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Archive for October, 2010

Trick or Treat? Stay Safe While Saving On Hotels

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Use CheckINN Direct to find a discounted hotel rate before the Halloween partying gets out of handWith Halloween falling on Sunday night, this weekend is shaping up for a lot of partying – starting Friday night, continuing Saturday and then on the actual Oct. 31 date itself.

Workforce travelers who have be on the road for job requirements might be smart to check in to their business lodging early in the evening.  (Use your CheckINN Direct savings card, of course.)

That’s one way to avoid those who have overindulged on Halloween spirits and may pose an unwelcome threat on the road. Just as important,  don’t let yourself  become the impaired driver after too much Halloween fun.

Avoid A Real-Life Horror Show

It’s no coincidence that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s current drunk driving prevention campaign got under way Oct. 25 and continues through the weekend. As they put it, the campaign intends to prevent turning “the roads into a real-life horror show.”

If your job has you out and about this weekend, check out the NHTSA’s resources on how to avoid drunk drivers.

If you’re on the road, around town or in neighborhoods, take care to watch out for the little ones in costume. They can be hard to spot, may dart into the street or be so happy with candy overload that they’re not paying attention.

If your workforce travel requires business lodging this weekend – or any time – remember:

There’s no trick to finding a hotel room after you sign up for CheckINN Direct.  Just log in to your online account and conduct a hotel search.  There are 10,000 participating locations to choose from, including familiar hotel brands that range from Super 8, Ramada and Red Roof Inn to Hyatt Place, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn.

The treat? The everyday low hotel rate available to CheckINN Direct members only. You get a 20% to 40% discount off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates with every stay – backed by our Low Rate Guarantee.

No costume required.

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How Workforce Travelers Can Stay Fit

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Workforce travelers can stay fit when they check  in to discounted hotels with their CheckINN CardIt takes some extra effort and planning to stay fit when you’re a workforce traveler. But adding some simple tactics to your at-home exercise repertoire helps you succeed with your workout goals when traveling.

Many hotels offer exercise equipment and gyms as part of their guest services. When you’re searching for a CheckINN Direct hotel, you can check the amenity list by hotel to see if it’s included.

Of course, hotels don’t always offer an exercise room. And even when it’s available, you’ll find there are times when the facility is full, the equipment malfunctioning or your schedule doesn’t allow you to make use of it.

So consider these alternatives, offered by the Mayo Clinic. These are economical approaches that will get some exercise into your day, even when you’re on the road:

  • Use the stairs and hallways of your hotel. Walking up and down the halls of your hotel can keep you moving. Climb the stairs between floors between hallway laps.
  • March in place in your room. Whether in front of the TV or listening to earphones, the point is just to keep your legs moving.
  • Bring along a jump rope. Using it in your room may be ill-advised unless you’re on the first floor, but go outdoors or see if there is extra space in the breakfast room or gym area.
  • Pack your own exercise DVD or work out along with a program on TV. (it’s free!)

Remember: CheckINN Direct always takes the work out of finding great discounts on hotels — and can keep your company travel budget in shape — when you need business lodging on the road.

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Map Shows CheckINN Direct Travelers Deer Danger Spots

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Maps shows areas where workforce travelers are at high risk for deer collisionsExperienced workforce travelers know the last three months of the year are prime time for deer collisions, a situation heightened by shorter days.

Whether you’re arriving at or departing from your business lodging, it’s smart to be particularly cautious at dusk and dawn. If you spot one deer, others likely are nearby.

But how likely are you to hit a deer if your business travels have you out on the road frequently?

Well, State Farm has checked its claims data to reach this estimate: drivers and deer collided about 2.3 million times between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010. In fact, they say the frequency of collisions is up 21 percent in five years, with about 200 fatalities a year.

We gave you pointers about how to spot deer and avoid collisions earlier this month. Now we’ve found another valuable aid for any business travelers whose job has them behind the wheel this time of year.

