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Staying Sane During Holiday Driving

December 17th, 2015

December 2015 Blog ImageAs Americans, crossing county and state lines is an unavoidable part of our holiday vacation. Packing up the car, loading up the family, and fighting through traffic can prove to be a real hurdle to holiday enjoyment. Even when you’re driving solo, holiday and winter driving can pose quite a few problems during this busy time. Two of the worst frequent driver behaviors during this time are “failure to keep in proper lane or running off the road” and “driving too fast for conditions” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Information Institute stresses the importance of leaving more distance than usual between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, especially if you’re following a motorcycle or smaller car. The Institute also  says to be cautious when driving over bridges and shady roadways, since they are often icier than other parts of the road.

To stay safe and sane, check in with a CLC lodging specialist for custom solutions that will save you time and money. Our expert technology and friendly customer service specialists can help you cross at least one thing off of your holiday to-do list.

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The Dangers of Falling Asleep at the Wheel

November 1st, 2015

Drowsy DrivingNovember 2015 Blog Image Awareness week is November 1-8, 2015, so this is the perfect time to spread the message that inadequate or insufficient sleep can impair drivers as badly as alcohol. You may know the classic signs of feeling sleepy, such as yawning, but did you know that irritability and wandering thoughts can also be red flags?  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the drivers in the highest risk categories are young drivers, night shift workers, people with untreated sleep disorders, business travelers, and commercial drivers. The Foundation also cites $12.5 billion in monetary losses from drowsy driving accidents.

Happily, you can take steps to prevent these sometimes deadly incidents, including checking into one of CLC’s 17,000 hotels nationwide. With the Check-INN card, you don’t even need a reservation—just walk right in and receive up to 40% on workforce travel.

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The End of Fleet Maintenance Crises?

October 28th, 2015

In June 2010, we blogged about an up-and-coming technology: vehicle telematics. It seemed too goodOctober 2015 Blog Picture to be true; Automotive Fleet reported that it could help companies reduce their carbon footprint, including fuel savings of 10 percent. A study by Frost and Sullivan predicted that the growth of fleet telematics would reach $700 million by 2015.

So what kind of impact has this technology made on fleet maintenance and repair costs? Thanks to a recent article by Entrepreneur magazine, we now have a some new insight. Using fleet vehicle powerhouse UPS as a case study, the article cites a remarkable 50% cost reduction on preventative maintenance over
the last five years. The company also saw improvement in vehicle reliability and driver accountability.

Although UPS uses a sophisticated proprietary software, anyone can access similar off-the-shelf technology for a reasonable cost. Just like vehicle telematics, partnering with CLC is a smart choice that will save your company time and effort.

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Managed Travel Alternative

September 4th, 2014

Business travel management programs have come a long way over the years but, managed travel is still not meeting every requirement that business travelers want.

In a recent article on Business Travel News, the article states that the elements of managed travel include online tools, visibility of noncompliant bookings and internal budgeting assistance. Many companies are allowing their employees to search online for the hotel they would like to stay in, giving them a few guidelines to follow. Allowing the employees to book their own hotel room can create more work for your company. Business Travel News explains, “This concept will increase travel costs, increase productivity costs and lose valuable data, from both a risk-management and a supplier optimization standpoint.” Travel program administrators will spend more time handling expense reports and monitoring program guidelines if done this way.

The alternative? Implement a travel management program that will free up your administrator’s time. CLC Lodging provides a directory of hotels to your company that fall within your company’s preferred suppliers and negotiated rate. Your employees will check-in with their CLC CheckINN card at authorized hotels, and CLC Lodging takes over from there. Each bill is run through a 52 point audit to ensure the hotel stay was authorized and that the company will only be billed for room & tax. At that point, your company will be billed and provided with consolidated reporting.

While savings remain the major objective, the traveler experience is also top of mind as technology and data offer new opportunities for user-friendly services that support the travel program. CLC Lodging’s Hotel Locater App allows business travelers to access the CLC hotel directory from their smart phone so they can easily find a hotel when they are on the road.

CLC Lodging offers many benefits that conform to the purchasing behaviors of your company. Click here to request more information.

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Travel Expenditures Result in Increased Profits

July 30th, 2014

Travel is just part of business for many companies. In industries where crews must be sent to the site to carry out their work, choosing to not travel is simply not an option. For many companies there are alternatives, such as online meetings and video conferencing. However, recent studies suggest that even when alternatives to direct travel are available, they may not be the best option.

