vendor options are being evaluated.
  4. Define your strategy in advance of collecting a proposal. Will you be awarding a single contract or multiple?
  5. Survey your travelers. This will give you a clear picture of what travelers like and also in keeping their opinions in mind, will ensure buy-in as you proceed in the decision making process.
  6. Agree on your decision making process. What parameters are you looking for? Do these align with your company policy? Do you have a clear timeline for the implementation of this change?
  7. Clearly express your requirements to potential suppliers.
  8. Evaluate suppliers, engaging throughout the process to gain clarification and provide updates on your timeline, if necessary.
  9. Execute a decision according to the defined timeline.

While making a change to your travel program is never easy, following these steps will help you stay organized while selecting your corporate travel partners. And remember, Christopherson is always here to help. With more that 60 years experience in corporate travel, we understand the challenges that businesses face with travel management. If you would like to discuss the process of choosing corporate travel partners in more depth, feel free to contact us, or read our additional blogs below.

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Business Travel

A Millennial Friendly Travel Policy?

While attending the GBTA Convention in Boston this past month, I was both expectant but still a little surprised about the buzz around the concept of millennial business travelers. After all, millennials have been in the workplace for roughly 15 years. During this time, this generation is still inspiring new ideas to pop up.  While there, I attended a couple of education sessions focused on travel policy. One session that I found particularly interesting, featured a panel of two travel managers.  They presented and answered questions on their individual company’s travel policies, including millennial travelers.

Millennial Friendly Travel Policy

• There is a common assumption that millennial travelers are collaborative and like big open public lobby spaces where they can relax and catch up on work. Actually, some are introverts and still appreciate having a work station in their hotel room.
• Millennials have a need to personalize everything and are more likely to dine out in a unique restaurant or go sightseeing on a business trip. It tends all about the experience for these travelers but, as this generation gets older and takes on more personal and familial responsibility, we might begin to see a shift in the “bleisure” time.
• Millennial travelers are 60% more likely to pay for an upgraded hotel room or seat on their flight. This one is actually true and they seem to be willing to treat their comfort as a personal expense.
All of this comes down to one word- OPTIONS. Build a policy that works for your company, is good for your bottom line and vendor relationships but also provides your travelers a few options and you will have happy travelers.

 

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Business Travel Travel Technology

How Christopherson Provides Organization for Travel Management

It could be the ‘type A’ personality in me, but I often think there’s room for improvement in most situations. I’ve also noticed this trait in many travel managers, procurement officers and executives. In positions as busy as these, isn’t the job more manageable with a structured and reliable system? Fortunately, I know Christopherson can provide that oh-so-necessary organization for travel management tasks. Our technology allows for peace of mind and instant access to information for company’s travel management needs. Why are we so confident that we can provide that satisfaction? Read some of our top benefits below:

How Christopherson provides organization for travel management

  •  With our AirPortal 360™ Dashboard and Mobile App, you have a 360° view of your travel program instantly and at all times.
  • No more digging through your inbox to find a traveler’s itinerary. Christopherson’s SecurityLogic® will tell you exactly where your travelers are in seconds. You can even look at their past or upcoming trips by customizing your search.
  • Eliminate that spreadsheet tracking your company’s unused tickets. AirBank® technology seamlessly tracks the unused funds from cancelled tickets. We even provide reminders, ensuring they are used before expiring.
  • All of your traveler’s pertinent travel information and preferences is stored in our Traveler Profiles, allowing you to take one less step when booking. There is no need to keep a series of post-it notes on your desk with traveler’s information written on them.
  • Lastly, eliminate the need to “shop” for fares prior to booking a trip. With PolicyLogic™, your company’s travel policy is built into our software. When travelers book their travel either with an agent or through one of our online booking tools, your travel policy will always comply.

By choosing Christopherson Business Travel as your travel management partner, you are signing on from streamlined and organized travel management. We are at the forefront of travel technology, and have been since we opened our doors in 1953. Contact us to learn more about our AirPortal® platform, and how we can declutter your travel management procedures.

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Business Travel Travel Technology

Christopherson Business Travel and your Risk Management Program

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Charles Brossman, a prominent risk management author and consultant speak at GBTA- North Carolina’s Education Breakfast. His informal but informative conversation educated our group on the legal terms associated with risk management. These terms, coupled with real- life examples, left us thinking about ways to improve the risk management programs for our own organizations.

How Christopherson provides risk management security

Guess what? By partnering with Christopherson as your Travel Management Company, you already have the shoe on the right foot. Housed in our AirPortal 360 platform, SecurityLogic allows travel managers can access real-time threats. This includes security updates, weather, traffic, airport delays, and disaster alerts. These alerts can be automatically pushed to travelers via text and email. With the intuitive Safety Check feature, you can request safety verification from your travelers, from anywhere in the world. Once activated, the traveler will immediately be messaged. Knowing that you are worried about their safety and they can also quickly respond. Additionally, SecurityLogic provides multiple global map overlays. All travel information is geocoded to street-level accuracy. So you can zoom into any country, city, or street to find risks near your travelers.
Learn more about how Christopherson can assist with your duty of care and risk management goals.

Charles Brossman is the author of the book “Building a Travel Risk Management Program: Traveler Safety and Duty of Care for Any Organization”. For more information on Charles Brossman and his services, see his website.

Christopherson Business Travel provides full-service travel management for companies. With advanced technology and customized service, we are one of the top TMCs in the nation. Contact us to learn how we can save your company time and money on future travel.

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Travel Management Travel Tips

Respecting Business Traveler’s Privacy Even In The Face Of Zika

One of the first thoughts for a travel manager concerning the Zika virus is ‘how does duty of care responsibility come into play?’  After all, it is your responsibility to protect the safety and security of your employees, even while they are traveling. 

Zika and business travel

Zika typically has mild symptoms in adults, such as fever, rash, headache and joint pain. These symptoms are so mild that most people don’t even know they contracted Zika. Unfortunately, there are greater concerns for women who are pregnant or planning to start a family.  Pregnant women that contract Zika can have very serious side effects for their unborn child. They can contract microcephaly, a birth defect resulting in small head and brain size. New research has found it could also result in blindness, deafness, or learning and behavioral difficulties.

