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Archive for the ‘Green Business Travel’ Category

Hotel Pet Peeves – And How to Solve Them

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Travel Powerstrips - Avoid Frustration of Too Few Outlets

Apparently, this experienced workforce traveler isn’t the only one who’s exasperated when there aren’t enough outlets next to the bed to charge my cell phone or laptop. In a recent article by USA Today’s Barbara De Lollis, former press secretary for President Bush, Dana Perino tweets about her hotel pet peeves.

Her laundry list of tweets include:  coffee-flavored hot water and stubbing her toes moving the heavy bedside table to get to an outlet. A few of my pet peeves are dirty towels and cigarette smoke in a non-smoking room.

How to solve them:

Power outlets

  • Pack a compact, travel sized power strip in your lap top case
  • Ask the front desk if they have a spare power strip

Coffee-flavored tea water

  • Pack a coffee urn cleaner packet in your luggage
    • You’ll only need 1/3 of the packet due to the smaller size of hotel coffee makers
  • Go to Starbucks

Dirty Towels

  • Call the front desk and ask for replacement towels
  • Invest in a micro-fiber travel towel – it will dry in a few hours and it’s eco-friendly

Cigarette Smell

  • Report the smoke smell to the front desk
    •  the previous occupant may incur a fine for smoking in a non-smoking room
  • Request a room-change
  • No non-smoking room available?

 Above all, make sure you make the effort to fill out customer surveys or talk directly to the hotel manager. Hotels take customer feedback seriously. Another great way to avoid frustration is to make your next workforce travel hotel stay a CheckINN Direct stay.

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Hit the Road With Your CheckINN Card & Your Car Charger

Monday, January 30th, 2012


CheckINN Direct is the perfect lodging solution for companies that love bargainsRoad warriors, changes are ahead on the roads you travel – starting in California – and they’ll be here sooner than you think. The stringent new standards that the state passed on Friday are designed to put lots more emission-free vehicles on the road.

The goals that California’s Air Resources Board set on Jan. 27 may mean that someday you’ll be charging your electric vehicle each night when you stay at a CheckINN Direct hotel. The new rules require: 

  • Starting in 2025, 1 in 7 new cars sold in the state must be electric or otherwise have zero emissions (the acronym ZEV stands for zero-emissions vehicle).
  • Also by 2025, cutting pollution by smog by 75% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of today’s standards. Automakers were on board with California’s regulators for the greenhouse gas decision, which is expected to be a national standard.
  • By 2050, 87% of cars on the road must be zero-emission vehicles.

The regulations go into effect with on new vehicle models coming out in 2017. By 2025, that’s expected to mean an estimated 1.4 million ZEV vehicles will be traveling the state’s highways.

So what is a ZEV, anyway? While a bicycle technically is a zero-emissions vehicle, the term typically means battery-powered electrical vehicles or hydrogen-powered vehicles that use a fuel cell.

In addition to cutting down on air pollution, the vehicles typically get mileage ranging from 90 to more than 110 MPGe (since no gas in involved, that means miles per gallon equivalent).

The Nissan Leaf was one of the first all-electrics on the market, with orders now being accepted in 30 state markets.

The 100% electric Mitsubishi I toured the West Coast last fall and is expected to arrive early this year. Meanwhile, Ford’s 5-passenger Focus Electric launched last November in California and the New York/New Jersey area with availability being expanded to 14 more launch markets this year.

General Motors is charging ahead in the market, too – late last year, GM announced the roll-out of its all-electric Chevrolet Spark in 2013.

Who knows? Within 10 years, packing your workforce travel bags may mean including your car charger as well as your CheckINN Card.

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Workforce Travelers’ Budget-Wise Guide to Fuel Economy

Thursday, January 26th, 2012


Enjoy lower gas prices while searching for business travel hotel bargainsIf your company budget includes plans for a new vehicle for your workforce travels this year, CheckINN Direct recommends the free 2012 Fuel Economy Guide put out by the U.S. Department of Energy. The time you spend checking it out could help your business save money in the long run – and we know CheckINN Direct members are big advocates of saving money on the road!

