Category Archives: Business Travel

A Millennial Friendly Travel Policy?

Millennial 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.

 

Christopherson and Domo Partnership

Christopherson-Domo-app

At Christopherson, we’ve built a reputation of being the most innovative, technologically-savvy TMC in the industry. Whether we build it ourselves or integrate with other cutting-edge companies, we are committed to being the first in travel technology and a leader in delivering our clients digital tools to solve their problems. Which is why we are excited to announce our latest solution for busy companies and their employees. Christopherson Business Travel and Domo, a business analytics company, have paired up to streamline travel management data. Using Domo’s ability to quickly turn data into insights, and our technology suite to enhance your travel program, we’re again the first to bring unparalleled service to business travel.

Christopherson and Domo—bringing two leaders together

Domo connects directly to any source of data to streamline its reporting. It can combine, cleanse, and transform data in a flash, uncovering insights in just a few clicks. It allows users to visualize and share data across your organization with ease.

Christopherson and Domo have a multifaceted relationship. We have been using Domo to provide actionable insights for our own business for four years. And we are Domo’s premier travel management company. With a symbiotic relationship like ours, it was only inevitable that we would build something great together.

As the first travel management app developer within their ecosystem, the possibilities to integrate were intriguing. Domo and our travel management software, AirPortal, now integrate at ten different data sources. These ten Domo data connectors help us to gain valuable insight and answer questions with intuitive data exploration and filtering. Our account managers receive alerts when a client’s travel spend makes a significant change, up or down. Our sales team and our OPs managers are also able to make smarter, faster decisions to improve their business results. 

Introducing our Domo-Partnered Apps:

We’re excited about our three new Domo Partner apps that will be released at the Global Business Travel Association Convention this week. The first in an ongoing series of apps, they pinpoint managed travel frustrations and easily finds solutions.  

Travel Leakage Analyzer

This app provides insight into travel spend, revealing pieces previously hidden.  It integrates directly to a feed from a our Airportal, a general ledger, or Concur Expense, and compares it to bookings made through Christopherson. From there it analyzes travel compliance, and more importantly, finds non-compliance. The drill down functionality also allows you to be as granular as needed. With this tool, you can understand your entire picture of compliance, and know where to start to change it around.

Travel Map Insights

With this app you can effectively determine the best locations for future hotel RFPs, based upon a real time data. By looking at hotel locations, total room nights, average daily rate and total spend, your travel manager can make a more informed decision to future vendor negations. Travel managers will be able to easily see and sort the data to make better decisions.

Travel Analytics

This is a set of apps offering powerful analytics tools to travel managers. It accesses their data in real-time, making it fast and simple to gleen powerful insights for travel executives and managers.

The Christopherson and Domo Relationship  

Premiering at GBTA, this is just the first of an exciting future for powerful and real-time solutions in the travel management industry. With our powerful travel technology suite, coupled with Domo’s cloud-based analysis system, the potential to revolutionize travel management headaches are endless. If you are attending the GBTA convention in Boston this week, we invite you to join us at booth 1175. We will be demo-ing our  integrated apps with Domo, as well as exciting updates to our AirPortal 360 suite. Hope to see you there!

Google and STR- Giving Hotels More Data

google-str-hotel-data

Here’s good news for hotels – preferred hotel properties are getting even smarter. STR, the leading travel industry data provider, recently partnered with Google to study the association between Google searches and hotel demand. This study found there is a strong correlation between Google search trends and hotel bookings.

The STAR report, STR’s leading product for hotels, allows hotels to study their individual property performance and benchmark against their competition. Specifically, the product allows individual hotel properties to follow trends in ADR (average daily rate) and RevPar (revenue per available room) to ensure they are performing well in contrast to their competition.

The study

Using London and New York City as their case study locations, they tried their theory. Both cities are global hubs with existing high traffic. They both also have achieved occupancy levels above 80% for at least the past seven years.

They were able to conclude that higher Google search volumes can be associated with higher STR demand levels. With the positive conclusion of this study, hotel executives can look to Google in combination with STR benchmarking data to make a more accurate prediction on hotel occupancy levels.

Whether you are a hotel executive, travel agent, or vender, this is a sign that if you aren’t promoting on Google, you may be missing out. With this high correlation of hotel rates and Google searches, other travel searches may have similar correlations. Staying relevant and easy to find online is becoming more and more important for businesses.

How to use Google to get more searches and bookings

  • Promote your website on Google or through a booking site.
  • Use all of Google’s available tools to help differentiate. Add your phone number, official website and any positive reviews to Google.
  • Try out Google’s new ‘Plan a Trip’ tab. It easily allows users to plan each step of their trip within Google.

For more information and access the entire study, click here.

 

How Do TMCs Assist Travelers?

