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The AEC Industry and BIM

October 8th, 2013

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is no longer a relatively new process of generating and managing building data to increase efficiency and yield better structures. It is quickly becoming an industry standard and is here to stay.

Over the last ten years, the Architect, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry has been working to integrate BIM technology into the process of construction. The integration of BIM is slowly eliminating many of the impediments that slow the building process. Companies that have embraced the technology are already reaping the rewards.  Older methods that create the biggest roadblocks on the jobsite are being revised and eliminated.  The information that the utilization of BIM provides is significantly more accurate and in-depth. The advent of BIM integrates the entire design and construction team creating a better series of checks and balances and thereby reducing litigious concerns for all members of the team.

In the past, the designer and the builder were more closely tied, often one in the same. Building projects took decades, even lifetimes. Over time, strict divisions of design and construction developed and risk transfer became as important as quality and service in the building industry.

Eventually the AEC industry began creating simple boxes out of rectangular components defined by these divisions. Complexity became too risky. The structure was made of steel and bolted in straight lines by one division of labor. The facades are attached to the structure by yet another and so on and so forth. Dignified guilds with apprenticeships have all but disappeared and been replaced by semi-skilled workers, with less passion and expertise in what they were producing.

Today, the connection between designer and builder is healing through BIM and the design-build delivery method. The ability to model the project and then use that model to manufacture components before delivery to the jobsite is not only introducing art back into process, but it is also cutting costs and time during the building process.

The importance of cost cutting, and accelerated schedules as a function of cost cutting, are certainly here to stay. As a result those in the AEC industry must strive to replace the passion for design without eliminating the cost reductions that have accompanied changes to the industry for the past several decades.

Another change to the AEC industry has occurred, primarily in the past 100 years, and that is the need for architects, engineers, and contractors to travel to jobsites. If you are in the AEC industry then you need every competitive edge you can find. Without a workforce lodging partner like CLC Lodging you are over spending on your hotel expenses. Businesses in the AEC industry that use CLC Lodging regularly save 20-40% off of the Lowest Published Rate at hotels all across the nation. Only CLC clients are eligible for the deeply discounted rates.

Your company will save time and money with the online account that tracks your company’s lodging invoices, an online directory showing more than 10,000 hotels where the card is accepted, and a Lowest Rate Guarantee.

Interested in seeing how your company could benefit from CLC Lodging’s hotel management program? Request more information today.

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The Secrets behind Hotel Fees

June 25th, 2013

When you check out of a hotel, you may see additional line items detailing hotel fees. This is not a new concept that has been implemented by hotels. In fact, hotel fees have always existed but within the last few years it is more common to see the fees separate from the room rate on hotel charge summaries. Separating the extra fees from the room rate allows consumers to customize their stay and choose which amenities they want to use and not be charged for amenities they are not using. One thing you can do to prepare yourself is calling the hotel before the stay. Ask what fees they charge outside of the room rate and tax. Asking questions will prepare you for unexpected charges and help you save money. Learn more about hotel fees below:

  • Early check-in and check-out or cancellation fee: You may run into these fees if your lodging plans change at the last minute. As a CLC Lodging customer, when you stay in our network hotels, you can take advantage of 24 hour length of stay and last minute cancellation so you will not experience this fee.
  • Minibar items: Most people know that items in the minibar aren’t free, but you may also run into a restocking fee. Ask the front desk before you grab something from the minibar if you want to avoid these potential fees. 
  • WiFi charges: Many hotels have free WiFi but some have tiered WiFi charges. Check with the hotel on their internet policy to determine if you will be charged to use high speed internet versus basic internet access.
  • Gym fee: There may be a fee for the use of their gym. If you are staying with a hotel for an extended period of time, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for a discount on your gym use.
  • Baggage holding: Some hotels have a baggage holding fee for each bag you want to leave at the front desk.

As aCLCLodging customer, you are only charged for the room rate, tax, and fee when you hand the front desk yourCLCCheckINN card. Any additional fees or charges must be charged separately. This feature gives business owners an advantage of paying for the room rate and not the extra amenities.

Interested in seeing how your company could benefit from CLCLodging’s hotel management program? Request more information today.

