Corporate Travel Management-Post 9/11

When terrorists shook America and the world with the September 11 attacks of 2001, they didn’t just hit the travel industry hard but also changed the way corporate travel management functioned. Post 9/11, corporate travel management in the U.S. has become as much about security as it is about booking low-priced tickets and hotel rooms. Though the terrorists could not deter business travelers too long despite using airliners to hit prominent targets in New York City and Washington, they certainly prompted corporate travel management firms to rethink strategy.

As business spreads to new and at times unstable parts of the world, corporate travelers are crisscrossing the globe more frequently and are becoming vulnerable to a greater variety of threats including terrorism, natural disasters, crime and unrest. Post 9-11, American companies are exercising stricter control over executives and employees’ business travel plans, discouraging them from making their bookings online individually and urging them to go through the corporate travel managements firms they have hired. That is because when a corporate travel management firm is in charge, the company always knows where its business travelers are in case of an emergency.

In the aftermath of 9/11, most corporate travel management companies have launched round-the-clock emergency services so that a business traveler finding himself/herself in a difficult situation in a foreign land doesn’t feel completely stranded. Many have crisis management mechanisms in place for better co-ordination during emergencies. Travel departments within most companies have also begun to link travel policies with security policies. Coupled with stricter security measures put in place by governments across the world – especially in areas receiving a large number of business and leisure travelers – travel has in many ways become safer post 9/11.

The Travel Team, Inc understands the increased security concerns for the business traveler post 9/11, which is why we have included a 24/7 worldwide emergency service among the facilities available to our corporate clients. Our comprehensive corporate travel management service strives to ensure that your executives and employees travel safely and at the lowest possible price, but without any compromise on quality of transport, board and lodge.

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Travel Insurance – How To Get The Best Value Travel Insurance

If you are an occasional traveler you’ll probably buy your insurance from the travel agent. But if you travel more than twice a year, it is much more cost effective to have one insurance lasting all year round, than buying one every time you travel.

Think ahead, plan ahead. Annual travel insurance easily pays for itself with just a couple of trips. But not all insurances are worth the same and as always cheapest is not necessarily the best. More on this later.

Annual travel insurance is not compulsory but it gives you the peace of mind case of illness and loss or damage to property and many other events. Where is the best place to buy annual travel insurance?

1. Your bank is probably the first place you’ll try. Banks have in recent times become highly competitive and in order to retain your business, may offer better rates. For example my bank has upgraded my checking account to a premium account and for that I pay $20 per month.

As a result I get several privileges including free, worldwide, comprehensive travel insurance. But here is the best part … I get all this free travel insurance not just for myself but also for any member of my family traveling with me including my parents and siblings.

I said free because I am already getting other benefits which are worth a lot more than $20 per month if I were to buy them individually. I also save a lot of time as I never have to look around for insurance. So don’t ignore your bank.

2. Credit card companies also offer similar insurances, with some added advantages. In case of theft or loss of your credit card, they will supply you with an emergency one, often within a few hours.

In addition to travel insurance offers, there is another advantage in checking your credit card company’s terms. If you book your travel using your credit card, pretty much all card companies give excellent cover against many of the things that can go wrong.

Some credit card companies also have specialist travel departments which not only give you travel discounts but also give you even better protection, i.e. better travel insurance and at a much lower cost. But note that all insurance offers exclude you making a claims, for the same item, to multiple sources even if you do have multiple insurance cover.

For example, let’s say you have bought travel insurance separately and you have bought your travel ticket using your credit card. If your luggage is lost, you can almost certainly make a claim to either of the two sources but not to both at the same time.

The reason is that the insurance companies have suffered massive fraud in recent years. Allowing multiple claims simply encourages fraudsters to have multiple insurances and make multiple false claims.

For example, they can take an already damaged suitcase on a long journey knowing that it will fall apart. They can then claim damage and loss of property from multiple insurers.

3. Insurance companies are a popular and obvious source for annual travel insurance. If you drive a car or have home insurance get a quote from your insurance company. Remember, because you are already a customer, your car insurance often entitles you to a very good discount.

Here’s a tip: if they don’t give you a competitive insurance, tell them that you will be looking else where for a good package. Let them know you will be looking for a package that includes great home insurance, excellent travel insurance and also good car insurance.

Listen, fear of loss WILL make them bend over backwards for you and if they don’t? Here’s another tip: When you talk to any other source to get your competitive travel insurance, make sure you mention your other assets that you could be insuring with them, such as your car, home, home contents, etc.

This won’t work with travel companies but works absolutely beautifully with most insurance companies. I have done it many times and saved myself thousands of dollars, yes thousands, over the last few years.

The insurance industry is massively competitive. For once, this works in favor of the “little guy” (you and me), so let’s use it.

4. Certain types of home insurance may also give annual travel cover. Do look into pretty much any insurance cover you have. Some home insurance policies include some forms of travel cover including loss or damage to your property while away from home.

