Facebook blank pixel
Loading...

Traveling for the Holidays? Here’s How to Stay Stress-Free

As the holidays draw near, many are now making plans to travel and spend some quality time with family and friends. Of course, as with any other major holiday, there are some pitfalls to air travel and airport transportation during this time.

Here are our top tips to get the best travel experience possible and to make sure you have a stress-free, safe, and enjoyable holiday!

Dodge the Crowds

The holiday season is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. In fact, over 107.3 million Americans traveled by plane during the 2017 holiday season, and 6.4 million traveled by air. However, there are some things you can do to help ease the hassle and avoid the worst of the crowds. First, think carefully about the dates you are booking your travel. In addition to you potentially saving a significant amount of money by scheduling your flights on quieter travel days, it will also eliminate some of the associated stress with fewer people in the airport. If possible, try to travel as early as you can before the holidays and leave as late as you can after the New Year. If you really must travel close to the holidays, try and book an early flight that will whisk you away before large crowds and backlogs of passengers begin to accumulate at the airport.

Arrive Early

It is always a good idea to arrive early for your flight, but you should be particularly keen to do so if you are traveling over the holidays. However much time you think you need at the airport, leave more! This particularly applies if you’re travelling with kids or a large group that can slow down the check-in and security process. You should also expect that major airports, like Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, John F. Kennedy International and Los Angeles International will be extremely busy during the holidays. If you have traveled through these airports in the past, you may think you have the timing down to a fine art, but the holidays will bring longer lines through check-in and security and busier than usual amenities in the terminal building. By making sure you arrive nice and early, you’ll avoid the stress and last-minute panic of rushing for – or even missing – your flight. You can also consider reserving airport transportation from a professional chauffeured transportation service provider. At EmpireCLS, our airport transportation service ensures that you arrive to the airport with plenty of time to relax before your departure. And with decades of experience under our belt, we know how to ensure that your travels are seamless, regardless of whether or not you travel during the busy holiday season.

Take Advantage of Airline Rewards

Another sure-fire way to have a more relaxing and comfortable airport experience is by using the advantages that airline rewards programs will offer you. Once you get to a certain points threshold, you’ll be eligible for perks, such as seat upgrades, speedy check-ins, lounge access, and priority boarding. All of these little extras can really help to ease the hassle of flying over the extremely busy holiday season, and you’ll start earning points straight away! Even if you don’t qualify for any level of priority status just yet, it’s still worth checking if you can be upgraded on your flight. Oftentimes, airlines will have better seats still available and will bump you up on the basis that you are a loyal customer with a number of reward points to your name already. It’s always worth checking!

Get Up to Speed on Travel Requirements

It is important to know the rules before you fly, and with ever-changing TSA requirements, you really do want to be on top of all the latest regulations to be sure you avoid the stress of being unnecessarily delayed and potentially even missing your flight altogether. As the holiday season is such a busy travel time, it is imperative you have all your ducks in a row and don’t bring any items that are likely to be investigated or confiscated, no matter if they might seem innocuous to you. Make sure you have all your necessary travel documentation and confirmations so you avoid any last-minute issues, and be sure that you understand ID requirements depending on where you are traveling. If you are traveling outside of the U.S., make sure your passport has at least 6 months left before expiry, otherwise you might have problems – depending on the country you are visiting. Additionally, make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest Real ID regulations regarding the use of driver’s licences for domestic flights.

Pack Carefully

When it comes to the holiday travels, it is a good idea to try and limit your luggage to carry-on. This may be difficult, particularly if you’ll need heavy winter clothing, but you’ll definitely receive some benefits if you can. You’ll often save money by not having to add a bag to your booking. Plus, you’ll be able to check-in online and head straight to security when you arrive at the airport, avoiding any busy bag-drop drama. You’ll also be able to walk straight off the plane and continue your journey as soon as you get through arrivals, saving you valuable time. However, make sure you pack sensibly to ensure that you clear security with minimal hassle. For example, liquids should be kept to 100ml or less and packed in a clear plastic bag. Also, make sure you know the requirements for removing any food, electronics, or medications when you go through – that way, you’ll save even more time.

Use a Specialized Airport Greeting Service

To definitely be sure that you can enjoy a completely stress-free airport travel experience during the holidays, consider booking EmpireCLS’ V.I.P Airport Greeters service. Through this specialized concierge program, we help you speed through the entire airport process with ease and comfort, so you can concentrate on looking forward to your joyous holidays, rather than battling with parking, crowds, and long lines through security. The program, which can be booked alongside our chauffeured airport transportation service, provides expedited transport and other benefits at over 450 airports worldwide. So wherever you’re headed this holiday season, you can enjoy peace of mind and hassle-free air travel. With Greeters that make you feel like you have your own personal travel assistants, the EmpireCLS Airport Greeters service includes:

 

 

Click here to learn more about how EmpireCLS’ V.I.P Airport Greeters service can help you have a stress-free, more enjoyable travel experience this holiday season!

7 Ways Chauffeured Transportation Makes Special Events Unforgettable

Whatever the special event – whether it’s a wedding, sporting event, or a special celebration for a birthday or anniversary – chauffeured transportation will elevate and enhance your whole experience. From ensuring everything runs seamlessly to helping you make sure guests travel safely, here are seven reasons why you should be hiring luxury chauffeured transportation for your next special occasion.