Your first reaction might be to just avoid all health concerns and not send women of child-bearing age on business trips to these infected areas.  Wrong. This violates laws of gender and pregnancy discrimination.  On the other hand, they have the right to not disclose family planning and future employment decisions. This is a real catch-22. You can’t keep them from traveling, but you can’t assume they want to avoid the area either.

So, what are employers to do?

Overall, as long as employers inform all of their employees of possible Zika risks, especially those of child-bearing age, and avoid other discriminatory actions, they can’t be held liable for any negative outcomes on fetal health. But you can be helpful and provide additional information for all employees.

Here are some additional ways to provide support and information to employees potentially traveling to Zika-affected areas without overstepping bounds:

  • Look for volunteers for travel.
  • Provide employees traveling to these regions with long clothing and mosquito repellent. Plan to keep them indoors with air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Keep open communication between your employees about concerns or questions.
  • If they are hesitant to travel to a these areas, provide them with additional resources and information so they can make a well-informed decision.
  • Never pressure your employees to travel if they are concerned for their safety or security.
  • Stay informed through the CDC government website. Currently over 50 countries and territories are included in recent Zika travel alert.

Want to learn more? Read our previous blog on Zika and Duty of Care

 

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Business Travel Travel Management

How To Stay Under Your Corporate Travel Budget

Managing corporate travel is a tough job with many moving parts. Not only are you, as the travel manager, accountable for everything going smoothly, but also responsible for any unforeseen glitches. The biggest frustration is often budget. Check out our seven tips to keep you under your corporate travel budget.

7 tips to stay under corporate travel budget

  1. Book travel early. Did you know that even just a two day difference in purchasing a plane ticket can make a big difference? One study looking at the difference in business travel purchase behavior between men and women, found that waiting only two days for a ticket was a difference of 113 dollars. We know that business travel is often last minute, but keep in mind–even an extra day in booking can make a big difference.
  2. Take into account all the details and agendas before booking. How long will your travelers be staying? Are there any alternatives that may work better than the norm? For instance, it might make more sense to purchase metro cards for travelers in New York City, rather than renting a car. Driving and parking in large cities are often a pain anyway, and you will also avoid parking fees.
  3. Review travel receipts in more detail. Give yourself more time to look through the details of submitted travel receipts. Does anything unnecessary pop out at you? Nipping those unnecessary expenses can add up to big savings.
  4. Create and actively use travel incentives. Give your team of business travelers incentives to stay under budget. This keeps them motivated to shop for the best price. You can also encourage them to become loyalty members with your preferred vendors. This allows you to fulfill your contract agreements while your travelers rack up personal travel points.
  5. Stay organized. Work to proactively take control of the next trip. Know what’s needed and don’t be caught scrambling to make travel plans at the last minute.
  6. Establish preferred vendor relationships. Developing these relationships will definitely benefit you in the long run.
  7. Hire a travel management company. Sometimes the best solution is having an expert manage your travel in order to get the most out of your budget and valuable time. Most travel management companies, including Christopherson, are affiliates of global companies. This allows them to provide the individualized customer service experience you need, with global relationships and discounts that help you always get you the best price on business travel.

Staying on top of your travel is not difficult, but it does take additional time and forethought. Try out our tips this month and see if you notice any difference in travel costs. Let us know what you find. Or, contact us if you would like to know more about how Christopherson Business Travel can save you time and money.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson’s Eighth Consecutive win for the Utah Business Fast 50

utahbusiness_fast50_155x160Christopherson Business Travel has been named to Utah Business magazine’s 2015 Fast 50 list. This 2015 ranking marks the eighth consecutive year Christopherson has been honored as one of Utah’s  fastest growing companies.

Utah Business has ranked the 50 fastest growing companies in the state of Utah for the past nine years. Companies are evaluated based on five years of compound annual growth and revenue generation.

To learn more about Christopherson’s growth, please click here to watch CEO, Mike Cameron’s interview for the 2015 Fast 50 Award. To see the full list of ranked companies, click here.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

2013: A Big Year of Change, Investments, and Growth for Christopherson Business Travel

Christopherson experienced a big year of investment, growth, and change.
Christopherson experienced a big year of investment, growth, and change.

As we look back on 2013, Christopherson Business Travel had a great year with lots of change, major investments, and lots of growth.

We Made Big Changes:

  • We implemented the Agresso ERP accounting & business information system.
  • We updated and implemented our travel management technology platform, AirPortal®.
  • We moved, expanded, or remodeled our offices in Marin County, Salt Lake City, and Denver.

We Made Big Investments:

We Experienced Big Growth:

  • We implemented 96 new corporate clients, plus we added 170 new clients in Alabama.
  • We added 75 new team members (27 new employees/agents and 48 new employees in Alabama).
  • We added about $50 Million in sales.

Twenty-thirteen was a year filled with change, investment, and growth. And as we look forward to 2014, we have set the stage for even more growth. We are looking forward to another amazing year.

Mike Cameron, CEO
Christopherson Business Travel

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Business Travel

Why Small and Mid-Size Companies Should Implement a Travel Management Program (& How to Do It)

In tough economic times, businesses are always seeking new ways to reduce costs. One way to both save money and improve business traveler satisfaction is by adopting a corporate travel management program.

While most large corporations have such programs in place, many smaller companies do not and could definitely benefit from implementing one. Additionally, a well-managed corporate travel policy ensures better corporate compliance and traveler satisfaction.

Steps to implementing a successful corporate travel program:

  • Make a plan and keep it comprehensible: Work with the finance department to make a simple, easy to understand program, putting policies and procedures in place.
  • Get “buy-in” from upper management: Develop a financial proposal detailing the projected cost savings through a managed travel program. Market internally to gain support from both upper management and employees.
  • Find a travel management company: Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to evaluate each travel management company. (Of course, we would love to be considered.)
  • Communicate effectively: A travel portal is a key component for communication. Portals hold all pertinent travel program data and are available to travelers 24/7.
  • Train your travelers: Let your travelers know why your company implemented the new program and how to book through the new system. If the traveler is not educated, the program is ineffective.
  • Show results: Let the travelers know how they’re doing and show upper management the cost savings resulting from the new program.

A successful managed travel program can significantly reduce costs while increasing traveler satisfaction.

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Business Travel

Business Travel Cost Savings: Part 1

The account management program is a valuable part of Christopherson Business Travel’s unique value proposition.

When Christopherson’s business development team is awarded a new account, they include the account management team to assist in consulting each new customer on the importance of a managed travel program.

