What is corporate travel management?

No matter what industry you’re in, every aspect of your business requires planning, organizing, and analysis. One of these aspects is business travel — and that involves a lot more than booking airline tickets and hotels. From logistics and travel spend to tracking your travelers and monitoring travel expenses, a lot goes into creating a successful corporate travel program.

The advantages of having a managed business travel program are extensive. Beyond tracking and managing your travel spend, a well-executed program also helps you ensure your travelers are safe, provides them with personalized travel options, and empowers travelers to book and update their travel at their desk or on the go in the mobile app. A managed program should also give you the technology you need to gain in-depth data insights so that you can optimize your program to increase compliance, find new savings opportunities, save time, and more.

What are the benefits of a managed business travel program?

Travel programs are beneficial to businesses of all sizes. A growing business needs a travel management company (TMC) that will support its corporate travel program so they can scale and evolve. A global organization needs a business travel management solution that can be tailored for each region where they conduct business so that local requirements and travel options are centralized and easy to find. This also means each area can be measured for compliance, costs, spending caps, and more.

At Egencia, we help corporate travel managers in a number of ways, including:

  • Providing tools to create a travel policy that meets the business’ ROI goals by monitoring and forecasting travel spend. A well-crafted policy also helps you increase compliance — and when compliance goes up, costs go down.
  • Savings opportunities at 35,000 hotels with Egencia Preferred Rates. Last-minute mobile-only deals that can save you up to 70 percent and access to an extensive travel inventory from Expedia Group to find the travel options that fit your budget.
  • Optimization reporting from Egencia Analytics Studio to find more savings. The Benchmarking dashboard lets you measure your spend against other, similarly sized businesses to use this data to negotiate better hotel and airfare rates.
  • Data visualization dashboards make it easy to pull reports on your most traveled routes by individuals or groups, find your CO2 footprint, and understand the impact of global travel situations like COVID-19.

Need help building a travel policy? Use our free guide.

How does travel technology simplify business travel management?

When it comes to travel management, technology matters. This holds true as much in the workplace today as it does in your personal life. Booking business travel should be as frictionless as booking a vacation. We understand this – Egencia was the original innovator in digital corporate travel. We built and own the technology we use for business travel management, allowing us to innovate quickly and deliver a complete and seamless end-to-end travel experience that delights travelers and travel managers.

Egencia gives you everything you need to create and manage a successful corporate travel program. Easily manage traveler profiles, payment options and travel policies, or use risk management tools like Egencia Traveler Tracker to help you locate business travelers in case of an emergency. With everything in one place, it also makes booking and approving travel simple — there’s no need for multiple travel booking tools or complicated approval processes. And you can make booking, policy updates and approvals from wherever you are, across any device.

Travelers on the road will get alerts if anything that could disrupt their travel happens. If they need help, they can use Egencia AssistMe and get a call back within a few minutes. Our expert travel consultants use the same tools as travelers and arrangers so they can view any traveler’s complete itinerary to resolve any issue and get them back on the road as soon as possible. These experts provide support around the clock, every day of the year, online or off.

What role does travel data play?

An abundance of business travel data from Egencia and Expedia Group fuels our technology; machine learning uses what we know about corporate travel policies, booking histories, property preferences, travel industry benchmarks, and a host of other information to create compelling, relevant travel choices. Travelers can find in-policy options at the top of their search, making policy compliance easy, encouraging traveler satisfaction, and keeping travel costs under control.

As part of Expedia Group, we can deliver the benefit of having the same choices and prices your travelers would get on Expedia.com or Hotels.com alongside specifically negotiated corporate rates corporate from Egencia. Egencia Preferred Rates offer your travelers better value flights and hotel stays with exclusive rates that aren’t available to other TMCs and include amenities like flexible cancellations, breakfast, and Wi-Fi.

Corporate travel management from Egencia

Corporate travel management should help you gain efficiency in your travel program, save time and money, take care of your travelers, get around-the-clock customer support, and provide you with actionable data.

At Egencia, we’re always here for our customers, from onboarding to helping them navigate travel disruptions. Find out how corporate travel expertise from Egencia can help you have a successful travel program.

 

Sharon Jones Dies at 60

Soul music has lost a bit of the spark that fires it with the passing of Sharon Jones.

Jones, who publicly fought pancreatic cancer since her diagnosis in 2013, lost her battle to the disease on November 18. She was 60 years old.

