Posts tagged Business Travel
As a travel agency, our job is to keep you informed about changes in the travel industry. If you have traveled through any major airport in the past couple months, you may have noticed a TSA announcement about the REAL ID Act. Here is a brief description of the REAL ID act and how it affects you.
What is the Real ID Act?
The Real ID Act is a federal law that requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes“. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as boarding commercially operated domestic airline flights, entering federal buildings, and nuclear power plants. The REAL ID Act also helps secure domestic flights and federal facilities by increasing regulations on IDs to deter forgery. This new law goes into effect October 1, 2020.
How does it affect Indiana?
Indiana is fully compliant with the REAL ID Act (It is called the Secure ID in Indiana). When the new law goes into effect on October 1, 2020, you will need to make sure that your license meets the standard. A Secure Indiana ID has a star in the top right corner. When you renew your license, make sure you understand what additional forms of identification you will need to have a license that meets the new federal guidelines, http://www.in.gov/bmv/2953.htm.
How does it affect other states?
If your driver license is issued by a state that is non-compliant with the REAL ID Act you will have to use another form of identification accepted by TSA (Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID) after January 22, 2018. To check to see if your state is compliant with the REAL ID Act click the map below.
I am lucky enough to work in an office with some amazing women. I want to share a quick story about what happened a couple weeks back. Here is what happened.
Imagine you are at the end of your Christmas break Key West vacation and tonight you will be home in Northern Indiana. You head to the airport for the last leg of the journey. Upon arriving at the airport, you receive a rude awaking as armed guards barricade the entrance of the airport and direct you out of the area. This was a reality for a client of ours.
On Friday, January 6th, our clients arrived at Fort Lauderdale International airport to see armed guards motioning them to stay back. They had just arrived at the scene of a horrific shooting. One of the advantages of using a travel agency is the security of knowing that you have a personal assistant to get you out of any travel situation. Immediately our client texted their agent at Menno Travel, we had already received a travel warning regarding the shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Before they texted us, we were in the midst of going through our data base to see who was flying in, out, or connecting in Fort Lauderdale. Whenever there is a major alert (weather, malfunctions, terrorist incidents) Menno contacts our clients letting them know of potential delays and provides them with other travel options.
Maggie, the vacation agent working with the stranded clients, called Delta and tried to find a way back to South Bend. That particular Friday, there were major winter ice storms passing through the East and West coasts, it was also the end of Christmas break. Usually, our agents can find another route home, the difficulty was getting five passengers back on the same flight. Maggie searched multiple airports in Florida to try and find a flight back to this area. There were no Delta flights back to our area that had five seats available. While on hold with Delta, Maggie found five seats on an American Airlines flight departing from Miami the next morning. She negotiated with Delta and got a refund for our clients and booked the American Airline flight to Chicago. She then booked a hotel room in Miami. The next morning when the family arrived in Chicago, Maggie had arranged for a limo to pick them up. It was the cheapest option back to South Bend. The limo drove our clients back to South Bend and dropped the family off at their front door, then drove the husband to South Bend airport to pick up his personal car. Menno is currently working on getting refunds for our client’s limo and hotel expense.
In an unpredictable world where stories like this occur, having someone to back you up and provide service at this level is critical. We hope that this situation, or any situation, never happens to our clients but we will be there if it ever does.
Incentive Travel – 10 Powerful Benefits
Rewarding customer loyalty and sales growth and performance with fantastic corporate rewards will benefit your business. After all, giving customers reason to not look elsewhere is part of any successful business. Below, we take a closer look at the powerful advantages of incentive travel.
1. Motivate and Inspire Customers & Sales Staff with a Memorable Reward
Providing desirable travel incentives is a great way to motivate and inspire your customer base. It will encourage business-centric buzz around your industry, with everyone wanting to be sure to not miss out, thus meeting their targets and win the reward.
2. Incentive Travel is a Cost-Effective Alternative
According to the Harvard Business Review, money is the most expensive way to reward. Travel incentives can be more cost-effective and offer greater value in terms of the benefits to staff, customers and the business.
3. Corporate Rewards Can Help Your Business Achieve its Goals
Through inspiring and motivating your customer base, corporate rewards can help you to achieve a number of company objectives, such as:
• Customer retention
• Increasing sales and profitability.