The account managers, also known as the client consultative services team, have developed a program that will not only help companies better understand the value of managed travel, but also provide programs to show cost savings, cost avoidance, and return on investment. I will be emphasizing these particular points in this post. In parts 2 and 3 I will touch on other cost saving measures such as vendor negotiations, creating an effective travel policy, and compliance with that policy.

Business Travel Cost Savings, Cost Avoidance, & ROI

Travel spend is often listed as one of the highest costs of a corporation’s expense portfolio. It is our job to help those companies manage a travel program that provides savings to counter the costs of maintaining such a program. Here is an example of how we, together with our partner Travel GPA, can do that for you:

  • We find specific travel savings opportunities for your company by selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your corporate travel program.
  • We run “what-if” scenarios to analyze the impact of behavioral changes.
  • We explore the impact of shifting full-size and higher rental car reservations to intermediate-size vehicles.
  • We analyze the impact of shifting more expensive hotel nights to alternative, less expensive properties.
  • We determine whether online booking options will create the savings you require.

Upon working through this analysis process, we then provide a summary recommendation to your company. Here is a sample summary recommendation provided to one company which resulted in potential savings of more than $94,000:

  1. Shift 113 airline ticket purchases to 7 days or more in advance of travel – Savings $14,873
  2. Accept lowest offered fare on 245 transactions – Savings $30,221
  3. Shift 614 agent-assisted transactions to online transactions – Savings $11,665
  4. Shift 59 hotel bookings to the Upscale tier – Savings $7,100
  5. Shift 101 car rental bookings to Intermediate-size – Savings $3,716
  6. Cut airline ticket exchanges by 108 transactions – Savings $26,829

Total potential savings – $94,404

Savings recommendations are based on shifting 50% of current booking practices to better performace areas of that particular program. Percentages can be modfied based on the goals set by the company.

 

For a full business travel program analysis please contact our client consulting services team. And if you have any questions or points you’d like me to address in future posts regarding corporate travel managed programs, please respond in the comments section below.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Ancillary Travel Fees

ancillary feesThe growth of ancillary fees in all categories of travel, especially air travel, has captured the attention of the traveling public as well as policy makers.

Since these fees broadly affect both business and leisure travelers they have received attention in industry publications, business journals, and popular media. Congressional testimony and calls for additional legislation and agency rule-making have ensured that the debate over fees has implications for public policy questions as well as for business operations.

Although airline fees have been the focus of much of the public discussion, the issue is broader than just airlines. The hotel and car rental industries have also seen changes in their pricing structures that have incorporated add-on services and ancillary fees.

For example, I recently received an email from a customer who was frustrated by the fact that the taxes and fees for his car rental exceeded the combined daily rate for a four-day rental–a shocking discovery most of us have experienced throughout our travels.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

A Guide to the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games may be the greatest show on earth, but for travel managers, it’s creating quite a difficult situation as the search for reasonably priced business travel accommodations in London during the 2012 Summer Games is proving to be a grueling one.
The Olympics are scheduled from July 27-Aug. 12, a period when the city’s hotels are overstretched even during a normal summer. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (which run from 29 Aug. 29-Sept. 12, 2012) has reserved two-thirds of the city’s entire 53,000-room stock for the event.
Are you ready? Here are some things to consider:
 
1. Act today!
If you’ve not acted yet, you must take immediate steps to have any chance of helping their travellers during the Olympics (July 27-Aug. 12) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 29-Sept. 9).
2. Review your London travel needs
Ask all departments to outline their anticipated demand for travel to London in July, August and September. Are meetings planned? How many of your travelers usually visit the city during this period? Are there any major corporate projects that will require trips into central London?
3. Consider imposing a blackout
Communicate across your organization that travelers should — or must — stay away from London during the Games.
4. Find alternative locations
If employees need to meet during the Games, but the location is flexible, direct them to cities elsewhere in the United Kingdom. If they need to be in London for daytime appointments, look for accommodation within an hour’s rail journey, in Oxford or Milton Keynes, for example.
5. Talk to your top hotel suppliers
Companies that must have accommodation for business travelers during the Olympics should talk to hotel suppliers with whom they have the strongest relationships. Some hotels are working very closely with corporate customers to accommodate regular clients’ needs.
6. Consider extended-stay properties
Some extended-stay brands are imposing only marginal increases on their apartments during the Games. They consider the Olympics an excellent opportunity to persuade potential corporate clients to try their product.
7. Remember the impact on air travel
Increased demand is tightening summer flight availability to and from London. Corporate agreements can really make a difference in getting seats for your travelers, so talk to your suppliers now.
8. Prepare for potential disruptions
At best, London will be a difficult city to move around during the Games, owing to the exceptionally high number of visitors and heightened security. If officials issue any security alerts, journey times could stretch even longer. Remind travelers to allow plenty of time between appointments and to create contingency plans for getting around London.
9. Keep everyone in the loop
Communicate your plans and protocols to everyone who will be affected and send updates as the Games get closer.
10. Take advantage of helpful resources
Check out the London 2012 ‘Travel Advice for Business’ site.
 

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Car Rental Hidden Costs – Are they DRIVING you Crazy?

We’ve talked about this before, but I find that it’s always helpful to review the hidden costs of renting a car.
To begin, let’s say you’ve found a great rental deal for $20/day. Unfortunately that “great” rate doesn’t guarantee you a low-cost rental. Instead, upon returning your car, you find the price has skyrocketed and the bill now includes sales taxes, airport surcharges, insurance, and licensing fees. By the time all the extra charges are added on, the guaranteed result is a severe case of sticker shock … and a final cost double the initial alluring base rate.
So how can you avoid the shock of pricing overload? Here is a summary of car rental surcharges and a few tips for how to cut costs on your next rental.

Taxes and Airport Surcharges

Sales tax and airport charges vary considerably from state to state, and you won’t be able to avoid state and local sales taxes. Many local governments also charge fees to fund their own development projects, such as convention centers or sports stadiums, and some car rental companies also include a daily surcharge for economy recovery fees.
But avoiding airport charges is simple and something to always consider. You can eliminate airport concession recovery fees and customer facility charges by picking up and dropping off your car at an off-airport location. Weighing the possible inconveniences and the price of additional transportation to and from the airport against the concession fees charged by the airport location is, however, a must as doing so could save you more than 15% of your total price.

