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Archive for January, 2011

Friends Help Friends Save $$ With Discounted Hotel Rates

Monday, January 31st, 2011

CheckINN Directs can refer friends as new members, waiving the $9.95 activation fee to sign up for  money-saving hotel discounts of 20-40% off hotels' Lowest Published Rates

If your small business already is saving on workforce lodging with CheckINN Direct, don’t forget that you can help your friends and work associates get dramatically reduced prices at hotels. 

After all, their companies would like to enjoy 20-50% savings off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates, too. 

That’s why existing CheckINN Direct members can take advantage of our Refer A Friend Program.

That allows your referrals to sign up at no charge, since the $9.95 activation fee is waived for referrals. 

Here’s how you do it: 

  1. Log in to your account at www.CheckNNcard.com and go to the Refer A Friend tab.
  2. Enter your colleague’s first and last name with their e-mail address.
  3. We’ll send them an e-mail on your behalf with your referral code to waive the $9.95 activation fee. 

Here’s another easy way to allow colleagues to start with CheckINN Direct. From the Refer A Friend tab on your online account at www.CheckINNcard.com, you can download referral cards to hand out to fellow business associates. 

The referral cards that members distribute carry their unique referral code  that  waives the $9.95 activation fee when new members sign up. 

Sharing the savings is easy! New members who sign up can start saving the same day at 10,000 hotels across the U.S. and Canada.

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

Higher Hotel Costs? Use Travel Policy to Gain Control

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Every company wants to save money on hotels and other expenses when its employees travel for business. So here’s something to think about as you’re looking for discount travel rates, hotel coupons and other ways to save: 

Does your business have a written travel policy? 

Many small businesses haven’t taken the steps to formalize their expected employee travel practices. 

But with hotel prices going up this year, here’s a CheckINN Direct recommendation: There’s never been a better time to put a company travel policy in writing. 

Having a written travel policy eliminates surprises after the fact. It can spell out the requirements your company has in place when employees travel. That’s good information for any employee, and particularly for new hires or any employee traveling for the first time. 

It’s also a good way to ensure that  the right actions are being taken to save the company money. Here are some of the questions a useful travel policy answers: 

  1. Are travelers given a per diem to cover travel expenses?
  2. Are receipts necessary for reimbursement? If so, what kind of receipt is required? Must receipts be turned in for reimbursement within a certain time frame?
  3. What hotel types are employees expected to use, and what are the price levels allowed per night?
  4. Are lodging accommodations restricted to standard rooms?
  5. Is double occupancy required when two company employees of the same sex are traveling together?
  6. What approval is needed if work or weather delays keep travelers on the road longer than expected? 
  7. Can any available  company travel discounts be used for personal travel?

Additional customization can be added to detail any other requirements that are important to your company. 

The most effective travel policies are put in simple language and allow flexibility for unanticipated situations. 

Bottom line: Don’t assume your workforce travelers know your travel policy. Put it in writing.

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Posted in Tips for Workforce Travelers, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

Discount Hotel Rooms & Other Favorite Business Travel Amenities

Monday, January 31st, 2011

CheckINN Direct gives road warriors great hotel discounts while hotels provide other pleasing amenities like great pillows, delicious coffee and free Wi-FiWorkforce travelers credit little conveniences with making a big difference in their workforce lodging satisfaction.

While CheckINN Direct meets company travelers’ needs for great discounts on their hotel stays, frequent road warriors told USA Today recently about other “simple joys of life on the road” that hotels can provide to make them happy. 

Like a good pillow. Or really great coffee.  Convenient parking and a work-out room. 

Of course, having breakfast available on-site in a big plus. If it’s free, so much the better. That’s particularly important for drivers, crews, field reps and others who need to eat quickly and get to a job site or customer location to start the work day early. 

Not surprisingly, many watch TV after a long workday on the road. Niceties they request include sleep timers on TV remote controls and a handy listing of what channels are included on the hotel’s cable system. 