It was reported that Jones was surrounded not only by loved ones, but also her musical family — The Dap Kings — a farewell befitting a queen who reigned as the modern soul and funk ringleader that helped steer the Daptone Records label to its current heights.

Onstage Jones was a fireball, mixing equal parts Vegas showgirl moves with gritty, soulful laments that dug deep into the brownstone foundations of her Bed-Stuy upbringing and years working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island. Laying your eyes on her, you were assured that not only should you not mess with this woman, but that she was a truth teller, a singer with a soulful voice that can only be birthed from experience.

Jones never shied away from her upbringing, her experiences as a woman, or her illness. The documentary Miss Sharon Jones! highlighted how her strength carried her through every peak and valley.

Sharon Jones taught us that with adversity comes regal acceptance, and that the love of music can deliver the purest soul of all.

Goodbye, Miss Sharon — you will be greatly missed.

 

Leonard Cohen, Legendary Singer/Songwriter, Dead at 82

Leonard Cohen, the inimitable singer/songwriter with a subterranean baritone, died November 10 at the age of 82.

A statement on Cohen’s Facebook page called him “one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.” A cause of death has not been released. A memorial honoring the musician will be held in Los Angeles; a date has yet to be announced.

A man of letters (between 1963 and 1966 he published two novels and a collection of poems), the Canadian writer turned to music in the late ‘60s and found like-minded songwriters in the burgeoning New York City folk scene. One kindred spirit, fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell, cast a spotlight on Cohen when she included the hit song “Suzanne” on her 1966 album, In My Life. The cover introduced Cohen to a host of influential songwriters who never swayed in their admiration and often covered his music. In 1994, Jeff Buckley re-introduced the singer to a new audience with his brilliant cover of “Hallelujah,” which Cohen had released 10 years earlier. While Buckley may have enjoyed the most commercial success from his rendition of the soulful dirge, the song elevated Cohen to a new level; it has been estimated “Hallelujah” has been covered by no less than 300 singers.

While Cohen may have never enjoyed the commercial success that a number of his peers did, he was consistently cited throughout his career as being an intuitive interpreter with a masterful literary lyrical style that addressed humankind and plunged the depths of the soul through often haunting ruminations on war, sex, faith, love and loss.

“If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” — Leonard Cohen

A spectacular performer, fans waited with baited breath for announcements of his tours. And it was a sight to behold: Cohen never faltered in his ability to mesmerize audiences with his halting incantations, uniquely structured arrangements and backing singers that lent a beautiful lushness to his harrowing songs. In between tours and recordings Cohen also continued to write, publishingDeath of a Lady’s Man (1978) and Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs (1993) and more, up through his final publication, the ebook Fifteen Poems in 2012.

Known as a ladies’ man, perhaps best illustrated in his iconic “I’m Your Man,” Cohen surprised many when he gave up everything in 1994 and entered the Mt. Baldy Zen Center outside of Los Angeles to immerse himself in the practice of Buddhism; he was ordained a Zen monk in 1996. Cohen also never eschewed his Jewish faith, and held the two were not in conflict since the practice of Buddhism did not worship any deity he was free to embrace the spiritual tenets of each.

leonard-cohen-you-want-it-darker-album-art-2016-billboard-1240After yet another extensive world tour, Cohen returned home and set about working on his 14th album, You Want It Darker, which was released on October 21. The record held some ominous hints that Cohen was winding down, particularly on the track “I’m Leaving the Table” — “I’m leaving the table/I’m out of the game,” he sings. The album marked a career that spanned 49 years and further served to cement Cohen as one of the most influential and relevant singer/songwriters of our time.

 

Hawaii to offer its homeless one-way tickets to Seattle, L.A. or any U.S. city

HONOLULU — Hoping to save taxpayers millions of dollars in welfare costs, Hawaii is going to offer some of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless a one-way ticket back to the U.S. mainland.

According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii’s legislators voted recently to begin a pilot three-year “return-to-home” program in the state Department of Human Services budget.

To get a ticket home, homeless applicants must complete a background check, be mentally sound and have what the bill calls “sufficient personal hygiene.” An individual can only enroll in the program once.

Supporters of the program say it will allow homeless people to return to their friends and family on the mainland, while critics argue the program could be easily abused and that it’s not adequately funded to do any good.

Lawmakers acknowledge that it’s hardly enough money to run the program for one year, let alone three.