State Farm has put together a map showing the states where deer and driver collisions are more likely. If you prefer, there’s a chart version, too (click on the image to make it larger).

Remember: If a collision is imminent, experts advise going against your natural instincts to swerve to avoid it.

Hitting the animal likely will cause less damage than swerving, which could put you on a collision course with another vehicle or obstacle or even flipping your vehicle.

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CheckINN Card Keeps Prices Low as Hotel Rates Increase

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Our business lodging savings card reduces  the sticker shock  of rising  hotel prices — and we’ve  got the facts to prove it.

An eight-month analysis of more than 7,000 hotels that accept the CheckINN Card confirms that the popular lodging savings card continues to provide an effective way to reduce business lodging spend.

The best available rates at surveyed hotels went up 4.4% from mid-January through mid-September this year. During that same period, CheckINN Direct’s Member Rates increased only 2.4%.

Discount business lodging cards save company travelers money as hotel rates continue to increaseThe obvious conclusion: Workforce travelers save with CheckINN Direct. That’s more valuable than ever as cheap hotel rates become scarce.

The results mirror similar Q1 results that we told you about in June. What was true back then is true today – business travel is more expensive when company travelers check in without a CheckINN Card.

That’s likely to continue as hotels continue to increase their rates. As we shared with you on Oct. 8, lodging providers like Travelocity and Marriott are boosting rates.

Travelocity recently told USA Today that its site prices for early September through mid-November are up 3.5%  from where they were a year ago in the 20 of the country’s largest markets.

The same report said Marriott’s prices went up in Q2 this year. Good for the economy, perhaps – but not so good for anyone managing a business budget.

The cost of everything goes up, it’s true – whether it’s the price of milk at the grocery or business services.

But just like you’d present a store coupon for that milk, why not put a discount lodging savings card in your employees’ hands?

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Are “Green” McDonald’s on Your Workforce Travel Routes?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

When your workforce travels have you dropping into McDonald’s for a quick bite, it just might be the company’s eco-friendly version of their familiar restaurant set-up.

The latest of four McDonald’s nationwide with sustainable and energy efficient features opened Oct. 14 in Riverside, Calif. Others already are operating in Chicago, Savannah, Ga., and Cary, N.C.

McDonald's is building eco-friendly restaurants that workforce travelers might come across as they drive the nation's roadways.What Makes McDonald’s “Green?”

The company’s press release lists:

  • Building insulation from recycled denim
  • Low-flow  plumbing fixtures
  • Power partially generated by 294 photovoltaic panels
  • Drought-tolerant plants

So when you’re munching that Big Mac sandwich or savoring a salad, it could be that you’re helping to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.  The restaurant makes it easy to find out more with an interactive touch screen display on environmental sustainability.

All but the latest to open have received Leadership in Energy Efficient and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification – and the Riverside location is in the process of obtaining it.

LEED certification, already obtained by more than 14,000 projects around the world, is an internationally recognized green building recognition system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, it certifies that a building was designed and built with energy-saving features.

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A Workforce Traveler Tells Why He Uses CheckINN Direct

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

You might think J. Kidd is saying good things about CheckINN Direct just because he was named the winner of our Free Lodging Labor Day Celebration last week. More likely it’s because his travelers who work for Industrial Energy Services, Inc. have saved more than $31,000 on hotel rooms in little more than a year when they check in showing their CheckINN Card. 

Here’s what Mr. Kidd recently told us:

Workforce travelers save money on hotels  with CheckINN  Direct, which also makes it easier to track lodging spending.Q. Why did you choose CheckINN Direct for your company‘s business lodging?
A. To have an easy way to track all lodging expenses.

Q. What features of CheckINN Direct are most useful to you and your travelers?
A. Tracking cost and tracking personnel.

Q. Overall, how would you describe the impact CheckINN Direct has had on your business?
 A. It has made the logistics of lodging for our employees much more simple.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your CheckINN Direct experience?
A.
It has been a positive experience working with CLC for the last 2 years.