Insurance

This is usually referred to by rental companies as “collision damage” or “Loss Damage Waiver (LDW).” For an extra $25 – $30 a day, you can avoid liability for any damage to the vehicle, provided you’re not found guilty of gross negligence. Insurance is optional, although in a few states it is compulsory and built into the basic car rental cost.
So, before you purchase the extra insurance, check to see if your regular car insurance covers you in a rental car. Some policies do. Most credit cards also provide insurance if you pay for your rental with that card. Larger companies also include car rental addendums in their company insurance which also covers office equipment and the like. Keep in mind that limitations may apply to all types of coverage. If you’re not comfortable with the risk, consult with your insurance administrator or travel manager.

Gasoline Charges

Returning a car with an empty tank will create an extra charges to your bottom line.  In most cases you’ll want to fill up before you return your vehicle. However, car rental companies now offer the option of purchasing a full tank of gas when you first take the car, enabling you to return the car with as much or as little fuel as you wish.
Keep in mind that there is no refund for unused fuel, so you’d be paying a little extra for the convenience of skipping the trip to the gas station. Also, you may be able to find a better per-gallon price by shopping around on your own.

Drop-Off Charges

An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies by location. In some instances there is no charge, however you could pay more than $1,000 for picking a car up at LAX and dropping it of at JFK plus around $0.35 per mile.
If your corporation has a car rental contract make sure it notes a “one way” rate. The rates will be higher than your normal corporate rate but will save money in the long run.

The 24-Hour Clock

If you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, most companies charge you one day only if you return it within 24 hours. Some companies will give you a 29-minute grace period before hourly charges kick in and after 90 – 120 minutes you may be charged for the full extra day. Some rental car companies are also now charging a late return fee of $10 per day.
Make sure you check the terms and conditions in your rental documents.

One Day Surcharges

Picking a car up only for one day will cost you more if those days are Monday through Thursday.  Because of the yield management process, it is more expensive for the car rental company if you pick your car up in the morning on Monday through Thursday and return it the same day. It eliminates the possibilities of another traveler needing that car for two or more days at a time. The one day surcharges are $5 to $7 over the normal daily rate and are “hidden” in the rate so you will not recognize you are being charged extra. Corporations can sometimes get this fee reduced or waived when negotiating a car rental contract.

Age Penalties

Renters under the age of 25 may have to pay additional fees of about $25 – $30 per day. Those companies who rent to drivers under 21 often charge much steeper surcharges. Those over 70 may also have to pay extra (if they’re able to rent at all).  Age restrictions vary by country and franchise, so be sure to check ahead.

Frequent Flier Fees

Car rental companies often charge a small fee when you request frequent flier miles for your rental. The fee varies by airline and can range anywhere from a few cents to $2 a day. Another choice would be to opt for the free day program instead of earning miles. There is not a charge for earning free rental days and are usually earned for every 15 days rented.

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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.
 

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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

Christopherson supports the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and local chapters

Christopherson is a proud member and supporter of the GBTA and its local chapters in Utah, Colorado, and California. GBTA is the premier business travel organization with a network of 17,000 business, government travel, meeting managers, and travel service providers, representing over $340 billion of global business travel and meeting expenditures annually.
Recently Christopherson sponsored the GBTA annual convention in Denver, Colorado, and the UBTA 2nd annual tradeshow in SLC. Both events were a great opportunity for Christopherson to network and demonstrate our world class travel management tools and return on investment of business travel management services.
We are committed to the success of GBTA and the local chapters through financial support, sponsorships, and most importantly employee involvement. Christopherson team members hold key positions on the local chapter board of directors donating their time and talent to the continued success of the organization.

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson Business Travel and GBTA- Global Business Travel Association –

Don’t miss out! Christopherson Business Travel will have a booth at the annual GBTA convention that is being held in Denver, Colorado August 21-24! Be sure to stop by booth #1706 and enter to win an iPad2. Below are some highlights of GBTA or go here for more details.
Elevating the Business of Travel
We’re taking the business of travel to new heights in the mile high city of Denver for the 2011 GBTA Convention. The Business Travel Event of the Year ® is the one conference thousands of business travel buyers count on each year to find cost-effective solutions to industry challenges. Find all the information you need to advance your travel program, including the latest travel technologies, new sourcing strategies and emerging industry trends. Register by August 1st to save $200! Already registered? Start planning your Convention experience now!

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 News Travel Technology

TripIt is for the traveler on the GO!

Several months ago Christopherson Business Travel announced our partnership and integration with TripIt. Who would have thought that this innovative smart phone application would become so popular? For those of you missing out, TripIt is an application designed to simplify online travel planning. Users can generate a master itinerary with maps, directions, and weather for any destination. Activity planning can be accomplished through the comprehensive itinerary. Plans can be easily shared, monitored, and updated through available downloads.
As a Christopherson AirPortal user your can sign up for TripIt from the AirPortal front page. From that point on your trips will be automatically sent to your smart phone via TripIt. TripIt will be especially useful for those who travel often. It generates a master itinerary with all travel information in one place, ready to share with coworkers, family, and others. Your information flow will be streamlined and collated into one easily managed application.
There are two plans: Basic TripIt and TripIt Pro Enterprise program. The basic program is good but the Pro Enterprise program is where it’s at. Basic TripIt is free and right now, Christopherson Business Travel has a great deal going on for TripIt Pro Enterprise.
With TripIt Pro Enterprise you will be notified of gate changes, airline flight delays, baggage carousel changes, alternate flight options and more. For the Christopherson rate of $39 a year, your travelers can enjoy the luxury of a worry free travel experience. If your entire company would like to be part of the TripIt Pro user family then we can sign you up for only $1 per ticket issued.
Contact a Christopherson account manager today for a 30 day free trial. Call 866-327-7700 or email us at allam@cbtravel.com. It won’t take you 30 days to wonder how you ever stayed on top of your travel without TripIt!

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Travel News

Charge me a service fee, please…..