• Maintaining consistently high sales performance
4. Foster Customer Loyalty and Dedication
A great rewards system will ensure your customers feel appreciated. This feeling of appreciation fosters a positive environment, increasing consumer loyalty to the company. Similarly, appreciated customers are more dedicated. This leads to greater sales and increased profitability.
5. Forge Stronger Networking Dynamics
The thrilling adventures and shared experiences of a fantastic trip will hone and develop networking dynamics. It will also allow company and customer to build stronger relationships, and offers an informal forum for honest discussion about the company.
6. Personal Benefits for your Customers
Everyone benefits from some time away. Rewarding your customer with a travel experience will help to relieve stress, boost confidence and reignite creativity. A short break can do wonders for the soul – and your business by extension.
7. A Healthy Customer base is a Happy Business
Studies suggest that perceived benefits that no one else or a select few can get, keeps the loyal customer returning to the company. This comes back to the sense of appreciation and the personal benefits of corporate rewards.
8. Excellent PR for your Organization
Word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool. Customers who have received a memorable corporate reward are likely to rave about it to their friends and family. Also the opportunity to re-connect with past participants is an appealing part of reward packages. This will entice greater sales to your company and will improve your organization’s PR overall.
9. Travel Incentives are More Effective than Cash Rewards
Cold, hard cash is one of the most common, and according to statistics, least effective ways to reward people. The money is often treated as part of a discount and is spent on bills or household items. In contrast, an enticing travel experience is proven to inspire and motivate. In addition, the memory of a fantastic trip will last much longer than a cash bonus, fostering feelings of gratitude towards the company.
10. Flexible Experiences for Every Budget
Incentive travel can be tailored to suit budgets, making travel a practical reward option for small and large businesses alike.
Book your corporate travel experience with a company you can trust. Menno Travel, Group & Incentive Department has the knowledge and expertise to provide your company with unique travel options. Menno Travel’s Group & Incentive Department can manage your customer/sales loyalty travel incentive.
Please contact our Group & Incentive Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
American Express Cardmember Travel Privileges Expanded
Take advantage of these new Travel Benefits for Personal and Small Business Platinum and Centurion Card members.
1. $200 Airline Fee Credit – Check a bag or enjoy an in-flight meal on American Express. Every year American Express will cover up to $200 of incidental airline fees that are charged on the Cardmember’s enrolled Card on a selected airline. The $200 Airline Fee Credit can apply to fees such as baggage fees, flight change fees, in-flight food and airport lounge day passes.
2. 20% Travel Bonus – When Cardmembers use Membership Rewards Pay with Points to pay for part or all of their travel including airlines, hotels, cruises and vacation packages, they will get 20% of those points credited back to their account. For example, redeem 30,000 points to pay for an airline ticket, and American Express will credit 6,000 point to your Membership Rewards Cardmember’s account.
3. American Express® Travel App – This complimentary mobile app will help keep travelers informed with flight alerts, an airport lounge locator, airport guides and more.
Free WiFi For The Holidays
Passengers who want to surf the Internet while they fly on AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin America, can do it for free this month. This is a holiday gift the carriers and Internet providers hope might lure fliers to pay for the WiFi later. Google is offering free in-flight WiFi through January 2. The carriers use Gogo Inflight Internet, which typically charges $4.95 for access during short flights and up to $49.95 for multiple prepaid in-flight sessions.
Winner of Elkhart County Thanks4giving Raffle
Pictured: Deb Mangas (Menno Travel), Jim Shea (Fairmont), Janet Walls and Pam Hluchota (United Way Board Chair)
Congratulations to Janet Walls, the 7-night Palace Resorts package winner from the United Way of Elkhart County Thanks4giving Raffle last month. Menno Travel Service is proud to provide Janet with a seven day all-inclusive resort package (including airfare) to Mexico. Now would be a good time to book that trip south, Janet!
Delta Adds Recharging Stations At Airports
Delta plans to roll out recharging stations in 19 airports across the U.S., including its seven domestic hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York Kennedy and Salt Lake City. There will be two Delta recharging stations available at each passenger gate area. Each station will feature six standard, 110-volt outlets and two USB ports. Recharging pads designed for smartphones and mobile devices will be available in all domestic Delta Sky Club locations.