Posted in CLC Workforce Lodging, Money-Saving Tips, Tips for Workforce Travelers, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

Trends and Tips in Business Travel

May 22nd, 2013

Business travel can be very frustrating, especially when travelers check out of hotels and notice unexpected charges on their receipt. Hotel bills have included unexpected fees for years but, in today’s highly competitive market business travelers and their companies now need complete rate transparency. With the CLC Lodging program, travelers know what their total cost will be whenever they select one of our partner hotels.  While searching our online listing of network hotels, travelers can view a total charge summary for their upcoming stay.  This summary is essentially a ‘sample receipt’ which lists the total charges for the duration of your stay – it includes the hotel room rate, the transaction fee and taxes.

In order to keep costs down, companies are making changes to their travel policies. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted that business travelers are being more frugal. The article explains a popular trend, “Companies are also trimming their lists of preferred hotels down to just four or five in a given city, using the increased volume to negotiate better rates.” While this is a smart idea, it can create more work to try to negotiate with the hotels. Companies are realizing that they can save that time by passing the work on to CLC Lodging. We have pre-negotiated rates with over 10,000 hotels and we pass on those savings to our customers.

Another trend that is becoming more and more apparent is the increased travel by Generation Y. The travel industry is making changes as the Baby Boomers are traveling less and Generation Y is hitting a peak in business travel. Generation Y is full of technology savvy travelers that use their smartphone as a means of communication and a source of information. Approximately 76% of CLC Lodging customers are taking advantage of the CLC Hotel Locater app to ease the process of searching for hotels.

Knowing where you can access fast, dependable Internet becomes very important when work must be completed while traveling. Stay at your most productive and book your hotels by knowing which ones have free internet connections. When choosing your hotel using the CLC Lodging website check the box for “Internet” to limit your hotel selections to those with internet connectivity.

A job that keeps you on the road probably keeps you out of the gym. But studies have shown that not taking care of your body properly only promotes a bad work ethic in the long run. Eating healthy and getting the proper amount of exercise gives you more energy for traveling (and who doesn’t need that!) and serves as an escape from travel and work-related stresses. Your best bet? Check out your hotel’s fitness center or take part in a walking or jogging tour of your destination city.

Eating breakfast at the hotel is convenient, but can be costly. However, stopping at the coffee shop down the street can be time consuming and sometimes just as costly. Many hotels offer free breakfast and when you select your hotel on the CLC Lodging website you can click the box for “Breakfast” to limit your selections to only hotels that offer a free breakfast.

Travel buyers are studying transactions more carefully to cut costs and improve returns. Small and medium sized businesses look for ways to manage their travel expenditures in more sophisticated ways. The need to track bookings and manage travel expenses continues to grow in the increasingly competitive market. CLC Lodging’s online reporting and travel management tools provide a convenient and free resource to help businesses of all sizes manage their travel expenses.

The cost of fuel is a constant source of frustration to fleet owners and managers. Recent polls have shown that 78% of fleet operators are frustrated with fueling costs. While the money saved on lodging expenses when you use CLC Lodging can offset that expense, our parent company FleetCor also has some other options that may help you with your rising fuel costs. Fuelman (a FleetCor company) offers a nationwide network of low-priced fuel and maintenance locations. You can also track and monitor fleet fuel expenses by vehicle and driver and consolidate all your fleet expenses with one report, making it easier to manage your business. Finally, just like CLC Lodging you can access your account anywhere, anytime with a detailed online account management tool.

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Technology Born from the Earth

April 17th, 2013

Last year CLC Lodging released “Hotel Locater” applications for both Android and iPhone. Whether you carry an Android or an iPhone it was literally born out of the soil. Embedded in the rocks of our planet are the rare earth minerals critical to the manufacture of smart phones. Minerals such as neodymium are used in magnets that make speakers vibrate to create sound. Europium is a phosphor that creates a bright red on a phones screen. Cerium gets put into a solvent that workers use to polish devices as they move along the assembly line. Without these elements our mobile phones would weigh 3 pounds. These rare earth elements are also a critical component to most of our modern technology today from batteries to hybrid cars – even our televisions. They are a critical component of almost all green technology. Rare earth elements are neither rare, nor earth, however.  The name dates to the 18th and 19th centuries, when the elements were first isolated out of actually rare minerals. “Rare earth” stuck, but the elements themselves turned out to be pretty common, mixed in small concentrations into rock the world over.

