Risk in Travel: Is Your Company Even Considering These?

Risk in Travel: Is Your Company Even Considering These?Are you overlooking travel risks intimately linked not only to today’s polarized social and political climate, but environmental issues such as floods, fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters as well? Trends show, while travelers frequenting business travel services worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of travel dangers, business owners and managers are living in ignorance of or simply overlooking how close their workers are coming to danger.

Rising Trend

Leading business travel agencies are taking note of an Inofact poll of 7,400 people across Europe. The survey unveiled nearly half (48-percent) of business travelers would decline traveling for work if those travels took them to and locale they considered unsafe based on their perceptions or official government travel advisories. Even more horrifying, 16-percent of Dutch travelers, 19-percent of Italian travelers, and 23-percent of British travelers revealed they were involved in or close to serious incidents while away traveling for work last year. For French travelers, the number was significantly higher, at 35-percent. Overall, 18-percent of travelers were in close proximity to or involved in situations like floods, earthquakes, health epidemics, riots, and terrorist attacks.

Business Blinders

Encountering dangerous social or political scenarios while traveling abroad for work comes with serious ramifications. When there is a flood, health epidemic, or riot, employees may be unable to access critical medications such as those for diabetes, cancers, and severe respiratory issues like asthma. These things put the traveler’s well-being and ultimately their life at serious risk. And employers often fail to realize what role corporate ‘duty of care’ responsibilities play when their employees are involved in travel incidents, completely dismissing them in the worst cases. In Europe as a whole, when travelers were involved in such events, no action was taken by employers in 17-percent of cases. Concerns may have been listened to, but nothing was done. For 6-percent of the whole, and a staggering 21-percent of Brits, their concerns were neither acknowledged or attended.

Are You Overlooking Duty of Care Responsibilities Alongside Today’s Travel Risks?

Employers have a moral and legal responsibility for the health, safety, and security of business travelers beyond common boilerplate of travel expense policy guidelines. Those that wish to stand the test of time understand the ultimate corporate expense management solution ensures the functionality and success of their business over the long-haul. To that end, it is essential to remain aware and attentive to today’s top business travel risks. Are you overlooking…

  • The health and overall wellness of employees, including common diseases like cold and flu up to and including heart attacks and stroke from stress and fatigue?
  • Aircraft collisions, such as the recent Boeing Max 737 incidents overseas?
  • Auto accidents, the single greatest cause of death to healthy U.S. citizens annually?
  • Natural disasters and climate risks such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, thunderstorms, fires, and earthquakes?

In today’s uncertain times, you should be relying on corporate travel agencies that ensure the safety of your employees and safeguard the future of your business. Don’t rely on amateurs. Contact GTI Travel today.

Top 10 Destinations on the US Travel Advisory List

Top 10 Destinations on the US Travel Advisory ListWith a new year of business, comes a new year of business travel planning, and your business has a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of traveling employees. Before planning work endeavors for employees abroad, it is essential to always verify the safety of travel destinations, especially when travel is to a foreign country.

How to Ensure Safety

The best travel management companies know how to keep your employees safe, staying abreast of the latest travel advisory levels. What are travel advisory levels? The U.S. Department of State issues travel advisory warnings based on international dangers, updating the status when changes occur with the concern/situation at hand. Conditions can change rapidly at any time, from natural disasters to political unrest, terror threats, crime, health risks, and more.

Travel Advisory Levels to Watch Out for:

The latest system, revised in January of 2018 to include every country in the world, breaks down advisory levels into the following categories:

  • Level 4: Do Not Travel
  • Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Top 10 Destinations on the Most Recent U.S. Travel Advisory List

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends AGAINST travel to the following regions, assigning them each a ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ in their most recent travel advisories:

  1. Venezuela (Updated 1/29/19)
  2. Somalia (Updated 12/26/18)
  3. North Korea (Updated 12/19/18)
  4. South Sudan (Updated 12/11/18)
  5. Iraq (Updated 10/18/18)
  6. Iran (Updated 10/10/18)
  7. Central African Republic (Updated 10/03/18)
  8. Syria (Updated 09/10/18)
  9. Mali (Updated 08/13/18)
  10. Libya (Updated 08/08/18)

Other countries designated a ‘Level 4’ risk at this time also include Afghanistan and Yemen, updated in July of 2018. All of those countries designated a ‘Level 4’ risk are environments suffering serious issues such as war, famine, political unrest, and other perilous dangers.