A recent study by Oxford Economics clearly indicated that business travel directly leads to an increase in both corporate revenue and profits. The study found that every dollar invested in business travel results in $12.50 in added revenues and $3.80 in new profits.

“This shows that companies need to appreciate the effects of certain types of cost cutting,” says Adam Sacks, managing director of Oxford Economics USA. “The research informs us that when a company reduces its travel budget, it loses both revenue and profits, giving competitors a real advantage.”

The study indicates that if a company eliminated its business travel, corporate profits would drop 17 percent in the first year.

With budgets tighter, a greater emphasis is being placed on measuring the impact of meetings. “There is no reason to have a meeting unless you want the audience to do something differently – sell more, learn more, do more,” Beauchine says. “If you can’t measure whether the meeting led to new action, you will be unlikely to get the same budget again.”

Increasing evidence is mounting about the types of situations that are most effectively handled face-to-face. Group processes and outcomes that require coordination, consensus, timing and persuasion of others are better accomplished up close and personal. Some studies have found face-to-face meetings were most effective for negotiating important contracts and understanding and listening to important customers. Anything with new customers, closing sales, and improving the top line is still best done face-to-face.

When the option is available, travel budgets have historically been one of the first things to get cut when companies begin looking at ways to save money. However, with increasing evidence that travel related budget cuts have such a strong impact on the bottom line, many companies are looking for ways to continue traveling while reducing travel costs. Whether travel is mandatory for your company or you simply do not want to risk losing up to 17% in profits, CLC Lodging can help mitigate the cost and consequently some of the pain points associated with business related travel.

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The AEC Industry and BIM

October 8th, 2013

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is no longer a relatively new process of generating and managing building data to increase efficiency and yield better structures. It is quickly becoming an industry standard and is here to stay.

Over the last ten years, the Architect, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry has been working to integrate BIM technology into the process of construction. The integration of BIM is slowly eliminating many of the impediments that slow the building process. Companies that have embraced the technology are already reaping the rewards.  Older methods that create the biggest roadblocks on the jobsite are being revised and eliminated.  The information that the utilization of BIM provides is significantly more accurate and in-depth. The advent of BIM integrates the entire design and construction team creating a better series of checks and balances and thereby reducing litigious concerns for all members of the team.

In the past, the designer and the builder were more closely tied, often one in the same. Building projects took decades, even lifetimes. Over time, strict divisions of design and construction developed and risk transfer became as important as quality and service in the building industry.

Eventually the AEC industry began creating simple boxes out of rectangular components defined by these divisions. Complexity became too risky. The structure was made of steel and bolted in straight lines by one division of labor. The facades are attached to the structure by yet another and so on and so forth. Dignified guilds with apprenticeships have all but disappeared and been replaced by semi-skilled workers, with less passion and expertise in what they were producing.

Today, the connection between designer and builder is healing through BIM and the design-build delivery method. The ability to model the project and then use that model to manufacture components before delivery to the jobsite is not only introducing art back into process, but it is also cutting costs and time during the building process.

The importance of cost cutting, and accelerated schedules as a function of cost cutting, are certainly here to stay. As a result those in the AEC industry must strive to replace the passion for design without eliminating the cost reductions that have accompanied changes to the industry for the past several decades.

Another change to the AEC industry has occurred, primarily in the past 100 years, and that is the need for architects, engineers, and contractors to travel to jobsites. If you are in the AEC industry then you need every competitive edge you can find. Without a workforce lodging partner like CLC Lodging you are over spending on your hotel expenses. Businesses in the AEC industry that use CLC Lodging regularly save 20-40% off of the Lowest Published Rate at hotels all across the nation. Only CLC clients are eligible for the deeply discounted rates.

Your company will save time and money with the online account that tracks your company’s lodging invoices, an online directory showing more than 10,000 hotels where the card is accepted, and a Lowest Rate Guarantee.

