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Archive for January, 2012

Turn Your Smartphone into Hotel Remote Control

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012


Here’s an exciting new innovation for workforce travelers (almost as good as CheckINN Direct saving you 20-40% off hotels). Now a new smartphone app lets you control the TV remote in some hotel rooms when you’re traveling for business.

That’s great news for frequent company travelers who may consider in-room remotes as germ magnets.

USA Today reports that travelers staying in hotels that get in-room TV entertainment from LodgeNet can use its free app for iPhones, iPads and Androids.

Here’s how it works:

  • Download the app, called LodgeNet Mobile, from your mobile device app store
  • Follow the directions on how to link to a specific hotel TV
  • Use the app to control free TV channels, pay-per-view movies and on-demand TV shows
  • Pay-per-view selections can be charged to your hotel bill or you pay for them separately with the app

Download Before Traveling

Be aware that before you hit the road, you may need to download the app via a computer since its size makes it too large to immediately download on an iPhone, for example.

Currently, LodgeNet has updated its TV systems in about 2,000 hotels for its new app, so it may take awhile before you can put it into practice at your specific workforce lodging. But since LodgeNet can be found in around 500,000 hotel rooms, the app eventually will be useful in many more locations.

You’ll also find that adult-only selections aren’t accessible through the app. But in addition to channel surfing, you can use it to control the TV volume, program guide and TV menu.

Just another convenience for workforce travelers – just like CheckINN Direct from CLC Lodging. When you’re a CheckINN Direct member, your business travel is discounted at more than 10,000 hotels across the U.S. and Canada.

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

Hit the Road With Your CheckINN Card & Your Car Charger

Monday, January 30th, 2012


CheckINN Direct is the perfect lodging solution for companies that love bargainsRoad warriors, changes are ahead on the roads you travel – starting in California – and they’ll be here sooner than you think. The stringent new standards that the state passed on Friday are designed to put lots more emission-free vehicles on the road.

The goals that California’s Air Resources Board set on Jan. 27 may mean that someday you’ll be charging your electric vehicle each night when you stay at a CheckINN Direct hotel. The new rules require: 

  • Starting in 2025, 1 in 7 new cars sold in the state must be electric or otherwise have zero emissions (the acronym ZEV stands for zero-emissions vehicle).
  • Also by 2025, cutting pollution by smog by 75% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of today’s standards. Automakers were on board with California’s regulators for the greenhouse gas decision, which is expected to be a national standard.
  • By 2050, 87% of cars on the road must be zero-emission vehicles.

The regulations go into effect with on new vehicle models coming out in 2017. By 2025, that’s expected to mean an estimated 1.4 million ZEV vehicles will be traveling the state’s highways.

So what is a ZEV, anyway? While a bicycle technically is a zero-emissions vehicle, the term typically means battery-powered electrical vehicles or hydrogen-powered vehicles that use a fuel cell.

In addition to cutting down on air pollution, the vehicles typically get mileage ranging from 90 to more than 110 MPGe (since no gas in involved, that means miles per gallon equivalent).

The Nissan Leaf was one of the first all-electrics on the market, with orders now being accepted in 30 state markets.

The 100% electric Mitsubishi I toured the West Coast last fall and is expected to arrive early this year. Meanwhile, Ford’s 5-passenger Focus Electric launched last November in California and the New York/New Jersey area with availability being expanded to 14 more launch markets this year.

General Motors is charging ahead in the market, too – late last year, GM announced the roll-out of its all-electric Chevrolet Spark in 2013.

Who knows? Within 10 years, packing your workforce travel bags may mean including your car charger as well as your CheckINN Card.

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Posted in Green Business Travel | No Comments »

Business Travelers: Are You Paying Too Much for Hotels?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

 Keep hotel costs for employee travel under control with CheckINN DirectNow that the first month of the New Year has sped by, ask yourself: Are you saving as much money on your company’s workforce lodging as you could this year?

Saving money on your employees’ hotel stays is what CheckINN Direct from CLC Lodging is all about. We’re talking discounts of 20-40% off hotels’ lowest published rates, thanks to the negotiating power CLC leverages from its purchases of more than 10 million room nights a year for clients.

Not surprisingly, CheckINN Direct’s deeply discounted rates are exactly what our customers love most about the program. After all, who isn’t looking for ways to cut company costs?

Here’s what one CheckINN Direct advocate told us after saving nearly $7,000 on employee lodging in just six weeks:

“At one hotel, I had negotiated a rate of $100 a night. Your rate is $55 plus tax. That’s really noticeable…I can look at your Web site and instantly see which hotels are within my price range, so I no longer need to call around to get rate quotes.”

In other words, if you’ve got drivers, installers, construction crews or other employees frequently on the road, you can pay less for hotels AND save yourself time finding hotels and negotiating rates.

