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Archive for September, 2010

Free Stuff For Small Business Travelers Who Love Bargains

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Because we help businesses with workforce travelers get great discounts on hotels, we know our customers appreciate a bargain.

So we’re passing along Kiplinger’s annual list of “fabulous freebies” all intended to help you save money.

Here’s just a sampling from Kiplinger’s report:

  • Looking for free wi-fi service when you’re on the road? Check out www.wififreespot.com to locate those restaurants, bookstores, airports and more where you don’t have to pay to go online.
  • Wish you had a business mentor? The online site, www.score.org, offers free small-business counsel from experienced business volunteers.
  • Did you know you can get free tech support from Sam’s Club or Costco if you’re a member, even if you didn’t buy the item at their store?
  • You can take free college courses online – a great way to learn, beef up your skills or even tackle another language. The free classes won’t earn you college credit toward a degree, of course, but Notre Dame and MIT are among the participating universities.

Want more? The list also points to restaurants that offer free food for certain occasions, how to find out if your car mechanic is charging a fair price and how to take advantage of free credit card perks.

Check out the full list to find out more ways to be smart with your money – including not spending any that you don’t have to! It’s a great way to manage your budget, both business and personal, as we start to wrap up the final quarter of the year.

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CheckINN Direct Travelers Shouldn’t Text & Drive: It’s Common Sense

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Don't text while drivingIf you’re a business traveler whose job frequently requires you to drive when you hit the road, no doubt you have some expertise about do’s and don’ts.  (You do know to save on hotels with CheckINN Direct.)

So, do you know which states have a ban on using a handheld phone while driving? Or which states prohibit drivers from texting?  

The quick answer is that 8 states and D.C. ban all drivers from using handheld phones, and 30 states plus D.C. prohibit texting while driving. (To keep you safe – and free from traffic tickets – this chart gives you complete details on which states ban what.)

It’s surprising to see a new study that indicates no decrease in accidents in states where texting while driving is against the law.

Since it was just last week that the Department of Transportation held a national summit on distracted driving, I wondered what Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had to say about this new study. Plenty, it turns out.

He doesn’t agree with the study’s findings, not at all. His Fast Lane blog entry cites all the reasons he finds it faulty better than I could summarize, so read it for yourself. The National Safety Council also issued a statement disagreeing with the study.

While it seems like a texting-while-driving ban is a no brainer for anyone on the road, it turns out there is more debate on distracted driving than you might expect.

Some safety leaders would rather put the focus on other safety initiatives – such as airbags – rather than distracted driving. And, last Sunday the Governors Highway Safety Association didn’t pass a proposed total cell phone ban for drivers because they don’t believe it can be enforced.

Too bad we have to depend on laws, penalties and consequences to get drivers to make wise decisions. Isn’t it just common sense that you need to keep your focus on the road and your hands on the wheel?

If your life – or the life of others – depended on it, what would you do?

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Save On Gas & Hotels for Business Travel

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

gas prices and fuel and lodging savings tipsWhat are you paying for gas and business lodging as you hit the road for your job?

Across the country, gas prices are down across the board from a week ago although up from a year ago at this time, according to latest statistics provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Diesel prices show similar declines although workforce travelers in New England and on the West Coast are paying a bit more this week at the pump. (Not to mention that L.A. drivers are sweatin’ big-time when they get out  to fill up, with record temps this week … 113 in downtown L.A. Monday and 111 in Long Beach!)

With the average price being paid across the U.S. is $2.69 per gallon for gas and $2.95 for diesel, it makes sense to look for ways to cut your fuel costs.

Here are some fuel-saving tips, courtesy of www.fueleconomy.gov to help put money back in your business budget:

Limit fast starts and stops. Every time you speed, quickly accelerate or slam on the brakes, you’re lowering your gas mileage. How much? At highway speeds, about 33%. Knock it off and you’ll see a fuel economy benefit of 5-33%, saving you an estimated 14 cents to 90 cents per gallon.

Don’t speed. Experts say that gas mileage quickly goes down when you drive faster than 60 mph.  In fact, every 5 mph you drive above 60 costs you money, as much as an extra 24 cents per gallon. Granted, there are times It may be worth it if the speed limit is higher and you need to complete your workforce travel.

Think cruise control. It’s simple. Maintaining a steady speed gets you better fuel economy.  Take advantage of that handy cruising tool right at your fingertips.

Looking for ways to save on your business lodging, too? Find out how you can save 20% to 40% at 10,000 hotels with a savings card.