How-TMCs-Help-Travelers

On our blog, we often talk about the benefits of a managed travel program for corporations.  But what about the traveler?  Whether traveling every single week or only once a year, a company’s managed travel program should assist travelers as well.

Traveling itself is taxing. And that’s not even counting in the stress from meetings, staying on top of emails and time management. We support companies, but more importantly their employees, with the eccentricities of travel. Christopherson provides  a wealth of essential resources, just for travelers.

How Christopherson assists travelers:

  • One-stop Shopping. Book your air, hotel and car from one source.  All discounts and negotiated rates are at your fingertips.
  • Guaranteed Lowest Fare. The traveler will receive a refund if a lower fare is found that meets the same qualifications as the original fare.
  • Afterhours. Christopherson is available 24/7  You will receive experienced, efficient, and courteous support round the clock, no matter where they are in the world.
  • Unused Ticket Tracking. Unused tickets are tracked and made available to you immediately upon cancellation of the original ticket.
  • Traveler Profile. Avoid wasted time and hassle of having to communicate or re-entering your unique travel preferences every time you book your travel.

You have enough on your plate. We cover the tiny details of travel so you can focus on the more important items.

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Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning travel management company with more that 60 years of experience.  From our custom-built technology to our experts employees, we’ve succeeded by providing superior support for all the unique problems travel hands out. If you think your company could benefit from additional travel management solutions, contact us today.

Surviving a One-Day Buisness Trip

Surviving a one day business trip

We are all so busy that, at times, a one-day business trip can have a lot of benefits. First, it saves your company money on an overnight in a hotel. Second, it takes less time away from any personal and professional duties and can make a person more productive. While the benefits are strong, the concept of doing such a trip can be daunting to some people.

Tips to surviving a one-day business trip:

1) Stay healthy. Catching an early flight, attending meetings, and then catching another flight at the end of the day is exhausting. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy to ensure you have plenty of energy to get you through the day.
2) Dress comfortably. Without access to a hotel, you will need to wear business clothes for the entire day. Invest in some that are wrinkle free and wear comfortable shoes.
3) Pack a small “what if” bag. You’ll need to be prepared in the event that you need to stay over. Extra undergarments, travel sized toiletries and a toothbrush can put your mind at ease.
4) Take advantage of any travel perks. If you have access to an airport lounge or a business center, these can be a great place to catch up on work. If you don’t have such access, you may consider using your extra time to enjoy your destination for an hour or two.
5) Lastly, if your trip includes a red- eye flight, you might consider purchasing an upgrade to ensure you get enough sleep to continue to be productive once you land.

A one-day business trip is eventually inevitable for most professionals.  But if you tackle it strategically, you can walk away with a productive and energetic day under your belt.

JetBlue Returns to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

JetBlue-Atlanta-Airport

After more than 13 years, JetBlue has returned service to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The carrier is offering just one destination, but already has plans to expand. The industry will be watching closely, as this is the second time JetBlue has tried to break into this competitive airport. 

The saga of JetBlue and the Hartsfiel-Jackson Airport

In a drama similar to soap operas, JetBlue was pushed out of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in 2003 by rival airlines. Offering flights from Atlanta to Long Beach, CA, AirTran Airways and Delta Air Lines immediately released cheaper deals to the same region. JetBlue was unable to establish themselves and soon discontinued service from Atlanta. Now, as a household brand with a bigger footprint, they are entering the playing field by starting again with one destination. The flight to Boston will run five times a day. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and New York Kennedy will soon be added.

JetBlue has distinguished itself with by providing extra perks, such as free unlimited snacks like Cheez-Its, Craisins and Terra gourmet potato chips, and free Wi-Fi. It will also sell seats with additional leg room.

I think this is a great time for jet blue to re-enter the Atlanta market. It’s always great to have a few choices when looking to fly out of Atlanta. Seems as though the prices originating out of Hartsfield have increased significantly over the last few years and with the added competition maybe we can expect to see a decrease in fares in the near future. Jet blue plans to use the airbus A-320 for the Atlanta – Boston routes.

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Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with offices across the nation. We are passionate about finding solutions for companies, reducing wasted time and additional costs. To learn our multi-faceted approach, contact us to schedule a personalized demo.

Why Universities Use TMCs

Why-Universities-Use-TMCs

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

Reasons universities work with travel management companies (TMCs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything You Need To Know About Airlines Overbooking Tickets

overbooking tickets on airlines

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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Flying First-Class – Worth the Extra Cost?

first-class-seat

As a frequent business traveler, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by airline upgrades before. But recently, flying from Denver to Seattle, I received a complimentary round-trip upgrade to First Class!  Having never flown premium before, I was excited to take advantage of the opportunity.  Along with the comfy seat at the front of the plane, I didn’t realize first class came with additional perks before you even enter the plane.