Are there service fees you would be glad to pay an airline? Here are the top five service fees people would be happy to spend their hard-earned money on.
1. Priority Takeoff. Yes, we know the airline has no control over how quickly its planes are allowed to take off. But what if – and this is strictly hypothetical – the airline could pay the tower to push its planes to the front of the line, and then pass the cost of that bribe on to the passengers? I think most passengers would be willing to scrounge up an extra $20 if the alternative were spending two hours waiting to get onto the runway.
2. Expanded Movie Selection. It’s awfully nice of the airlines to offer a selection of movies for in-flight entertainment, but you’re often stuck with a limited selection of family-friendly fare. (Even though the dancing-penguin movie makes us all want to cuddle and eat smores a flight spent with Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando might make the flight more…well… enjoyable). What if you could pay $5 to have your pick of any film in the Netflix collection? It would make a long flight a little more bearable if you could watch a movie you actually wanted to see.
3. Buffet-Style Meals. Now that all the airlines charge you extra for in-flight meals anyway, it’s only fair that we get a little choice in our food. So instead of paying a fixed fee for a tray with fixed portions of entrees and sides, why not set up a small buffet in the galley and let passengers pick and choose which items they want on their plate?
4. Cockpit Visit. Remember when you were a kid, and you got to go visit the pilot in the cockpit and see all the awesome buttons? That all went away after Sept. 11, but I’m sure there are some well-off folks who’d be willing to shell out to let their kid have the same experience. Our proposal: Make the parents pay to have a second air marshal on the flight who can escort the kid to the cockpit and make sure he doesn’t hijack the plane.
And my favorite….
5. Priority Disembark. It’s one of the worst parts of flying: You finally finish your flight and taxi to the gate, then have to wait 15 minutes while everyone in front of you stands in the aisle getting their carry-on luggage. What if you could pay a fee to cut to the front of the line? Imagine this: “Thank you for flying with us today. Please remain seated until our priority guests have had a chance to retrieve their belongings and exit the airplane.” Of course, any non-paying guest who tried to make a break for it would be tackled by the air marshal.
Source: Mainstreet.com

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Listen up — cell phone restrictions state by state

From state to state cell phone usage and texting while driving restrictions differ. So … if you happen to reside in a state where there are no bans, and are accustomed to these laws, you might want to check out the following websites to know what you might be up against when venturing into “unknown territories.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers updated info and stats. Nine states presently ban this altogether–check to see if your state is one of them. Another site, GHSA , offers additional info.

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Travel News

Say Goodbye to Mileage Expiration

Delta Airlines has announced a major change in its frequent flyer program. The airline eliminated the expiration date on miles, claiming that loyalty should not have an expiration date. They are the only U.S. airline to offer this incentive, and it will be interesting to see if the other airlines will respond. Miles can still be redeemed for a number of different products, including airline tickets, car or hotel stays, and online auctions. Within other airlines’ frequent flyer programs, miles can expire in as early as one year.
Frequent flyer loyalty has tremendous benefits for the corporate traveler who flies frequently. Travelers can qualify for expedited check-in, free checked baggage, complimentary upgrades to first class, and reduced or no fees for making flight changes. These perks can really expedite the travel experience and save some costs that can quickly add up.
Click here for more information on Delta’s frequent flyer program.

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Travel News

Concur Fusion 2011

Christopherson Business Travel is pleased to sponsor the Concur Fusion 2011 Conference in Las Vegas, from February 15-18. Christopherson has been a partner with Concur for over three years, and our team of online specialists are amazing at implementing and servicing our Concur Travel clients.
Christopherson will have a vendor booth at the tradeshow, and we invite all attendees to stop by and enter to win an Apple iPad.
We are looking forward to a great time, great education, and networking at Concur Fusion 2011. Hope to see you there!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Calling All Travelers: Important Travel Safety Info

During a recent Utah Business Travel Association monthly meeting, we heard from an interesting, attention-getting guest speaker: Kevin Coffey. Kevin has been a detective for 20 plus years and is an expert on travel safety via air, rail, and car, including hotel stays and international travel. I quickly realized what a great resource Kevin and his websites could be for Christopherson’s clients, especially business travelers.
I am pretty savvy when it comes to traveling, but I learned some new and important information. During the lunch meeting, Kevin even set-up a fake scenario with a tray of dishes crashing to the floor to show our group first-hand how purses and laptops can be taken without the owner even noticing. It all happened in a matter of seconds during all the chaos of people trying to help.
To learn more about travel safety for your upcoming trip, or if you are updating your company’s travel policy, check-out Kevin Coffey’s websites. It could save your life.

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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 News

The Unbundling Trend

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the EdCon Conference for SGTP (Society of Government Travel Professionals) in Washington DC. The focus was “Trends Affecting the Government Travel Landscape: A Probable Future?” Here is a piece of what I took away:
Trends are predictions about the future based on our knowledge of the past and present. The interaction between the trends is as important as each individual trend. There are many trends with in travel: higher fares; TSA requirements; and more noticeably, the unbundling of services by airlines.
So what does the trend of unbundling airline costs tell us about the future? Unfortunately that they are here to stay! This unbundling trend presents several challenges.
The first is the limited time between the notification and effective date or the lack of notifications by the airline to the consumer/travel management company (TMC). It’s frustrating to get to the airport and unexpectedly need to pay for an additional service. Once the airlines have found all the possible services that they can charge for, I believe the notifications will stop. Hopefully there won’t be any more surprises to the consumer or the agency.
The second is the inability of the TMC to assist the consumer by directly charging for unbundled services. To correct that, ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) has recently come out with a document that will allow agencies to charge for these services. This will result in corporate travel cards or UATP cards being able to be directly charged.
This document also solves the third challenge: travel reconciliation for the corporate customer. Once the services can be charged directly through the TMC, clients will no longer have the hassle of tracking down traveler receipts for reconciliation. Currently the traveler is presenting a receipt (if they have one) for these additional services. When TMCs can charge for these services, they will be present in reporting as well as on credit card statements. It will also clear up confusion on whether an unbundled service is reimbursable or not. When the client has determined which services are reimbursable, they can be noted in the company travel profile for company-wide implementation.
The process isn’t complete, but once the airlines have “all their ducks in a row,” the TMCs will be able to ensure accuracy and customer satisfaction when reconciling and managing unbundled fees.

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Travel News

TSA …. Get ready… Get set… Go!

Starting in May of 2009, here at CBT, we began gathering the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) with each reservation and new traveler profile. Through this process, over ninety percent of our traveler profiles are TSA Secure Flight compliant.The TSA has now given a definite “effective date” for us to pass along!
Starting September 15, 2010, when you are booking travel for November 1, 2010 and beyond, if SFPD is not included in the reservation, your ticket will be inhibited. The quoted or held fare will not be guaranteed until this information is entered into Christopherson’s system. The TSA is mandating that SFPD must be present in all reservations within 72 hours of scheduled departure.