Tip: even if you live with your parents, ask them to check their policy for you. You will be amazed to see that even “your” property is covered while away from home.

Just one word of caution: do not assume what is covered or the level cover. If you are not sure just ask the insurer. If the cover they describe seems even better than what you expected based on the policy document, then do ask them to put their clarification in writing.

Why? When any major loss occurs, the insurer will send a local expert to assess the damage. These guys are called loss adjustors. Their job is to save money for the insurance company. And I tell you from bitter personal experience, they take no prisoners.

They will screw you down to the ground, if you don’t get things in clear black and white writing. Just do it. It takes minutes to request clarification in writing but can save you thousands of dollars when you have one of these mean loss adjustors arguing with you over the policy.

5. You can also buy last minute travel insurance from travel agents and airlines at the airport. Expect to be taken advantage of, heavily! Needless to say, this is one of your most expensive options. Just avoid ending up with this option, see to your insurance long before you need to travel.

Now here’s the thing. Travel insurance policies are not all identical. As well as considering price, you absolutely must read the terms and conditions carefully. For example, the upper age limit of some insurance companies may vary.

Some companies may limit the number of annual trips, whilst others may have no limit at all. Look, most travel insurance policies cover a range of events and claims. But as they say, the devil is in the detail.

The problem you will definitely face with some really cheap policies from unknown and possibly disreputable companies is what they put in the fine print. You know what I’m talking about? … all those tiny little statements they put on the back of the form? Or if you are buying insurance online (and you should), notice all those pages of really small text they ask you to agree to?

Well, that’s where they bury lots of little conditions and limitations. Most people don’t read all the terms. Do yourself a huge favor and on this occasion, do read it all. If the insurance policy terms are full of “weasel words” or complex language, just move on and do not buy.

All insurance companies are quick to point out how many millions you can claim in “total”, in case of a serious accident. But they all limit the amount per item within your claim. So claims for loss of cash will be capped and so will claims for electronic devices, clothes, etc.

This means that with the cheaper policies you will have a really low limit. For example, if you claim for a mobile phone and an MP3 player, you may find that the limit on personal electronics is not enough to even pay for “one” of those devices, let alone both. Don’t wait for an unfortunate event to show you the flaws in a dirt cheap policy. That is the worst time to find out and it is a time when you need the most help.

What must all policies cover?

1. Loss or damage to property and cash

2. Flight delays or cancellation

3. Accidents

4. Sickness

5. Your expenses when an event ocurs

6. Your potential liability to other people

7. Legal services

In comparison to your total costs, annual travel insurance is only a very small item. If you are covered for any eventuality, you’ll have less to worry about, which will translate to more relaxation and enjoyment.

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Business Class Is Cheaper Than Economy: Whole-Of-Journey Travel Risk Management

The majority of travel departments/managers are only empowered, authorized or capable of looking at travel management from a cost perspective exclusively. However, to truly ensure that the process of travel is efficient, profitable and safe; a much wider focus is required-predominantly in the areas of cost, productivity and safety. When such a wider and more comprehensive perspective is engaged, most organizations will discover that business class flights are in reality much cheaper than economy class for the majority of their executives and traveling talent.

Consider a short-haul flight of under four hours. For an executive this will typically translate to an eight-hour working day. If traveling in economy class they will typically need to be at the airport nearly 2 hours before departure. Even with privileged frequent-flier status they will need to be checked in much earlier than their business class counterparts. Without such privileges, the time required maybe even longer as check-in queues and airline efficiency lengthen and decline respectively. The immigration processing will potentially be lengthened also as many airlines now have preferential immigration processing of business travelers. The traveller in economy will now be left to fend for themselves in the public seating/WiFi/meals environment of economy class travel. Boarding time will be lengthened and carry-on luggage will be reduced which again will have added to the overall pre-departure time. Regardless of the physical size of the traveller, their work laptop, the airline or the seating space; very few people get anything close to productive work conducted whilst in economy. Not to mention, when corners have been cut, everyone within proximity of a business laptop user can often see the entire content and context of business presentations, e-mails, discussions and intellectual property. The arrival stage will also entail longer immigration processing times, time lost awaiting baggage and jostling within the bulk of the flights travelers. If after all this, on a short-haul flight you expect the traveller to bring their A game or deliver pivotal business results, you should prepare yourself for disappointment now.

Conversely, a journey that has been considered in a whole of risk manner will play out significantly different. First, the traveller will have the time and flight best suited to the work productivity objectives and reduced commute, check-in and processing times. Utilization of the business lounge will ensure productivity and access to information and systems prior before departure. Overall fatigue and affect on the individual will also be reduced. Whilst not entirely risk free, the threat to personal belongings, company information or other valuables will also be reduced. Productivity (best calculated by adding the per hour cost to the company for the executive and the per hour revenue potential of the trip or executive) will also be enhanced by a compact yet usable mobile workspace. Even if the individual is not conducting work on a computer platform, the demands to the individual are also diminished. It is also almost ensured that the executive will hit the ground running and clear the aircraft, immigrations and baggage claim much faster, leaving only the commute from the airport to the place of business. This streamlining and efficiency is also replicable for multiple travelers or trips.

