Peloton Bikes Available In Room At Westin Hotels

Peloton bikes available at Westin hotelsI’ve always been one to exercise while traveling for business.  My stress level is higher than normal and needs to be under control when business is the mindset.  So when I read the USAToday article about Peloton exercise bikes being made available in some Westin Hotels, I was so EXCITED!!

Peloton Bikes come to individual hotel rooms

Guests are now able to choose a hotel room with a Peloton bike as a “room category” for their stay. Currently, this is only available in select cities including; Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Boston. They will have access to 5,000 on-demand classes taught by instructors through the bike. But these Peloton options are growing fast. In other locations like Austin, Detroit, Denver, New York City, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, the Peloton bikes will be available in hotel’s fitness studios.

Business travelers looking for more exercise options

As it turns out, I’m not the only one exercising while on the road. A recent study found that 65% of travelers say they exercise less while on the road. Though they do try — 83% said they factor in wellness programs into their travel planning. As Millennials begin to travel more, they are also pushing for more exercise options. Nearly 40% of Millennials traveling planned to cycle while on the road. Easy access to Peloton bikes appears to be a no-brainer for the future of hotel amenities.

High-scale exercise options to hotel guests are the new rage. Hotels around the world are teaming up with the hottest and trendiest studios.  Boot camps, spin classes, hula swimming, and personal training sessions are popping up across the globe. Could this be the latest in hotel networking and mingle hours provided by hotels?

Perhaps gone are the days of getting up before dawn to claim a treadmill or elliptical machine alongside other stressed-out travelers. With an in-room bike or scheduled class, exercise can take place at a more reasonable hour with more fun.

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How to Turn Your Business Trip into Your Next Vacation

Have you recently taken a whirlwind business trip to an amazing destination only to be stuck inside for meetings? The views of sandy beaches or a vibrant city you have through the windows of your meeting room, hotel, or whirring by in a taxi should not be missed! Though it can be frustrating, don’t lose up hope.

Tips to turn your business trip that could turn it into your future vacation

Accommodations  

You get to see firsthand an accommodation option. If you have enjoyed your stay at the hotel then you may already have a lead on where to stay again. If not, ask around if people are enjoying where they are staying. You may find another option you did not know existed.

Networking

Networking is all about getting to know people but sometimes it is hard to come up with topics to get started. What is a more perfect way to start a conversation at a meeting than to ask if they have been to the city before or something fun they got to do there? It will give you some ideas and a great introduction topic.

Location

Location, location, location. We have all heard the phrase and it really is important! Does the location you are staying in hold some appeal for what you want to do at the destination? Or would you rather stay somewhere more central to activities you think would be enjoyable? Taking note can help decide where exactly you want to end up on your return.

You may be working but it does not mean you can’t be planning some relaxation for the future! Connect with a travel adviser at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for all the things you missed seeing and more.

 

 

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Christopherson’s Simple Implementation Process From Public Travel Sites

For several years, Christopherson has outlined all of the reasons why companies should use a travel agency.  We’ve outlined why public travel sites don’t work.  But what we haven’t talked about is just how simple it is to make a change to a “managed” program.

Christopherson’s managed travel implementation is simple

In some instances, companies know they need to make the change, but they’re worried it’ll take too much time and too many resources.  Will IT need to be involved?  Who will communicate the change to the travelers?  Building a custom online booking site sounds daunting.  Is it?  How do we get the travelers to use the new system?

It’s actually very easy. Christopherson Business Travel can implement a brand new program in less that 2 weeks.  We’ve been implementing accounts for decades and we have the process down to a science!  No, your IT department does not need to be involved.  Our online booking tools are web-based so there is no pull on your internal systems.  Let’s take this step-by-step:

Frequently asked questions about our implementation process

Who will communicate the change to the travelers?  Christopherson has a plethora of sample communication letters for you to wordsmith.  It’s best to have this communication come from the CEO or President, but we provide you all the content you need.

How long does it take?  2 weeks! And we hand hold you through the entire process.  After the initial implementation call (see below), we schedule as many follow up calls as needed for a simple, on-time roll out.