 

It Gives You Peace of Mind By Keeping Things Running Smoothly

 

Whatever the event, timing is key. When it comes to any special occasion, the last thing you need is to be running late, delaying proceedings or missing out altogether. With professional chauffeured transportation, you won’t need to worry about a thing. An experienced chauffeur service, like the one offered by EmpireCLS, can keep you moving and make sure everything runs like clockwork. Our expert chauffeurs will arrive early and plan for plenty of time to get you where you need to be. No matter the interruption that may be encountered, whether it be traffic or construction, the deep local knowledge of our chauffeurs and the route-planning expertise of our in-house staff will make sure that you arrive in good time and without stress.

 

You Don’t Need to Worry About Having Designated Drivers

 

When you hire chauffeured transportation for special events, you can forget about nominating someone from your group to deal with the hassle of getting you to your destination at the end of the night. Having professional chauffeurs take care of the driving for you means you can have fun late into the night and not have to concern yourself with driving home when you’re overtired or impaired. You can simply relax and enjoy your event! You will also avoid having to make the difficult decision over who does the driving – that way, you can make sure your special event is all about having a good time, rather than getting into an awkward conversation with your friends.

 

Transportation Becomes Part of The Event

 

With chauffeured transportation, the special event starts from when you set foot inside your luxury vehicle. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art, executive sedan to whisk you away on a romantic date night or a fully kitted-out mini coach fit for all your friends, you can sit back and start celebrating right there and then – so getting to your destination becomes part of the fun! EmpireCLS has a great range of immaculately-presented vehicles to suit any need or group size, and our hospitality-trained chauffeurs make sure you receive 5-star treatment from the very moment we arrive at your door.

 

You Can Keep Your Group Together

 

Because chauffeured transportation service providers typically offer a wide range of vehicles, you won’t have to worry about your group being split up into too many separate vehicles when you are traveling to your special event. Whatever the size, special event chauffeured transportation can make sure your group travels together, so that no one gets lost or experiences interruptions on their way to the venue. Plus, it’s a great way to get everyone hyped up!

 

You’ll Get Help with Planning Your Special Event

 

Specialist chauffeured transportation providers, like EmpireCLS, have a team of experienced travel planners and dispatchers on hand who will make sure all your special event transportation arrangements are properly taken care of. If you’re not sure what vehicles you might need, when you need them to arrive or depart, or how long it will take to get to your destination, there is no need to worry when you hire a chauffeured transportation service. Simply specify your requirements and any details you do have up front, and our planning staff will use their knowledge and expertise to determine all the details and advise you on your options. This will take away all the anxiety of having to plan the details yourself, leaving you free to relax knowing that you are in safe hands.

 

You Don’t Have to Worry About Traffic or Parking

 

There is nothing worse than finding yourself held up in heavy traffic or unable to find a spot to park when you are heading to a special event. When you finally get where you need to be, at this point, you’re often so stressed out that it can be difficult to relax and enjoy the festivities. With chauffeured transportation, you don’t have to worry about this happening. You can leave it to knowledgeable chauffeurs to navigate everything the busy roads might throw at you, and you’ll be dropped off right outside the door, meaning no walking in the hot, cold, wet, or windy weather to your special event. You’ll arrive feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to get the party started!

 

It’s Flexible and Adaptable When Plans Change

 

Plans inevitably change, but it can be seriously stressful if last-minute alterations start to affect your ability to get you and your group where you need to be on time. Experienced chauffeured transportation services will offer flexibility that allows you to alter details and still get where you need to go smoothly and stress-free. At EmpireCLS, we’re well-known for our exceptional ability to adapt to any of our clients’ needs and will always have a solid contingency plan in place to ensure that all bases are covered, no matter what. Rather than leaving you or your group stranded, or causing your special event to be delayed, missed, or canceled altogether, reliable chauffeured transportation will ensure that you’ll always get to your destination feeling totally calm and relaxed – so rather than panicking about any change of plans, you can rest assured that alternative arrangements can be made, with the help and dedication of experienced planners on hand.

 

Special events should be all about celebration, relaxation, and enjoyment with friends and family – not the stress of transportation arrangements. Experienced chauffeured transportation providers will take all the planning and hassle of special event transportation off your hands and leave you free to focus on having fun. EmpireCLS offers a range of different options to suit transportation for any special event you might have on the horizon – whether large or small, way into the future, or only a few weeks away. Our special team of transportation planners will help make your entire experience run like clockwork.

 

Click here to find out what makes our chauffeured transportation the right choice for your special event.

 

Not sure what kind of transportation service you might need? We can help you figure out all the details. Get in touch with our team!

What You May Not Know About Chauffeured Transportation

When it comes to luxury chauffeured transportation, stretch limousines are what typically come to mind for a lot of people. However, although these classic vehicles are utilized by many chauffeured transportation service providers, it does not define what this industry is all about.

 

Today, the limousine serves as just one example of the many vehicles and services offered by luxury ground transportation companies all over the world. Many people only consider working with luxury transportation service providers when they need to book a limo service, without realizing that these companies actually have so much more to offer. To help provide a better understanding of what chauffeured transportation is really like now, we’ve listed a few things about this industry that you might not know about.