What to Do if Travel to Affected Regions is Necessary

The U.S Department of State and top business travel agencies recommend the following when employees must visit a country with a standing travel advisory:

  • Be SMART
    Talk to your corporate travel planning agent about STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Enrolling in STEP is a free service and will ensure employees receive essential information from the Embassy about key safety issues, as well as facilitate location by the U.S. Embassy more easily in the event of an emergency.
  • Know Before You Go
    Review country crime and safety reports with employees before travel, staying abreast of the latest information by following the Department of State on social networks on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Keep in Touch
    Via social media, with frequent status updates.
  • Have a Contingency Plan
    Ensure employees take all necessary health precautions, as well as plan an evacuation procedure in advance that does not rely on the involvement of the U.S. government, considering emergency evacuation insurance.

Looking for a corporate travel agent in Philadelphia who watches out for your best interests? Learn more about GTI Travel today.

How to Prevent Falling Victim to Travel Scams

How to Prevent Falling Victim to Travel ScamsIn light of Australia’s Bestjet fiasco, which left thousands of consumers with empty pockets after plane tickets previously booked went up in a puff of smoke alongside refund dollars following the company’s collapse, travelers are increasingly wary of travel scams. In a world where even seemingly legit businesses leave travelers bereft, is there any way to truly protect oneself when securing travel services?

Ensuring Protection Against Travel Scams

The thought of travel scams is enough to make anyone sick. Sadly, travel fraud rose 16% in 2017, from airline to hotel booking scams and credit card data theft. It continues to accelerate at a rapid pace alongside the popularity of online booking services, not all of which are legitimate. Making oneself aware of common types of fraud, however, can help travelers guard against these increasingly common troubles:

  • Investigate the Legitimacy of ‘Discount Travel’ Offerings
    Oftentimes, a simple internet search on the legitimacy of an online travel agency or foray onto the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trip Advisor website can point you to the legitimacy of online travel firms.
  • Watch for ‘Instant’ Travel Discounts
    Discounted vacation offers from third-party firms designed to lure customers into making impulsive buys for airfare, lodging, cruises, and other travel fare are best avoided. These companies often pocket the charges customers pay via credit card and shirk on offerings.
  • Realize there’s is No Such Thing as a ‘Free Vacation’
    These types of scams are aimed at stealing money from your bank account. In real life, they just don’t exist. To identify a fraudulent deal, be on the lookout for trips to exotic locales – with no mention of airlines, hotels/resorts, specific dates, or fees.
  • Push-Back on High-Pressure Tactics
    A legitimate travel management company will never put pressure on you to close on a travel deal. Pushy sales consultants are banking on the FTC’s 60-day dispute rule: You must dispute a bill within 60-days of receiving the first charges. Oftentimes, by the time consumers realize the travel company is ripping them off, it’s too late. Again, looking to the Better Business Bureau or Trip Advisor will often reveal such scams.
  • Circumnavigate Residential Home Vacation Rental Fraud
    Shady apartment dwellers and homeowners offering deep discounts on travel rentals, with the caveat of an immediate down payment on homes that later turn out to be derelict or nonexistent, are becoming increasingly more pervasive. This is easy to avoid, however, by shopping the right sites and avoiding anonymous sites, such as Craigslist. Reputable websites such as Airbnb won’t release funds to owners into renters check-in, and HomeAway provides secure payments, as well well as money-back guarantees.
  • Beware of Currency Exchange Scams
    Make sure your business travel solutions include information on currency exchange rates when traveling abroad. Street-based storefront currency exchanges often charge excessive fees or misguided exchange information that favors retailers, banking on traveler ignorance. Look to accredited and bank exchange services, or use a credit card instead.

Protect yourself from travel scams with the help of a trusted business travel agency. Contact GTI Travel, learning more about how our services can help you guard against travel fraud today.

Travel Hacks: Get 3 Valuable Tips from the Pros

Travel Hacks: Get 3 Valuable Tips from the Pros | GTI TravelWhether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, traveling like a pro can save you time, money and reduce some of the annoyances that can come with the territory. These three tips from business travel agency pros can help you avoid hassles and navigate travel more easily.

