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Archive for February, 2011

What Hotels Are in the CheckINN Direct Network?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

CheckINN Direct's hotel network provides access to more than 10,000 participating locations across the U.S. and CanadaIf you or your employees frequently travel for business, chances are that you’ve got a favorite hotel where you like to stay. So, before you sign up for CheckINN Direct, you may wonder exactly what hotels are included in the program. 

Because CLC Lodging negotiates privately with its network hotels, specific hotel details – including locations and rates – are available only to CheckINN Direct members.  

CLC’s low rates result from our consolidated purchasing power of 9 million room nights a year. Once you sign up, you and your company see the results of that leverage: private rates that are 20 to 40 percent lower than hotels’ lowest published rates. 

But here’s what we can tell you, even before you sign up for CheckINN Direct: 

  • There are more than 10,000 network hotels for CheckINN Direct members across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Participating hotels include familiar chains and leading independent economy and midscale brands, including Hampton Inn, Super 8, Hyatt Place, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Ramada, Days Inn and more.
  • Individual contracts are maintained at participating hotel locations (while not every hotel within a specific hotel brand is available to members, 10,000 locations means there’s plenty to choose from).  
  • Once you join, you have access to an online directory of participating hotels, where you can check locations and rates. You can get driving directions and send details to your e-mail or cell phone, too.
  • Plus, with your online account, you can view a map that’s updated monthly showing you what new hotels have been added to the network in the past 30 days.

Since there’s no minimum usage requirement or annual fee with CheckINN Direct, all it takes to start saving on hotels is signing up now.

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

CheckINN Direct: ‘It works like a charm’

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Looking for a way to save money on hotel costs when you and your employees travel for business? Want an easier way to find hotels and reconcile the lodging charges each month? 

Here’s what just a few businesses have told us about why they appreciate being CheckINN Direct members: 

“CheckINN Direct saves me having to contact a lot of hotels. I just call up the directory, see what hotels are available where we need to go and it works like a charm.” Kimberlee R., Brown Construction

“At one hotel, I had negotiated a rate of $100 a night. Your rate is $55 plus tax. That’s really noticeable. We get the statement posted online to our account after the stay, and I no longer have to worry about lost receipts.”  – Sean B., Center for Transportation Safety 

 “We chose CheckINN Direct for an easy way to track all lodging expenses and traveling personnel. It has made the logistics of lodging for our employees much simpler.” – John K., Industrial Energy Services 

CheckINN Direct simplifies lodging administration and saves members 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. Thousands of small businesses already are benefiting every time they present the CheckINN Card at the front desk of a participating hotel (and there are 10,000 of them across North America). Find out more.

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

Get Guaranteed Lowest Hotel Rates On Business Travel

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

CheckINN Direct's Lowest Rate Guarantees gives small businesses the best deal on hotel rooms for business travel The Lowest Rate Guarantee from CheckINN Direct goes beyond Web-only guarantees offered by other online sites and lodging providers. We match our rate against AAA, AARP, coupon books, offers from hotel marquees and staff, and more.

 If you find a lower qualifying rate for your stay, we pay the difference and give you $30 for your next CheckINN Direct stay. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Use your CheckINN Card for your stay.
  • Find a lower qualifying rate for same room criteria, location and date.
  • Complete the claim form within 7 days prior to your CheckINN Direct stay or no later than 7 days after CheckINN Direct invoices your hotel stay.
  • A Member Support representative will work with you to investigate the claim.

 CheckINN Direct’s discounted prices result from the rates that CLC Lodging privately negotiates for its business clients.  Those rates come from CLC’s purchasing power of 9 million room nights worth nearly half a billion dollars a year at over 10,000 hotels.  

Full details on the Lowest Rate Guarantee, including claim forms, terms and FAQs, are available to CheckINN Direct members on the online accounts accessible after sign-up in the hotel savings card program.

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

Managing Hotel Stays for Company Travelers? Here’s Help!

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

A previous blog post noted some of the  administrative time-saving benefits of CheckINN Direct. But it’s much more powerful to hear those benefits from a business staffer who lives them.  Here’s the full case study for a Colorado-based company with workforce travelers, or read on for some highlights:

CheckINN Direct simplifies the administrative challenges of workforce travel details.Every month, the events coordinator at the PHH Center for Transportation Safety knew there was an hours-long chore ahead: reconciling  the company travelers’  hotel stays  with credit card charges. With numerous driver safety training instructors regularly on the road, it quickly turned into a major effort. 

As he put it, “I often was missing anywhere between 50 and 80 hotel receipts needed to link the charged amounts to a Purchase Order. This would equate to days of playing detective to track down receipts.” 

Buried in Company Travel Details?

