When Mike Cameron acquired Christopherson Business Travel in 1990, there was no way he could have anticipated how technology would disrupt the travel industry. Yet, despite the myriad of tech changes that rocked the marketplace, Mr. Cameron instilled core values that helped Christopherson soar to new heights during the decades that followed.
“When we started out, the only way you could book travel and compare prices was to call a travel agent or call all airlines, one by one, and compare their prices,” recalls Mr. Cameron. “When Expedia came out in 1996, that put the power of comparative shopping in the hands of the end user. We had to reinvent ourselves.”
Reinvent itself is exactly what the Salt Lake-based business travel agency did. Mr.Cameron, who was a CPA prior to joining Christopherson, believed in using data to make decisions. Following his foresight, the company began developing proprietary software that relied on data to improve the travel-planning process. It was an early step that put Christopherson in the path of long-term success. But, Mr. Cameron wanted to accomplish more for his customers. He knew that successful companies didn’t just rely on technology.
“We value people and we create value for them. People are at the core of everything we do,” Mr. Cameron says.
Under his leadership, Christopherson Business Travel began a renewed focus on providing comprehensive consultative services. Today, Christopherson doesn’t just have travel agents—the company has a team of client consulting managers who understand the travel industry forwards and backwards.
“Our client consulting managers are there with the sole purpose to help our customers succeed at accomplishing their travel goals,” says Mr. Cameron.
Consulting managers begin by meeting one-on-one with clients to determine their travel goals and objectives, as well as their travel policies and needs. They discuss what the company is currently doing and how they could improve. They work with customers to develop a comprehensive travel management plan specific to that company’s goals.
“They understand your needs and advise you on what you could be doing better. They help you executive every aspect of your travel plans flawlessly. And when your business travel plans change, as they often do because of the nature of the work, they can unwind the entire travel itinerary and rebook it without hesitation,” explains Mr. Cameron.
“We don’t just stop there,” he adds. “We help customers implement a travel strategy that will deliver results. It’s all about results in the end.”
A results-driven business philosophy is key to Christopherson’s success. While maintaining a one-on-one consultative business philosophy, the company also continues to embrace tech tools to ensure customers are getting the very best travel-planning services. It’s proprietary software, AirPortal 360, supplies customers with metric-rich information to help them make informed decisions and ultimately save on their travel costs. They can log in at anytime and quickly assess how their travel operations are running.
And to boost its travel tech analytics further, Christopherson has partnered with analytics company Domo to provide in-depth analytics cards to AirPortal 360. Christopherson customers now have access to layers of data at the click of a button. For example, customers can view metrics on monthly travel spend, top hotels by states, top hotel chains, and more, all in real time. Travel managers can quickly view their company’s travel patterns to decipher where they can improve and ultimately save money.
“By embracing technology and providing consultative services to our customers, we’re able to offer customers with efficiency and cost-savings, all with a personalized touch,” says Mr. Cameron.
Bridging a comprehensive, one-on-one consultative service approach with state-of-the-art tech solutions has been a winning combination for Christopherson Business Travel.
Today, Christopherson is one of Utah’s fastest-growing companies and ranks as the country’s 12th largest travel agency. The company boasts more than 400 team members, has five full-service locations across the country, and supports more than $600 million in annual travel bookings.
To learn more about Christopherson Business Travel, visit cbtravel.com.