Get TSA Precheck & Global Entry

TSA Precheck can help you cut down on stress and save time. You can skip the line at airport security, you won’t have to remove your shoes, belt or light jacket and laptops & liquids can stay put. An $85 membership is good for five years, and all you have to do is submit an online application and visit an enrollment center for a short appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting.

Global Entry is a program that allows for pre-approved, low-risk international travelers to return to the U.S. using automatic kiosks at select airports. That way, you can fly (no pun intended) through customs and get home sooner. Corporate travel companies have professional business travel agents who are well-versed in the details of obtaining a TSA Precheck or Global Entry and can help you with the process. The less time spent languishing at the airport, the better, right?

Pack Light

Packing like a pro allows you to skip the hassle of waiting at baggage claim and possibly losing your luggage. $25 to check a bag doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re a frequent business traveler it adds up fast. Even if it’s a long trip, pack only the essentials and use laundry and dry cleaning services at your hotel. Just ask your business travel management company to book you a hotel that offers these amenities. Bringing just a carryon will save time and money, and it’s one less thing you need to keep track of when traveling.

Research Your Destination Before You Go

Food and travel information is more accessible than ever. Researching your destination online and checking out the travel sections of newspapers can keep you abreast of the latest restaurant trends and things to see and do. Because their agents are experienced in planning events around the globe, corporate event travel management services can be a great resource for getting the scoop on what’s hot.

Locals like taxi drivers are typically more than happy to give you the skinny on restaurants, sights and can’t-miss activities. Following your nose while you’re out exploring can yield affordable and tasty results; and street food will give you an authentic taste of the local culture. If you’re traveling to a foreign country and don’t know the language, learn basics like, “Hello,“ “Please,” “Thank You,” and “Do you speak English?” Using phrases in the local language such as “I would like…” can help make sure you’re ordering what you want to eat or drink. While it’s okay to splurge once in a while, eating healthy and nourishing foods can keep your immune system working like a charm and leave you feeling good overall.

If you’re looking to make travel a little more painless and a lot more fun, a business travel agency can provide specialized corporate travel management solutions designed to fit your specific needs.

5 Ways Small Businesses can Cut Down on their Travel Expense

If you’re looking to reduce expenses for your small business, finding the most cost-effective ways to travel is a great way to save money. With a little help, proper planning and knowing where to cut back, your small business could save thousands of dollars and significantly cut travel costs.Ways Small Businesses can cut travel expenses

1. Look for Corporate Discounts

Most major airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies offer corporate discount programs that can help save a significant amount on travel costs. Whether you are planning a trip in advance, need flexibility with travel dates, or want to book a flight or hotel on short notice, ask your travel agent if they can get you an even bigger corporate discount and help to avoid costly change fees.

2. Sign Up for Rewards Programs

Using frequent flyer miles programs and rewards offered by airlines, hotels and credit cards is also an effective way to cut costs. If you travel frequently, these points can add up quickly and save your company thousands of dollars each year. Consult with your corporate travel agent on the various rewards programs available to book flights and hotels. They would ensure that you get the best rates and use the least amount of rewards possible to maximize savings.

3. Plan for the Unexpected

In today’s fast-paced world, small businesses often incur the biggest travel expenses from unexpected events such as weather delays, emergencies and last-minute bookings. When you choose a corporate travel agency that offers live assistance from travel agents 24/7, they can help you deal with any situation that may arise.

4. Save Time and Money by Using a Corporate Travel Agency

The hours that employees spend researching and planning travel could be spent working. Complicated itineraries or group travel can take days of planning, and corporate travel agents have access to resources that can cut business travel planning time to minutes instead of days or hours.

Business-oriented travel agencies have access to state-of-the-art technology and global travel networks that can significantly expand your cost-saving options and save your company up to 40 percent off regular corporate rates. Agents can assist you with:

  • Airfare and rail tickets
  • Hotels
  • Car rental
  • Airport parking and ground transportation
  • Group travel arrangements
  • Team-building activities
  • Meeting and event management and registration
  • Changes in flight arrangements or baggage problems
  • Help with passports, visas and travel warnings
  • Advise you on the most affordable days and times to travel

5. Enforce your Travel Policy

Having a system in place that tracks employee compliance can deter business travelers from violating your company’s travel policies. A travel management plan will guide you in setting appropriate travel policies. Periodic review and adjustment of these policies can make all the difference when it comes to cost-effective, efficient business travel.