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

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The Secrets behind Hotel Fees

June 25th, 2013

When you check out of a hotel, you may see additional line items detailing hotel fees. This is not a new concept that has been implemented by hotels. In fact, hotel fees have always existed but within the last few years it is more common to see the fees separate from the room rate on hotel charge summaries. Separating the extra fees from the room rate allows consumers to customize their stay and choose which amenities they want to use and not be charged for amenities they are not using. One thing you can do to prepare yourself is calling the hotel before the stay. Ask what fees they charge outside of the room rate and tax. Asking questions will prepare you for unexpected charges and help you save money. Learn more about hotel fees below:

  • Early check-in and check-out or cancellation fee: You may run into these fees if your lodging plans change at the last minute. As a CLC Lodging customer, when you stay in our network hotels, you can take advantage of 24 hour length of stay and last minute cancellation so you will not experience this fee.
  • Minibar items: Most people know that items in the minibar aren’t free, but you may also run into a restocking fee. Ask the front desk before you grab something from the minibar if you want to avoid these potential fees. 
  • WiFi charges: Many hotels have free WiFi but some have tiered WiFi charges. Check with the hotel on their internet policy to determine if you will be charged to use high speed internet versus basic internet access.
  • Gym fee: There may be a fee for the use of their gym. If you are staying with a hotel for an extended period of time, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for a discount on your gym use.
  • Baggage holding: Some hotels have a baggage holding fee for each bag you want to leave at the front desk.

As aCLCLodging customer, you are only charged for the room rate, tax, and fee when you hand the front desk yourCLCCheckINN card. Any additional fees or charges must be charged separately. This feature gives business owners an advantage of paying for the room rate and not the extra amenities.

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

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Trends and Tips in Business Travel

May 22nd, 2013

Business travel can be very frustrating, especially when travelers check out of hotels and notice unexpected charges on their receipt. Hotel bills have included unexpected fees for years but, in today’s highly competitive market business travelers and their companies now need complete rate transparency. With the CLC Lodging program, travelers know what their total cost will be whenever they select one of our partner hotels.  While searching our online listing of network hotels, travelers can view a total charge summary for their upcoming stay.  This summary is essentially a ‘sample receipt’ which lists the total charges for the duration of your stay – it includes the hotel room rate, the transaction fee and taxes.

In order to keep costs down, companies are making changes to their travel policies. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted that business travelers are being more frugal. The article explains a popular trend, “Companies are also trimming their lists of preferred hotels down to just four or five in a given city, using the increased volume to negotiate better rates.” While this is a smart idea, it can create more work to try to negotiate with the hotels. Companies are realizing that they can save that time by passing the work on to CLC Lodging. We have pre-negotiated rates with over 10,000 hotels and we pass on those savings to our customers.

Another trend that is becoming more and more apparent is the increased travel by Generation Y. The travel industry is making changes as the Baby Boomers are traveling less and Generation Y is hitting a peak in business travel. Generation Y is full of technology savvy travelers that use their smartphone as a means of communication and a source of information. Approximately 76% of CLC Lodging customers are taking advantage of the CLC Hotel Locater app to ease the process of searching for hotels.

Knowing where you can access fast, dependable Internet becomes very important when work must be completed while traveling. Stay at your most productive and book your hotels by knowing which ones have free internet connections. When choosing your hotel using the CLC Lodging website check the box for “Internet” to limit your hotel selections to those with internet connectivity.

A job that keeps you on the road probably keeps you out of the gym. But studies have shown that not taking care of your body properly only promotes a bad work ethic in the long run. Eating healthy and getting the proper amount of exercise gives you more energy for traveling (and who doesn’t need that!) and serves as an escape from travel and work-related stresses. Your best bet? Check out your hotel’s fitness center or take part in a walking or jogging tour of your destination city.

Eating breakfast at the hotel is convenient, but can be costly. However, stopping at the coffee shop down the street can be time consuming and sometimes just as costly. Many hotels offer free breakfast and when you select your hotel on the CLC Lodging website you can click the box for “Breakfast” to limit your selections to only hotels that offer a free breakfast.

Travel buyers are studying transactions more carefully to cut costs and improve returns. Small and medium sized businesses look for ways to manage their travel expenditures in more sophisticated ways. The need to track bookings and manage travel expenses continues to grow in the increasingly competitive market. CLC Lodging’s online reporting and travel management tools provide a convenient and free resource to help businesses of all sizes manage their travel expenses.

The cost of fuel is a constant source of frustration to fleet owners and managers. Recent polls have shown that 78% of fleet operators are frustrated with fueling costs. While the money saved on lodging expenses when you use CLC Lodging can offset that expense, our parent company FleetCor also has some other options that may help you with your rising fuel costs. Fuelman (a FleetCor company) offers a nationwide network of low-priced fuel and maintenance locations. You can also track and monitor fleet fuel expenses by vehicle and driver and consolidate all your fleet expenses with one report, making it easier to manage your business. Finally, just like CLC Lodging you can access your account anywhere, anytime with a detailed online account management tool.