Up until the 1990s, most rare earth elements came from the United States, especially Mountain Pass, a mine in California near Los Angeles. By 2003, Mountain Pass had closed and no rare earths were coming out of the United States at all. The problem, though, isn’t supply. The U.S. still has plenty of rare earth elements left to mine—in Mountain Pass and elsewhere. Instead, those mines were simply driven out of business, undercut on price by Chinese companies that had lower labor costs, and a near complete disregard for the environmental impact of mining operations. Today, China is producing more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth minerals, where environmental laws have historically been scant and enforcement lax giving them an unfair advantage over the United States where the environment matters.

So with our concern for the environment can U.S. companies compete with Chinese rivals? The Chinese government has ramped up environmental oversight in recent years. Although, many suspect the move was also intended to drive up prices. While it’s true that the environmental cost of creating a smart phone has been immense, U.S. companies are developing ways to mine the necessary rare-earth minerals with significantly less environmental impact and at a competitive cost in the marketplace.  Mountain Pass mining is underway again and companies like Molycorp are redefining our countries place in the industry. In Elk Creek, Nebraska, Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp. is close to starting a new mining operation that will be a boom to the local economy. Regulatory pressure, coupled perhaps with the market forces of companies like Molycorp and Quantam, could be the start of a cleaner rare-earth mining industry led by the United States.

If you are in the Mining and Mineral industry in the U.S. then you need every competitive edge you can find. Businesses that use CLC Lodging regularly save 20-40% savings off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates for their workforce travelers. Only CLC clients are eligible for the deeply discounted rates.

Your company will save time and money with the online account that tracks your company’s lodging invoices, an online directory showing more than 10,000 hotels where the card is accepted, and a Lowest Rate Guarantee.

Visit our website at www.clclodging.com to find out more.

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I-Phone and Android Apps are Here!

March 11th, 2013

Did you know that CLC Lodging now has a free Hotel Locater iPhone and Android app? It is now even easier to locate your nearest CLC hotel while you are on the go. Just go to your Apple’s iTunes store or your Android’s Google Play store, search for “CLC Lodging Hotel Locator.” Download your free app today and join the nearly 10,000 CLC members who are already taking advantage of the new hotel locater apps. You will be immediately able to search for CLC hotels near you using your phone’s built-in GPS. You will also be able to take advantage of many other features:

  • Easily search from CLC’s broad network of hotels using the current location or by entering a city, address, or ZIP detail
  • Map hotels using GPS technology and get directions in seconds
  • Fine tune hotel searches by distance and rate ranges
  • Toggle hotel search results quickly between a hotel list and map view
  • Filter by breakfast availability, high speed internet and truck parking
  • View hotel details, amenities and photos
  • One-tap dial to the hotel to make reservations
  • Access CLC’s 24-hour Traveler Support Center support line.

“More than 90% of our customers take their mobile devices when they travel. Our goal is to offer CLC customers a streamlined, fast and friendly hotel search interface while on the road or when they don’t have access to a personal computer,” said Tim Downs, President at CLC lodging. “Our customers are busy road warriors. The ability to instantly map and get directions to the closest CLC hotels is a tremendous benefit to our travelers.”

To start saving on business lodging, call (866) 857-9783 or e-mail: sales@clclodging.com. Smaller companies can receive free membership by using the keycode “APPNEWS” during registration at www.CheckINNcard.com or by calling 1-866-857-9747, Option 1.

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Fleet Operators – Are you doing all you can to address the three most important factors in Fleet Operation?

February 12th, 2013

A recent study was done by Steril-Koni about important factors for fleet maintenance operations. The study shows that safety, controlling costs, and minimizing downtime are the three most important factors in fleet operations. Here are a few tips that will help your company handle these three factors.

