Before booking travel, please review the requirements of VCU related business travel at Understand Responsibility and Authorization
VCU faculty and staff are required to book air and rail tickets for official business using University funds through Christopherson Business Travel’s online booking tool (OBT), or via one of the travel agents assigned to VCU. University support was garnered for the mandatory-use of the Travel Management contract for all airline and rail tickets to assist in establishing a comprehensive duty of care program. Business travelers are encouraged to utilize Christopherson Business Travel for all business related travel to receive the benefits associated with VCU’s managed travel program.
Prior to booking travel with Christopherson, it is required for every traveler to update their online profile in the OBT. Step-by-step instructions on how to do so are below. Once fully updated, travelers may utilize the OBT or contact a Christopherson agent to book VCU-related travel. Travelers who include personal leave when traveling for authorized VCU business must pay for air or rail tickets personally and seek reimbursement after completion of their travel.
Air and rail tickets must be purchased through Christopherson Business Travel, whether personal leave is combined with the travel or not. Comparisons at the time of booking, for the business travel portion only, must be included with the reimbursement request.
Air and rail tickets that include personal travel should never be paid using the University ATC card, regardless of the difference in price from the business only comparison.
Online Booking Tool – My Profile: Updating Personal Information
Travelers are required to update their travel profile with personal information (TSA required) prior to booking travel with Christopherson Business Travel. The traveler will also have the ability to add delegates to assist with booking travel, as well as add a personal credit card. Log into Christopherson Business Travel.
Click “My Travel Profile”
Personal credit cards must be added to secure hotel and car reservations that cannot be placed on the ATC card. Please note this credit card must be in your name. Multiple personal credit cards may be stored.All fields are required.
Chrome River delegates were migrated to profiles of existing employees for the implementation of the online booking tool. Delegate changes, additions, or deletions in Chrome River do not change the OBT assistant assignments. Select +Add an AssistantType the name of the person you would like to add to assist you, check the box for “Can book travel for me”, and Save.
- What is Christopherson Business Travel (OBT) and how is it different from Chrome River?
Christopherson Business Travel is for booking travel arrangements (air, rail, hotel, and car rentals). Chrome River is to reimburse the travelers for authorized out of pocket business expenses after the travel has taken place.
- Why is the Travel Management Contract mandatory?
To address the University’s growing responsibility to ensure the care of travelers.
- If I have reservation or trip already booked, do I have to cancel that trip and rebook with Christopherson because it’s a mandatory contract?
No, you do not need to cancel your previously booked trips. Authorized travel expense for these previously booked trips will be reimbursable.
- Can an employee purchase an airline ticket from another source and get reimbursed?
No, using the travel agency is mandatory for air/rail travel.
- I have a faculty member that has a credit for a trip that had to be cancelled. Can he still use this credit through Concur or is that credit lost. The trip was booked by the University and has been paid for.
Unused tickets booked prior to Christopherson can be used for future business travel by calling an agent.
- Will this webinar be available again in the future, or will the recorded version be available?
A recording of the webinar will be made available on our website. Additional training sessions will be scheduled for future dates.
- Are all VCU employees populated in the system?
All current faculty and staff are updated daily. The same employees who have access to Chrome River also have access to Christopherson.
- It appears that travelers will need to go into the booking system and update their profile. Is this correct?
All profiles do need to be updated, but that can be done by the traveler themselves or by a delegate/assistant.
- Is completing the online profile necessary for someone who prefers to use the agent for booking?
Yes, updating the profile is necessary because the agent will use the information entered when booking travel.
- What happens if a traveler does not have a mobile phone?
Enter the office phone number and home phone number of the traveler in the profile.
- What are the different payment options available with Christopherson?
For air and rail booking, travelers may use the Agency Travel Card (ATC), which is pre-loaded into the online booking tool, by providing the Chome River Pre-Approval number and the departments Banner Index. For hotel and car rental, the traveler will need to supply their personal credit card for reservations.
- How do I obtain the ATC card that is used for air and rail bookings?
Travelers do not obtain an ATC card. The Agency Travel Card (ATC) is one credit card that allows travelers to book air and rail tickets with Christopherson. The traveler will supply the department’s Banner Index & Chrome River Pre approval number when booking in the online booking tool or with full-services agents.
- Can I use my personal credit card to pay for a flight with Christopherson?
Yes, if a traveler prefers to use their personal credit card to pay for a flight they can. The flight would not be reimbursed until after the trip has occurred. Travel Services strongly encourages the use of the ATC card to eliminate travelers’ out of pocket expenses.
- Since a personal credit card is used in the online booking tool, are we able to book personal travel via this tool?
No, personal travel cannot be booked using the Online Booking Tool. If a spouse or family member will be accompanying the VCU traveler, the traveler must contact an agent to book the family member’s travel and it will be billed separately.