 

Offering You a Wide Selection of Luxury Vehicles

 

In addition to limousines, you’ll find that many chauffeured transportation service providers offer a selection of vehicles that range from sedans to full-size coach buses. This gives you the ability to hire chauffeured services for pretty much any need or occasion, from nights out on the town and weddings to meetings and corporate events. You’ll be sure to find the right vehicle to fit any purpose or size of the group.

 

The EmpireCLS fleet, for example, consists of late-model luxury vehicles, which include the Cadillac XTS, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes S-Class and Mercedes Sprinter van, as well as mini coaches and motor coaches. Our experienced customer service team is adept at recommending the perfect vehicle for your needs, budget and party size. Additionally, our vehicles are consistently serviced and inspected by our in-house, Automotive Service Excellence-certified maintenance centers to ensure the utmost in safety and reliability.

 

Helping You Get The Most Out of Air Travel

 

Hiring a chauffeur for airport transportation now gives you a service that goes way beyond having a smartly dressed gentlemen holding a piece of cardboard with your name on it. These days, many chauffeured transportation service providers employ state-of-the-art technology that allows them to track flights in real time, so that you are never kept waiting at the airport, regardless if your flight arrives earlier or later than expected.

 

At EmpireCLS, our unique Airport Greetings service takes chauffeured airport transportation to a whole new level, with more comprehensive services and personal assistance throughout your entire air travel experience. Through this special program, we’ll give you expedited transit, and other benefits, that eliminate the unnecessary hassle of travel through over 450 airports and destinations around the world. Our services consist of:

 

Providing Organizations With Comprehensive Corporate Transportation Solutions

 

Whether you are running a dynamic startup or a large, multi-city operation, partnering with a chauffeured transportation service provider for executive and corporate transportation is extremely beneficial.

 

Ensuring the seamless execution of meetings and events is one-way organizations can utilize chauffeured transportation. An experienced service provider will make sure that executives and attendees arrive to their meeting or event destinations safely, on time and in style. At EmpireCLS, our meeting and event transportation solutions minimize cost and maximize peace of mind. From detailed logistics to passenger manifests and updates, event walkthroughs and on-site management, our expert meetings and events team take the stress off our client’s shoulders, giving them time to focus on more important things.

 

Corporate shuttles are another option for companies to use chauffeured transportation services. Shuttles offer a great way for employees to get to and from work stress-free, and chauffeured transportation companies have the fleet, staff and expertise to manage these complex programs. In addition to easing the hassle of employees being stuck in traffic, corporate shuttle programs also provide bottom-line benefits for organizations. They include cost savings in which companies are not having to build more parking garages or parking lots when they receive an influx of new personnel, improved employee wellness that can reduce long-term medical costs and an enhanced corporate reputation for having a positive impact on the environment by encouraging employees to make use of shared transportation.

 

Delivering Transportation and Security

 

With today’s world being full of unrest and uncertainty, it’s important for travelers to take extra precautions when heading to unknown locales. When you use a chauffeured transportation service on your travels, rather than a taxi or ride-sharing service, you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands. Professional chauffeurs undergo background checks, drug and alcohol testing and ongoing training to ensure the safety of their passengers.

 

At EmpireCLS, the safety and security of our clients is our top priority. In fact, our SecureCar division adds an extra layer of safety for travelers, with a suite of high-level security options. Before your trip, we confirm your itinerary and relevant contact information, as well as the backgrounds of your transportation team. The program leverages:

 

These are just a few things about chauffeured transportation that make it a truly diverse industry. And as it grows, more types of services may develop in the future.

Curious to experience first-class chauffeured transportation for yourself? Click here for details about our services, make a reservation or contact us for more information.

EmpireCLS’ Joey Phelps Discusses New Traveler, Affiliate Mobile Experiences with The Company Dime

At EmpireCLS, we utilize the most advanced technologies to make chauffeured transportation faster, safer, easier and more reliable. With a belief that true innovation can transform the way we serve clients and give service providers the ability to better compete in the fierce ground transportation landscape, we’ve been hard at work building new mobile experiences for travelers and enhanced dispatch software for operators throughout the United States.

 

Recently, our EVP of Global Operations, Joey Phelps, sat down with The Company Dime, a publication that provides quality journalism on travel industry business news, to discuss EmpireCLS’ new mobile technologies and the significant impact it will make on the industry.

 

A Modern, Mobile Option for Travelers

 

EmpireCLS’ upgraded traveler app will replace our current app and will offer a modern, mobile option for booking our higher-end chauffeured transportation services. As stated by The Company Dime:

 

‘It won’t offer pickup in seven minutes but the app would allow users to, for example, book a ride for “when they land in Dallas”, Phelps said.’

 

In addition to booking capabilities, the new app will provide vehicle tracking that will feature an icon that represents the reserved car on a map and chauffeur background information, giving travelers peace of mind in knowing exactly who will be driving them. Travelers will also have the ability to text chauffeurs directly through the app.

 

Helping Operators Compete

 

With the ability vastly improve scheduling efficiency, the newly built dispatch software aims to help chauffeured transportation operators better compete in the challenging ground transportation arena. The software is available for use by both affiliate and vetted non-affiliate operators. Quoting Phelps, The Company Dime wrote:

 

‘“If you’re a one- or two-car operator, you can download an app, be vetted and then you can turn on the app with the possibility of passengers for you every day,” … “The expansion possibilities are as endless as there are operators in the industry.”’