Not bad, huh? Particularly when CheckINN Direct requires are no contract commitments or annual minimum usage requirements.

2012 is just getting started, but there’s no need to waste any more time paying more for a hotel room than you have to. You easily can make 2012 the year that you get your company travel costs under control. In fact, you can sign up immediately.

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Posted in Tips for Workforce Travelers | No Comments »

Workforce Travelers’ Budget-Wise Guide to Fuel Economy

Thursday, January 26th, 2012


Enjoy lower gas prices while searching for business travel hotel bargainsIf your company budget includes plans for a new vehicle for your workforce travels this year, CheckINN Direct recommends the free 2012 Fuel Economy Guide put out by the U.S. Department of Energy. The time you spend checking it out could help your business save money in the long run – and we know CheckINN Direct members are big advocates of saving money on the road!

The Fuel Economy Guide displays city and highway mileage for most 2012 vehicles, and shows you how much the vehicles cost to drive. Plus, in the 2008–2012 electronic fuel economy guides, the annual fuel cost estimates are updated weekly to match national average prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.

With more and more electric vehicles hitting the roadways each year, the guide now includes plug-in vehicles so you can review gas-only and electric-only mileage estimates.

What you won’t find: SUVs or passenger vans that carry a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds. Or, other vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or a curb weight of over 6,000 pounds.

Also available for prospective buyers: an interactive online tool to help you find and compare cars. It lets you browse by year, make and model; compare vehicles side-by-side, and check out hybrid, diesel and alternative fuel options. Just for fun, click on the link that takes you to what are considered the best and worst vehicles out there.

Not in the market for a new vehicle, but want to make sure you’re fuel-efficient on the road? Check out these gas-saving tips from the Federal Trade Commission.


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Posted in Green Business Travel, Money-Saving Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Fight Higher Hotel Prices in 2012 With A Lodging Strategy

Monday, January 23rd, 2012


If your company has drivers, crews, installers, field reps and others who hit the road regularly for their jobs, this is the year you’re going to need a lodging strategy. Based on some key hotel industry reports released today, it’s going to be the only way to stay competitive.

The PwC U.S. Lodging Industry Forecast predicts these trends for 2012:

  • Higher demand
  • Rising room rates
  • Occupancy at levels not seen since 2007

PwC sees occupancy levels going up to 60.9% this year, the highest since 2007.

Meanwhile, Hotel News Now reported today that STR said U.S. hotels ended 2011 with increases in all three key performance indicators:

  • Occupancy rose 4.4% to 60.1%
  • Average daily rate was up 3.7% to $101.64
  • Revenue per available room was up 8.2% to $61.06

Smart companies will put their travel volume to work for them to negotiate low room rates. They also will stay on top of their lodging spend to ensure employees are staying in hotels that meet company travel budget guidelines.

Or, make it easy and put your workforce lodging in CheckINN Direct’s hands. It’s a no-contract lodging program that saves you 20-40% on hotels’ lowest published rates, no matter whether you have 1 or 1,000 travelers. Find out more.

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Posted in CLC Workforce Lodging, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

Find the Lowest Rates at 10,000 Hotels for Business Travel

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Want to know the hotels that are in the CLC Lodging hotel network for CheckINN Direct members? There’s an easy way to check – and it gives you an idea of pricing, too.

Simply go to the Find A Hotel tool on CheckINN Direct’s home page. Enter the City/State or ZIP Code for your company’s travel destination.

You instantly get an overview of the hotels in the area where your workforce travelers can save 20-40% once your business signs up for CheckINN Direct.

Plus, you’ll see how many participating hotels are in the CLC Lodging network in your travel area. The tool also tells you the savings range you can expect, depending on the hotel you and your travelers choose.

Don’t forget that CheckINN Direct’s Lowest Rate Guarantee ensures that you’re paying the lowest rate. If you find a lower qualifying rate, CheckINN Direct will pay you the difference and give you $30 in CheckINN Dollars to use for your next stay.

Have fun checking out the Find A Hotel tool. If you like what you see, it’s easy to become a CheckINN Direct member!

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Posted in CLC Hotels For Workforce Travelers | No Comments »

How to Cut Your Company Costs for Hotel Stays

Thursday, January 19th, 2012


Many of the small business cost-cutting fundamentals that Jim Blasingame writes about in his Small Business Advocate blog this week can be applied to how CheckINN Direct can improve your company’s lodging administration this year.

For example, this one: “Outsourcing is a best practice. Call a planning meeting and ask this question about every task in your operation: “Must this be done in-house?” Everything that does not directly “touch” a customer is a noncore competency and a candidate for outsourcing.”