What goes into building a custom online booking tool site?  The first implementation call will take 30-60 minutes.  Our account managers will provide you a check list of items needed (including form of payment, policy info, hotel contracts, car rental agreement numbers, etc., when applicable).  Then, our gurus in the in-house Online Support team does the rest. The site is built, tested, and ready to go.

Who trains the travelers?  We do!  Depending on the size and number of locations, we customize training based on your needs.  In most cases, a 30-60 minute GoToMeeting is all it takes.  Need more training?  No problem.  That’s what we are here for.

There will be many complex systems you’ll need to implement for your company.  Travel isn’t one of them.  As one of our account managers says, “It isn’t rocket science”.

Let us outline how we can get your company on the path to better financial controls, travel policy adherence, safety and efficiency in as little as two weeks.  And remember, we do all the heavy lifting.

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The Power Of A Canadian Passport

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few run-ins at border crossings and airport security.  I get it — my “look” hasn’t always been the most clean-cut, especially when traveling.  But a surprising advantage I have, is being a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. The best example that I can share is when I was in Tunisia in Northern Africa, boarding my plane back to Malta in Southern Europe.

Traveling with a Canadian passport

On this particular trip, I was very bearded  – two weeks growth for a guy that can grow a beard in two days.  And my only luggage was a raggedy-old backpack.  Within just a couple of minutes of lining up at security, I saw soldiers starting to position themselves around the line-up.  Oddly enough, they seemed to be staring at me.

After getting into position, the soldiers closed in around me and told me to step away from the line-up.  While surrounding me with their military fatigues and machine guns, they didn’t look particularly happy and began asking questions.  Feeling a tad uncomfortable amidst the aggression and language barrier, I pulled out my Canadian passport, and the mood changed.  Angry faces immediately turned to smiles and laughter, and apologies followed.  The soldiers dispersed, and I was even placed at the front of the line for boarding! It’s certainly something that I have always remembered.

Even though I’ve experienced hiccups similar to this a few other times, I still always come to airport security lines prepared (though not always presentable). Below are a few essential pointers to smoothly get through international security lines, even with an unkempt beard.

Tips to breeze through international security lines:

  1. Have your ID and travel documents easily accessible.
  2. Ensure that you’re not carrying any items that can be deemed unacceptable in either your country of origin, or the countries that you are traveling through.
  3. Be conscious of the culture of the country that you are in and those around you, and be respectful.
  4. Be positive and responsive if questioned, as negativity and defensiveness can work against you.
  5. Dress is a presentable and non-threatening fashion, so that you don’t become a visual target for inspection.
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Airlines Updating Overbooking Policies

airlines updating overbooking policies

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you have probably noticed recent scrutiny over airline’s overbooking policies. In the wake of an event on a United Airlines flight, these processes and its protocol have heavily been in the media. In response, most major airlines are updating overbooking policies.

What is overbooking?

Overbooking is the process of airlines overselling seats on most flights. Using advanced algorithms airlines estimate the number of no-shows or canceled tickets. This allows them to fill flights to capacity, while saving on fuel costs and keeping ticket prices low. Read our recent blog for everything you need to know about overbooking.

Updates made to overbooking policies

United:  Their new policy says passengers will not be removed from the plane once they have boarded. Also, local police will no longer be used to forcibly remove passengers. And crew members will not be allowed to bump passengers from planes. They will require one-hour advanced notice of the plane boarding, or wait for a later flight.

Delta: Though still allowing displacement of passengers once they have boarded the plane, they raised their compensation rate.  Originally capping at $1,350, it is now $10,000. Compensation has also been increased at the gate, from $800 to $2,000.

Southwest: This airline has said they will end overbooking policies completely. Gary Kelley, CEO of Southwest said to USAToday, “We’ve been taking steps over the last several years to prepare ourselves for this anyway… As we have dramatically improved our forecasting tools and techniques, and as we approach the upcoming implementation of our new reservations system on May 9, we no longer have a need to overbook as part of the revenue management inventory process.”

American: They have updated their Conditions of Carriage policy to no longer allow passengers to be removed from the plane once it has boarded. They also stated their compensation has never been capped, and it will remain that way.