 

In addition, the software incorporates important information, like the industry specialties of chauffeurs.

 

To learn more about our new traveler and operator mobile experiences, click the link below to read The Company’s Dime full article.

 

EmpireCLS Revamps Dispatch System To Build Rideshare-Like App

5 Trending Topics at GBTA2018

Another Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention has wrapped up, and the EmpireCLS team was so thrilled to be a part of it! Once again, we were kept busy meeting new and existing clients and connecting with industry influencers.

This year, the event showcased over 400 exhibiting companies (including EmpireCLS!), an agenda featuring more than 100 education and professional development sessions and over 7,000 attendees representing more than 50 countries. From panel sessions and presentations to workshops and roundtable discussions, GBTA 2018 featured a plethora of information and insights geared towards driving the industry forward and into the future. We found that there were major focuses on technology, wellness and physical and digital security, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the hottest topics that were talked about at the event.

 

The Importance of Wellness

Business travel can be seen as beneficial for some people, but for most, it’s tiring and stressful. If you’ve ever been sick during a business trip or been so jetlagged that you couldn’t think clearly, then you likely understand how the health impacts of business travel can affect your ability to perform well when it matters most. In fact, frequent business travel has been linked to poorer behavioral and mental health, higher blood pressure, lower high-density lipoprotein, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep and alcohol dependence. Various sessions at GBTA discussed information like this, highlighted the correlation between wellness and business success and did a fantastic job of educating attendees on effective strategies and tactics to help reduce the negative health impacts of business travel.

 

GDPR and Data Security

The nature of the business travel industry somewhat necessitates the gathering of peoples’ data through the process of registration, marketing, travel programs, and even information on dining or accommodation preferences. The implications of any attack on the significant quantity of data held by business travel organizers could be catastrophic. In an effort to enhance digital security, the European Union (EU) established the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to serve as a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the EU. Whilst these new rules have been put in place by the EU, any company operating outside of its jurisdiction must still comply with these new regulations in the very likely event that US-based companies are ever doing business within the EU, or if EU citizens are traveling within the US. With multiple educational sessions dedicated to GDPR and data security, this was a major topic of discussion at GBTA.

 

Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies are changing the way we travel. The rise of innovations like Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics and Blockchain, as well as Augmented and Virtual Reality, are gaining momentum and causing significant transformations across the industry. At GBTA, attendees had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these, and other, technologies that can offer new opportunities for organizations that choose to utilize them.

At EmpireCLS, for example, we’re building new mobile experiences for travelers and affiliates. For travelers, our app delivers a modern, mobile option for booking our luxury executive transportation services. When it comes to operators, EmpireCLS’ mobile platform aims to help them compete. In a recent interview with The Company Dime, our EVP Joey Phelps stated, “If you’re a one- or two-car operator, you can download an app, be vetted and then you can turn on the app with the possibility of passengers for you every day… The expansion possibilities are as endless as there are operators in the industry.”

 

Risk Management

In 2018, risk management, safety and Duty of Care still remains a major issue in business travel. There are a number of potential threats that come as part of traveling to exotic and unfamiliar destinations. Whilst potential risks, such as natural disasters and data breaches, should certainly not be overlooked, the main hot-button topic in GBTA discussions over possible threat levels and impact upon business travelers’ safety and welfare are concerns around the possibility of threats of domestic and international terrorist attacks. During this year’s conference, we saw a number of educational sessions that provided safety and security resource materials and advice on how organizations can prepare travelers for code red situations, as well as discussions around the state of safety when it comes to business travel. In fact, our Chairman/CEO David Seelinger sat down with GBTA Industry Voices to discuss this topic, amongst others that are currently trending in the business travel and chauffeured transportation realm.

 

 

For business travelers seeking an extra layer of protection, EmpireCLS can be your security partner when experiences command a heightened need for protection. In addition to giving business travelers luxury transportation with the same hospitality service you’d expect from the world’s best five-star hotels, we offer a suite of high-level security options through our SecureCar division.

Before your trip, the EmpireCLS team confirms your itinerary and relevant contact information, as well as the backgrounds of your transportation team. The program leverages:

We hope that everyone who attended GBTA 2018 got the chance to connect with fellow professionals within the industry and get caught up on the latest global business travel trends. Here at EmpireCLS, we can’t wait to see what next year’s event brings!

5 Tips for Ensuring Successful Corporate Events

Whether it’s a learning seminar, conference, team building outing or incentive program, corporate events create an opportunity for companies to grow. It can boost company culture, unite employees around organizational goals and create stronger team morale. Putting one together, however, is no easy task.

 

From coordinating suppliers and tracking budgets to managing agendas and handling attendees, there are so many elements that go into holding a corporate event. And when done right, the results of a corporate event can make a significant impact on how an organization progresses into the future. So, to help companies get the most out of these important occasions, we put together a list of five things that can be done to ensure that a corporate event is successful.