When booking a flight, passengers will be required to provide the following:

  • Full name (as it appears on passenger’s identification document)
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Redress Number (if available, see below)

 
“One of the biggest challenges facing our clients is when they are booking travel for prospective employee interviews,”says Sheila Thorp, CBT Technology Manager. “Even though HR departments cannot ask for the age of a recruit, as the travel booking agency, we are required by law to have it on file in our system. If our clients are having issues collecting the required information, I urge them to contact their Christopherson account manager to set up a process.” She also reiterates, “If you have not updated your CBT profile with all the required information, please login to AirPortal or contact  an account manager at allam@cbtravel.com.”

Redress – for passengers who feel they have been misidentified

Those who believe they have been mistakenly matched to a name on the watch list are invited to apply for redress through the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP).  Secure Flight uses the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process, thus preventing future misidentifications for passengers who may have a name that’s similar to an individual on the watch list.  For more information on the redress process, visit www.dhs.gov/trip.
If you would like to know more about these changes, we invite you to visit TSA’s Secure Flight Web site at www.tsa.gov/SecureFlight where you can find a detailed program overview, travel tips, frequently asked questions and more.
 

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 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

Christopherson moves up to #12 in BTN 2010 ranking

Christopherson is pleased to have moved up to #12 in the Business Travel News (BTN) 2010 Business Travel Agencies Ranking. Christopherson’s growth is attributed to the merger with Andavo Travel and the acquisition of new corporate accounts.
Industry reports indicate the U.S. business travel spend was down over 20% in 2009 causing a challenging year for travel management companies. Christopherson was well positioned to not only withstand the tough economy of 2009, but also improve in national ranking to #12!
http://businesstravelnews.com/uploadedFiles/2010BTS_agencies.pdf

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

It’s back – CLEAR – the Verified Identity Pass!!

I am so excited about the recent news involving CLEAR’s come-back now that the economy is beginning to recover and the long process of Alcear’s purchasing of VIP’s CLEAR assets from bankruptcy is completed.
I loved this service!! Hopefully within a year to 18 months the airports that provided the original Clear service will follow Denver’s lead. It is a much needed service for those of us who travel for business but can’t quite chalk up enough miles for the airline programs yet are on the road enough to make CLEAR’s subscription fee worth every penny!
So… all travelers who were members of Clear, those jealous every time you watched your fellow road warriors in the “Clear Lane” move quickly through the security lanes, and those who want to know more about this value-added program; go to their website and let them know which airports are important to you in providing this time-saving service.

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

Christopherson Awarded 2010 Best of State

Christopherson Business Travel will be recognized on May 29 at the Utah Best of State Awards Gala in Salt Lake City, Utah. Christopherson has been named “Best of State” for the Travel Agency category within the Hospitality/Travel/Tourism section of the competition.
The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, and businesses in Utah. The impartial Best of State judges determine winners based upon excellence in their specific field of endeavors, use of innovative approaches or methods in their business practices, and contribution to a better quality of life in Utah.
Christopherson is pleased to be recognized for their commitment to business travel with the prestigious Best of State award.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

A Peek “Behind the Curtain” at the Coolest Mobile Travel Apps

Mobile computing is increasingly becoming an inexorable part of our every day lives. And travel is no different. As business and leisure travelers are trading schlepping their laptops for their Blackberries, iPhones or Droids in droves, a new wave of mobile travel apps are flooding the marketplace.
Here’s a quick peep at 5 travel apps that are truly making lives easier and more fun for the modern day traveler:
#5. Seat Guide. Couldn’t let a “Top 5” list escape without at least one seat guide and this one tops the list. With over 100 airlines and over 1,200 aircraft cataloged, you now have access to information on the best or more importantly the worst seats before making your seat choice on your next flight.
#4. Gate Guru. Ever find yourself wondering where to get a decent meal at an airport? Not sure if it’s before or after security? Not sure where to find a souvenir on a long layover? Well, with Gate Guru fret no more! This user friendly airport guide is the most comprehensive up-to-date-in-airport guide available. Like Yelp but for airports!
#3. Flight Update. Flight Update allows you to enter any flight and track that flight’s status and location. With over 1,400 airlines in its data base, chances are the flight times, routing and gate information for the flight you need are there. Voted “..one of the best apps of 2009” by Apple. A favorite for travelers AND professionals alike.
#2. Flightcaster.“Not another flight-tracking app..” you cringe? Well ….this app PREDICTS flight delays! How you ask?? It’s pretty simple really … “by deploying advanced algorithms that scour data on every domestic flight over the last 10 years and match it to real-time conditions”. See?
And ……..
#1. TripIt Pro. The only paid app on this list, TripIt Pro is a MUST HAVE app for anyone who travels more than once a month. Equal parts social networking, travel tracker and travel admin, it is the perfect app that helps manage the unpredictable nature of travel on the road. And Christopherson Business Travel now offers TripIt Pro at almost half the price currently being offered online!
For more information on our preferred TripIt Pro pricing or how apps and Christopherson’s travel technology tools are helping revoltionize the mobile travel landscape, contact one of our account managers or travel advisors today.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

United Now Offers Mobile Check-In

United has installed mobile check-in at its four hub cities – Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles – plus Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth and LaGuardia Airport in New York. Thirty more locations will be offering mobile check-in by summer
Denver joins 43 other U.S. airports, plus Frankfurt, Germany in offering this service. In 2007 TSA introduced the pilot program with Continental Airlines adding shortly thereafter Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airways. For the most up-to-date information as to what airports offer the program and an airline list of cities providing this service; go to the TSA website or each individual airline’s website.
Mobile check-in saves time at the airport by letting you check in and get your eBoarding Pass right from your PDA or web-enabled phone (iPhones, BlackBerrys, etc.) within 24 hours of your departure. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to check in. You must first go to the airlines website to start the process. At the airport, TSA security officers use hand-held scanners to validate the authenticity of the boarding pass at the checkpoint

Categories
Business Travel

Shall I drive my own car… or rent one?