You don’t have to be a contest winner to save 20% to 40% on hotel rooms with us. Any size business can join now and start saving tonight.

Savings is just half the story, as Mr. Kidd’s comments point out. Lodging statements for the past three years are posted to your online account for easy reference, making  it easy to track your lodging spend.

You can see what you paid with your CheckINN Direct Member Rate, compared to what the hotel’s Lowest Published Rate was that day, and see exactly how much you saved. You can do the same before you stay, using the online hotel search tool at www.CheckINNcard.com that’s available to  CheckINN Direct members.

Winning our Labor Day celebration put a $6,000 credit in Mr. Kidd’s CheckINN Direct account. He and his workforce travelers can use it on workforce lodging between now and the end of the year. Since he’s got 22 CheckINN cardholders on his account, it’s going to be put  to good use.

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CheckINN Direct Travelers: Keep Eyes Open For Google!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Workforce travelers may spot an artificial intelligence car that Google is testing.Yes, those folks at Google seem to be everywhere this week – and we’re not even talking about the company’s ever-popular Internet search engine.

Recent news reports indicate that if your workforce travel has you on the California coast along Highway 1, a Google “driver” might be right behind you. That’s the route the company has been using to test its latest innovation: cars that drive themselves.

Gives a whole new meaning to “less is more” when you’re on the road, doesn’t it? Think of all the catching up you could do with e-mail, phone calls and paperwork if you could depend on artificial intelligence to pay attention while you’re headed to your work site or discounted workforce lodging for the night. Yes, maybe you even could  indulge  in a cold one at the end of a tough day!

Evidently the Google engineer that devised the company’s “Street View” mapping is behind this latest automotive miracle. The technology is so smart that it can be adjusted for your driving style – from cautious to aggressive.

News reports indicate that it’s not likely such vehicles will be in the hands of business travelers like you and me for at least 8 years.  In the meantime, look for a Toyota Prius with an  odd-shaped metal piece on top of it. That’s evidently what the working prototype  on the road looks like.

From Smart Cars to Wind Power

On the other coast of the U.S. , Google continues to position itself at the forefront of what’s new. You may have heard news today that the company is investing in a massive project off the Eastern seaboard to gain access to offshore wind power.

As the company posted on its blog last night, Google is partnering with Trans-Elect, Good Energies and Marubeni Corp. on the development of a wind connection transmission backbone. They call it “a superhighway for clean energy,” enough to eventually serve 1.9 million households.

Backing wind power is nothing new for Google, which paid more than $38M for two wind farms in North Dakota last spring.

Powering all those Google data centers takes a lot of energy. While the exact number is a company  secret, Wikipedia claims the company runs over 1M servers in data centers around the world. It’s good news that the company is investing in green energy as it continues to grow.

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When Emergency Responders Need Hotels, CLC Is Ready

Monday, October 11th, 2010

CLC brings its workforce travel savings and solutions to Clean Gulf 2010 in Tampa, Fla.CLC Lodging will bring its workforce travel savings and solutions to Clean Gulf 2010 in Tampa Oct. 19-20.  If you or other company representatives are attending, drop by Booth 314 to find out how CLC saves clients time and money on business lodging.

Clean Gulf is billed as the largest oil spill training event and exhibition in North America. Not surprisingly, with the BP oil spill in the Gulf last spring, this year’s event is expanding its educational program to focus on deep offshore prevention and response.

When natural disasters or national emergencies occur, emergency response teams have to mobilize immediately. Somebody needs to be thinking about  where the crews doing the work are going to crash when they’re exhausted.

That means dealing with an experienced team that can source lodging options quickly is vital. The American Red Cross turns to CLC and so does the U.S. Government.

In other words, handling the lodging needs of emergency responders efficiently is nothing new for us. CLC clients include emergency response agencies, regional utilities, environmental restoration firms and emergency transportation companies.

Most companies find they save 20% to 40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. Since CLC’s rates are negotiated from its aggregated purchasing power of 9 million room nights a year, the rates are lower than most companies could get for themselves.