The Fuel Economy Guide displays city and highway mileage for most 2012 vehicles, and shows you how much the vehicles cost to drive. Plus, in the 2008–2012 electronic fuel economy guides, the annual fuel cost estimates are updated weekly to match national average prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.

With more and more electric vehicles hitting the roadways each year, the guide now includes plug-in vehicles so you can review gas-only and electric-only mileage estimates.

What you won’t find: SUVs or passenger vans that carry a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds. Or, other vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or a curb weight of over 6,000 pounds.

Also available for prospective buyers: an interactive online tool to help you find and compare cars. It lets you browse by year, make and model; compare vehicles side-by-side, and check out hybrid, diesel and alternative fuel options. Just for fun, click on the link that takes you to what are considered the best and worst vehicles out there.

Not in the market for a new vehicle, but want to make sure you’re fuel-efficient on the road? Check out these gas-saving tips from the Federal Trade Commission.


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CheckINN Direct Members: Looking for Bargains?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011


We know CheckINN Direct members always are hot on the trail for cost-effective ways to do business. That’s why members sign up for our hotel savings card for small and independent businesses – it offers convenience and savings of 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates with every business lodging stay.

These days, CheckINN Direct members also are probably pretty happy about gas prices going down across the country, which helps stretch your company’s workforce travel budget.

Still, maybe you’re looking for even more ways to save. So consider this new development: the Nissan Leaf now is being sold in more states. Plus, General Motors just announced it will roll out the all-electric Chevrolet Spark in 2013.

You remember the Leaf: Nissan’s 100% electric car. Seats five, goes up to 90 mph. And how many miles does it get per gallon? Oh right, it is all electric – it doesn’t use any gas.

Order  the Leaf now and you’ll be in the driver’s seat no later than December. Already being sold in 22 states and the nation’s Capital, the Leaf just went on sale in Delaware, Rhode Island, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Louisiana and Nevada.

As the first mass-marketed all-electric car, the Leaf has earned plenty of buzz. In fact, it won the title of “2011 World Car of the Year” last spring, beating out the other two finalists from Audi (Audi A8) and BMW (BMW 5 Series).

The vehicle isn’t cheap, but it’s not as exorbitant as you might think, considering the price of any new car on the road these days. It starts at around $35,000, not counting delivery costs.

And that’s before the up to $7,000 federal tax savings offered to buyers of a variety of electric cars, including the Leaf. You can see details on the tax credits at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml.CheckINN Direct is the perfect lodging solution for companies that love bargains

GM hasn’t yet announced the cost of the Spark, but affirmed it wants to lead the auto industry in “green” technology.


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More Savings As Your Company Beats Summer Heat

Saturday, July 16th, 2011


As the dog days of summer continue their relentless pace throughout the U.S., make sure your office ceiling fans are providing the maximum cooling available.

Many fan aficionados forget the little switch on the fan that should be adjusted as the seasons change. The switch controls the direction the fan blades turn, helping keep you cool in the summer and circulating warm air during the winter months.

If you reverse the directions that the blades turn twice a year, you’ll contribute to the fan’s efficiency.

So, how do you know which way is the correct one? Here’s what you need to remember, courtesy of the Minnesota Energy Smart online blog:

In hot weather months, the fan blades should turn counter-clockwise as you look up at the fan. Put the fan speed on high to provide downward column of circulating air that will help cool you off during office hours. You will know you’ve got it right if you feel a cool breeze as you stand underneath the fan.

But in winter, the fan blades should move clockwise as you’re looking up at the fan. Put the fan on low speed to ensure circulation of the warm air. Since hot air rises, using the fan in this way will move the warm air back toward you.