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Workforce Traveler Tips for Drive Safely Work Week Oct. 4-8

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Safe driving for workforce travelersTrue or false: Experienced workforce travelers can tell when they’re going to sleep when they’re driving.

Do you know the answer? Are you sure?

Of course, we recommend you use a business lodging card to get a great discount rate on a hotel room so you can get a good night’s sleep before driver fatigue sets in.

But if your job puts you or your employees behind the wheel, take this true and false quiz on driver fatigue as a refresher for you and fellow workforce travelers.

It’s just one of the safety tools offered on the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) site. They’re the group behind Drive Safely Work Week, which is observed Oct. 4-8.

NETS is partnering with the Department of Transportation on this year’s observance on safe travel by workers.  The focus is on distracted driving, the same theme targeted by the recent DOT summit that we told you about last week.

They’re making it easy for you to share information with your employees as timely reminders to avoid distracted driving with a free toolkit that you can download.

 Many of these pointers aren’t rocket science, but reinforce the basic fact that the consequences are severe when drivers aren’t focused with full attention on the road.

 Distracted driving covers the gamut from drivers taking a cellphone call or texting, driving when you’re tired or reaching for an MP3 player.

It only takes a minute for a serious – and potentially life-changing – accident to occur. Drive Safely Work Week provides a great opportunity to provide information that can help keep your workforce travelers safe.

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The Secret to Saving Time & Money On Business Lodging

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Have you stopped to consider how much time your company spends trying to line up hotels along your employees’ business travel routes?

It’s also incredibly time-consuming to negotiate discounts and make reservations. Then you have to keep track of the billing and how much you’re spending on lodging.

Here’s what tens of thousands of small business already know: a business lodging card significantly reduces the time company administrators have to spend on hotel arrangements.

The savings card opens the door to deep discounts – typically 20% to 40% off hotels lowest published rates. That savings is leveraged from the purchasing power of thousands of clients using literally millions of room nights annually.

Many leaders in the trucking, rail and retail services industries put these business travel cards in the hands of their employees whenver they’re on road for jobs.

The card is honored at 10,000 hotels across the country, where low rates already are negotiated on your behalf. Participating locations include familiar brands like Holiday Inn, Ramada, Hyatt Place, Super 8, Best Western, Comfort Inn and more throughout North America

Using the card is simple. The employee shows the card at the front desk at check-in. The hotel sends the invoice for the room to the lodging management provider that issues the card and they send the bill to you.

Savings card offer a particularly useful solution for smaller companies because there are no minimum usage requirements.

Sound too good to be true? The truth  is the savings card is back by a 30-year successful track record with thousands of smaller companies,.

Check it out and see if saving cards could be useful for your employees who travel. Sign up today, and you can start saving time and money tonight.

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Workforce Travel: Going Electric On the Road?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Rent a Hertz vehicle for your business travels and you may find yourself getting behind the wheel of an electric car.

Hertz is going to roll out an electric vehicle rental program, starting this fall.

Its full-scale deployment gets under way next year, both in the U.S. and in other countries. (Think how quiet you’ll be when you pull into CheckINN Direct’s network of 10,000 hotels!)

Mainstream “Green” Solution

This is another move forward in making environmentally sound solutions more mainstream. The company’s Global EV program plans to bring all-electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to the general population – focusing on travelers, urban drivers, university students and other companies.

Hertz announced in February that it will bring the electric Nissan LEAF to select U.S. and European car rental and sharing locations, as well as EVs and PHEVs from GM, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

A “Game-Changer”

By necessity, the program includes charging stations – but also hopes the initiative “will catalyze other partners and cities to provide additional infrastructure for mass scaling of electric mobility,” according to the company’s press release.

Hertz rental and car sharing locations will serve as bases for charging stations, with the company using fleet management tools and GPS systems to help create an EV grid.

Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark Frissora deems it a “game-changer,” with the company partnering with manufacturers, charging station providers, cities, NGOs and corporations on the broad effort.

Actually, it turns out the company has an entire green initiative.

Part of Clinton Global Initiative

The announcement was made earlier this week at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), continuing through today in New York City.

CGI, created by former President Bill Clinton, convenes its members to devise practical solutions to global issues through the development of specific and measurable Commitments to Action.

According to the CGI Web site, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize winners, hundreds of leading global CEOs, major philanthropists and foundation heads, and directors of the most effective non-governmental organizations.   

CGI members have made nearly 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved more than 220 million lives in 170 countries.

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99 Days Left To Save on Business Lodging in 2010

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

As we officially mark the first full day of a new season today (welcome, Autumn!), here’s a reminder that there is still time to save on business lodging this year.