CLC offers smaller companies a savings card used to save on workforce travel at hotels across the U.S. and Canada. Employees present the savings card at check-in to receive the discounted member rate, with CLC handling direct billing to a credit card.

Larger organizations benefit from CLC’s savings card combined with a broader suite of workforce travel solutions. Services include streamlined hotel payment, contracted rate compliance, cost coding, detailed reporting and custom hotel contracting.

Most companies find they save 20% to 40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. Since CLC’s rates are negotiated from its aggregated purchasing power of 9 million room nights a year, the rates are lower than most companies could get for themselves.

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How Small Business Can Fight Today’s Rising Hotel Prices with CheckINN Direct

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Rising hotel prices make lodging savings card program like CheckINN Direct even more valuable to workforce travelersIt’s official – hotels are raising their rates. USA Today reports that Smith Travel Research, a key industry research firm, found rates up 3.5% for August when it looked at the top 25 markets in the U.S.

Ditto for Travelocity, which said its site’s prices for early September through mid-November this year also are up 3.5% from where they were a year ago in 20 of the country’s largest markets.

Not surprising, since the story said chains like Marriott haven’t raised their prices in two years (but finally did so in Q2 2010).

Maybe this trend is a positive sign of economic recovery in the U.S. Maybe those economists who said recently that the recession officially ended in 2009 were right after all.

But still – if your small business is struggling to manage employee travel costs as effectively as possible, it’s not good news. Any hotel discounts on the road are going to be much harder for workforce travelers to find.

Lodging Savings Card Keeps Prices Low

When lodging rates are on the rise, it makes more sense than ever to have a business savings card in hand. Simply showing the card at check-in means you’re going to be charged a rate that’s 20% to 40% less than the hotel’s Lowest Published Rate. (Savings like that add up quickly.)

The  savings card is accepted at 10,000 hotels across North America. Thousands of business travelers use a business savings card at familiar brands like Ramada, Best Western, Hampton Inn, Hyatt Place, Super 8, Holiday Inn and more.

Any company can take advantage of these savings with CheckINN Direct, no matter if you have lots of employees or just a few (it works for sole proprietors traveling on business, too). Sign up today and you and your  company’s workforce travelers can start saving at 10,000 hotels across North America tonight.

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Buying Your Next Cell Phone For Business Travel?

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Android taking lead in smart phones but you can recycle cell phones too

So you’re thinking about purchasing a new smart phone to keep in touch when you’re on your workforce travels. If you want to buy the most popular operating system, the current money is on the rising popularity of the Android. That’s according to the Washington Post technology blog, Post Tech.

The latest Nielsen data indicates that 32 percent of those new to buying a smart phone in the March to August timeframe chose the Android, which powers the Droid. Twenty-five percent of new buyers chose BlackBerry devices and another 25 percent  picked iPhones. All provide very handy ways to keep in touch, whether in the field, on the road or in for the night at your workforce lodging.

BlackBerry is the leader for all new smart phone sales (31%) by new and repeat smart phone customers, but that’s only part of the story. That’s down from 36% in January, while Android sales have gone from 8 percent to 19 percent of all buyers.

When it comes to corporate IT departments, which typically make business phone purchases for employees, Android is making inroads, too. A ChangeWave Research survey reported by Tech World shows that 16% of the firms queried are using Android-based smart phones. May not sound like much, but it’s a 60% increase from the poll three months earlier.

Old Phone May Be Worth $$

When you’re ready to buy a new smart phone, don’t dump your current cell phone in the trash or toss it in a drawer. Consumer Reports Electronics Blog indicates that Verizon offers a very cool trade-in, or if the phone isn’t worth anything, donation program to recycle cell phones (smart or otherwise).

Best of all, the program isn’t just for Verizon products. Check it out.

Got other electronics, including computers and TVs that you or your fellow company business travelers would like to recycle? Find out how.

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