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Why Universities Use TMCs

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

Reasons universities work with travel management companies (TMCs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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London Vacation Recommendations

London vacation recommendationsMy family recently returned from an amazing spring break vacation visiting London and Paris.  Having visited these cities before, we planned the trip through the eyes of our teenage son- mixing culture, history, and Harry Potter.

Our Hotel In London

A great hotel in a convenient location was key to our itinerary. That’s why we chose  Anthenaeum Hotel and Residences. Recently renovated, it’s located in Mayfair overlooking Green Park. The hotel is also close to Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace. It was truly an excellent choice for us in London. The hotel rooms were quiet and provided five star amenities with beautiful views.  The onsite restaurant, Galivan, is the latest restaurant from Michelin star rated brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin. It has an inviting atmosphere and delicious meals, including afternoon tea and all day dining.  We also enjoyed restaurants in charming Shepherds Market, which is just blocks from the hotel.

Events In London

Another great resource for this trip was our Virtuoso partner, Sincerely Paul.  Paul was my hero in locating sold out tickets in London. This included the critically important WB Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. He helped me avoid a near parental fail for not securing tickets months in advance.  We look forward to working with Paul on our next visit to enjoy additional experiences beyond the city.

Working in the travel industry has a few perks and in the case of this trip, that was working with exceptional travel professionals in our organization that directed my travel plans and put my family on course for a memorable experience together.

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Airplane Etiquette – A True Gamble

Everyone loves sitting beside strangers on a plane, right?!  It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and you never know whether you have won or lost until you arrive at your seat! As frequent business travelers, we all have stories of interesting people we have met or conversations we have overheard while traveling.

10 things that NO ONE wants to hear from the person sitting next to them:

  1. “Whoa, that airport burrito isn’t sitting well.”
  2. “I’m so happy to get these sweaty shoes off!”
  3. “Does this look infected?”
  4. “Billy, stop touching that – you have pink-eye!”
  5. “I don’t know why I’m so itchy.”
  6. “Mmmm, this tuna salad sandwich tastes great!”
  7. “I am so angry right now…I just want to hit something!”
  8. “Can you help me pry off this ankle monitor?”
  9. “Can I borrow your barf bag?”
  10. “People keep telling me that I have Halitosis – what do you think?”

Hopefully, you have never heard any of these yourself!  Feel free to reply with your own examples, and let’s all enjoy a laugh together!

On the other hand, here are a few pointers on how to have the best airplane etiquette:

  1. Recline courteously. As personal space is shrinking on airplanes, so has leg room. Reclining seats have become an issue of heated debate. If you must recline, at least be aware of when you do and who may be behind you. Is it a 5-year-old child or someone over six feet? Are they currently eating or using their tray table?
  2. Be nice to the flight attendants. They are just doing their job. Just put away your laptop already, it’s only for a few minutes.
  3. Be prepared to get through security quickly. Make sure there’s nothing in your pockets before you get to the line. Unlace and loosen your shoes before you need to take them off. And gather your items on the other side quickly. You can put on your shoes and belt after.
  4. The middle seat gets the armrest. Another area for debate, but consensus says the person is the middle seat gets to use the armrests. Both the window seats and aisle seat can lean onto other areas. Let them have this one.

Have any thoughts to add about airplane etiquette? We’d love to hear in the comments section below.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’ve been providing travel management solutions to busy companies for more than 60 years. Contact us to learn how we can save you 15% on travel costs.

 

 

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These Airplane Seats Could Change Travel

As a frequent business traveler, a recent report on the Today Show by Jeff Rosen caught my eye. They were discussing a product by a company called Slide-Slip Seat. These airplane seats will ultimately revolutionize the airplane travel experience.

The seats

What can be so revolutionary about airplane seats you may be asking? I was thinking the same thing while watching the segment. But I must admit, Slide-Slip Seats address and overcome a lot of the ingrained traveler annoyances.

The seat’s main objective is to create more aisle room during the on-boarding process. To accomplish this the aisle seat is adjustable, sliding over the middle seat at the touch of a button. This changes the narrow airplane aisle to an open working space, allowing people to pass and move freely. Once all the passengers are on board, the aisle seat will slide back out, locking into position.