  • Decrease idle lengths: According to a MPG Guide by Cummins, every hour of idling decreases fuel efficiency by 1%. For many years, truck drivers have been taught to not turn off a diesel engine and, while there may be some need to do this with much older engines, it is not necessary for today’s engines. The average truck will consume approximately one gallon of fuel per hour. Long-haul truckers are required to rest 10 hours per 11 hours of driving.  In addition, the trucking industry estimates that long duration idling costs the truck owner $1.13 per day, based on the need for more frequent oil changes and sooner overhaul costs. Have your drivers stay in hotels and you will not only avoid idling costs, but you will have safer drivers because they will be more rested.
  • Evaluate the past data of accident reports: By constantly looking at past mistakes, you can prevent the same mistakes from happening again. This will keep your drivers safe and your costs down.
  • Plan regular inspections on your trucks: Even though you already inspect key parts of your trucks before every trip you could increase fuel efficiency and prevent larger maintenance issues from happening by including a more thorough regular inspection schedule. For example, your valve, injector and engine brake adjustments tighten and loosen overtime. Use your engine manufacturer recommendations for intervals, but get it done. This not only helps keep your fuel mileage at par, but extends the life of your engine.
  • Consider making investments in fuel saving options: Trailer side skirts are now available for under $1,000 and with fuel savings of over 6%, as verified in independent SAE Type II track testing, these once costly options now may make economic sense.
  • Trip Reports:  If you are a Fleet operator or owner operator, go to the shop you frequent and have them pull your trip reports often. They will charge you a minimal fee if anything to print these reports. These reports must be pulled from the ECM, and must have an OEM program to do so. The data is invaluable. Your get detailed information on idle time percentage, cruise time percentage, top speed percentage, as well as the ECM calculated fuel mileage. This report can help your troubleshoot your driver’s or your own driving habits that need attention.

The easiest way to control costs is to become a CLC member and save 20%-40% on the lowest published rate at any CLC network hotel. Your drivers will get a better night of sleep and you will save money on fuel and lodging.

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More Travel Spend and Fewer Trips Expected for 2013

January 10th, 2013

According to the Global Business Travel Association in a report released Tuesday, U.S. business travel spending is expected to rise 4.6 percent in 2013 to $266.7 billion. However, the report predicts a 1.1 percent drop in trip volume. That suggests a higher average cost per trip than in 2012, indicating that companies will spend more real dollars on business trips.

While business travel spending slowed through the end of 2012 as companies postponed big spending decisions until after the U.S. presidential election and fiscal cliff debate, but is expected to rebound in 2013. According to the association, group travel will be a major contributor to the increase in spending in 2013 with annual growth around 5.2 percent this year following a 1.3 percent increase in 2012.

“While companies will approach the first half of the year with some caution, pent-up demand to get back on the road should hopefully fuel accelerating growth in business travel spending through the end of 2013,” according to a statement attributed to GBTA executive director Michael McCormick.

Technology will continue to be the traveler’s best friend in 2013, with mobile/WiFi connectivity and a growing range of business travel apps making travel smoother and more productive. Also, while unmanaged travel programs may tempt some companies with a low-control culture, the real risks to employee safety, and cost optimization must be carefully considered.

Getting a handle on business travel in 2013 will have long-term benefits as well since for 2014 the GBTA forecast total U.S. business travel spending to jump 7.3 percent on a 1.7 percent increase in trip volume, also.

“While, many companies will spend more, but travel less this year, many of CLC Lodging’s customers just simply don’t have that option since their business depends on travel,” said Tim Downs, President of CLC Lodging.

Unsure where to start? With savings of 20-40% on hotels nationwide and in Canada, Hotel locater Apps, and other online tools and reporting options, CLC Lodging provides the service and metrics to improve your travel policy and bottom line. Go to www.clclodging.com for more information today.

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CLC Announces Hotel Locator iPhone app – Coming Soon!

August 10th, 2012

Workforce travelers and administrators – business lodging with CLC just got even easier. CLC Lodging is proud to announce its Hotel Locator iPhone app – available for free through Apple’s iTunes store in Q4 of 2012. With its hotel search tool using iPhone’s built-in GPS capability to instantly map CLC hotels to a traveler’s current location, CLC hopes to ease the hectic business travel life of many of its customers.

CLC Lodging’s Hotel Locator iPhone app coming soon!