And with more workforce travelers carrying laptop computers or smart phones with Internet capabilities, these hotel guests want Wi-Fi in their room at no extra charge. 

The USA Today article also cites a survey of 2,000+ business travelers, where 57% called high-speed Internet access “extremely important.” 

By the way, CheckINN Direct’s online directory of 10,000 locations with 20-40% discounts off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates lists available amenities. That allows workforce travelers to stay at hotels that are conveniently located for their on-the-road works assignments and check for the amenities they prefer.

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Posted in CLC Hotels For Workforce Travelers, CLC Workforce Lodging | No Comments »

Super Bowl of Savings: CheckINN Direct Takes On Rising Hotel Prices

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Super Bowl fever got you in its grip? Here’s the pre-game report for the lodging industry, where hotels are heavily favored to go on the offense this year, price-wise. 

The game is on, with increased demand for business travel expected to hike room rates 5.1 percent. That’s the forecast from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest updated quarterly lodging report, using research data from Smith Travel Reports. 

That may put companies with workforce travelers in defensive mode, looking for better ways to save. A New York Times headline last week cautioned “The End of the Hotel Deals, ” noting that bargains are going to be much harder to find. 

CheckINN Direct offers companies a better way to manage workforce travel costs. Put in the hands of per diem, seasonal or other travelers who don’t carry company credit cards, this savings card program offers discounts of 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. 

It’s accepted at over 10,000 hotels across the U.S. and Canada. Participating locations include Hampton Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, Ramada, Hyatt Place, Super 8 and more. 

Sign up today to put yourself on the 2011 lodging savings scoreboard.

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

Workforce Travel Safety Improves When Vehicles ‘Talk’

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Workforce travelers making deliveries, sales calls and job-site trips face a higher risk of  vehicle accidents the more  they’re on the road.  But what if a wireless technology could potentially cut an estimated 80 percent of most vehicle collisions?  

That’s what could happen when cars start “talking” to one another. Crash-warning technology, now under development, relies on WiFi signals that trigger lights and alarms when another vehicle is too close and a crash looms.

A Washington Post story earlier this week cited a demo sponsored by automaker Ford where “the system notified a driver when it detected another car speeding through a red light in an upcoming intersection, of several cars blocking the highway ahead, and of a car zooming up from behind.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the warning systems could address most crashes – nearly 80 percent, it says – except where drunk drivers are involved.

Could it happen? It evidently will take lots of cooperation among the nation’s automakers so systems would be compatible no matter where they are installed. The good news is that the Post report said almost every major automaker has signed up for a standards-setting group.

But one of the technical difficulties is preventing system overload when too many cars are clustered. And other technical problems must be addressed, including eliminating a false “imminent crash” signal when someone is simply using a wireless laptop computer in their car.

The communications channel used is one provided by the Federal Communications Commission. Because it’s WiFi, the cost  for the system would be lower – maybe as low at $100 per car – and more accessible for those buying economy, as well as luxury, automobiles.

The technology, if successfully developed, could become a reality – and mandatory – in just a couple of years. That’s when federal officials will decide whether to require such systems.

Meanwhile, R&D continues. Until the technology becomes a reality, workforce travelers need to continue to put driving safety at the forefront.

When you’re ready for rest, or the job-site day is done, head over to your CheckINN Direct network hotel and enjoy your savings of 20 to 40 percent. That’s no accident – that’s what you’ll save every day with this lodging savings card.

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Posted in Travel Safety, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

280 New Hotels Mean More Discounts for Business Travelers

Monday, January 24th, 2011

CheckINN Direct gives members deeply discounted rates of 20 to 40% off at leading hotels including Best Western, Holiday Inn, Hampton Innn, Days Inn and more.New hotels are frequently added to the CheckINN Direct hotel network. In fact, 280 hotel locations became available to CheckINN Direct members in the last 3 months of 2010 alone. 