Business travelers literally can sign up with CheckINN Direct today and start saving 20% to 40% at hotels tonight. There are 10,000 hotel locations  that participate across the country, including Best Western, Holiday Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Hyatt Place, Hampton Inn, Red Roof Inn and more.

With over three months left in the year, you could save hundreds – or more – on what you and your company’s workforce travelers will  pay for business lodging in October, November or December.

But even if you’re only planning on one stay, why pay $89 when the CheckINN Direct Member Rate  might be  only $68, for example?

The Member Rate gives you 20% to 40% savings off the hotel’s Lowest Published Rate (with rates updated each week). And with CheckINN Direct’s Lowest Rate Guarantee, if you find a lower qualifying  rate, we’ll pay you the difference and give you a $30 credit on your account for bringing it to our attention.

Since CheckINN Direct’s savings card is accepted at 10,000 hotels across the country, you’ve got a significant savings opportunity in front of you.

If you’re working on your 2011 travel budget, using CheckINN Direct means you could allocate a lot less to your business travel category. That frees up funds that could be better used elsewhere.

CheckINN Direct offers a convenient hotel solution for companies with employees traveling the country’s highways on the job.  There are no minimum usage requirements, making it great for per diem or seasonal travel.

That also means that if you’re a sole proprietor business, you also can use this business lodging card to save on every hotel stay.

There are 99 days left in 2010. When are you going to stop paying more than you have to for a hotel room?

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10 Tips to Cut Business Travel Costs of Fuel

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

 If you weren’t able to attend Fuelman’s webinar Tuesday on how fleets can reduce fuel costs, you still have an opportunity to access the useful tips presented.

After all, when your fleet is on the road for workforce travel, fuel savings can be just as significant for your business budget as the discounts that CheckINN Direct offers on hotels. 

There’s never been a better time to take advantage of every opportunity to save your  business money. Particularly now, as most  businesses are starting the budgeting process for 2011.

To get a copy of the slide deck from the fuel savings seminar , just send an e-mail to FuelSavings@Fuelman.com (they’ll also respond to questions or comments you may have). Or you can watch an on-demand Webcast of the Webinar , which lasts about 40 minutes.

Overall, the presentation covered 10 new ways to save on fleet fuel costs – with an emphasis on new and effective.

Good info was shared – particularly ideas about  using driver simulations and routing software. Implementing those solutions may not be as costly as you might think. Another suggestion was to make sure you’re smart about various state taxes on fuel.

Fuelman and CheckINN Direct offer effective solutions so businesses can save time and money– on fuel and business lodging. Both are part of FleetCor.

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Saving On Hotels & More: It’s Never Too Late to Start

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Looking for bright ideas to save money beyond what CheckINN Direct can save you with discount hotel rates?

You’re not alone.

No matter that economists now “officially” have  declared that the U.S. recession ended in June 2009 (seriously? as Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler might ask from the news anchor desk on SNL),  most people are pinching pennies as never before.

That’s  a smart thing, no matter what your bank balance shows week to week.

And  it’s also a bright idea, no matter what age you are.

A couple of months ago, we passed along some great savings ideas from AARP.  Now they’re back with more – from saving all your $1 bills (not spare change) to cutting dryer sheets in half (evidently works just as well when doing the laundry).

These ideas are applicable at any age — so don’t think you have to meet the AARP age requirement of 50 and up to take advantage of smart thinking. Check it out at www.aarp.org/savemoney.

And if you haven’t started saving 20% to 40% on hotels every time you travel for business, you’re missing out on a significant way to improve your workforce travel budget.

Find out how it works and you literally cab start saving at 10,000 hotels across the country tonight.

Now that’s a bright idea to add some sunshine to your day!

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Now Smart Phones Can Double As Room Keys

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

As smart phones keep getting “smarter,” workforce travelers may one day use them as their hotel room key.

 Sound farfetched? Think again.

 USA Today reports that a pilot program is under way at two Holiday Inn properties where Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Android smart phones can do just that.

Pilot sites are at the Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., and downtown Houston’s Holiday Inn Express. The test will run through December.

For those occasions when your phone is out of juice,  guests go to the front desk to retrieve the standard plastic key card to access their hotel room.

Want to know exactly how it works? Check out this video demonstration of the technology, courtesy of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which is running the project for its properties.

Don’t own a smart phone for your business travel or personal use? Don’t worry yet – hotel execs are quick to say they don’t envision the phones ever completely replacing the standard room keys.

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