TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:
When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:

Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. A credit cards offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.

Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.

When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.


FINDING THE BEST HOTEL RATES:
Due to the internet, the manners in which hotel rooms are procured have drastically changed over the last couple of decades. Prior to internet access, guests called hotels directly to book rooms. While some guests continue to book rooms this way, many have learned that calling a hotel directly may not be the most economical choice. However, it is also been found that hotel rates also vary a great deal from website to website, especially discount travel sites.

Hotels are in constant competition with each other for your business. The goal of every hotel is to achieve 100% occupancy. Not only are they competing with each other, they are often competing with themselves. Look at how many hotels have various hotel chain subsidiaries beneath them. They must stay competitive, but still continue to make a profit while keeping their rooms occupied. This said, many hotels offer blocks of rooms to a variety of other entities to sell. Travel agents and online brokers typically compete to sell rooms for hotels, and they receive a percentage of the purchase price. The rate disparity comes into play two ways. First, the hotel is offering rooms at their standard rates or discount club rates. Second, because hotels offer these agents and booking websites various rates, someone who is getting a larger percentage of the sale price, can afford to offer the room at a lower rate than someone who is getting a small percentage from the sale.

Finding the best room rate:
If contacting the hotel directly, ask if they have any current specials. If your travel plans are flexible, inquire about any future specials, and the specific parameters of those specials.

If you’re a ‘select’, ‘rewards’ or hotel ‘member’, mention this, and ask if they have any special discounts available for members of their programs. Additionally, if you are affiliated with a corporate account, or a roadside assistance plan which offers travel benefits, mention that too. Sometimes guests are eligible for more than one discount and can pick and choose the one that provides the greatest savings.

When placing reservations online through a hotel booking service, first find the service that offers the best deal. The best deal may not be the one which provides the lowest price, but the service with the best room guarantee, who is willing to price match. If you’ve found the room for a lower rate elsewhere, tell your preferred vendor and ask them to match the price. Several websites will even provide a 30-day guarantee against lower prices - so even after booking your reservation, stay vigilant.

Hotel rates vary so much because there are numerous entities vying to secure your business by competing with each other. With a little investigative prowess, you can secure the best rates possible for your hotel stay, despite the varying rates.
USELFUL LINKS:
State Department Travel Information
FlightAware Flight Tracking
Hotels.com
HealthIT.gov Mobile Devices Privacy and Security
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        TIP OF THE WEEK

TAKING SUMMER COURSES:

Most American schools utilize the semester system, where each class you take is typically 15 weeks in length. Summer classes, however, are much shorter - often just four or six weeks long. This compressed schedule is ideal for introductory courses, so if you need to complete a prerequisite class or a general education requirement, the summer term can be an excellent opportunity to do so. For those courses that develop a theme over a period of weeks, and that benefit from in-depth discussion and writing, a shortened summer semester can sometimes be harmful.

Ultimately, learning takes time and practice. Before you register for a class, consider the course content, and decide whether you can master it at an accelerated pace. Remember that one effect of this compressed schedule is that falling behind in class becomes even more problematic. For example, in the summer microbiology courses that I teach, we still meet twice per week, but we cover 18 chapters of the textbook in 16 class sessions, rather than in 26. Begin studying on the first day of the semester, and stay current with your homework and reading.

Also be aware that this shortened schedule makes multitasking more difficult. Take a college where 15 semester hours is normally a full course load. During the summer, a 15-hour load might mean meeting for 22 hours, with all the extra work that entails outside of the classroom. My advice? Take a lighter course load during the summer.

You should review your school’s course offerings. Look for any classes that you still need to complete in order to fulfill your degree. If you’re currently behind in your program of study, taking summer courses is a great way to catch up. Most colleges predominantly offer high-demand classes during the summer - the same classes that you may have had to forego during the fall or spring semester because they were full.

Summer courses are a great idea even if you are on schedule to graduate. If you would like to work ahead or lighten your standard semester load, taking one or more summer college classes can help you do so. For instance, many prerequisite or general education courses are commonly offered during the summer term.

