The Business Traveler

Taking advantage of bargains on the road

Many professionals who routinely travel for their jobs (five or more times a year) would prefer not to do so at all.
“It is something you have to do to get your job done,” offers Norm Jenkins, vice president of owner and franchise services for Marriott. “To be successful in [your] career, you have to make some sacrifices and travel may be one of them. What I learned from working internationally has helped me in negotiating deals and working through challenges. It has [made] me more of a well-rounded executive.”

Jenkins has spent the last 12 years of his career traveling for Marriott. Two years ago, he traveled as much as 70% of the time — or about 60 trips a year internationally — while in the role of vice president of global operations as well as CFO of Ramada International.

The frequency of African American business travel grew by 20% from 2000 to 2002, which accounts for a range of 8.4 million to 10.8 million trips per year for that time period, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.

You may be a pro at the ins and outs of business travel, but you may not know that you can also do the following:

o Take advantage of discounts. Carol Devine, president and CEO of the National Business Travel Association, suggests always working with your corporate travel manager to take advantage of discounts that are available to companies, such as complimentary nights in a hotel (these perks depend on the volume of business that your company is providing to that lodging). Managed travel programs, with a corporate travel manager who aggressively negotiates and monitors agreements and contracts, typically saves a corporation 25% in travel costs each year. “Travelers can also ask when they check in to a hotel if they have the lowest corporate rate, because hotels, just like airlines, have [fluctuating] prices. People should never pay rack rate for a hotel room,” says Devine.

Upgrade for comfort. Many airlines have started new programs that include upgrades for frequent fliers. For example, US Airways offers Dividend Miles and Delta offers the SkyMiles Medallion Threshold Program.

Check for hidden fees. A Travelocity survey found that the average car renter pays an extra 24.4% when renting a car at a major U.S. airport, with six airports in Texas ranking among the top 10 airports with the largest jump in price between the daily rate and what you actually end up paying. California was ranked as the state least likely to surprise visitors with extra charges.

Keep in shape with In-Room Fitness. More hotels, like the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at Cal Plaza, have made working out easier by putting a treadmill in your room. To find a hotel with In-Room Fitness, visit www.inroomfitness.com.

Participate in the Registered Traveler Program. The Registered Traveler Program was created for homeland security to expedite security screening at airports for travelers who register and are prescreened. This program, while still in the pilot stage, will be available to frequent fliers who have at least 100,000

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