The Hotel Locator mobile app takes full advantage of iPhone technology – allowing users to:

  • Easily search from CLC’s broad network of hotels using current location orcity, address or ZIP
  • Map hotels using GPS technology and get directions in seconds
  • Fine tune hotel searches by distance and rate ranges
  • Toggle hotel search results quickly between a hotel list and map view
  • Filter by breakfast, high speed internet and truck parking
  • View hotel details, amenities and photos
  • One-tap dial to the hotel to make reservations
  • Access CLC’s 24-hour Traveler Support Center support line

An Android version of the Hotel Locator app is in development. It will offer the same features and functionality as the iPhone app and will be available this coming September.

Not a CLC member yet? Call (866) 857-9783 or e-mail: sales@clclodging.com. Smaller companies can receive free membership by using the key code “APPNEWS” during registration at www.clclodging.com or by calling 1-866-857-9747, Option 1.

 

 

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Business Travel News Interviews CLC’s President, Tim Downs

June 22nd, 2012
CLC Lodging in the News

CLC President Interviewed by Business Travel News

For organizations with workforce travel, Business Travel News is an important resource. It offers the latest trends and news flashes for business travel – keeping readers in the know.  CLC Lodging President Tim Downs recently granted an interview to Business Travel News author Michael Baker. For the full article, go here.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview.

What’s your approach to managing lodging?

There are three ways we help companies manage travel: rate, operational efficiency and administration. The [travelers] have high- and recurring-volume travel, and a lot of them don’t carry a credit card. On the administration side, we help with the billing and payment, consolidate the billing and keep track of records for all kinds of purposes, then deliver reports and do all the time-consuming tasks, like reporting, auditing and everything else associated with lodging. On the operating efficiency side, we also develop hotel networks that are suited to that customer base or traveler. It might be location or quality of the hotels, or rate range.

How do you keep rates down in seller’s markets?

We have long-term relationships with a lot of our hotel partners. We also don’t sign up every hotel on the block. With 51,000-plus hotels in the U.S.—we do regular, recurring business with about 17,000—we pick and choose and direct people. Our business travelers also are very low cost to the hotel. They don’t book hotels online, they’re regular and recurring, they come in, get their rest, eat and get back to work, so I think hotels really appreciate that aspect of the business.

What sorts of hotels are in your program?

It’s economy, midscale and upper midscale. We have some upper upscale hotels, but primarily, it’s in that economy to upper midscale range. That’s more suited to our traveler types.

Interested in seeing how your company could benefit from CLC Lodging’s hotel management program? Request more information today.

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How to Evaluate a Workforce Lodging Program

June 21st, 2012

 

Evaluating Hotel Programs

Know what to look (and look out) for before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Look For:

  • An Industry Leader. How long has the lodging management company been in business? Does it have an established hotel network?
  • Program Flexibility . Look for a program that offers diverse products that can serve small and medium size businesses as well as Fortune 1000 corporations.  Do you have crews or teams that stay weeks or months at a time? Do you have management employees that stay only a few nights?  Make sure you select a program that can accommodate both.
  • Volume of more than 10 million  room nights annually.  The best negotiating power comes from delivering the most volume.  Look for a lodging management company that purchases more than 10 million room nights per year. That’s $500,000,000 worth of negotiating power in your corner.
  • Traveler flexibility. Make sure your traveler has more than one option to check-in. Sign in sheets may work best for a transient work force while independent travelers may need a card.  Can your traveler walk in or reserve ahead of time? Without flexibility, compliance and savings suffer.
  • Comprehensive hotel network. With over 40,000 economy and midscale hotels in North America, you should select a provider that has at least 10,000 under contract. This creates convenience for the traveler and ensures auditable electronic billing at thousands of hotels.  Can your program provider offer a list of hotels in their network?

Avoid:

  • “Turnkey” lodging programs. “One size fits all” can indicate a lack of financial, network and operational resources to manage products that truly meet your company’s lodging needs.
  • Lack of Transparency . Does it seem like a programs’ low fee is too good to be true? It probably is. Often times, these programs make up the difference with a hidden hotel commission.  If the program makes money based on a percentage of the hotel rate, their incentives are mismatched with yours.
  • Centralized reservations. Do you have to call one number to use the program for every reservation?  What about last-minute walk-ins?  What if plans change later that night?  Can they handle the call volume?  What kind of wait times should you expect?
  • New programs. Establishing a hotel management program sounds easy, but do you want to risk your business with a program still trying to establish its reputation with hotels and customers?

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