Owners, financial guru’s and sourcing managers, mileage reimbursement is a huge expense when employees drive their own cars for work purposes.  Did you know that based on a reimbursement rate of $0.50 cents anything over 120 miles driven by using a personal car is more expensive than renting one?   Companies both large and small that require their employees drive their own cars are reevaluating the reimbursement process and switching to renting cars instead.  Enterprise and Hertz (their off airport locations called Hertz Local Edition) both have programs that will bring your rental car to you.  The car will be delivered to your home in the morning and then you drop it off at the rental office and they will take you home.  It’s very slick and easy.  Here are a couple of other reasons why renting a car makes more sense then driving your own.  1- Less chance of breaking down on the road.  A rental car will usually have less miles and the necessary maintenance will have just been done.  Plus if it does break down you don’t have to foot the bill for the repairs.  Yes!!!  2- Less wear and tear on your own car.  Consistant long distance driving will wear your car out much faster than normal.  Save those miles on your own car and put them on a rental.  3- Renting a vehicle will give you the opportunity to try out a car you might want to own some day.  With National Car Rentals “choose your own car” program you get to decide from several makes and models which car to drive.  Perhaps a PT Cruiser… or a hot Dodge Charger has been on your list to try out.
Here is a mileage calculator link by Enterprise Car Rental that will help you determine if driving a personal car versus a rental car would be the greatest value.  Plug in the numbers and it will automatically calculate it for you.  Rental rates are based on current Enterprise daily rates and are also changeable.
To reserve your rental car contact any one of our professional travel consultants at 801-327-7700.  You’ll drive away happy!

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
Travel News Travel Technology

What is your Travel GPA?

How do you stack up in the travel market place?  As a company did you meet your travel goals and expectations for 2009?  Did you uitilize your hotel and car rental contracts to the fullest?  How do you compare to companies of similar travel spend and patterns?  What about compliance?  Are your travelers adhering to preferred contracts and vendors?  Is Travel Policy compliance in your focus this year?  What is your Travel GPA?  Do you think you deserve and A or the dreaded F?
Christopherson Business Travel has recently teamed up with a company called….. Travel GPA.  By utilizing this program we will be able to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your travel program.

A+ points of Travel GPA:

  • Faster, more meaningful travel data. The data is live and can be scored against internal goals or benchmarked against the GPA database of over 20,000 companies.
  • Pinpoints actionable ways to save money. As an analytical dashboard tool, Travel GPA benchmarks against hundreds of KPI’s (key performance indicators) based on company’s air, car and hotel spend.
  • Grade your supplier contracts vs. Industry Benchmarks. This helps travel managers evaluate effectiveness of negotiated rates in a given market or segment.
  • Drive your program with the ONLY real-time reporting & dashboard. Travel GPA transforms reports in to graphical charts while providing global reporting and analytics solutions in several languages and currencies. Drill down from any data point within a report or dashboard and instantly customize any report by adding or deleting metrics and report parameters.

Christopherson Business Travel and Travel GPA put the world’s most actionable business travel data right in your hands.
Don’t miss the bus!  For more information on how you can become a valued client of Christopherson Business Travel and create your own Travel GPA please contact a Business Development Specialist at allsales@christophersontravel.com.

Categories
Travel News

Attention all rental car drivers

Cashless toll roads are becoming a huge problem for car rental companies who in turn are hiring third party collection agencies. These agencies then tack on outrageous fees which show up on a renter’s credit card bill sometimes months later.
For instances on my last trip to Denver I did not sign up for the daily toll road access fee figuring I would not need to travel on E-470 (cashless toll road) which is exactly what happen. What if, however, at the last minute my meeting ended late, there was a horrific accident on I-225 backing up travel for hours; what would I have done? Most likely wanting to get home that evening I would have taken E-470 in order to make my flight and then worried about the fee later. With some rental car companies you have a choice of a daily toll fee of $8.95, or $32.95 a week…OR… by declining a fee and then driving on a cashless toll road receiving fines long after your expense report has been completed, approved, and paid.
In Jeffrey Leib’s article in The Denver Post, Nov 29, 2009, “Cashless E-470 takes toll on rental-car drivers in the form of fines,” he talks about how irritating the problem can be and how one traveler was fined $125 – only $11 being toll fees.
Christopher Elliot on his blog, www.elliot.org discusses this same problem, http://www.elliott.org/blog/are-car-rental-companies-overbilling-customers-for-toll-violations and how charges and fines are also showing up months later for supposed traffic violations, http://www.elliott.org/blog/help-my-car-rental-company-charged-me-for-running-a-red-light.
In other words – BE AWARE!!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

2010 Travel Forecast…Doom and gloom or back on the fast track!

Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a member of the National Business Travel Association.  The below article is one of the many we have received from them with regards to travel forecasts in 2010.
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) — the leading global business travel organization — has provided its members with the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast. This latest installment of the widely-respected annual tool for the U.S. corporate travel industry forecasts the following ranges for changes in travel rates/fares:

Average U.S. Domestic Rates / Fares
Average
rates/airfares
2009
% change
expected for 2010
AIR $299* -2% to +3%*
HOTEL $136 -2% to – 8%
CAR RENTAL $46 -1% to -3%
* Airline ancillary fees may increase the cost
of an airline ticket by 30% or more

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more. That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010; another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year

Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010.  Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas: number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).
In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010.
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies.

Methodology
The  NBTA 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast is based on primary findings from an online survey completed by 180 U.S.-based NBTA Direct Members (corporate travel buyers) between the dates of August 13 and September 24, 2009, as well as additional analysis of data collected from sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Smith Travel Research, IHS Global Insight, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

TravelAcumen™ new product release by Christopherson Business Travel

With this weeks release of TravelAcumen™ Christopherson has taken our technology to a whole new level by integrating ALL of our technology tools into two powerful travel portals.

  1. AirPortal® ? Traveler Communication Suite Communicate better with travelers and improves their travel experience
  2. TravelAcumen™ ? Travel Manager Suite Reduces a company’s travel spend through improved travel management

The beauty of our dual second-generation travel portals is the single sign-on, fully integrated, platform. These portals give travel managers access to new tools, meaningful data and internal controls.