The network now boasts well over 10,000 participating locations that include familiar hotel brands and leading independents like Best Western, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, Hampton Inn, Ramada and more. 

Save 20-40% off Hotels’ Lowest Published Rates

The addition of new locations means even more hotels where workforce travelers can stay for less – much less. CheckINN Direct guarantees savings of 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. 

If you’re already a CheckINN Direct member, it’s worthwhile to log in to your account frequently at www.CheckINNcard.com and conduct a Hotel Search before you travel. New locations for your favorite hotel brands now may be available in the area where you’re headed. 

CheckINN Direct members use CLC Lodging’s Savings Card at check-in to access these low, negotiated rates at hotels across the U.S. and Canada. 

Private Rates Offer Deep Discounts

These rates are privately negotiated, thanks to CLC Lodging’s purchasing power in the lodging industry. CLC Lodging clients use more than 9 million room nights worth nearly half a billion dollars a year. That buying strength translates into low negotiated rates that drive room prices far below what’s publicly available. 

Hotel directory changes are updated monthly on the map you’ll find on the Hotel Search page of your account. Click on Directory Info to view new hotels. When you click on the sate, hotel details are provided. 

Not yet a CheckINN Direct member? Find out more about how CheckINN Direct works. It’s never been easier to help your company save time and money on workforce lodging.

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Posted in CLC Hotels For Workforce Travelers, CLC Workforce Lodging | No Comments »

Timely Reminders on Taxes & Business Travel for Small Businesses

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Small business owners: Deadlines are looming at the end of this month for distributing 1099s and W-2s. Plus, there are new IRS rules – and penalties – if they aren’t handled correctly. 

Thanks to a head’s up in the current issue of the NFIB SmartBrief, we’re passing along these tips first published in USA Today on Monday. They’re courtesy of Steve Strauss’ “Ask An Expert” column. His expertise? As a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. 

Among his pointers: 

·         Check to see to whom you paid more than $600  

·         Check to to make sure you have all of the applicable mailing addresses and Social Security numbers  

·         Double check that everything is current and accurate  

·         Have employees update their information  

There’s more good information in the column. Don’t delay…time is running out.  

And if your small business hasn’t yet signed up for CheckINN Direct, there’s no reason to wait. You and your employees who travel could be saving 20-40% off lowest published rates at 10,000+ hotels across the U.S. and Canada now.

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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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Insider Tips to Cut Hotel Costs On Business Travel

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Small businesses can learn how to cut hotel travel costs with CheckINN  Direct's lodging savings card from CLC LodgingListen and learn! Now you can hear an audio Webcast that gives you all the tips and tricks of how to manage and control your workforce travel costs. 

Our free audio version of a recent Web broadcast is designed specifically for small and medium-sized companies whose travelers tend to wear boots, not suits. You’ll hear from two of our lodging experts, sharing wisdom gained over many years in the lodging management business. 

We’re providing a link to a recorded version of Travel Savings for Small Business: Tips for Controlling and Managing Workforce Travel Costs that you can listen to at your leisure. You’ll find the link on CheckINN Direct’s How It Works page (look for “Free Webcast” on the side of the page). 

Maybe you’re ready to put a lodging savings card in the hands of your travelers (it’s great for seasonal work or per diem travelers who don’t travel with company credit cards). Or maybe you’re a sole proprietor who travels on business yourself.

How to Obtain Discount Hotel Prices

Or maybe you’re a company administrator who  just wants to get a handle on some ways you can cut the time it takes to line up hotels and support your company travelers. Learn about setting up travel policies, using low rate guarantees and how to find the lowest negotiated rates available to your business. 

It’s all there – and conveyed in less than 40 minutes. Check it out at your convenience.

The Webcast was originally done for members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), but the tips it shares are applicable for any business that wants to reduce hotel costs and better track lodging spend.

When you’re ready to sign up, the lodging card can be used immediately.

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Posted in CLC Workforce Lodging, Tips for Workforce Travelers | No Comments »

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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