Easy Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel

Tuesday, July 24 at 12:00 PM
Category: Business Banking

Traveling can be expensive, especially during the summer months, but with a simple schedule change or the click of a button, you could be well on your way to your dream vacation without emptying your bank account. Leave the stress at work, and enjoy vacation knowing you’re getting the most out of your hard-earned pay check.

Flexible Schedules Equals Savings on Flights

Although it may be tempting to book flights for specific dates, it can pay to be flexible. According to USA Today*, July is the peak month for summer travel – and one of the most expensive times to fly. However, you can save money by flying domestically on slower days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays when airlines are trying to fill empty seats.

Want the deepest summer travel discounts? The USA Today report also reveals airlines usually offer the biggest discounts beginning August 28th. That means if you’re able to delay your beach getaway a few weeks, not only will you miss the crowds, but your budget will stretch further!  Plus, those cheaper airline tickets still earn you rewards points when purchased with a credit card, which can be redeemed on other expenses.

Eat Like a Local, for a Fraction of the Cost

Save on food expenses by exploring local markets and avoiding over-priced restaurants. Smarter Travel* suggests buying unique, local ingredients and using them to prepare your own meals. Even those small, everyday purchases can earn credit card rewards points.

If your accommodations don’t offer a place to prepare food, restaurants are still a good option! Rather than asking your hotel concierge for suggestions, Smarter Travel recommends finding local restaurants by reading blogs, travel books or talking to locals. You may find a diamond in the rough with authentic local cuisine that doesn’t charge tourist prices. Those daily restaurant meals are one of the easiest ways to rack up credit card rewards points when you travel. After all, you have to eat!

A Better Hotel Room is an Upgrade Away

Don’t settle for the standard hotel room when planning your summer vacation. According to Business Insider*, hotels are more likely to upgrade your room if you book later in the day. When rooms are left unoccupied, hotels may be more willing to offer upgrades to late arrivals. In addition, front desk hotel employees upgrade customers more often than 800 reservation numbers do, so when possible, call the hotel directly.

Don’t hesitate to mention when you are booking a hotel room for a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. Business Insider says some hotels offer perks or upgrades to help make your visit more positive and memorable.

Remember to ask how to become a member and earn points when you stay at certain properties. Not only do most hotels offer points and rewards opportunities for future stays, but likely so does the credit card you used to book the room!

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

When you opt in for that hotel room upgrade, don’t forget to opt in for your credit card rewards points! If you have an Arvest Bank credit card, you’re already halfway to earning 5X rewards points on up to $1,000 of all charges this summer starting July 1, 2018. Simply go online to your Arvest Rewards account, and click the activation button or call the rewards phone line at (800) 356-8085, extension 3 to activate the bonus offer and start earning 5X rewards on future purchases through September 30, 2018.

Not an Arvest Bank credit card customer? Don’t miss out on rewards for vacation purchases and everyday purchases both big and small. Sign up for a credit card today at your local branch or online! Be sure to activate rewards as soon as possible, because bonus points will only be awarded on eligible purchases from the time you activate until September 30, 2018.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

*Link is a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Disclosure:  Activate to earn 5X Arvest Flex Rewards points on up to $1,000 in eligible purchases made on your Arvest Personal Credit Card between July 01, 2018 and September 30, 2018. The bonus offer must be activated online by clicking the activation button in your Rewards Account or by calling the rewards phone line at (800) 356-8085, extension 3. Bonus points will only be awarded on eligible purchases from the time your bonus is activated until September 30, 2018. Eligible purchases are not limited by merchant categories such as groceries or fuel, but do not include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, convenience check transactions, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents. Bonus points will be applied to your account within three billing cycles after your qualifying purchase. The Card Account must be open and not in default as of the date the bonus points are applied. New applications are subject to credit approval.

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Tags: Arvest, Business Banking
 

8 Tips to Get a Jumpstart on Your Summer Plans

Thursday, May 03 at 10:00 AM
Category: Business Banking

As temperatures begin to heat up and the weather improves across the country, you have the perfect excuse to take a break away from your desk and your hectic day-to-day schedule. But, don’t just take our word for it. There are some serious mental and physical health benefits to doing so, according to a report on inc.com*. Citing several research studies, inc. reports that taking some time off can result in stress reduction, heart disease prevention, improved productivity and better sleep.

So, whether you are considering a week-long vacation or just making time for a day trip this summer, planning ahead is key. You may end up saving time and money by doing so.

Use these helpful tips to get a jumpstart on your summer plans.