When analyzing all of these factors (even in a developed country) the hundreds or even thousands of dollars between economy class and business class travel is often much cheaper than the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars of business productivity, time and dollars at risk. However, the functional heads responsible for cost, productivity and safety are all typically measured and evaluated on cost containment rather than profitability or maximized earnings of their senior executives. All of these elements are significantly amplified in developed or developing countries. When the entire journey is constructed along whole-of-journey travel risk management lines thousands or even millions of dollars in opportune business can be preserved while appropriate expenditure managed. Reduction or elimination of disruption and wastage can be easily achieved. When it comes to whole-of-journey travel risk management most companies are penny wise and pound foolish.

There is nothing more comical and economically tragic than a senior executive or CEO traveling on a budget airline. While sitting in cheap seats being nonproductive and paying five dollars for peanuts or drinks they are losing thousands of dollars or even millions in productivity or earnings for the sake of a few bucks. In the wake of the financial crisis, some very savvy financial institutions openly conveyed that they dare not reduce the privilege, risk or status of their major wealth generation executives for fear of losing them to more competitive or sophisticated banks or financial institutions. Why should this be any different in the face of many other threats to talent and revenue?

The empirical data and evidence of enhanced productivity and efficient travel risk management exists at present in every company. The only limitation is that few are rewarded or supported in harvesting, processing and analysis of such data. If companies and their respective leadership took the time to stop and analyze such processes or even historical culture within the organization, they would find that simple and efficient adaptation of such processes like the use of business class travel versus economy class travel could potentially unlock thousands of hours of productivity and greater business competitiveness. This is certainly the case in developed markets and significantly more acute in developing markets where there is an accumulation of much greater threat, costs, threat disruptions and safety issues.

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More Best Practices for Business Travelers

As you’re well aware, the key to a smooth business trip is knowledge and preparation. So, back by popular demand, are even more business travel tips to help you save time and money, reduce your stress, and actually enjoy your business trip.

Stop, and copy important documents. This is something you should do today, if you haven’t done so already. Make copies of your important documents – scan your passport, birth certificate, credit-card numbers, driver’s license, medical, and other important information, and store them securely online somewhere you can access it 24/7. If you happen to lose them, it will make recovery a lot easier and less stressful.

Keep travel documents and receipts organized. Nothing’s worse than getting to the airline, rental car, or hotel desk and having to hunt for your reservation information. Whenever you receive an email related to your trip, print it out and place it in a clear or colored transparent envelope. It will be easy to grab on your way out the door to the airport, and easy to find in your bag. The envelope also becomes a handy place to store business receipts.

Weigh your bag with a hand-held scale. We’ve all packed for a trip and wondered if the bag is under the TSA allotted 50-pound mark. Take the guess work out of packing with a hand-held scale. They’re available on Amazon around $20.

If you book your own flights, use Tripit.com to organize all aspects of your getaway. The site will email you confirmation messages about your flight, hotel, car, rail, restaurant reservations and activities. It even compiles them into a single itinerary that includes confirmation numbers, locations, weather maps, city guides, restaurant reservations and more.

If you don’t have a corporate travel department, there are several websites online that help multiple travelers coordinate the same trip. Check out Groopvine, a service from Groople.com, and Triphub.com.

Get real-time flight updates on your PDA or mobile phone. You can get real-time flight statuses and updates on your Internet-enabled mobile phone or PDA. To receive a text message from Yahoo! with your flight status, visit m.yahoo.com and type in your airline and flight number, or send a text message to 92466 (which spells YAHOO) with your airline and flight number. For Google, send a text message to 466453 (which spells GOOGLE) to receive a status message back.

Road-weary and almost home, but can’t remember where you parked? Next time, use your phone to snap a photo of the area marker in the lot when you arrive -because you have more important things to file away in your brain.

If you visit a client and city frequently, it may be more economical to book long-term hotel rates. Find out if your hotel of choice gives a discount for extended stays.

To avoid hotels with bedbugs, visit bedbugregistry.com, which lists U.S. hotels with bedbug reports.

Call the hotel in advance and request items or preferences that will make your hotel stay more enjoyable, such as a water view, a bottle of wine, or a particular newspaper.

If you fly internationally, keep in mind that some countries will not allow visitors to enter if their passports show they have been to certain countries. To avoid a potential debacle, apply for a “restricted” passport, in addition to your regular passport, for use only when entering these countries. Restricted passports are issued by the State Department, and may require proof of need, such as a confirmed itinerary.

Santo and Lynda Silvestro purchased Hoyt Livery in 1987. Throughout the years, they have created the Hoyt Experience… first-rate service beyond your expectations… from the moment you make your initial reservation until the time you reach your final destination.

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