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Archive for the ‘Money-Saving Tips’ Category

Intuition vs. Data – Which to Trust More?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Retail company professionals know that handling workforce lodging requires knowing the ins and outs of the industry. Staying up to date on technological innovations, consumer trends, and government regulations is a critical measure to good decision August 3rd Blog Imagemaking. Thanks to big data, the information required to make yourself an effective retail industry expert is more accessible than ever. Tough decisions become far less daunting when you have statistics available to inform them. With so much data at your fingertips, how do you know when to rely on your intuition and ignore the metrics? Or, should you ever go with a hunch over the results from data analysis?

Fast Company suggests that the answer lies in finding a balance. An article commenting on the future of work lays out the pros and cons of relying solely on big data to inform business decisions. In some cases, the article points out, companies can be too eager to jump on results from data collection and end up rocking the boat. The retailer Target made headlines when it predicted a shopper’s pregnancy through analyzing her purchases over time and used that data to send tailored ads to her house. The problem? The shopper was living with her parents, and her father was not pleased when his daughter received promotions for baby-related goods. It’s safe to say he would have rather heard the news from his daughter, not Target’s marketing department.

The key takeaway from the Fast Company article is that while metrics are sure to keep improving, a good CEO or manager will still need his or her judgment to make the right decisions. Big data is only as effective as the person who uses it, and sometimes, that means going with your gut.

Like you, CLC knows that retail travel requires retail knowledge. Our on-staff industry experts can tailor your lodging solution to fit the needs of your fleet. Learn more about all of your options by getting in touch with CLC today.

Posted in Money-Saving Tips, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

Making Cost-Saving Changes Quick and Painless

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Every industry expert has a different solution for cutting costs. Some say the latest software is sure to bring your numbers up next quarter; others tout the benefits of continuing education. While each alternative has its merits, one element of cost cutting is true for virtually anything you implement: change is inevitable, and painful for some.

April 7, 2016 Blog PictureNo matter how much money you invest in fancy technology and innovative initiatives, the old adage holds true: You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. So how do you get your employees and every stakeholder in your company in-between to get on board with new cost-saving measures? The secret may lie in how you manage change.

Change management expert Kurt Lewin lays out the basic framework of managing change in three steps: Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze. During the unfreeze phase, it’s your job to educate your employees on why change is necessary. Managers and employees may be resistant at first. Managers will have to move away from comfort zones, and employees may resent the implication that they need to learn something new to continue doing their job. The next step, change, is the most difficult, as this is when team members will learn new skills, develop new values and attitudes, all while being unsure of the path ahead. The pay off happens in the third “refreeze” stage, where new behaviors become permanent.

During each phase of change, you can support the transition through communication and education. If you’re implementing a new reporting technology, make sure your employees know this is going to make their lives easier, rather than letting them feel like they’re being watched. Let your people know you’re investing in them, and you’ll see positive results.

CLC Lodging is here to help you manage reporting and make life easier for your employees.
With customizable reports and detailed billing, managing costs for better change management is simple.

Posted in Money-Saving Tips, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

Idling Trucks Cost Big Bucks

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Myths and Facts

How can you cut costs for your fleet without sacrificing quality?  This conundrum has long plagued fleet owners and C-level freight company managers. Despite best intentions, cost-cutting measures are often unwittingly undermined by vehicle operators. Fleets leak billions thanks to a handful of long-standing myths and mistakes about idling trucks. We first wrote about the high cost of idling trucks in 2012, and the myths persist today.

For years, conventional wisdom held that starting and stopping a diesel engine caused more wear and tear than letting the truck idle. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), idling wears down internal parts twice as fast as driving at regular highway speeds.March 2, 2016 Blog Picture

The myth of the mandatory engine warm-up is equally pervasive. The long-held belief that a diesel engine needs to “warm up” before it can be driven can be blamed on older fuel formulas that used to gel in cold weather. In fact, most engine manufacturers state that idling a truck for more than 3 minutes does more harm than good. Diesel fuels on today’s market are better formulated to withstand cold weather, so gelling is no longer a legitimate concern.

Beyond engine maintenance costs, the IDEM estimates that the trucking industry lost a whopping $3 billion in fuel costs thanks to idling trucks. Equally disturbing are the health and environmental impacts, as diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen linked to varying chronic illnesses.

Idling trucks cost more than they save. That’s why your best bet is to book with CLC Lodging. Our custom solutions specialists will negotiate the best rate for you within our wide hotel network across the U.S. and Canada. Find out how you can protect your fleet and save 20-40% on advertised costs with a quick quote today.

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

Managed Travel Alternative

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Business travel management programs have come a long way over the years but, managed travel is still not meeting every requirement that business travelers want.

In a recent article on Business Travel News, the article states that the elements of managed travel include online tools, visibility of noncompliant bookings and internal budgeting assistance. Many companies are allowing their employees to search online for the hotel they would like to stay in, giving them a few guidelines to follow. Allowing the employees to book their own hotel room can create more work for your company. Business Travel News explains, “This concept will increase travel costs, increase productivity costs and lose valuable data, from both a risk-management and a supplier optimization standpoint.” Travel program administrators will spend more time handling expense reports and monitoring program guidelines if done this way.

The alternative? Implement a travel management program that will free up your administrator’s time. CLC Lodging provides a directory of hotels to your company that fall within your company’s preferred suppliers and negotiated rate. Your employees will check-in with their CLC CheckINN card at authorized hotels, and CLC Lodging takes over from there. Each bill is run through a 52 point audit to ensure the hotel stay was authorized and that the company will only be billed for room & tax. At that point, your company will be billed and provided with consolidated reporting.

