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Archive for June, 2012

Business Travel News Interviews CLC’s President, Tim Downs

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

CLC Lodging in the News

CLC President Interviewed by Business Travel News

For organizations with workforce travel, Business Travel News is an important resource. It offers the latest trends and news flashes for business travel – keeping readers in the know.  CLC Lodging President Tim Downs recently granted an interview to Business Travel News author Michael Baker. For the full article, go here.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview.

What’s your approach to managing lodging?

There are three ways we help companies manage travel: rate, operational efficiency and administration. The [travelers] have high- and recurring-volume travel, and a lot of them don’t carry a credit card. On the administration side, we help with the billing and payment, consolidate the billing and keep track of records for all kinds of purposes, then deliver reports and do all the time-consuming tasks, like reporting, auditing and everything else associated with lodging. On the operating efficiency side, we also develop hotel networks that are suited to that customer base or traveler. It might be location or quality of the hotels, or rate range.

How do you keep rates down in seller’s markets?

We have long-term relationships with a lot of our hotel partners. We also don’t sign up every hotel on the block. With 51,000-plus hotels in the U.S.—we do regular, recurring business with about 17,000—we pick and choose and direct people. Our business travelers also are very low cost to the hotel. They don’t book hotels online, they’re regular and recurring, they come in, get their rest, eat and get back to work, so I think hotels really appreciate that aspect of the business.

What sorts of hotels are in your program?

It’s economy, midscale and upper midscale. We have some upper upscale hotels, but primarily, it’s in that economy to upper midscale range. That’s more suited to our traveler types.

Interested in seeing how your company could benefit from CLC Lodging’s hotel management program? Request more information today.

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How to Evaluate a Workforce Lodging Program

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

Evaluating Hotel Programs

Know what to look (and look out) for before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Look For:

  • An Industry Leader. How long has the lodging management company been in business? Does it have an established hotel network?
  • Program Flexibility . Look for a program that offers diverse products that can serve small and medium size businesses as well as Fortune 1000 corporations.  Do you have crews or teams that stay weeks or months at a time? Do you have management employees that stay only a few nights?  Make sure you select a program that can accommodate both.
  • Volume of more than 10 million  room nights annually.  The best negotiating power comes from delivering the most volume.  Look for a lodging management company that purchases more than 10 million room nights per year. That’s $500,000,000 worth of negotiating power in your corner.
  • Traveler flexibility. Make sure your traveler has more than one option to check-in. Sign in sheets may work best for a transient work force while independent travelers may need a card.  Can your traveler walk in or reserve ahead of time? Without flexibility, compliance and savings suffer.
  • Comprehensive hotel network. With over 40,000 economy and midscale hotels in North America, you should select a provider that has at least 10,000 under contract. This creates convenience for the traveler and ensures auditable electronic billing at thousands of hotels.  Can your program provider offer a list of hotels in their network?

Avoid:

  • “Turnkey” lodging programs. “One size fits all” can indicate a lack of financial, network and operational resources to manage products that truly meet your company’s lodging needs.
  • Lack of Transparency . Does it seem like a programs’ low fee is too good to be true? It probably is. Often times, these programs make up the difference with a hidden hotel commission.  If the program makes money based on a percentage of the hotel rate, their incentives are mismatched with yours.
  • Centralized reservations. Do you have to call one number to use the program for every reservation?  What about last-minute walk-ins?  What if plans change later that night?  Can they handle the call volume?  What kind of wait times should you expect?
  • New programs. Establishing a hotel management program sounds easy, but do you want to risk your business with a program still trying to establish its reputation with hotels and customers?

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Hotel Rates Rising in 2012

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hotels are having a record-breaking year – according to Ed Watkins from Lodging Hospitality. According to analyses performed on publicly traded lodging companies, overall revenue per available room (RevPAR) has shown gains at major chains anywhere from 6.8 to 11%. RevPAR is a performance metric in the hotel industry, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

Hotel Rates Rising in 2012

Get control of your rising hotel rates with a hotel lodging program.

This isn’t the only indicator that business travelers will continue to see higher hotel rates and challenging rate negotiations. Business Travel News showed the same results in their 2012 Business Travel Survey. According to Advito, a unit of BCD Travel, the world’s third-largest travel management company, corporate rates are up in the U.S. 5 to 6% and anywhere from 2 to 20% internationally. David Jonas writes that:

“Limited new supply and overall industry performance that is outpacing the general economy, hotel executives said they expect corporate negotiated rates to continue rising.”

What does this mean for the business owner? Is it inevitable that companies must budget more for business lodging and have less room for negotiation? Not necessarily. Informed business owners are looking for money-saving solutions. One option is to use a hotel lodging program for their workforce travel needs. Some lodging programs can get room rates more than 20% below market – significantly lowering workforce travel costs. In addition to better room rates, these smart companies also save on operational costs with efficient processes that reduce time spent on lodging and increase travel policy compliance.

Don’t know where to start? Consider CLC Lodging’s Workforce Travel Solutions. CLC purchased over 10 million room nights last year. That translates to $500,000,000 of negotiating power in your corner. Don’t hesitate – contact CLC today.

 

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