With the ceiling fan in your business helping you stay cool now – or warm in the cool weather months, you may be able to adjust the office thermostat, too. That can add up to savings, reducing your office overhead.

When you’re ready to save on hotel lodging, use your CheckINN Card every time you and your employees travel. It saves you 20-40% off hotels’ lowest published rates. Members are protected by a lowest rate guarantee to ensure you’re getting the best lodging deal possible.

Don’t believe it? Check out the details at www.checkinncard.com.


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Money-Saving Tips on the Road & In the Office

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

You know that CheckINN Direct helps you save money on hotel rooms when you and your employees are on the road. But did you know that in less than six months, new energy efficiency requirements will help your small business save money around the office?

Legislation passed in 2007 kicks in Jan. 1, 2012, to require common light bulbs to be about 25% more efficient than they are today.

Any incandescent 100-watt bulbs around your office no longer will fit the bill. But no need to worry: stores already are stocking the replacement bulbs required.

The good news about the switch is the new bulbs will cut your energy costs and they last longer, too. There’s more variety in bulb color than when the bulbs were new on the market, and many work on dimmer switches (but check the packaging to be sure).

If you’re concerned about high prices, check out what’s available. Prices have come down significantly from when energy-efficient bulbs first hit store shelves. As more products become available, costs are predicted to continue to fall.

To get up to speed on the new, energy-efficient lighting, here’s info from the U.S. Department of Energy about what’s available:

Halogen Incandescent bulbs last about three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, resulting in about 25% energy savings.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) look like a curly version of a typical fluorescent light. You can expect these bulbs to last about 10 times longer than a comparable incandescent bulb and to provide about 75% energy savings.

Light Emitting Diode Bulbs (LEDs) give you 75-80% energy savings with this bulb version, and they last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs you now may be using.

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No Soft Soap: Getting the Most from Leftovers & Your Travel Budget

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Get the most from your company's travel budget with CheckINN Direct That used soap from your hotel room may be put to good use after you check out. USA Today reports that organizations such as Clean the World, based in Orlando, and Global Soap Project, based in Atlanta, are recycling the lodging leftovers and distributing them where they’re needed.

Makes sense to stretch available resources, just like it’s smart to get the most out of your company’s travel dollars with CheckINN Direct whenever you and your employees travel for business.

To recycle the soap, it’s sterilized and packaged into 2-ounce bars, according to USA Today. The sudsy remnants end up where they’re needed most, in homeless shelters and countries ranging from the U.S. and Mexico to Haiti, Japan and India.

How much soap are we talking? Clean the World has provided more than 8 million bars so far. Now, with a new company-wide deal with Starwood Hotels, an estimated 1.6 million pounds of soap will be recycled from its hotel rooms.

Collection deals also are in place with individual hotels, including Hiltons and Marriotts and properties run by Carlson, Wyndham and Hyatt. The recycling organizations also collect used shampoo and lotion bottles from the rooms to recycle – cutting the waste that otherwise would end up in local landfills. And that’s a good deal for everyone.

Another good deal: If your business has workforce travelers, start saving 20-40% off hotels lowest published rates whenever they’re on the road.

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Should Workforce Travel Switch to Electric Vehicles?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Is your business looking at reducing workforce travel costs by using electric vehicles? 

The Small Business Trends Web site offers  an interesting post, Is It Time to Consider an Electric Vehicle for Your Business?,  with pointers on the decision. 

Granted, the electric solution doesn’t work for every company employee who hits the road for multi-day trips on the road. But with the electric vehicle options increasing, there will come a day when it makes sense to consider this eco-friendly alternative.

Writer Kelly Spors spells out the details around cost, convenience and the risks of being a technology early adopter. She’s with Energy Smart, a Minnesota nonprofit helping businesses save money through energy efficiency. 