With a smaller class size, your professor can give you more personal attention. This can be quite beneficial, especially if you initially find it difficult to adjust to the accelerated pace of a summer session course and require help. The more intimate learning environment may just help you excel, especially in more challenging classes.

During the summer term, you will likely be limited in the number of credits you can take. With a reduced course load, you will be able to focus more on the class or classes you’re enrolled in. This can be especially useful if you hope to ace a notoriously difficult course, like organic chemistry or calculus.



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NBC LIVE:  THE VOICE has become the most popular show on NBC.
The Voice is an American reality television singing competition broadcast on NBC. Based on the original The Voice of Holland, the concept of the series is to find new singing talent (solo or duets) contested by aspiring singers, age 15 or over, drawn from public auditions. The winner is determined by viewers by voting through telephone, Internet, SMS text, and iTunes Store purchases of artists' performances. They receive US$100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group for winning the competition. There have been six winners of the show to date: Javier Colon, Jermaine Paul, Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbery, Tessanne Chin, and Josh Kaufman.

The Voice began airing on April 26, 2011, as a spring TV season program. The show proved to be a hit for NBC and was subsequently expanded into the fall cycle when season three premiered on September 10, 2012. The series employs a panel of four coaches who critique the artists' performances. Each coach guides their teams of selected artists through the remainder of the season. They also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning coach. The original coaching panel consisted of Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. Shakira and Usher took the places of Aguilera and Green in seasons four and six. Similarly, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani will assume Green and Aguilera's positions as coaches in season seven.

LIST OF OTHER NBC LIVE POPULAR SHOWS
News and information
Meet the Press (1947-present)
Today (1952-present)
NBC Nightly News (1970-present)
Dateline NBC (1992-present)
Early Today (1999-present)
Rock Center with Brian Williams (2011-present)
Mad Money (2012-present)
Drama
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-present)
Parenthood (2010-present)
Harry's Law (2011-present)
Grimm (2011-present)
The Firm (2012-present)
Smash (2012-present)
Awake (2012-present)
Sitcoms
The Office (2005-present)
30 Rock (2006-present)
Parks and Recreation (2009-present)
Community (2009-present)
Up All Night (2011-present)
Whitney (2011-present)
Are You There, Chelsea? (2012-present)
Bent (2012-present)
Best Friends Forever (BFF) (2012-present)
Reality/non scripted
The Apprentice (2004-present)
The Biggest Loser (2004-present)
America's Got Talent (2006-present)
The Sing-Off (2009-present)
The Marriage Ref (2010-present)
The Voice (2011-present)
Love in the Wild (2011-present)
Fear Factor (2001-2006, 2011-present)
Betty White's Off Their Rockers (2012-present)
Fashion Star (2012-present)
Escape Routes (2012-present)
Soap opera
Days of our Lives (1965-present)
Late Nights
Saturday Night Live (1975-present)
Last Call with Carson Daly (2002-present)
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009-present)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992-2009; 2010-present)
Documentary
Who Do You Think You Are? (2010-present)
[edit]Game shows
Minute to Win It (2010-present)
It's Worth What? (2011-present)
Who's Still Standing? (2011-present)
Saturday morning (under the qubo banner)
Babar (2006-present)
Turbo Dogs (2008-present)
Willa's Wild Life (2009-present)
Shelldon (2009-present)
Pearlie (2010-present)
Jane and the Dragon (2012-present)
Beauty Pageants
Miss USA (2003-present)
Miss Universe (2003-present)
The PGA Tour (under the Golf Channel on NBC banner), which includes
The U.S. Open
The U.S. Women's Open
The U.S. Senior Open
The Player's Championship
French Open Tennis
Horse Racing, which includes:
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
The Kentucky Derby
The Preakness Stakes
The Belmont Stakes
Santa Anita Derby
The Hambletonian
The United States Figure Skating Championships
Major League Soccer