There is no word yet when the free trips will start.

(Originally published at kcpq.com)

Gary Clark Jr. Brings Electrifying Blues & Soul to the Stage

The crowd at the Moore Theater in Seattle is eager. Warmed up. Ready. Music is piped through the PA and although the cheering has started, the stage remains dark. After a few minutes a sole, bright white spotlight drops on the stage. Eventually, out of the shadows emerges the-man-who-is-going-to-save-the-blues, the fedora-sporting, leather-jacketed Gary Clark Jr. Head slung low, a nearly imperceptible nod to the crowd, and then, the much-anticipated first chord.

With that one resonating note, Clark has the crowd in his clutch, and it’s not long before he’s driving them down a gravel road, churning out one crunchy note after another as he leads them to the bright lights of the big city. But as the Austin, Texas ax-slinger knows, those lights can be blinding — and damning.

“Bright lights, big city going to my head/I don’t care, no/’Cause you don’t care/Start off with the bottle/End it up with the bottle/Taking shots, waiting on tomorrow/Trying to fill up, was hollow/You gonna know my name”

The loud locomotion that’s taking place onstage with Clark and his band is a far cry from the muted, more personal appearance he made earlier in the day at Emerald City Guitars. Armed with a vintage acoustic, Clark wailed and brayed just as forcefully as he did in front of a theater full of fans, turning out “The Healing,” “Our Love” and “Church” with a cry that echoed the souls of a thousand bluesmen past.

His trailblazing band kicks up a psychedelic dust storm of monstrous proportions

While Clark could be viewed as part of the progeny of blues rock revivalists that span from the White Stripes and Black Keys to Alabama Shakes and Benjamin Booker, he boasts more authenticity than those acts. Seeing the two sides of him — solo and backed by his band — cements this because Clark seems keenly interested in keeping the tradition alive rather than simply stealing from it.

Gary Clark Jr. in action
Gary Clark Jr. in action

The bleeding, burning blues Clark delivers — echoed in the furious churn of “Travis County” (which could equally serve as an anthem for Black Lives Matter) and the dusty, sauntering rhythms of “Next Door Neighbor Blues” — sound as if Clark’s channeling the ghosts of a bevy of Delta musicians, but the blues isn’t his only, or strongest, artistic stroke.

You see, the man’s got soul. You can see it in the way his hips sway as he sidles up to the lip of the stage, grinning ever so slyly at fans, but the real killer is you can feel it. When Clark delivers the tender ballad “Our Love,” you can feel that soul echoing in the chambers of your heart, pulling it this way and that, never crushing it but swelling it with emotion. It’s this switch-hitting from back alley blues growls to high falsettos that marks the peaks and valleys of Clark’s best work.

Clark, who won a Grammy in 2013 for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Please Come Home,” laced his latest album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim with horns, organs, backing vocals and even a spoken word snippet that flits over the album’s opener like a firefly alighting on a cotton ball ready to burst.

None of those accoutrements are necessary when Clark is onstage. The hard funky edges of “Cold Blooded” and “Ain’t Messin’ ‘Round” have Clark coaxing sharp notes out of his six string, obliterating any need for a horn section.

The bleeding, burning blues Clark delivers sound as if he’s channeling the ghosts of a bevy of Delta musicians

By the time he launches into “When My Train Pulls In,” Clark kicks up a swirling squall. His trailblazing band leaves behind a psychedelic dust storm of monstrous proportions. And just when you think you’ve got a firm grip on that magic carpet ride, Clark spins on a dime and kicks it back to the juke joint for the chugging, boiling “Don’t Owe You a Thang.”

If Gary Clark Jr. is the future of blues and neo-soul rock, then the future is looking pretty bright.

Anderson East Finds Beauty in the Wild, Wrong & Flawed

On a rainy afternoon, Anderson East leaves his tour bus, crosses the slippery cobblestone street, and slips into a vintage guitar shop in Seattle’s historical district. He doesn’t draw any attention to himself as he wanders around — he looks like any other tousled-haired, sleepy-eyed basement player — but his gaze is intent as he eyes the weathered axes hanging on the store’s walls.

“I think they’re from the ’20s and ‘30s,” he says of a few of his finer picks. “They have stories in them. It may be some kind of placebo thing that’s in my head [to play them] but there’s a spirit to ‘em, for sure.”