Even though electric vehicles are just starting to roll out, the numbers look good for reducing costs. With the proviso that costs depend on the rate for electric kilowatt-hour charges compared to gas prices, the article references FuelEconomy.gov as showing these annual costs for driving these vehicles 15,000 miles a year:

  • Nissan Leaf electric vehicle:  $561
  • Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle: $927
  •  Honda Civic conventional vehicle: $1,599 

Every business looks for new ways to reduce the bottom line. Electric vehicles may become the preferred business go-to solution to travel further for less. 

Meanwhile, CLC Lodging’s Savings Card for small and medium-sized businesses puts a cap on hotel lodging spend. It provides access to privately negotiated rates that are 20-40% less than hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. Check it out to find out if CheckINN Direct is the budget-reducing solution your company needs.

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Charging Ahead With Electric Vehicles; Next Big Thing for Business Travel?

Friday, January 14th, 2011

More on the new Ford Focus – electric version – that we told you about earlier this week. The latest details, shared in the New York Times gadgetwise blog, concerns how far the car will drive without charging.

Understandably, that issue gives anyone considering an electric vehicle pause, no matter whether the car will be used for business or leisure. But especially for business, when you’ve got drivers, field reps, maintenance crews and others depending on their vehicles for reliable transportation. 

The Times reports that a feature of the car’s navigation system allows the driver to see all the electrical charging stations en route. The device thinks smart, too, telling you how to increase your range if the stations are too far away. (It may reroute you on another road or recommend the air conditioner be turned off to conserve energy). 

Charging Station Ahead?

There evidently are about 1,400 charging stations across the nation today but all appearances indicate more are coming. If this mode of transportation takes off, someday we may find convenient charging stations in hotel parking  lots,  surrounding grocery stores and other in-town destinations, as well as along interstates. 

Perhaps you’ve seen the GE ads, where energetic young adults are pulling up to the beach and other fun destinations and passing by colorful vertical devices. 

Yep, those bright and shiny gadgets are the commercial versions of GE’s WattStation charger, positioned to suggest they’re coming soon to locations near all of us. 

Add the Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt is assuming a higher profile, too, with ads prominently featuring an ordinary electrical outlet in a residential garage. The message: that it couldn’t be easier to charge your car.

Easy as saving 20 to 40% on your workforce lodging, perhaps?

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Electric Ford Focus May Mean Cheaper Business Travel Costs Down the Road

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Ford  Focus Electric may help  keep  travel costs low for workforce travelers on the nation's highwaysBusiness travel = high gas costs for many workforce travelers. That’s why the news about electric vehicles from last week’s Consumer Electronics Show bodes well for many small and medium-sized businesses with company fleets.  

Inc. Technology notes “the car industry is serious about electric cars” as it reports on six findings from show activities that indicate coming trends. Ford Motor Co. chose the huge CES show in Las Vegas as the site of its announcement of the new electric version of the Ford Focus. 

Available late this year, the car uses a lithium-ion battery system. Ford estimates it will cost $2-$3 to fully charge its new vehicle, using a 120-volt cord that comes with the car. Or, there’s the option of buying a 240-volt Level 2 charge system that will be sold at Best Buy. Charging time is around three to four hours. 

Cars that run on electricity may represent a welcome trend for many consumers and businesses, given that gas prices continue their rapid rise. The latest numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that gas is up almost 34 cents a gallon across the U.S. from prices a year ago. Diesel prices are up 45 cents a gallon over the same time period. That quickly adds up to a budget buster for any business with workforce travelers. 

But writer John Brandon also notes there were signs at the CES expo that the economy is starting to rebound. Show attendance was up, exhibits filled the extensive show floor and big announcements made headlines. 

If your business is seeing signs of more travel ahead this year for your drivers, crews, field reps and other employees who stay at economy and mid-scale hotels, check out the lodging savings card from CheckINN Direct that can save you money at familiar hotel brands. 

 CLC Lodging’s prediction for the year ahead: saving you 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates at more than 10,000 hotels nationwide.

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