Skilled agents who know the ins and outs of corporate travel services are an invaluable tool that can save money and alleviate stress. Less anxiety can lead to happier employees, better productivity, and significant cost savings. Enlisting the help of experienced corporate travel agents can help your small business maximize its travel budget and keep things running smoothly no matter what your business travel needs may be.

The Secret Guide to Negotiating Rates and Fares With Travel Agents. Shhh… Don’t Tell Anyone!

Want to reduce spending on business travel? Who doesn’t want to get the most from their expense budgets? The money you don’t have to spend on travel can go into growing your company or providing incentives to your most productive employees. Here is the secret guide to negotiating rates and fares with travel agents:

Get Help From a Travel Management Company

First tip? Don’t go it alone. No business can really compete in an online search with the volume and resources available to business travel agency management. A management agency can make sure you have access to discount rates only available to corporate travel agencies. In addition, they can further assist you in assessing your travel needs clearly and setting goals that help you: Continue reading “The Secret Guide to Negotiating Rates and Fares With Travel Agents. Shhh… Don’t Tell Anyone!”

The Top Ten Conference Destinations in the USA

Getting ready to plan a conference for your corporation? Corporate travel managers can help you manage your event. Here are the top ten conference destinations in the USA to consider:

1. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is fast becoming a favorite new recommendation of business events planners because of luxury hotels located on a beautiful Riverwalk where attendees can eat excellent food and easily walk to the convention center.

2. San Diego, California

With beautiful beaches, a lovely old downtown, and nearby attractions like Sea World and world-class zoos, San Diego is a prime choice for conferences, especially if spouses and families travel too.

3. New York, New York

Popular Conference destinations

Nothing compares to New York’s size and availability of transport. With 594 hotels and three airports along with plenty of rail transit, New York can be a good choice for a big conference. Although it is expensive, the availability of space is high.

4. Orlando, Florida

A favorite destination for many because of the proximity of Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Gulf Coast beaches. Orlando has good temperatures year round but can be crowded with tourists. Before you choose a date, be sure to consult with an experienced corporate travel consultant.

5. Portland, Oregon

For a quieter, less expensive West Coast location, consider Portland which has an interesting culture and is surrounded by natural beauty. Adding flavor to the many interesting places to shop, fantastic restaurants, and the country’s largest used bookstore, is the fact that all purchases are sales-tax free.

6. Tucson, Arizona

Offering a desert setting with a scenic backdrop of mountains, Tucson is an affordable conference location. Ranking among the least expensive cities for hotels and meals, Tucson does have some resorts, hiking, and historic sites, but also offers a place where conference attendees can stick to business.

7. Los Angeles, California

With the highest concentration of dining and entertainment establishments in the U.S., Los Angeles offers glamor and attractions that are hard to beat. Since the city center is 20 miles from the airport, you will want to make sure that you consult your travel agency for efficient transportation services.

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

With three of the largest convention centers in the U.S., this city offers plenty of trade show, meeting and event space. Imagine how you can dazzle your attendees with an evening event or show. Pick this city if fun is your main objective.

9. Columbus, Ohio

This middle of the country city is a good choice for conferences that have attendees from both coasts. Although not as well-known of a conference site, the Ohio State football games draw over 100,000 fans and so hotel facilities are well-developed and plentiful outside of football season.

10. Chicago, Illinois

If art and architecture are important to your convention goers than Chicago is a good choice. Lots of outdoor venues, interesting culture, and many transportation options are highlights of this city.

Taking care of all the details of arrangements is a difficult undertaking. GTI’s Corporate event travel experts can help you make all of the conference arrangements no matter what size of a meeting you are planning.

 

10 Lifehacks every Business Traveler Needs to Know

 

Whether you travel a little or a lot, you know that business traveling can be stressful and hurt your productivity if you aren’t prepared. Corporate global travel consultants suggest 10 lifehacks that every business traveler needs to know:

1. Plan Early

business traveler life hacks travel management tipsWith business travel worldwide on the rise, the best flights and hotels can get booked up quickly, especially to the most popular destinations. While sometimes you can’t help but arrange a last-minute trip, when you can, plan your trip arrangements early.

2. Auto Reply

Don’t forget to set your email reply to “out of the office” if you will be unavailable to handle your email for a few days.