While savings remain the major objective, the traveler experience is also top of mind as technology and data offer new opportunities for user-friendly services that support the travel program. CLC Lodging’s Hotel Locater App allows business travelers to access the CLC hotel directory from their smart phone so they can easily find a hotel when they are on the road.

CLC Lodging offers many benefits that conform to the purchasing behaviors of your company. Click here to request more information.

Posted in CLC Hotels For Workforce Travelers, Money-Saving Tips, Tips for Workforce Travelers | No Comments »

Travel Expenditures Result in Increased Profits

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Travel is just part of business for many companies. In industries where crews must be sent to the site to carry out their work, choosing to not travel is simply not an option. For many companies there are alternatives, such as online meetings and video conferencing. However, recent studies suggest that even when alternatives to direct travel are available, they may not be the best option.

A recent study by Oxford Economics clearly indicated that business travel directly leads to an increase in both corporate revenue and profits. The study found that every dollar invested in business travel results in $12.50 in added revenues and $3.80 in new profits.

“This shows that companies need to appreciate the effects of certain types of cost cutting,” says Adam Sacks, managing director of Oxford Economics USA. “The research informs us that when a company reduces its travel budget, it loses both revenue and profits, giving competitors a real advantage.”

The study indicates that if a company eliminated its business travel, corporate profits would drop 17 percent in the first year.

With budgets tighter, a greater emphasis is being placed on measuring the impact of meetings. “There is no reason to have a meeting unless you want the audience to do something differently – sell more, learn more, do more,” Beauchine says. “If you can’t measure whether the meeting led to new action, you will be unlikely to get the same budget again.”

Increasing evidence is mounting about the types of situations that are most effectively handled face-to-face. Group processes and outcomes that require coordination, consensus, timing and persuasion of others are better accomplished up close and personal. Some studies have found face-to-face meetings were most effective for negotiating important contracts and understanding and listening to important customers. Anything with new customers, closing sales, and improving the top line is still best done face-to-face.

When the option is available, travel budgets have historically been one of the first things to get cut when companies begin looking at ways to save money. However, with increasing evidence that travel related budget cuts have such a strong impact on the bottom line, many companies are looking for ways to continue traveling while reducing travel costs. Whether travel is mandatory for your company or you simply do not want to risk losing up to 17% in profits, CLC Lodging can help mitigate the cost and consequently some of the pain points associated with business related travel.

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

The Secrets behind Hotel Fees

Tuesday, 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 »

CLC Announces Hotel Locator iPhone app – Coming Soon!

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

How to Evaluate a Workforce Lodging Program

Thursday, 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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Hotel Rates Rising in 2012

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hotels are having a record-breaking year – according to Ed Watkins from Lodging Hospitality. According to analyses performed on publicly traded lodging companies, overall revenue per available room (RevPAR) has shown gains at major chains anywhere from 6.8 to 11%. RevPAR is a performance metric in the hotel industry, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

Hotel Rates Rising in 2012

Get control of your rising hotel rates with a hotel lodging program.

This isn’t the only indicator that business travelers will continue to see higher hotel rates and challenging rate negotiations. Business Travel News showed the same results in their 2012 Business Travel Survey. According to Advito, a unit of BCD Travel, the world’s third-largest travel management company, corporate rates are up in the U.S. 5 to 6% and anywhere from 2 to 20% internationally. David Jonas writes that:

“Limited new supply and overall industry performance that is outpacing the general economy, hotel executives said they expect corporate negotiated rates to continue rising.”

What does this mean for the business owner? Is it inevitable that companies must budget more for business lodging and have less room for negotiation? Not necessarily. Informed business owners are looking for money-saving solutions. One option is to use a hotel lodging program for their workforce travel needs. Some lodging programs can get room rates more than 20% below market – significantly lowering workforce travel costs. In addition to better room rates, these smart companies also save on operational costs with efficient processes that reduce time spent on lodging and increase travel policy compliance.

Don’t know where to start? Consider CLC Lodging’s Workforce Travel Solutions. CLC purchased over 10 million room nights last year. That translates to $500,000,000 of negotiating power in your corner. Don’t hesitate – contact CLC today.

 

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

Control Your Business Travel Expenses

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Tips for Success

Auditing your company's workforce travel expenses improves the bottom line.

Have you audited your company expense reports or travel policy lately? Many of your fellow business owners are. Mary Ann McNulty of Business Travel News reports that company audits are up, perhaps in part to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) spending debacle. While you can probably rest assured that your expenses aren’t as egregious as the GSA’s, it’s always a good idea to take the pulse of your travel program.

Are your workforce travelers turning in justifiable expenses, or sliding unwarranted expenditures through a loose interpretation of your company’s travel policy? If your answer is: “I don’t know” or “I’m not really sure,” it may be a good time to take a closer look at employee expense reports. You can only manage what you measure.

Do certain trends appear upon analysis of expense reports? Do you notice that employees are staying a little too close to home? Do some expenses look more pleasure, than business related? With data in hand, the next step is to make changes to your travel policy and put additional controls in place.   

A good travel policy is an evolving document that is reviewed annually. It should explicitly identify what is acceptable such as per diem policy, hotel rate range and personal use.  Control hotel prices by limiting hotel types, prices and locations. Describe what receipts are needed for per diem allowances. Spell out the consequences for abuse and enforce them. Controls increase efficiency while limiting unpleasant surprises at the end of the year.

Unsure where to start? With savings of 20-40% on hotels nationwide and in Canada, 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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