 

Allow Plenty of Time for Planning

Because there are so many things to handle for a corporate event, it’s important to have a good amount of time to plan it. Things like securing a venue or booking a speaker should be done as far in advance as possible. In fact, some venues book as far as a year in advance and some highly sought-after speakers are typically booked six months in advance. Additionally, if you’re planning on holding your event in another city, state or country, the rule of thumb for reserving room blocks is typically 3-8 months ahead of your event. To make the planning process more efficient, organizations can consider forming an event planning team.

 

Make a List of All the Equipment You’ll Need

Before nailing down a venue, make a note of every piece of equipment that you’ll need for your event. Unless it’s strictly a networking gathering or executive get-together, corporate events typically require some kind of audio and visual component. If you’re planning on having speakers, you may want them to present their material on a stage with a podium. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what you need for your event so that you can reserve a venue that meets all of your requirements.

 

Schedule Your Event Wisely

If you’re holding a larger event, like a conference, check to see if other events will be slated to take place in the area around the same time as your proposed event date. Having another event happening during your event will make the area busier than normal, which may risk things like your attendees being late due to traffic. In addition, you may also risk finding suitable accommodation for your attendees. Schedule your event either a little earlier or later than any other event set to happen in the area to avoid cumbersome mishaps like these.

 

Make Networking a Priority

The most successful corporate events make networking and mingling a major priority. Try to create spaces where guests can chat without having to yell over blaring music or sit at a crowded bar. Consider setting up intimate areas with intimate seating or standing arrangements to give your attendees the ability to comfortably talk. If the weather permits, you can even design a small, café-style outdoor area with a few high-top tables and chairs that can double as a place to get fresh air and continue a conversation.

 

Let Professionals Manage Your Transportation

When it comes to an event, organizing transportation can be the most daunting and frustrating task that you’ll undertake. Creating your itinerary, figuring out what vehicles will suit the number of passengers you have to accommodate and ensuring your drivers arrive at each destination on-time the day of your event are all things that you would need to manage. You can make this whole process completely stress-free by hiring an experienced chauffeured transportation service provider that focuses on special events, executive transportation, corporate events, coach bus rental, charter bus rental, charter bus NYC or motorcoach rental.

 

At EmpireCLS, we’re seasoned specialists at helping companies create seamless and reliable transportation programs for a variety of events, from board meetings to large conferences. Our expertly crafted charter bus rental, coach bus rental and motorcoach rental solutions minimize cost and maximize peace of mind. From detailed logistics to passenger manifests and updates, event walkthroughs and on-site management, our seasoned meetings and events team takes the stress off companies’ shoulders, giving them time to focus on more important things.

 

By working with EmpireCLS for corporate events, organizations will have:

 

Plus, if you’re welcoming out-of-town guests or holding your event in another city, state or country, EmpireCLS’ Airport Greeting service offers a completely stress-free travel experience. Through this special program, we offer expedited transit, and other benefits, that eliminate the unnecessary hassle of travel through over 450 airports and destinations around the world.

 

In addition to chauffeur service to and from the airport, with EmpireCLS’ Airport Greetings, your guests will experience:

 

Curious to learn more about our corporate transportation, events transportation, charter bus rental, charter bus NYC, coach bus rental, motorcoach rental and executive transportation services? Click here for more details or get in touch with one of our specialists.

 

Whatever type of corporate event you’re holding, EmpireCLS can be there with you every step of the way to ensure that your entire program runs seamlessly and successfully.

5 National Parks You Need to Add to Your Bucket List

Protected and preserved for their majestic landscapes and rich ecosystems, national parks present one of the quickest and best ways to realize how amazing and awe-inspiring our planet truly is. They also represent some of the most spectacular destinations in the world, which is why they attract so many travelers. In fact, in 2017, there were more than 330 million visitors to the National Park System’s 417 areas, which covers every state in the U.S., the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

 

Beyond the U.S., there are so many other national parks around the world that are sure to take your breath away. From the plains of Africa and the reefs of Ecuador to the powdered peaks of Snowdonia and the Arctic Seas of the Svalbard islands, here’s our list of the top five national parks that you need to add to your bucket list.

 

Kruger National Park, South Africa

 

 

As South Africa’s first ever national park, Kruger National Park is arguably the top safari destination in the world. The park is home to hundreds of animals, including the world-famous Big Five: the Lion, the African Elephant, the Leopard, the Rhinoceros and the Cape Buffalo. Kruger National Park also has more species of large mammals than any other game reserve in Africa. Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodation options, including opulent suites, intimate lodges, classic family retreats and luxurious private hotels. The best way to experience the park is through a guided tour with a reputable tour company that cares about environmental issues and employs knowledgeable guides.

 

Galapagos National Park, Ecuador

 

 

Visitors to Galapagos National Park will be able to see the wildlife that sparked Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, including rare endemic species like giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins and sea lions. It has been described as one of the most unique, scientifically important and biologically outstanding areas on Earth. The eco-luxe Pikaia Lodge, the only hotel on the island, offers a private boat yacht for personal scuba diving excursions around the coral reefs. Many travelers describe their time in the islands as a life-changing experience.