If your staff is spending too much time finding hotels, negotiating rates and managing hotel receipts for your employees on the road, simplify the tasks with CheckINN Direct. Signing up lets you, in effect, outsource much of your company lodging administration efforts, but without a contract or minimum use requirement.

Its online directory features more than 10,000 hotels and provides member rates that are pre-negotiated to save your company 20-40% off hotels’ lowest published rates. Plus, once you put the CheckINN Card in your travelers’ hands, every lodging invoice is posted to your online account, saving lots of time and hassles when you’re doing expense reconciliation.

Another suggestion from Blasingame’s list: “Employees spend most of your cash. Ask them to identify ways to find efficiencies and maximize margins. Install these into the new year’s budget and operation.”

CheckINN Direct cuts your cash outlay by directing your travelers to cost-effective lodging that meets your company travel budget. With more than 10,000 participating hotel locations, your travelers may find they can stay in the same hotels they’re currently using, but will pay significantly less. The hotel room is billed to the credit card you register when you sign up for CheckINN Direct, cutting your per diem expenses.

Get more insights from all of Blasingame’s small business tips, and consider whether your business is making the most of its cash this year. CheckINN Direct can get you going in the right direction. Find out how it works.

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Posted in CLC Workforce Lodging, Workforce Travel | No Comments »

CheckINN Direct Members: Tips On Electronics Ahead

Thursday, January 12th, 2012


Not many CheckINN Direct members likely make it to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas in 1.86 million square feet of exhibit space. But it’s always good for small businesses like yours to keep up on the latest electronic gadgets that are showcased at the show so you’ll know what’s coming soon — and what it might mean for your company.

So what was hot at this year’s show, wrapping up this week? John Brandon’s report for Inc. identifies key trends: including:

Expect 4G signals to become the norm for your next smartphone. They’ll bring lightning quick speed to video downloads and make video conferencing smoother than previously possible. You’ll be able to move swiftly across the Web and Internet back-ups will be easier than ever.

Smart phones also are going to be working harder on your behalf, including for productivity like word processing and online accounting. They’ll be more like notebook computers than ever before, complete with full-size keyboards. One version on CES view, the Astrix 4G, uses a docking station to connect to a desktop monitor and keyboard.

Electric cars are moving from concept to reality. Ford chose CES to roll out its electric Ford Focus. In recent weeks, the Chevy Volt has been arriving at dealer showrooms. As Brandon notes, businesses may want to start considering the idea of electric fleets to lower fuel costs.

Hope you’re already on top of keeping your workforce travel costs low. That’s what CheckINN Direct is all about. No need to get to Vegas to find out how it works – read all about it now.


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Year-End Hotel Rates Were Up 4.3% Over Last Year

Monday, January 9th, 2012


Rising hotel prices make lodging savings card program like CheckINN Direct even more valuable to workforce travelersDid you notice hotel rates going up for your workforce travel last year? Here are the facts, according to what the L.A. Times recently reported:

“At the end of December, hotel rates nationwide were up 4.3% from a year earlier, to an average daily rate of $107.56, according to a study released Friday by STR Global, a hotel research firm in Nashville.”

Bottom line: There’s never been a better time to start getting your workforce lodging costs under control.

Try putting the CLC Lodging Savings Card in your company travelers’ hands. With no contracts or minimum usage requirements, there’s nothing to lose – but lots of $$$ to save since the Card brings hotel savings of 20-40%.

Starting in 2008, the economic recession hit the hotel industry hard as many companies cut back on business travel. Then hotel rates started to go back up in Q2 2010 when more travelers hit the road, especially business travelers.

Now nearly two years since that resurgence got under way, higher demand will continue to push rates higher. TravelClick, a hotel industry data provider, forecasts rates going up 3-5% in cities like Houston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami and Charlotte, the Times story said.

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Fight Back Against Higher Hotel Costs for Business Travel

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Workforce travelers can expect rising prices and occupancy at U.S. hotels this year. That’s the indication from early reports as the New Year gets under way.

Based on actual hotel bookings from Q4 2011 through Q3 2012, here’s the outlook that was released this week from TravelClick’s December 2011 North American Hospitality Review:

“Hotels will continue to see strong growth in 2012, primarily driven by rate increases and strong, steady demand for hotel rooms” … “The business travel segment continues to be strong and group business shows slow but positive occupancy gains. Overall occupancy has consistently improved over the past 26 consecutive months and as demand begins to plateau, hotels need to increase rates to leverage increasing demand and maximize revenue.”

Sounds like companies with workforce travel will be smart to get ahead of the curve. Let the CLC Lodging Savings Card save you 20-40% on hotels’ Lowest Published Rates – every time your employees stay in a hotel.

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Posted in Workforce Travel | No Comments »