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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Univision is a Spanish-language television network in the United States. It has the largest audience of Spanish-language television viewers according to Nielsen ratings. Randy Falco, (CEO as of June 29, 2011) COO, has been in charge of the company since the departure of Univision Communications president and CEO Joe Uva in April 2010. In recent years the network has reached parity with the U.S.'s five major English-language television networks, and is often a strong fifth, outranking The CW, with some fourth-place weekly placings during the summer months due to the network's consistent schedule of new telenovelas all 52 weeks of the year.

Univision is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has its major studios, production facilities, and operations in Doral, Florida, a suburb of Miami. In 2009, another television studio was announced, Univision Studios, to be built in Doral. Univision is available on cable and satellite in most of the country, with local stations in over 50 markets with large Hispanic and Latino populations and a national cable network feed distributed in markets without either the availability or the demand for a locally-based station. Most of these stations air full local news and other local programming in addition to network shows, and in major markets such as Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, Univision owned-and-operated station (O&O) newscasts are equally competitive with their English-language counterparts ratings-wise.

The majority of Univision's programming consists of series produced and broadcast by Mexican broadcast network Televisa and Venezuelan broadcast network Venevision, however much of Univision's telenovelas are produced by Televisa. The network's signature program, the Saturday night variety show Sabado Gigante, hosted by Don Francisco, has aired on Univision since 1989; as such, Univision is one of only three American television networks that airs a first-run program during Saturday primetime (Fox and CBS are the only others). Situation comedies and variety shows largely make up Univision's weekend lineup.

Univision HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of the main Univision network that began operations on January 1, 2010 at 12:02 a.m./ET on its New York and Los Angeles affiliates WXTV-DT and KMEX-DT, respectively. Univision's first program to be televised in high definition was the Tournament of Roses Parade, later that day.On January 18, 2010 Univision began airing Hasta que el Dinero nos Separe in high definition, it becoming the first telenovela on the network to be so transmitted. The telenovelas Un Gancho Al Corazon and Sortilegio also began airing in high definition on that date. Most other telenovelas now air in HD as well. All of Univision's 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage was also in HD. Noticiero Univision, Primer Impacto, ¡Despierta América!, Al Punto, Mira Quien Baila, and ¡Viva la Familia! have began airing in HD as well. Some movies also air in HD. DirecTV added the East Coast HD feed on April 28, 2010. Dish Network has been broadcasting the HD feed since May 12, 2010.