April 15, 2013
WeCar Becomes Enterprise CarShare
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the company that owns WeCar, has changed the WeCar name to Enterprise CarShare. The official change occurred on April 15th. In the coming weeks, signage and website collateral will be transitioned to the new name.
“The broad-based brand recognition associated with Enterprise is a key reason behind the move” according to Michael Kurutz, Travel Services Manager at Case Western Reserve University. “With excellent growth in Enterprise's car sharing portfolio across the country, it’s a perfect time to consolidate what has become a confusing basket of smaller brand names into one well-known major car-share brand.”
Enterprise CarShare is a good alternative for students who want to lower the cost and hassle of individual car ownership. Unlike traditional rental companies, members of Enterprise CarShare can rent when they turn 18. Pricing for members starts at $8 per hour and $36 for an overnight rental. Gasoline and up to 200 miles per day are included. State minimum insurance is also included for members without coverage. Enterprise CarShare vehicles are parked on campus for quick access.
Kurutz said the CWRU program has grown to over 170 members in the first year. “While the WeCar name and graphics are changing, the company and its reliable, convenient rental product are staying the same. That's the best news of all."
Enterprise CarShare is now available at 70 universities across the U.S., as well as a number of U.S. municipalities.
CWRU students and employees can learn more at www.enterprisecarshare.com.
February 16, 2013
Travel Costs To Rise in 2013
The cost of travel is projected to strongly increase in 2013. This is despite weaknesses in the U.S. economic recovery, downturns in Latin America, slow growth in Asia, and continued flat to negative growth in Europe. In a white paper just released by the Global Business Travel Association, a survey of major U.S. corporate travel buyers indicated price rises that included:
• 4.6 percent in domestic economy airfare, to $429 per trip;
• 8.3 percent in international economy airfare, to $1,318 per trip;
• 3.7 percent for domestic hotel rates, to $161 per night; and
• 8 percent in international hotel rates, to $297 per night.
Pricing pressures are also being felt locally. Cleveland hotel room rates are edging up due to a stronger local economy and a shrinking CBD inventory. Two major properties, The Crown Plaza (converting to Westin in 2014) and Embassy Suites (converting to rental apartments) shut down in 2012. The Horseshoe Casino has also blocked significant room nights in the Renaissance Hotel, Marriott Key Center, and Ritz Carleton properties increasing demand in remaining hotels. In addition, strong forward booking for the new Cleveland convention center threatens to absorb new room inventory coming online in the next 36 months.
With years of depressed room pricing, Cleveland hoteliers are relieved to see broad sunlit uplands ahead. But remember, CWRU employees, students, and their families can still get relief with university-negotiated hotel rates. Visit the CWRU Travel Services website for preferred-vendor discount pricing.
January 22, 2013
Beating The Rush At Southwest
Airlines make a lot of money from ancillary fees. Add-ons for more leg room, checked bags, and wi-fi literally turn airline balance sheets from red to black. U.S.-based carriers racked up an estimated $12.4 billion windfall from fees in 2012.
Swimming against the stream with its "Bags Fly Free" campaign, Southwest Airlines has differentiated itself from legacy competitors who charge non-elite customers for checked luggage. But rising labor costs and the purchase of new aircraft have put SWA under pressure to find additional ways to generate income.
The airline apparently is not sitting on its hands. While maintaining its free checked bag policy, SWA recently announced plans to allow travelers to purchase early boarding status. For $40 per flight, customers will have first crack at seats and empty overhead storage bins normally reserved for the carrier's elite frequent flyers. With some 3,300 departures per day, SWA is betting that a handful of eager early-borders on each flight will translate into a big infusion to its bottom line.
October 12, 2012
AMEX To Upgrade Card Technology
American Express has announced its intention to begin making so called "chip-and-PIN" cards available in the United States within a year. These new cards, widely used by European credit card holders, have improved security compared to the "slide-and-sign" cards typically issued in the United States. AMEX plans incentives for retailers to adopt acceptance devices for chip-and-PIN transcations beginning in October, 2013.
Rollout of the new AMEX cards will be a welcome relief for many Americans traveling abroad. While AMEX, VISA, and Mastercard merchants worldwide are required by contract to accept slide-and-sign cards, there are growing reports of consumer delay and frustration when transacting with this older generation of cards. Also, most automated transaction terminals in Europe accept only chip-and-PIN cards. These terminals are typically found in locations such as public transit centers, toll booths, and 24-hour gas stations.
AMEX has piloted chip-and-PIN cards in Canada and is currently running a small pilot program in the United States. Broader availability of the new card is expected by mid-2013. Contact Michael Kurutz in Travel Services for updates on chip-and-PIN availability for the CWRU AMEX Travel and Expense Card.
May 29, 2012
Full T&E Module Implementation Begins June 1st
Thursday May 31st will be the final day to generate CWRU paper-based travel and expense reimbursement requests. Beginning Friday June 1st, all student and employee reimbursement requests will be generated via the new PeopleSoft Travel and Expense Module. Physical receipts for the new module will be stored in the originating department/school instead of mailed to Accounts Payable. For updates and more information, visit the Travel Services T&E Module Page.
January 20, 2012
CWRU Travel Digest
Airlines spent 37% more on jet fuel in 2011 than in 2010, but still turned a profit. This was due to the industry's success in passing along higher costs as surcharges and outright airfare increases. A recent Continental/United RT from Cleveland to London Heathrow via Newark is an example. The itinerary was advertised at $580, but when taxes, fees, and surcharges were added, the price tag reached $870. Airfares themselves were up 15-20% in 2011.
Inexpensive destinations from Cleveland still include Baltimore-Washington (BWI) and Chicago-O'Hare (ORD). Roundtrips to these airports can be as low as $130 including tax. Florida destinations also are bargains. Pre-tax RT fares on Continental-United to Orlando (MCO)begin at $218. Fort Lauderdale (FLL), an alternate destination to the Miami airport, has some February-March flights starting at $228 plus taxes and fees.
There was a time when airlines adjusted schedules and equipment once per quarter. Now changes occur more frequently. For example, the Cleveland-San Francisco (SFO) route on weekdays is adjusting from one 125-passenger 737-700 aircraft per day to two 124-passenger A319s to two larger 737s all in the span of just two months. Also, watch for daily frequency changes on the popular Cleveland - Chicago-O'Hare route. Frequency goes from a maximum of 11 weekday flights to as few as two per day on the weekends.
November 29, 2011
The Season for Car Rental Savings
High-demand holiday and warm weather vacation destinations such as Florida and Arizona play havoc with personal and business travel budgets. It's a relief to know CWRU preferred vendor car rental contracts can help.
I was reminded of the value of our National Car Rental contract when recently booking a February trip to south Florida. The CWRU rate code saved over $300 on a weekly minivan rental in Fort Lauderdale! Even better, most discount coupons found on the National website can now be added to our CWRU corporate rate for even greater savings.
For those preferring an option to National or Enterprise Car Rental, Avis is offering CWRU travelers 30% off standard rates with the Avis CWRU discount code.
View all preferred car rental discount codes here on the CWRU Travel Services website.