Side-Slip Seat changes air travelAs if that’s not enough, this company addresses another major sore spot for travelers. They enlarged the width of the middle seat and set it slightly back from the window and aisle seats. The additional three inch width relieves the cramped passenger. And by setting the seat slightly back alleviates the elbow space debacle. Not only are they revolutionizing the on boarding and off boarding protocols, but even changing the desired seat on planes.

Industry advantages of the Slide-Slip Seats

The company claims that these subtle changes in airplane seats will not only positively effect the travelers, but also the airlines pockets.

The on boarding process would need to change. Window seat passengers would board first, followed by the middle seat passengers. And finally the aisle seat would be pulled back into place to allow the rest of the passengers to board. The expanded aisles would allow travelers to move to their seats, while other access to the overhead compartments at the same time.

They claim the Slide-Slip Seats will speed up boarding times by 25%. This change would also reduce the amount of time on the ground as well as the fuel costs for idling. Overall, airlines can save up to $700,000 per day by switching to these seats. This would hopefully also bring down the cost of tickets for the passenger as well.

The biggest advantage to the passenger is:
* Less time at the gate and boarding
* Wider Seats Middle 21′ Aisle & Window 18′
* Wider Aisles
* Lower fares

This new seating technology available on limited flights in late 2017 would make the Middle Seat the best seat on the plane.

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Everything You Need To Know About Airlines Overbooking Tickets

We all nonchalantly agree to this when we book a flight, but the fact of the matter is that all major airlines overbook their flights, often leaving travelers in the lurch. Overbooking came into the spotlight this week when a United passenger was forcibly removed from a flight, leaving many of us wondering the extent of enforcing this policy.

It’s standard practice for airlines to sell more tickets than the plane has seats, anticipating a few cancellations and missed flights. Rather than having half empty planes take off, extensive calculations are been made determining the probability of no-shows. Additional tickets are then made available based on these solutions. The video below from Ted-ed perfectly summarizes the process and statistics behind overbooking.

Though overselling results in more profits for the airlines, not having enough seats on a flight is still a common occurrence. According to the video above, about 50,000 people get bumped off their flight each year.  Overbooking processes are outlined in each airline’s “contracts of carriage” policies, which passengers agree to when tickets are purchased.

What happens when a flight is oversold?

Federal rules require that airlines must first ask if any passengers will voluntarily give up their seat. Airlines can individually decide on compensation, but typically a travel voucher or gift card is given.

If passengers are unwilling to voluntarily to give up their seats, airlines are then allowed to bump fliers involuntarily. Every airline has a different policy on how they decide who is denied travel as well as their compensation.

  • United – Excludes individuals with disabilities and unaccompanied minors. Priority is then determined by passenger’s fare, class, itinerary, status of frequent flier membership, and order of check-in.
  • Delta – Decided with regards to priority boarding rules and elite status and check-in order and cabin.
  • JetBlue – JetBlue claims they never overbook flights, but have information in their contracts of carriage if a situation arises. Passengers denied boarding involuntarily will receive $1,350 dollars.
  • American – Usually deny boarding based upon check-in time, but may include additional variables such as severe hardships, fare paid, and status within AAdvantage program. Compensation and protocols differ for domestic and international transportation.
  • Spirit – Unaccompanied minors and people with disabilities are excluded. The last customer to check in will be the first to be involuntarily removed first from an over booked flight.
  • Southwest -The last Passenger who receives a boarding position will be the first Passenger denied boarding involuntarily in an oversale situation, with no preference given to any particular person or category of fares. Compensation differs based on their readiness to get the passenger on anther flight.

How business travelers can avoid being involuntarily removed for oversold flights

Getting to your meeting on time is tricky enough when you’re a frequent business traveler. It’s best to keep additional possibilities to a minimum.

  • Check-in early
  • Acquire elite or member status through the airline

 

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’re focused on getting our travelers to their destination smoothly, and with limited headaches for the travel manager. Contact us to learn how we do it.

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