 

Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A

 

 

From the Grand Canyon to Yosemite, America is home to some of the most incredible national parks on Earth, and the top spot has to go to Yellowstone National Park. Having opened in 1872, it’s the world’s first ever national park. Yellowstone is also home to the world’s largest active geyser field, Old Faithful, as well the world’s biggest herd of free-roaming bison. Explore mountains, lakes and forests. Watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. You can stay in one of the nine lodges in the park, or go camping in one of the park’s 12 campgrounds and truly immerse yourself in nature. Whatever you choose, be sure to plan at least a week’s stay, so that you can have the opportunity to thoroughly experience this massive area. Yellowstone encapsulates the essence of the American West and is a place that every traveler should visit, at least, once.

 

Snowdonia National Park, Wales

 

 

With rugged landscape, craggy mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and foggy valleys, Snowdonia National Park is the stuff of myths, legends and medieval folklore – a place that looks and feels like a real-life embodiment of a J.R.R Tolkien novel. In fact, legend has it that King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, can be found at the bottom of one of the park’s lakes. In addition to its lore, Snowdonia National Park is known for its hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes, world-class mountain biking and vintage steam railway that climbs to the top of Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. With historic castles and charming villages, visits to Snowdonia are truly enchanting.

 

National Parks of Svalbard, Norway

 

 

With the summer midnight sun and polar bear nights in the winter, the National Parks of the Svalbard Islands is a nature photographer’s dream. Located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between the North Pole and mainland Norway, the Svalbard Islands are a haven for polar bears, walruses and harbor seals. The National Parks of Svalbard are home to seven Norwegian national parks: Forlandet, Indre Wijdefjorden, Nordenskiöld Land, Nordre Isfjorden, Nordvest-Spitsbergen, Sassen-Bünsow Land, and Sør-Spitsbergen. You’ll find experience untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in an environment that is both rugged and fragile. Plus, because Svalbard is a certified Sustainable Destination, you can feel good about traveling there knowing that your trip is supporting the area’s works to systematically reduce the negative impact of tourism.

 

These places are just a few of the breathtaking national parks that you can find all over the world. Travelers are truly spoilt for choice!

Wherever you decide to travel to, EmpireCLS’ chauffeur service can help take you there safely, comfortably and in style. Our chauffeur service gives you the same hospitality experience that you expect from five-star hotels, and the diversity of our fleet means that we can serve an array of travelers, from solo globetrotters and couples to families and large groups.

Whether you’re heading to the airport to catch a flight for a family vacation at Yellowstone or going to a pier to catch a cruise to Norway for a visit to the Svalbard Islands, EmpireCLS’ chauffeur service can get you to wherever you need to go with plenty of time to spare before your departure. We want to make sure that you have the chance to chill out and relax before you leave on your adventure.

You can also take the opportunity to experience completely stress-free travels by reserving our Airport Greetings service. Through this special program, we’ll give you expedited transit, and other benefits, that eliminate the unnecessary hassle of travel through over 450 airports and destinations around the world. It’s like having your own personal travel assistant!

 

In addition to chauffeur service to the airport, with EmpireCLS’ Airport Greetings, you’ll experience:

 

Curious to learn more about our Airport Greetings and chauffeur service? Click here or contact us for more information.

Whatever national park you visit, EmpireCLS can help make your trip so much more memorable.

Making Meetings and Events Safer: Utilizing Chauffeured Transportation to Implement High-Level Security Solutions

Meetings and events today face many new threats that must be effectively anticipated and addressed by every stakeholder in the industry. Meetings, conventions, and large-scale social gatherings, such as concerts or events taking place at nightclubs and bars, appear to have been particularly vulnerable to terrorist atrocities in recent years. Additionally, the persistent increase in data being gathered, held, and in some cases abused, by various high-profile companies signal alarm bells for our cybersecurity. It is crucial now, more than ever, that effective event security measures should be designed and implemented in order to protect individuals and the industry as a whole.

The meetings and events industry is striving to meet its Duty of Care to delegates but is struggling to make significant progress.  This stems from meetings and events planners themselves, to clients, convention centers and hotels. Part of the problem is that each industry player often assumes that the responsibility for security lies with another. It should never be taken for granted that the responsibility for meetings and events security lies elsewhere. Planners and executives must look at proactively identifying potential threats themselves and not expose their organization and delegates to problematic or dangerous circumstances through ignorance of potential issues. Robust and realistic safety and security contingency plans, such as those offered by established chauffeured service providers like EmpireCLS, have to be implemented in order for planners and executives to properly identify threats and execute Duty of Care. 

 

A Simple, Effective Solution

 

Through chauffeured transportation, there is a way that meeting and event security threats can be effectively addressed, whilst allowing planners and executives the time to concentrate on all the other crucial aspects of their business. The chauffeured transportation industry is taking positive steps towards covering many of the security challenges that the industry faces as part of a specialized, fully integrated chauffeur service. These high-level solutions could go a long way in assisting the industry with its current security issues and help to demonstrably improve the safety and security of meetings and events.

