The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed new rules for wireless 9-1-1 calls for tracking specific locations during emergencies to aid in improving response times.
Contrary to popular belief, emergency response systems cannot track your exact location when you dial 9-1-1 from cellular phones. Here are some steps to take to ensure the rescuers will be able to find you in case of an emergency:
- Be sure to give the dispatcher the city you are in and then the state of the emergency.
- Give the dispatcher your cell phone number in case you get disconnected. Otherwise, you will need to call them back as they will not have your number.
- Leave your cell phone on after disconnecting with the dispatcher in case they need to call you back.
Registering your cell phone number with your permanent residence and others you may have is a smart alternative for those without a landline. This service is completely free and only takes 5-10 minutes to complete. All of the information is confidential and will only be used by 9-1-1 dispatchers in emergencies. Adding or changing information is a breeze too – just log in to your account from any computer or wireless device.
Don’t get caught off guard in case of emergency register your cell phone today!
Protect Yourself from Rental Fraud: Three Steps to Take Before Reserving Your Next Corporate Housing Property
Technology creates ease of use when it comes to reserving a corporate rental; however, it also increases the potential for fraud. Before signing any rental or leasing documents, be sure to take these three important steps first:
- Run a Google Search on the Company. Look at any reviews about the company, review the website(s) to ensure a professional vibe, engage on their social media networking sites, and read any articles published about the company before finalizing anything.
- NEVER WIRE MONEY!!!! Alarm bells should be ringing in your head if a company or private person is asking you to wire funds. This is a tell-tale sign that the rental being offered is fraudulent. Legitimate rental owners will either ask for a credit card or check/money order/cashier’s check to reserve the unit.
- Use Your Gut. If the rental rate seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Research extended stay hotels or other corporate housing companies’ daily rates in the city or area you are looking to rent before you get talked into signing a long- or short-term lease. Also, ask to walk the unit before committing. If you will be renting a unit without being able to view the property first, then be sure to ask for current pictures of the unit with a date and time stamp.
If everything checks out, be sure to have the leasing agent or property owner go over the lease documents in detail with you before signing them. When in doubt, always ask questions first before making a commitment that you may not be able to break.
Try comparing Corporate Housing and Extended Stay Hotels. While both options offer short-term, furnished accommodations, these are typically the only similarities.
What is Corporate Housing? Corporate housing companies offer fully furnished rentals generally located in residential areas. These properties provide travelers with larger square footage, a full service kitchen, and 24 hour customer service. If you are planning on staying somewhere longer than a few weeks, the cost of corporate housing is typically cheaper over extended stay hotels. The average stay is one month or more (the average corporate housing stay was 83 nights in 2010, according to data compiled by The Highland Group for the Corporate Housing Providers Association).
What are Extended Stay Hotels? Extended Stay Hotels provide renters with basic furnishings, including a small kitchen; however, the size of the rooms are not as spacious as one would find in a corporate housing property, nor as encompassing to what the traveler’s needs may be. For example, some extended stay properties may pride themselves on having free high-speed wireless Internet, which is usually only offered in the common areas and not in the guest’s room. However, if the traveler wishes to use the Internet in his or her room, then the overall price of the hotel room increases substantially, anywhere from $10-25 per day fee. In a corporate rental, the rental rate is all inclusive. There are other hidden fees as well, including lodging tax fees, tipping and parking, to name a few.
While these differences between an extended stay and a corporate rental are significant, Paul Bates, president of Corporate Accommodations, Inc. located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was quoted in the 2009 Mobility article “Corporate Housing Myths Debunked” saying he believes that “…these superficial differences do not really define the true disparities between corporate housing and extended stay hotels…corporate housing provides complete temporary housing solutions within a stable residential setting unlike extended stay hotels, which are surrounded by an open parking lot and are entirely filled by transient guests.”
Understanding these differences between corporate housing and extended stay hotels can provide renters with a more pleasant stay and save a company thousands of dollars overall. However, companies and individuals need to become aware of corporate housing as a lodging alternative and demand it during their business travels.
With our ever changing economy, business travelers can expect to see more airline mergers, and they can expect to pay more in taxes, and fees too.
We’d like to share with you some recent developments that business travelers should be aware of.
If you are planning on flying American Airlines in the coming months, you may want to proceed cautiously as the company is rumored to file for bankruptcy. Most likely a bankruptcy won’t impact your flight, but in the past, when an airline has filed bankruptcy, flights have been cut and re-arranged. Flyer beware.
In other airline news, you may already know about the recent merger between United Airlines and Continental. Since the merger, the two companies are planning on having one reservation system for all of their bookings, starting at the beginning of 2012. Whenever a huge switch like this occurs, issues and longer waits are always a possibility so keep this in mind when traveling these airlines in the new year. If you are a member of the Red Carpet Club (United) or the President’s Club (Continental) these have also been merged to form the new United Club.
Further, as you may recall, last year most major airlines imposed higher fees for high peak travel days. Despite trends from recent years, we have seen airlines actually decrease their fees for peak travel days which are: November 27, 28, December 22, 23, 26, and January 2. If traveling for business or pleasure, try to book your travel now and beware the prices on peak travel days may be higher and worth avoiding if possible.
Business traveling by air isn’t easy – we hope these tips will make the travel burden a bit easier in the coming months. Good luck!