It’s a familiar situation to many staff members at small businesses. They frequently are a one-man show when it comes to travel arrangements, struggling to manage the required tasks:

  • Get on the Internet and search for a hotel in the travel area.
  • Try to negotiate a good discount suitable for the amount of the business travel and length of stay.  
  • Let the travelers know where they should check in.
  • Be available if any issues come up for workforce travelers on the road.
  • Collect the receipts after travelers are back in the office.
  • Match up the receipts to the amounts charged to the company.
  • Start over for the next trip. 

Whew! 

Quick Online Account Management,  Discount Hotel Rates

All that changed when CTS signed up for CheckINN Direct.  Now the events coordinator just  logs in to the company’s  online CheckINN Direct account. It’s a simple matter, he said,  to “go online to quickly access an electronic invoice for each hotel stay and print it off as back-up for my credit card bill.” It’s  workforce lodging, simplified.  

He’s also very happy about the deeply discounted rates that CheckINN Direct provides for the business –including the fact that he doesn’t have to track down a hotel manager to try to negotiate rates.  

Instead, CTS taps into the privately negotiated rates that are the results of CLC Lodging’s purchasing power. That’s where the real hotel savings is for small businesses that don’t have access to corporate rates. CheckINN Direct’s every day savings=20-40% off lowest published rates at economy and midscale hotels and motels across North America. 

Check out how it can work for your small business.

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

Workforce Travelers, Put Down Cell Phone When Driving

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

If your workforce travel job responsibilities have you talking on your handheld cell phone while driving, be aware that tougher penalties kicked in this week in New York state. Not only do you pay a substantial fine, a ticket affects your driving record, too. 

While that state’s law continues to carry a $100 fine for handheld cell phone usage by all drivers, it also means a 2 point violation on your driving record. Plus, if you’re caught texting while driving, the fine goes up to $150. 

Infraction Could Mean Higher Insurance Rates

That could result in increased insurance rates for affected drivers, with some agencies indicating two new points on your driver’s license would automatically mean a higher premium when it’s time to renew the policy. 

New York upped its penalties because accidents related to distracted driving continue to go up, even though the state’s fines for cell phone use and texting while driving have been in place for nearly 10 years. 

States continue to implement consequences for distracted driving, although some limit the prohibition to novice drivers or school bus drivers.   

All Cell Use Illegal for Drivers in 8 States

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, eight states prohibit all handheld cell phone use when drivers are behind the wheel. 

Anyone regularly on the road for workforce travel should make a note: here are the states where it’s against the law to use your cell phone when driving:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Washington D.C.

There are 31 states with laws banning texting while driving – with 11 of these laws enacted just last year, GHSA says. A handy chart on the GHSA Web site shows where texting bans are in place.

Driving Distractions Produce Accidents

An accident can happen in a heartbeat any time you’re driving, so don’t let yourself get distracted with a call or a text. Keep your hands on the wheel and pick up your cell phone when the drive is over. Better yet, catch up on your calls and texts when you’re in for the night at your CheckINN Direct lodging.

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

Improving your Zzzzzz’s During Workforce Travel

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Interesting  report in today’s Washington Post about how the light emitted from computer screens – including  smart phones and notebooks – may be keeping you awake long after you shut off the device at night. 

As any workforce traveler knows, it can be tough enough getting a good night’s sleep when you’re on the road frequently and sleeping in unfamiliar hotels – even if you are getting a great discount for your stay.  You don’t want your evening Internet surfing interfering with your ability to get much-needed rest after a day on the job. 

Sleep better knowing that you're saving with CheckINN Direct, and try this tip to end a computer problem that can keep you awakeAccording to writer Greg Linch, the kind of blue light from those screens can interfere with the body’s  melatonin production and how it affects wakefulness. 

The good news is that Linch shares info about a free desktop computer application that adjusts the computer screen’s blue light throughout the day to mitigate the effect. It’s called F.lux, and works by matching  the light to time of day (or night). Bottom line: you’ll sleep better.

You install it on your computer and forget about it. If you’re not sleeping when you travel for business, it might be worth a try.

If you haven’t yet signed up to save time and money on your company’s hotel stays, find out the particulars about CheckINN Direct. You’ll sleep better knowing that you and your company travelers can save 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates at more than 10,000 hotels nationwide.

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

Lots to love: Saving Company Time & $$$ on Business Lodging

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Companies with workforce travelers quickly realize how CheckINN Direct can save them money. It’s a straightforward benefit: CheckINN Direct members save 20-40% off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates, week in and week out. 

But the administrative benefits can be just as significant for a company that signs up

Reduce the time spent finding hotels, negotiating company discounts, tracking hotel receipts and reconciling credit card bills when your company signs up for CheckINN Direct.1. No need to call hotels to negotiate a company rate

The individual or staff handling lodging arrangements for traveling employees no longer has to make phone calls to negotiate a low company rate or search around the Internet to find a hotel within the destination travel area. 