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Technology Born from the Earth

April 17th, 2013

Last year CLC Lodging released “Hotel Locater” applications for both Android and iPhone. Whether you carry an Android or an iPhone it was literally born out of the soil. Embedded in the rocks of our planet are the rare earth minerals critical to the manufacture of smart phones. Minerals such as neodymium are used in magnets that make speakers vibrate to create sound. Europium is a phosphor that creates a bright red on a phones screen. Cerium gets put into a solvent that workers use to polish devices as they move along the assembly line. Without these elements our mobile phones would weigh 3 pounds. These rare earth elements are also a critical component to most of our modern technology today from batteries to hybrid cars – even our televisions. They are a critical component of almost all green technology. Rare earth elements are neither rare, nor earth, however.  The name dates to the 18th and 19th centuries, when the elements were first isolated out of actually rare minerals. “Rare earth” stuck, but the elements themselves turned out to be pretty common, mixed in small concentrations into rock the world over.

Up until the 1990s, most rare earth elements came from the United States, especially Mountain Pass, a mine in California near Los Angeles. By 2003, Mountain Pass had closed and no rare earths were coming out of the United States at all. The problem, though, isn’t supply. The U.S. still has plenty of rare earth elements left to mine—in Mountain Pass and elsewhere. Instead, those mines were simply driven out of business, undercut on price by Chinese companies that had lower labor costs, and a near complete disregard for the environmental impact of mining operations. Today, China is producing more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth minerals, where environmental laws have historically been scant and enforcement lax giving them an unfair advantage over the United States where the environment matters.

So with our concern for the environment can U.S. companies compete with Chinese rivals? The Chinese government has ramped up environmental oversight in recent years. Although, many suspect the move was also intended to drive up prices. While it’s true that the environmental cost of creating a smart phone has been immense, U.S. companies are developing ways to mine the necessary rare-earth minerals with significantly less environmental impact and at a competitive cost in the marketplace.  Mountain Pass mining is underway again and companies like Molycorp are redefining our countries place in the industry. In Elk Creek, Nebraska, Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp. is close to starting a new mining operation that will be a boom to the local economy. Regulatory pressure, coupled perhaps with the market forces of companies like Molycorp and Quantam, could be the start of a cleaner rare-earth mining industry led by the United States.

If you are in the Mining and Mineral industry in the U.S. then you need every competitive edge you can find. Businesses that use CLC Lodging regularly save 20-40% savings off hotels’ Lowest Published Rates for their workforce travelers. Only CLC clients are eligible for the deeply discounted rates.

Your company will save time and money with the online account that tracks your company’s lodging invoices, an online directory showing more than 10,000 hotels where the card is accepted, and a Lowest Rate Guarantee.

Visit our website at www.clclodging.com to find out more.

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I-Phone and Android Apps are Here!

March 11th, 2013

Did you know that CLC Lodging now has a free Hotel Locater iPhone and Android app? It is now even easier to locate your nearest CLC hotel while you are on the go. Just go to your Apple’s iTunes store or your Android’s Google Play store, search for “CLC Lodging Hotel Locator.” Download your free app today and join the nearly 10,000 CLC members who are already taking advantage of the new hotel locater apps. You will be immediately able to search for CLC hotels near you using your phone’s built-in GPS. You will also be able to take advantage of many other features:

  • Easily search from CLC’s broad network of hotels using the current location or by entering a city, address, or ZIP detail
  • Map hotels using GPS technology and get directions in seconds
  • Fine tune hotel searches by distance and rate ranges
  • Toggle hotel search results quickly between a hotel list and map view
  • Filter by breakfast availability, high speed internet and truck parking
  • View hotel details, amenities and photos
  • One-tap dial to the hotel to make reservations
  • Access CLC’s 24-hour Traveler Support Center support line.

“More than 90% of our customers take their mobile devices when they travel. Our goal is to offer CLC customers a streamlined, fast and friendly hotel search interface while on the road or when they don’t have access to a personal computer,” said Tim Downs, President at CLC lodging. “Our customers are busy road warriors. The ability to instantly map and get directions to the closest CLC hotels is a tremendous benefit to our travelers.”

To start saving on business lodging, call (866) 857-9783 or e-mail: sales@clclodging.com. Smaller companies can receive free membership by using the keycode “APPNEWS” during registration at www.CheckINNcard.com or by calling 1-866-857-9747, Option 1.

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