Specialist transportation security features, such as EmpireCLS’ SecureCar service, are carefully designed with the particular safety and security intricacies of meetings and events in mind. As the largest privately-held chauffeured transportation provider in the world, EmpireCLS’ experience within meetings and events security is unmatched. In fact, EmpireCLS is the largest transportation provider for the Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards and the Golden Globes, with as many as 500 vehicles chauffeuring celebrities to and from the red carpet and the following after parties. The company’s SecureCar service includes the following standards to mitigate the risks involved in meetings and events attendance, providing cover for overworked planners and executives who may not have the time, resources, or expertise to develop a robust transportation protection and security service:

 

 

Establishing Industry-Wide Security Measures

 

It is clear that the threats and safety issues facing the meetings and events space are potent and in need of urgent attention. The industry must make significant moves to develop robust security measures that are also easy to implement. Establishing a set of safety and security measures is more crucial than ever before. With the possibility of terror attacks and digital data breaches, it is imperative that key players within the meetings and events industry address their Duty of Care to delegates and develop solid measures as a matter of urgency in order to prevent major incidents.

The comprehensive high-level security solutions provided by EmpireCLS could serve as the basis for the development of effective security guidelines that can be followed by all chauffeured transportation service providers dealing with meetings and events. This would create desperately needed best practices within this particular sector of the meetings and events industry, allowing meetings and events planners, and others involved in the corporate travel and corporate car service industry, to build upon the development of more comprehensive security measures that could be adopted throughout the entire industry.

How Companies Can Reduce the Negative Health Effects of Frequent Employee Business Travel

From airline upgrades to fine dining on the company credit card, the world of business travel appears to be a life that ambitious corporate employees would strive for. However, things aren’t all as they seem when it comes down to the appalling health that people who regularly travel for business experience.

 

A December 2017 study by researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York shows just how bad business travel can be for your health. It found that poorer behavioral and mental health outcomes increased as the number of nights away from home for business travel grew and that people who traveled 14 nights or more per month for business were most at risk for these symptoms. Higher blood pressure, lower high-density lipoprotein, anxiety, depression, stress, lack of lack of sleep and alcohol dependence are also the results of frequent business travel.

 

These effects also transfer to the companies themselves, as behavioral and mental health issues can cause reduced employee productivity and absenteeism, as well as possibly strained relationships with partners and suppliers.

 

Fortunately, there are some methods and techniques that companies can implement to reduce the negative health effects of their employees’ frequent business travels.

 

Create a Culture Focused on Health

Although decisions made around diet, sleep and other activities essentially fall on individual employees, companies can still provide support through education and training that emphasize healthy business travel habits.

 

In the office, companies can inspire better sleep quality habits by making a few small improvements within the workplace. In addition to helping regulate the body’s sleep cycles, natural sunlight can boost energy throughout the day and improve an individual’s ability to fall asleep. To try to expose employees to more sunlight, employers can occasionally open window blinds to help let light in the office or encourage employees to get up and walk outside for a few minutes every hour or few hours throughout the day. If employees are overworking late into the night, it may be difficult for them to turn their minds off and sleep, which is pertinent to a good night’s rest. Restrict work to office hours and set rules to prevent work from overflowing into employees’ home life.

 

In terms of diet, employers can encourage healthy eating by simply adding nutritional food choices in the workplace. Healthy food options can be offered at company meetings and events or provided in office cafeterias or kitchens. By offering healthy food options in the workplace, companies give employees the ability to discover new, nutritional and delicious meals and snacks that they may also want to have on their travels.

 

Offer Programs to Help Manage Stress

There are a variety of programs that companies can implement to help employees better manage the stresses of work and business travel.

 

Stress management training is one example. Employers can implement stress management training, which consists of a wide range of methods and tools suited to manage and control stress levels to enhance the daily performance and mood of individuals. By enrolling in stress management training programs, employees can learn to cope with their stress in a healthy manner and get on track to a more calm and manageable life. Stress management training courses provide the techniques and tools to recognize major sources of stress so that employees can be better able to cut that unwanted stress from their business travels before they get overwhelmed.

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an effective and relatively quick way to treat stress in the workplace. Developed by psychiatrist and psychotherapist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients change negative thought processes and behaviors to relieve the symptoms of mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. With approximately eight-to-20 sessions typically taking place over about six months, it’s a short-term therapy where exercises and goals are set to challenge participants and their existing way of thinking. Additionally, because cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective over a fairly short period of time, it’s useful for both employees and organizations as it may reduce absence levels or facilitate an earlier return to work for those who have been out of the office due to stress.

 

Book Smart

Making travel arrangements with the well-being of employees’ in-mind is also a great tactic for encouraging healthy business travel.

 

For starters, employers can choose business accommodations with access to healthy food options, like having nearby restaurants that serve organic foods or a grocery store that sells locally-sourced produce. Employees should also have access to decent exercise and fitness facilities. If it’s difficult to find accommodations with well-equipped fitness facilities in the area, companies could provide employees with memberships to national gym chains.

 

Companies can also reduce the stress that employees experience during their travels by booking services that can make the travel process a lot easier. Instead of having employees drive themselves to the airport and pay for garage parking or use unreliable taxi and ride-sharing services, consider booking them an executive chauffeured car service. This allows them to start their travels off in complete comfort, as they can fully rely on the professionalism, safety standards and service quality of a chauffeured transportation service provider.

 

At EmpireCLS, we do provide airport transportation, but our services are so much more robust than your typical chauffeured transportation company.

 

Focused on easing the travel process and making it as stress-free and hassle-free as possible, our dedicated VIP Airport Greeters service enables employees to speed through the airport with no delays, no stress and no inconvenience. Our expert greeters are highly trained to offer a professional, white-glove service that allows employees to truly enjoy the process of air travel when they go away on business.