That work is already done: The CheckINN Direct hotel network is online and accessible as soon as the CheckINN account administrator signs up and logs in.

A short Web form is filled out indicating the travel destination city and state. Then the results appear:

  • A Google map locating the participating hotels
  • A list with address and phone number
  • “View Details” link that shows the low discounted rate.

It also shows how much a member saves off the hotel’s Lowest Published Rate. With 10,000 hotels in the network, there are plenty of choices across the U.S. and Canada. 

2. Easier way to track hotel stays and spending

But that’s just the start of the time saving. No longer does the account administrator have to pester employees for hotel receipts or go looking for paperwork that’s missing. Every stay is posted on the CheckINN account – and is viewable for three years.  Think how that simplifies credit card reconciliation every month. 

3. Online tools to add cards, update info

Whenever there are employee updates – a new traveler that needs a CheckINN Card or someone has left the company – it all can be handled by logging in and updating the information. Same for updating the preferred credit card or entering a new expiration date for a card that’s about to expire. 

Savings money on workforce travel is just the beginning. Saving time on lodging administration is an added bonus. Both are important for companies that want to improve their bottom line.

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Posted in CLC Workforce Lodging, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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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Posted in Green Business Travel | No Comments »

More Indicators for Corporate Hotel Rates Going Up

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Evidence continues to mount about the reality of hotel prices going up this year. The latest is from Starwood Hotels & Resorts CEO Frits van Paasschen, and it’s not great news for the bottom line of businesses with steady workforce travel. 

In the company’s quarterly earnings call, van Paasschen told analysts, “Hotel supply [in North America] is unusually tight at this stage, with virtually no new hotels being built, and demand is strong and getting stronger,” van Paasschen said. “The next three to four years could see the strongest real growth in rates in North America that we’ve seen in decades.”

How much is the Starwood forecast for a price increase? Officials indicated that 2011 corporate rates could increase by “high single-digit percentages,” on average, according to today’s report in Business Travel News

Starwood is just the latest to reference what’s ahead for hotel prices.  As you read here, Smith Travel Research data points to similar predictions for hotel increases. Forecasts from  PricewaterhouseCoopers and Colliers PKF Hospitality Research foresee rates going up anywhere from  4.6% to 5.1% this year compared to 2011 rates. 

To sidestep the higher publicly available rates, businesses will have to work harder to negotiate private rates based on company volume.  That can be a hurdle for small and medium-sized businesses. 

CheckINN Direct provides an alternative to high business travel costs – access to privately negotiated rates based on CLC Lodging’s  large volume. CLC handles rate negotiations at thousands of hotels across North America for its large clients with a purchasing volume of 9 million room nights a year. 

Companies can put CLC’s savings card in the hands of their workforce travelers to gain the benefits of those deep discounts. Savings cards rates are 20 to 40 per cent lower than hotels’ Lowest Published Rates. 

Find out how it works to start saving now, before hotel rates climb any higher.

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

Traveling? Blizzards, Deep Freeze Require Survival Kit

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The snow, ice, winds and frigid temperatures that have frozen much of the country this week remind every workforce traveler of the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. 

It’s time to pay attention when the New York Times weather story reports that the National Weather Service is issuing bulletins that read “CONSIDER IF GETTING TO YOUR DESTINATION IS WORTH PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK … DO NOT TRAVEL! IF YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST TRAVEL … HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU.” 

That’s excellent advice this week, or any time severe winter weather threatens.

So, if your job has you out on the road, always travel with some cold weather necessities.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety offers timely pointers on Winter Survival in Your Car

Some highlights on what they recommend for travel in extreme winter cold or blizzard conditions: 

  • Plastic flashlight and extra batteries (warm them before using)
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into car lighter
  • Snacks such as dried fruit, energy bars and water
  • Large plastic garbage bag
  • Whistle
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bag
  • Shovel and broom
  • Booster cables
  • Basic tools
  • Road flares and reflectors
  • Red bandana or scarf
  • 30 foot cord to use as homing line if you must leave the car
  • Sand or kitty  litter in plastic carton to use for traction 

Other useful tips:

  • Store safety items in the glove compartment or vehicle interior in case the trunk freezes shut
  • If you stall or get stuck, tie a red bandana or scarf to your car antenna or hang it out a window
  • If you leave the vehicle, leave your name, address, phone number and destination on a piece of paper and place it inside the front windshield
  • Whenever you’re traveling in bad weather, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Don’t forget to call to let them know you’ve arrived safely.
  • It’s also smart to keep boots, extra socks and other spare clothing in your vehicle in the event you need them. 

Good luck to all snowbound workforce travelers this week. If you’re stuck out of town, don’t forget to use your CheckINN Card to save 20-40% on your workforce lodging. 

Don’t have one yet? Sign up today and start saving with discount hotel prices on business travel tonight.

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