3. Be Flexible

Between the hassle of security checks and flight delays, sometimes frequent flight routes can cost more time than they are worth. Let your travel agent know you are willing to consider alternative transport options like:

  • Travel by train.
  • Renting a car.
  • Flying a day or two earlier or later.

4. Photograph Documents

Losing or misplacing your tickets, visa, driver’s license, passport, hotel and flight information can be a nightmare. Take a few minutes to use your phone to photograph everything and make sure it is backed up to cloud storage as well as on your phone, especially when you travel internationally.

5. Keep Powered Up

If you travel outside the U.S., it pays to invest in a multi-region power adaptor and mobile device power pack. That way, you won’t have to worry that you can charge up all your devices no matter where you are going.

6. Trust Professionals

Letting a travel management company make all of your travel plans is the best way to reduce your stress because an experienced management company:

  • Knows the best itineraries.
  • Has access to up-to-date safety information
  • Provides live, personal assistance 24/7 when you need it.

8. Bring Extra Clothes

Spilling something on the clothes you planned to wear to a business event can ruin your day. Save yourself embarrassment by making sure you bring a spare outfit just in case.

7. Carry On

Checking your baggage is a nightmare if you end up with lost luggage. For most business trips, carry-on luggage should have enough room. Remember that if you forget something, many hotels offer supplies of personal items and can even pick up other essentials for you or direct you to a place you can find it nearby.

9. Download Uber

Before you go, download the Uber app so that you can get transportation wherever you need it on your trip and don’t have to rely on finding a taxi.

10. Know Company Policies

Play it safe with your business travel expenses by being sure you understand your company’s travel policies. This is easier if your company employs corporate travel planners that can help you understand what you need to do.

With globalization making travel more complicated, it is more important than ever to have assistance in making your trip go smoothly. GTI Travel agents provide corporate travel assistance to make sure you get to your destination, attend to your business fully prepared and rested, and make the trip home again safely.

9 Hacks You Should Know for Booking Airline Tickets

Everyone knows that flying is a major part of business travel expenses, so snatching some savings on those tickets can add up. If your company wants to cut business expenses, here are 9 hacks that business travel experts say you should know for booking airline tickets:

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1. Go Undercover: Growing evidence suggests that airlines track your online behavior and notice what flights you type in. What does that mean? You may find that prices go up for flights you are searching for often. To get the best deals, try going undercover by:

  • Switching computers.
  • Clearing cookies.
  • Going “incognito” while browsing.

 

2. Go Elsewhere: It isn’t fair, but some International airline tickets within a country are more expensive if you buy them from the U.S. rather than from within that country. Try these hacks:

  • If you have a VPN login, you might be able to search for flights while connected to it to hide your country of origin.
  • Have a travel agency like GTI purchase airline flights for you from their network of international locations.

 

3. Go Local (Money that is!): Be sure to buy those International flights with local currency rather than dollars. Converted rates are inevitably more expensive. How? Select the native country as your location.

 

4. Go Budget: If money is more important than time and convenience, you might want to consider having your travelers fly on budget airlines. However, before you take this step, make sure:

  • Your business travelers will not waste more time on travel than it is worth.
  • Business travelers can bring carry-on luggage since budget travel often adds extra luggage fees.

 

5. Go Late: Need to make a change? Believe it or not, this is one time you ought to procrastinate. Most airlines only charge $50 for changing the flight on the same day. So, as long as there are seats available, you might want to wait until the day of the flight to change.

 

6. Go Trade: Have points for travel on different airlines but not enough for free flights? Consider buying the points you need to get rewards or using a service that lets you trade in points from a variety of programs.

 

7. Go Package: Getting flights, car, and hotels together can save you money. Great travel agencies can provide such packages to help customers not only get cheaper travel but also better accommodations.

 

8. Go Slow: If time is not of the essence, building in a layover or switching to a different airport can often save money. The trick is to not necessarily select a flight with a layover but to stitch two different flights with a common airport together.

 

9. Go Professional. The truth? Professionals like GTI Corporate Travel can probably do a better job of getting you the best deal. Why? GTI helps manage cost by using all of these hacks along with their 50 years of experience and a worldwide network of travel assistance in 4000 locations in 149 countries. For the best prices, best flights and best itineraries for your corporate travels, visit GTI‘s website here.