 

The EmpireCLS VIP Airport Greeters service includes:

 

Business travel is necessary for many employees. Although frequent trips can be damaging to one’s health, there are initiatives and programs, like our VIP Airport Greeters service, that companies can put into place to lessen the effects that regular business travel has on employees.

 

Curious to learn more about how EmpireCLS’ VIP Airport Greeters can create stress-free business travel for your employees? Get in touch!

4th of July: How to Travel Safely During America’s Deadliest Day for Drivers

Celebrating our freedom with family, friends, great food and spectacular fireworks makes Independence Day one of the highlights of summer. However, with more people on the road and longer than average traveling distances, Independence Day has its risks when it comes to driving to and from your celebrations. Add the large amounts of alcohol consumed to the mix, and we see a much darker side to this beloved holiday.

 

During the Fourth of July holiday in 2015, 146 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, and nearly two-thirds were in crashes where at least one driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, which is almost twice the legal limit. Based on an analysis of fatal crash data between 2010 to 2014, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that more people, on average, die in motor vehicle crashes on Independence Day than any other day of the year. In a study conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found that July 4th was the deadliest day on the road between the period of 1978 to 2002, with 4,320 deaths in total. In addition to this, July 3rd came in second place on the list, with a total of 3,898 deaths.

 

Before you head out this Fourth of July holiday, keep yourself, your loved ones and America’s roads safe by following these tips to minimize your risk of getting into a vehicle crash.

 

 

Take Preventative Measures

 

Even if you are the type of driver who keeps on top of having your vehicle regularly maintenanced, you should still schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with a qualified mechanic before you head out on a long road trip. This will help ensure that your oil level, tire pressure, wiper blade, lights and coolant level are in good working order. And if you’ll be driving in a hot climate or towing a boat or trailer, you may need a motor oil with a high viscosity.

 

Get a good night’s sleep before doing any long-haul driving, and only drive when you are well rested. Plan out a driving schedule with another adult, giving each of you a few hours of driving, and then a few hours of rest. Be sure to also keep a good supply of water and high protein snacks to keep yourself hydrated, nourished and alert. Getting lots of rest and keeping energized will keep you from getting drowsy behind the wheel.

 

When traveling with children, take every precaution to keep them safe. This includes having children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat, as well as making sure that car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding in the vehicle are in the correct car seat, booster seat or seat belt that is appropriate for their size.

 

Lastly, make sure you have any necessary items you may need while driving in organized in one spot and in a place that is easy for you to reach. This means having your GPS loaded with your destination and your music already set up. Additionally, if you are traveling with children, bring along some items that will keep them entertained, so they don’t distract you while you’re driving. This includes things books and tablets loaded with games or movies.

 

 

Avoid Dangerous Driving Behaviors

 

Being distracted or impaired when driving is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal.

 

During long road trips, it’s tempting to find something to distract you when driving starts to feel tedious, but one moment of attention loss can cause a crash. When you’re the driver, you have the responsibility of maintaining your safety, as well as that of the passengers in your vehicle, which means it’s imperative for you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Phone calls, text messages, emails and social media can wait.

 

When it comes to driving impairment, a major cause of it during the Fourth of July holiday is alcohol. Fourth of July celebrations typically entail heavy alcohol consumption. In fact, more beer is sold on Independence Day than any other holiday, including St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve. During the 2016 Fourth of July holiday, about 68 million cases of beer were cracked open.

 

We’re free to celebrate however we please, but driving after having a few drinks should never be done. Even if you’re just buzzed or tipsy, alcohol impairs the perception, judgment and memory that a person needs in order to drive safely. Be responsible, and don’t get behind the wheel. Additionally, illegal and prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can be as deadly as alcohol. Too many lives are lost in preventable traffic crashes involving drunk and drugged driving. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by driving while you are impaired.

 

 

Make Arrangements for Transportation

 

If you plan on drinking over the Fourth of July holiday, consider making arrangements for transportation. Figure out who your designated driver will be if you’re traveling with a group. If you’re traveling solo, you may want to take a cab to your destination and also add the contact information of various taxi companies around your destination’s area to your cell phone, so that you can hire a cab to get back home.

 

Another safe option would be to hire a car or chauffeur service. Many offer a variety of vehicles, so you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs, whether you’re traveling solo, with a few friends or part of a large group. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind being driven by a professionally-licensed chauffeur trained to keep you safe.

 

At EmpireCLS, our vehicles range from sedans and SUVs to luxury Sprinters and mini coaches. Our vehicles are garaged in a climate-controlled environment and consistently serviced and inspected by our in-house, Automotive Service Excellence-certified maintenance centers. To ensure the safety of our passengers, EmpireCLS chauffeurs undergo ongoing evaluation. At EmpireCLS, we:

 

When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for the safety of yourself, those who ride you and those who you share the road with. Celebrate the Fourth of July holiday safely by taking some time to prepare before you travel and by following safe driving behaviors.

 

And if you’re looking for an extra layer of safety, with the added bonus of being able to relax in a luxury vehicle on your way to your Fourth of July celebrations, get in touch with us to find out how we can help you set up safe, comfortable travels.