  • AirPortal® ? Traveler Communication Suite
  • AirPortal® – Traveler portal provides a single point of access
  • Airtinerary® – Intelligent itinerary for the business traveler
  • AirSelect® – Flight options matrix allows you to select the best option
  • TravelAcumen™ ? Travel Manager Suite
  • AirBank® – Audit, catalog, enforce and report reuse of your unused tickets
  • DataLogic® – Travel spend analytics
  • Hotel & Car Re-Check® – Monitors lodging and transportation reservations for lower rates
  • ValueLogic® – Measure the ROI on your travel management program
  • SecurityLogic® – Global security and crisis management platform
  • ProfileLogic™ – Advanced profile management

Over the years, Christopherson has created a powerful group of travel management technology tools; most of which were developed to provide a solution to a specific challenge which a client presented to us. Our proprietary technology has been developed in-house by our own team of developers and is exclusive to Christopherson.
We are excited about the release of TravelAcumen™ and the power and efficiency it is delivering to our corporate travel managers!

Categories
Business Travel

Do I have to sit here?

Many of us as frequent fliers and are always looking for that desirable seat, you know, the one that has the most leg room, the one that reclines and even the one that includes … you guessed it an empty seat next to it. Even though I don’t mind visiting with people I like to take the time that I fly to reorganize my thoughts, read a good book or even take a nap (less the drooling and snoring of course). But as luck would have it many times I’ve ended up in a middle seat only to be entertained by the head bobbing of the person trying to stay awake on one side and the person that thought it would be okay to not take a shower that day on the other. On top of it, my seat doesn’t recline and the person’s in front of me does! I’m thinking the cargo area or even a seat strapped to the wing would be a better option!
Never fear! As a Christopherson client we will do everything in our power to make sure your flight is as comfortable as possible. Even though you may  not be eligible for seats up front in coach or an exit row we will do what we can to get you in that desired seat. Our agents have many years in the industry and have learned the “tricks of the trade”  that allow them to make sure your seating accommodations are pleasing and satisfactory.  We may not be able to perform miracles every time but we will do our best to make sure the extra mile has been taken for you.
If you are interested in plane configurations and where the “best” seats are located on a particular aircraft check out www.seatguru.com. It goes in to great detail to let you know where you should and should not be sitting. Did you know that on  CRJ 50’s that there is a compressor above seats 5 A and B that drips water during take off and that on the CRJ 700 that the window’s  on row’s 14 -17 are all misaligned and looking out of them is difficult? These and many more seat facts can be found on this site.
For more information on what Christopherson can do for you, contact us. Our agents, account management and technology are a perfect combination for your travel program to be a successful one.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Considerations when making changes to your travel policies for 2010

4Q09 is here and budgets will soon be reviewed again for 2010. If you are like most companies, you have cut your travel budget considerably this year and intend to stay as lean and mean as possible with most forecasts indicating increased airfares of 1% to 6%; hotels decreasing more; and rental cars increasing around 4%. With these facts in mind, what should be considered when making changes to your travel policies for 2010?

  • Airfares – look at ways to improve your advanced purchase bookings. With improving demand and carrier capacity cuts, the airlines will not hold those low fare seats open for booking as long as we have seen in 2009. Booking early will become more important in 2010.
  • Car Rentals – as rental car companies continue to cut fleet capacity consider consolidating to one vendor.
  • Hotels – with decreased rates continuing, properties are more open than ever to offer special corporate rates to companies with fewer total-room-night qualifiers.

Christopherson Business Travel makes reports available to indicate where you can improve your advanced booking practices with individual travelers and/or departments thereby maintaining your 2010 budget. Our account managers work with your preferred car vendors to decrease your rates or at the very least keep the rates in check; or, suggest other vendors to consider. We also review and analyze all your hotel rates and options to locate additional savings and added amenities for your travelers.
Christopherson’s AirBank® provides real-time views by travelers, travel arrangers, and travel managers in our single sign-on AirPortal® as to outstanding unused tickets available to insure your use of every travel dollar invested. Car and Hotel Re-Check® monitors your reservations a few days prior to arrival for lower rates, again, insuring you of every savings possible that will positively affect your ROI.

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 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 News

Welcome to our newest client dedicated on-sites!

Christopherson Business Travel manages over 30 client dedicated on-site travel management programs. While some agencies discourage this service configuration in favor of call centers, Christopherson continues to implement and develop this service model, often incorporating online booking tools to meet our customers overall goals.
We are excited to welcome our two newest on-site accounts Intermountain Healthcare and Autoliv North America! Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City, with over 30,000 employees. Intermountain is the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West, serving the healthcare needs of Utah and southeastern Idaho residents. Autoliv is a worldwide leader in automotive safety, a pioneer in both seatbelts and airbags, and a technology leader for automotive safety.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

How Christopherson Finds Additional Savings on Hotel and Car Reservations for Our Clients

In today’s economy, finding addition savings with business travel is upper most on CFO’s, travel managers, and business travelers’ minds.  One way Christopherson accomplishes added savings for our clients is through some of our proprietary technologies, in particular, Hotel Re-Check® and Car Re-Check®.  Similar to the airline industry, hotels and car rental companies are raising or lowering their prices based on excess “distressed” inventory.  Our tool automatically re-checks the rates booked in a reservation for a business traveler a few days prior to arrival.  If a lower rate is found, your reservation is changed to that lower rate thereby taking advantage of increased savings to your travel budget.  Whether you company’s policy is to book travel 14, 7, or less days from travel dates, Christopherson’s tool provides additional savings otherwise not realized.
Unlike monitoring air fares after purchase for a lower rate; when a lower rate is found, the airlines add an additional (exchange) fee.  Your savings, in this case, are diluted considerably whereas hotel and car companies do not charge an exchange fee.
Christopherson then tracks these savings through our ValueLogic® report keeping you apprised of all savings realized.  It is common for a company to save anywhere from $25-50 per night on a hotel.  For example just last week a client was sending several travelers to a convention.  Hotel Re-Check® found a few days prior to arrival the hotel room rate had decreased $40 per night—saving them $1,416 dollars!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

New Client Maximizes Return on their Travel Investment (ROI)

This new client found us on Google.  Not being satisfied with their present provider’s service or the cost for that service decided to make a switch to Christopherson Business Travel because CBT offered additional services, exclusive technology, and competitive transaction fees.

This new client was very surprised at how soon and how much they were able to save in just the first month with CBT.  Their initial goal was to convert most of their travel to our online booking tool.  While waiting for the online booking tool to be customized for them, our full service agent was able to save them an average of 23% on each trip (air, car, hotel, and fees). Our experienced, knowledgeable, and professional agents provide exceptional customer service AND positively affected this company’s bottom line. Now—that’s something to talk about!