Recharging stations will also be installed at airports in Boston, Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Nashville; Norfolk, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and St. Louis.
Delta increases availability of Preferred Economy Seats
Delta expanded the number of Preferred Economy seats by up to 40%. That’s good news for Delta Medallion members and bad news for anyone else trying to get advance seat assignments.
Also, Delta used to release those seats to the general public 24 hours prior to flight time. Now they won’t be released until 2 hours prior.
Delta Sky Club Now Open At Indianapolis Airport
Delta Air Lines opened its first Delta Sky Club at Indianapolis International Airport. Located inside security on Concourse A, the new 4,800-square-foot Indianapolis Sky Club is the first and only premium airport lounge for business travelers in the state of Indiana. Available to Delta Sky Club members and their guests, as well as American Express Platinum cardmembers flying Delta, the club offers complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and Wi-Fi, wireless charging pads for smartphones, as well as personalized flight assistance, satellite TV and computer workstation access.
Rental car companies improving customer satisfaction
According to a recent J.D. Power consumer survey, Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks highest in customer satisfaction for the seventh consecutive year. National Car Rental is second and Hertz ranks third.
The survey, which polled consumers who rented cars at airports in North America during the twelve months ended in September, looks at six factors to measure overall customer satisfaction: costs and fees, pick-up processes, rental car, return process, reservations process and shuttle bus or van service.
The increased satisfaction scores indicate that staff that had been reduced in the past two years has begun to be added back and rental companies have started to add newer and lower-mileage cars to their fleets.
Electric Cars Coming to Hertz
Hertz will began renting electric cars this month through its Connect by Hertz car-share program, a membership program that enables members to rent cars on a per-hour basis, with New York as the launch market. In 2011 they will be available in the Hertz Car Rental fleet. Hertz is offering one of the Smart models, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, starting Dec. 15. After the New York launch, Hertz plans to bring electric rentals to Washington and San Francisco in early 2011.
Down the road, other models will include the Nissan Leaf, the Coda and Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, as well as electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid and Chevy Volt. Hertz plans a “full-scale deployment” of electric cars in U.S. and international markets next year.
Three Reasons Why Airfares Are Likely To Rise
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average domestic airfare jumped 13% from $301 to $341 in the second quarter of 2010 vs. the previous year. That $341 fare was 3.8% more than the previous quarter and represented the fourth consecutive quarterly fare increase.
United Airlines’ average fare for the first nine months of this year is up 25% vs. a year ago. Even Southwest Airlines, long considered the budget standard, reported an average fare increase of 15% for that same period, and Southwest’s average airfare paid has increased 23% over the past three years.
According to David Grossman in USA Today, there are three primary reasons why airfares will continue to rise:
Capacity cuts and rising demand
According to the Air Transport Association (ATA), available seat miles (ASMs) for domestic travel declined by more than 12% between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2009. As the increase in travel demand has exceeded the supply of available seats, passenger load factors, or the percentage of occupied seats, jumped from 75.3% to 78.8% during the first ten months of 2010 vs. 2009. Higher load factors inevitably lead to higher airfares.
Prolonged period of higher oil prices
All airlines are affected by rising oil prices, but one airline has felt the impact more than most: Southwest. With their cost advantage from hedging oil prices now history, Southwest has had to raise its prices to remain profitable, and the rest of the industry has followed.
Changing business model for low-cost airlines
So called “low-cost” airlines look more like network airlines every day. As these airlines mature, their operating costs are on the rise. These costs include flying from larger “hub” airports with higher costs and more congestion. Southwest’s absorption of Air Tran will add a second aircraft type, further increasing operating costs.
These additional operating costs, combined with higher oil prices and rising travel demand outstripping capacity will contribute to upward pressure on airfares. So, in answer to the age-old question about the best time to book your next flight: It may be right now, as all signs point to a continued climb.
New York City Hotel Capacity Soars
New York City is planning to open 33 hotels by the end of this year. Six of these will be high-end properties including the InterContinental New York Times Square, Hyatt’s latest Andaz on 5th Avenue, a Gansevoort on Park Avenue, the W New York-Downtown, a Conrad in Manhattan, and an Embassy Suites in the Financial District.