“Anderson East’s Alabama-bred, soul-stirring sound is a far cry from the booming twang of Music Row”

He eventually edges into a side room to scope out the stage he’s about to set upon and makes himself known to a small flock of fans gathered for a one-off acoustic performance.

He seems shy, or maybe he’s just a tad weary, as he settles in and launches into “Devil in Me.” He sings a raspy, soulful dirge about the age-old conflict of good and evil (she’s an angel, he’s got a bit of the devil in him), but his voice calls up ghosts of a bygone era — a bit of Southern folk, battered barroom soul and a plaintive gospel wail that sucks you right into swirling, swampy waters.

These seemingly disparate elements all come together when you trace East’s background. His heels might be hitting the curbs of Nashville these days, but his Alabama-bred soul-stirring sound is as far away from the booming twang of Music Row as you can get.

The 27-year-old singer/songwriter, whose given name is Michael Cameron Anderson, grew up in a place where most had a bible tucked into their belts, or at least stuffed in the glove box (his grandfather was a preacher, his father performed in the church choir, and East’s first audience was a congregation), and his distinct Southern soul is a wicked stew of blues and gospel, praise and damnation. It’s also what makes Delilah, his major-label debut and fifth release, such a joy.

Recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the sonic history of the room bleeds into East’s every song.

“The smell of the place — it’s just in the walls — there’s some kind of spirit there. Those rooms were built so perfectly,” he says.

“We don’t ever really care about what’s going on or what anybody else is doing, we’re just trying to go out and have fun every night”

From the salty lessons of a ne’er do well father that there’s just never, ever, any such thing as enough in “Satisfy Me,” to the funky, liquid bass that infuses his cover of George Jackson’s “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em,” and the fat, sexy horns and shooby doo of “Delilah,” East sounds not only far removed from his current Nashville environs, but also this century. In fact, he would make Wilson Pickett damn proud with his rough, roadhouse vocals and hip-thrusting grooves. But East also knows the power of a caress and tries on a little tenderness for the forlorn “What a Woman Wants to Hear” and “Lonely.”

It’s curious that such a throwback as East would find a safe haven in Nashville, but Dave Cobb, the city’s current go-to producer, not only twiddled the knobs for East’s album, he was the reason East was propelled from the indie fringe to the majors when Cobb signed him to his Low Country imprint. The leap makes sense because Cobb is notorious for his authenticity and East’s music carries an undeniable honesty — and every track on the album proves it.

“If you’re trying to be delicate with a song, with production or something like that, you’re just making art out of a fearful place,” East says. “The things I love are just wild and wrong and flawed. I think that’s where the beauty of it is.”

Cobb met East when he was performing at Nashville’s infamous Bluebird Cafe; the two met up afterward and, well, one thing led to another. Seems simple enough, but keep in mind that East had been knocking around Nashville since he dropped his debut album, Closing Credits for a Fire in 2009 — under the distinct name of Mike Anderson, no less.

While country music stars grab headlines (one of them, Miranda Lambert, has been by East’s side of late), East seems more inclined to embrace the city’s musicality rather than its spotlight.

“Nashville, from the outside, seems pretty one-sided, but it’s actually a pretty diverse landscape,” he says. “We don’t ever really care about what’s going on or what anybody else is doing, we’re just trying to go out and have fun every night.”

He's a soul man: Anderson East live
He’s a soul man: Anderson East live

Fun is right. Later that evening, East and his crew, a collective of longtime buddies/roomies, take to the Tractor Tavern’s stage. The stage barely exceeds that of his previous performance, but now there’s plenty of cold brews being passed around, the audience is also imbibing and the sweat is dripping off the walls, probably not unlike the juice that summons the spirits at Fame.

East is loose, there’s a lopsided, charming toothy grin pasted on his face and it’s infectious — the entire room is goading him on and smiling along with him. It’s no surprise he’s got a friend in town — he strikes you as the kind of guy who has a far-flung network — and Brandi Carlile hops up on stage and the two do a version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me” that doesn’t bring you to your knees like the original, but instead knocks you on your ass.

It doesn’t stop there — the two go on to slay The Faces’ “Stay With Me” and segue into Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.” By the end of the set, East — sweating, smiling and with a firm grip on his cold, longneck beer — throws his arms out to embrace the audience and launches into “Satisfy Me.” As he pleads for “more, more, more,” it seems as if he’s found satisfaction — for now.