Surprising First Class inclusions:

  • Pre-flight: priority counter access at check-in; increased baggage allowance; priority baggage tagging; premium line access through TSA security; and priority boarding.
  • Flight: blanket/pillow/bottle of water waiting at your seat; dedicated overhead bin space; in-seat power outlet and increased seat recline; attentive service from a cabin-specific attendant; drinks in real glassware (alcoholic and non-alcoholic); meal and snack selection.
  • Post-flight: ability to get off of the plane first; priority baggage claim delivery.

Since I did not have to pay extra for the upgrade, its tough to say whether or not its worth the extra cost. What I will say is that the increased seat comfort, extra overall space/legroom, and additional attention from airline staff certainly reduced my usual travel fatigue.  When I arrived at both my destinations, I felt stress-free and energetic!  It’s the type of feeling that I certainly wouldn’t mind enjoying again on a long international flight!  In fact, if the airlines are reading this blog, please know that I would gladly enjoy a complimentary opportunity on any future flight!

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we solve our client’s problems with  superior mobile travel technology and individualized customer support. Contact us to learn more about what sets us apart.

A Great Delta Flight Experience With Rough Beginnings

Delta-airlines

We’ve all had those flights—when everything goes wrong. That’s exactly what happened on my recent trip on Delta, but it surprisingly ended on a high note.  Finishing a presentation in South Bend, IN with my co-worker last week; we were connecting through Atlanta on our way home to Salt Lake City, UT. A typical route for any seasoned business traveler, I boarded the plane expecting the usual. Little did I know the delays, complications and cancellations that were waiting for me. Over the course of the next few hours we would move from one plane, to another, and then to the third and final flight to finally get to Atlanta, only to miss my connection to Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I became better acquainted with some delightful fellow travelers and experienced Delta’s amazing employees and new technology in action.

Delta flight faces initial setbacks

The hiccups started when we spent the first 20 minutes on the plane waiting for a working deicing machine. Once we took-off, 15 minutes in to the flight our pilot announced we would be returning to South Bend due to a rudder problem.  Fortunately, our pilot was amazing.  He was informative, positive, and very concerned about his responsibility as our pilot. A few minutes prior to landing he then reassured us that protocol required fire engines and an ambulance to be waiting upon landing.  One passenger nearby was seriously upset about the possible negative outcomes.

We landed, moved everyone to another plane, and sat in the same seating.  The crew on board and the gate folks at South Bend were amazing—calm, informative, and respectful of all travelers.  They also announced that any connections leaving before 9pm would likely be missed, so travelers should reschedule. We pulled away from the gate and our pilot, who I affectionately dubbed ‘Captain America’, very calmly came out of the cockpit and used the loudspeaker in front of us. In a comforting and personal way, he announced that a sensor light needed to be repaired before we could take off.  Encouragingly, he said it would only take 10 minutes.  Personnel were already on their way to repair it, and then we would be off again, hopefully making good time to catch our connections.

Well, the passenger who lost it earlier, immediately hit her flight attendant button. Saying she had a bad feeling, she asked to be removed from the plane and would reschedule to fly tomorrow. The flight attendant, who remained kind and understanding, checked with the pilot and she was able to deplane.  After waiting more than 10 minutes, my co-worker and I both looked at each other— something must be up, again!  Captain America very apologetically stated that the crew was not able to make the repair. We would need to change to yet another plane!  Thankfully, there were additional Delta planes available in South Bend.  Feeling wary from sitting on two planes already, my surrounding fellow travelers and I quietly thought about rescheduling. Most of us realized though, that we had a better chance of getting home early tomorrow morning if we ended up in Atlanta, rather than South Bend.  We grudgingly accepted the bad news.

Delta professionally alleviated a very stressful situation

It was only a few years ago that this same situation would have required hours of standing in long lines. To my surprise upon landing, a notification from the Delta app popped up on my smartphone. With an acknowledgement stating how much Delta appreciated my patience and understanding, it included a list of 4 hotels from which I could choose to spend the night.  I also realized that after boarding plane number two, an email was sent explaining an additional amount of miles had been added to my Delta FFY account!

At 11:30 pm, standing in line at the service counter, feeling very tired and irritated, I thought to myself this is where I’m going to get a little ticked off!!  Amazingly the one and only service counter person directed us all to go to the machines provided off to the side. Instructing us to place our boarding pass code on the scanner to obtain our hotel voucher and boarding pass for our re-accommodated flight for the next day.  That was it! Off we went to catch the 24-hour shuttle to our Westin hotel.

Delta is truly providing great service their customers, even in the worst of situations. Though I was inconvenienced, my stress level was minimal, due to Delta continually striving to climb high in their customer service!  From their kind employees, to their app notifications, and their customer service kiosks, I felt taken care of every step of the way. Kudos to DELTA.