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Summer Business Travel

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Business travelers looking for custom workforce lodging solutions have more to contend with than just finding the right room at the right price. School’s out, which means families all over North America are hitting the highway in search of a summer getaway. It’s easy for leisure seekers to forget that the roads and hotels serve another purpose: letting you run your business everyday.

According to American Express, 8 in 10 Americans are planning vacations this summer. That means 80% of Americans, or 195.9 million people, are going to be competing with your employees for hotel and road space. Your fleet may run like a well-oiled machine, but even your most seasoned travelers and drivers might be thrown for a loop during this busy season. One reason that business travelers endure more headaches in summer, explains the Chicago Tribune, is the dichotomy of experienced versus inexperienced travelers on the road. You’re rushing to a meeting while the Johnson family is swerving in their minivan, trying to keep the kids from fighting the backseat. And don’t forget fighting for space at the hotel buffet!July 8, 2016 Blog Picture

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to make summer a more pleasant time for business travelers. Consider dates: the Chicago Tribune suggests that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a safer bet for avoiding the amateur traveler and his family. If the hotel has a pool, ask for a room far away from it, that way you’ll be guarded from children’s screams and shouts as you prep for that big meeting.

Another great way to avoid travel headaches is by working with workforce lodging specialists. CLC can help you make sure you’re getting the right room at the right hotel. We’ll cut costs and cut the time you spend on workforce lodging solutions. Talk to our expert customer service team to find the right plan for your company. Customizable to location, hotel type, and more. Get in touch with CLC and find out what we can do for you.

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Finding a new loyalty in frequent traveler programs

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

February 3, 2016 Blog PictureYou may have heard that airlines have been “adjusting” their loyalty programs for the past few years. In fact, in an interview with the Business Journals, Delta’s chief revenue officer said that his company was determined to increase the number of first-class seats sold pre-flight. What that means for everyone is fewer free upgrades, which used to be a silver lining for stressed-out frequent flyers.

Although miles can be treated as cash because they can be turned into airplane trips, magazine subscriptions, and more, they have limitations. Most importantly, airline miles expire. Fortune’s travel blog reported that United Airlines expects 25% of the miles they sell will never be redeemed at all.

Programs from hotels aren’t what they used to be either. Now weary travelers can buy extra loyalty points when booking a room, making it possible to effectively earn rewards by simply giving the hotel brand additional money. It doesn’t seem so bad when you’re at your computer, debating the $10 upcharge to your $180 room, but think of like this: Would you pay more just to get an extra punch on your favorite coffee shop’s loyalty card? Somehow, it doesn’t quite add up.

What does add up is booking with CLC Lodging. Our membership account provides you access to participating hotels at discount rates, all easily accessible from an online account. Learn more at CLCLodging.com.

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Oil & Gas: Tech Booms During The Bust

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Travel is an essential component of a day in the life of an oil and gas worker, from roughnecks to welders to risk management specialists. Not only do workers travel far and wide to complete a job, but the industry itself has made an impressive contribution to technology at large.

January 2016 Blog Picture 2Oil and gas workers have a reputation for being independent, self-starters with a knack for problem solving, It’s no surprise that the industry has long been a beacon of innovation. In a recent article from Forbes, Bill Tucker cites the specific technology from GroundMetrics, a company that helps companies pinpoint drilling locations. Technology makes the job simpler and it allows decision makers to be better informed about whether or not to drill at all. Better decisions help companies save money by reducing pre-well costs. For example, PBS reported that Southwestern Energy reduced number of days needed to drill a well from 17 to seven thanks to increased accuracy through software.

Travel may be the sector of the oil & gas industry that has seen the most innovation. From the plains of Kansas to the coast of Alaska, reliable technology is crucial for overcoming the difficulties of management at a distance. Even medical assistance has forged light years ahead thanks to companies like NuPhysica. The telemedicine company uses high-tech video calls to diagnose injured employees and offer treatment solutions. Venturebeat says that NuPhysica saved an oil company $30,000 in emergency transport by diagnosing an offshore rig worker remotely.

CLC can save you money and keep you ahead of the game. Partner with us for custom lodging solutions and first-class customer service.

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Staying Sane During Holiday Driving

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

December 2015 Blog ImageAs Americans, crossing county and state lines is an unavoidable part of our holiday vacation. Packing up the car, loading up the family, and fighting through traffic can prove to be a real hurdle to holiday enjoyment. Even when you’re driving solo, holiday and winter driving can pose quite a few problems during this busy time. Two of the worst frequent driver behaviors during this time are “failure to keep in proper lane or running off the road” and “driving too fast for conditions” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Information Institute stresses the importance of leaving more distance than usual between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, especially if you’re following a motorcycle or smaller car. The Institute also  says to be cautious when driving over bridges and shady roadways, since they are often icier than other parts of the road.

To stay safe and sane, check in with a CLC lodging specialist for custom solutions that will save you time and money. Our expert technology and friendly customer service specialists can help you cross at least one thing off of your holiday to-do list.

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The End of Fleet Maintenance Crises?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

In June 2010, we blogged about an up-and-coming technology: vehicle telematics. It seemed too goodOctober 2015 Blog Picture to be true; Automotive Fleet reported that it could help companies reduce their carbon footprint, including fuel savings of 10 percent. A study by Frost and Sullivan predicted that the growth of fleet telematics would reach $700 million by 2015.

So what kind of impact has this technology made on fleet maintenance and repair costs? Thanks to a recent article by Entrepreneur magazine, we now have a some new insight. Using fleet vehicle powerhouse UPS as a case study, the article cites a remarkable 50% cost reduction on preventative maintenance over
the last five years. The company also saw improvement in vehicle reliability and driver accountability.

Although UPS uses a sophisticated proprietary software, anyone can access similar off-the-shelf technology for a reasonable cost. Just like vehicle telematics, partnering with CLC is a smart choice that will save your company time and effort.

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Trends and Tips in Business Travel

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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!

Monday, 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?

Tuesday, 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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Business Travel News Interviews CLC’s President, Tim Downs

Friday, 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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