- When reserving lodging do I have to have a personal credit card on file to secure?
Yes, the ATC card on file is for air and rail booking only.
- Can we use multiple index numbers for single charges to the ATC card?
No, air and rail bookings cannot be split billed.
- What are the various fees for Christopherson Business Travel services?
For the full Christopherson fee pricing schedule, click here.
- What if the index number is not loaded? Do we contact VCU or Christopherson to update? How long does that take?
Please contact Procurement Services who will work with Christopherson to load into the system. It will take up to 24 hours for the index to become available.
- How do we book travel for an employee without a credit card?
For air/rail booking, you would utilize the ATC card that is available for all VCU employees. The traveler would request a Travel Advance through Chrome River for all out of pocket expenses.
- Can I book travel for guests through the OBT and use the ATC?
Yes, travel arrangers can book authorized travel for student and non-employees. Arrangers will need to supply the Banner Index and Chrome River Pre-Approval number at time of booking.
- Do we need to create a profile for Guest Travelers or Non-Employee travelers?
No, a profile does not need to be created for the guest traveler. When booking travel for a guest or non-employee, you will click Book a trip online, then "Book for a guest" under the VCU logo. The system will prompt you to enter the traveler's information necessary for airline booking prior to showing the results of an airfare search.
Note: The email address to be entered into the Guest Booking personal information box must be the email address of the guest traveler. This will ensure the itinerary is sent to the traveler.
- How do we book hotels for Guest Travelers or Non-Employee travelers through Christopherson and the Online Booking Tool?
When booking a hotel for a guest traveler it is recommended that departments use purchase orders with a direct bill, or have the traveler pay for the hotel and receive reimbursement from VCU through Chrome River. If necessary, P-Card users may request a temporary lift of the hotel restriction in order to book a hotel through the Online Booking Tool.
- Is it a requirement that the guest travelers still complete and submit the Guest Traveler Form before any arrangements can be made?
The Guest Traveler Form must be completed and submitted prior to receiving reimbursement through Chrome River. However, it is not required prior to making arrangements through Christopherson Business Travel or the Online Booking Tool.
- What's the best way to get estimates to get the Chrome River pre-approval travel before using the booking tool?
We suggest using the Online Booking Tool to get your trip estimates, complete the Chrome River Pre-approval, and then finalize your booking in the Online Booking Tool.
- Can the traveler start the process by finding his or her own flights and then have an assistant finish the booking?
Yes, as long as that person is one of the delegates/assistants for that traveler in the OBT, you can finish the booking after they start.
- Where can I find my Pre-Approval number?
The Chrome River Pre Approval Report ID number can be found at the top left of the Chrome River Pre-Approval report.
- Is the Chrome River Pre-Approval number required in order to book the travel?
The Chrome River number is required for all air and rail bookings. It is not required for hotel and/or car reservations only.
- How can I share the information on available flights, hotels, and cars that I have found in the OBT with the traveler?
At the top right of the page there is the option to email or print the information. The email will send all of the search results to the recipient.
- Can e-receipts be automatically sent to the assistant booking the travel or is it only sent to the traveler him/herself and that person must forward on to their assistant?
Yes. In order to do so, arrangers will need to add their e-mail address to the traveler's profile. To do so delegate into the traveler's page, click Profile, then personal information. Under the E-mail Addresses section click Add an email address. This must be done before the travel is booked.
- Can a traveler share trip information with a spouse that doesn't work at VCU?
Yes, the final itinerary is able to be emailed or printed.
- Can I book group travel through the online booking tool?
No, departments that need to book group travel should contact Christopherson Business Travel via phone or email to have an agent book the travel.
- I often have multiple faculty members traveling to the same conference. How do we do multiple bookings?
In order to book multiple bookings, you should contact a travel agent.
- Is it mandatory that the travelers utilize the car rental and hotel features in the Online Booking Tool?
No, that is not mandatory, but we hope that when they book their flights that they use the tool for the entire trip.
- Is VCU's Enterprise contract number built into the online tool?
Yes, the Enterprise Renal Car agreement is loaded into the tool. No additional information is required during the car reservation process. At the time of pick up, adhering to VCU Policy is still a responsibility of the traveler.
- If we are booking a conference hotel that has a rate code, where do we enter the code to receive the conference rate?
At the end of the booking, enter the conference code and the conference rate in the field titled “AGENT” and an agent will process the change.
- Are Business Class tickets available for purchase for international flights?
Yes, if the departure and arrival locations provide for a flight that is intercontinental and greater than 8 hours, the search results will include business class tickets.
- Will the information transfer in any way to Chrome or do we have to go and fill out the info in Chrome before we book travel?
Travel Services is working with Christopherson to transfer all air and rail bookings over to Chrome River. Hotel and Car reservations will not transfer due to pricing changes, additional charges, taxes, and fees that are not available at the time of booking.