1. Make sure your wallet is ready. Do you have the right rewards points-earning credit card to help you get where you want to go this summer and in the future? Arvest credit cards offer a $75 bonus for new cards. Also, you’ll get triple rewards points on gas and travel purchases until the end of May 2018. Arvest Flex Rewards™ can be used for cash back, travel, shopping and more.

2. Take advantage of new trip-planning tools. Travel sites and smartphone apps offer an array of trip planning resources to help you map out your next adventure and keep an eye on your budget as well. For example, consider using the destinations feature on Google—from your mobile phone, type the place you are interested in visiting along with the word “destinations.” Depending on the area searched, the results will display information cards and costs associated with the destination.

3. Set up alerts. Consider setting up airline, hotel and transportation fare alerts so you don’t miss the deals.

4. Time your trip strategically. Avoid peak travel weeks in the summer. According to cheapair.com*, if you are planning to fly to your destination, consider leaving mid-week as opposed to the weekend to save money.

5. Stay somewhere unconventional. If high hotel prices have you thinking twice about your getaway, see if you can snag a deal on a house or condo rental on vrbo.com* or airbnb.com*.

6. Consider all of your transportation costs. Getting to and from your destination is a given, but don’t overlook the expenses associated with navigating while you are at your destination. Will you be taking public transportation, relying on ride-hailing services, or renting cars or bicycles?

7. Buy tickets in advance. It pays to look up popular tourist destinations and sites ahead of time. You can purchase advance tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty* in New York City, for example. Note that some tourist sites require reservations. So, the sooner you look, the better.

8. Notify the bank. Before you take flight, set sail or cruise to your destination, be sure to notify Arvest or your financial institutions of your travel plans for peace of mind and security.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arvest, Business Banking
 

Small Business Tips for 2018

Monday, March 12 at 02:00 PM
Category: Business Banking

Is your business aware of the latest trends in technology or security? Whether you have just created your first business plan or you are a seasoned small business owner, the ability to recognize trends in your industry is important.

When you spend time learning and evaluating what’s to come in the next few months or year ahead, you are better equipped to make decisions about whether or not following the trends will give you the competitive edge you desire.

We’ve compiled a short list of suggested tips for business owners to consider in 2018 and beyond, based on common trends.

  • Embrace technology. Technology is constantly evolving. Your customers and employees will likely take notice if you invest in ways to improve your overall online and mobile presence and functionality. For example, if you offer goods or services, make sure your online platform is set up to accept payments or book services with ease. Consider accepting digital wallet and peer-to-peer payment methods, as they are increasingly popular. Take advantage of automated processes and spend time thinking about your digital strategy as a whole before making big decisions regarding costly technology improvements. Inquire whether the technology you are considering is fleeting or here to stay before you take the leap. 
  • Discover efficiencies. Getting the job done in the most efficient and effective way possible is always on trend. There are several ways that you can streamline your staff expenses and business costs to produce results. For example, consider a corporate credit card program that comes with real-time advanced management and tracking tools. Further, if your company requires employees to travel, many credit cards offer auto rental insurance, automatic travel accident insurance and many other complimentary services. The use of rewards points may also be useful in streamlining business costs as they can be acquired by each individual cardholder. Arvest Flex Rewards™ program is complimentary and allows cardholders to earn points with every eligible purchase. These points can be redeemed for travel, cash back and more. New corporate card customers are eligible to receive 10,000 bonus points until April 30, 2018.
  • Take security seriously. Informational hacks are widespread these days and can be extremely costly for businesses. You owe it to your business to keep your customers’ information and other data safe. Small businesses are not immune to data breaches—a Champlain College study reports* that 55 percent of small businesses reported at least one data breach in 2016. Perhaps even more startling is that the study found 60 percent of small businesses failed within six months of a cyberattack. Explore your options and know how to best protect yourself and your business.
  • Make it personal. Reports indicate* that America’s “Generation Z” or those born after 1998, are now “rising in influence” and understanding them as employees and consumers will become increasingly important for businesses. Some experts note* that this generation expects and responds to personal marketing and experiences. So, it may be time to assess whether your business is ready to provide personalized customer service and interaction whenever and wherever possible.

As you prepare for the future, keep in mind that looking back at your past business performance can also prove to be an enlightening exercise and can help you avoid future mistakes. Warren Buffett once said: “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Business Banking
 

Looking Ahead: 5 Tips to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Tuesday, August 08 at 10:00 AM
Category: Business Banking
What is your business hoping to accomplish in 2018? Whether you are looking to build upon your successes or make improvements, you can move things in the right direction by clearly outlining your goals for both the short and long term. With a few months left in 2017, it is a good time to think about your strategy for the upcoming year. So where should you start? These quick tips may help as you prepare your roadmap for success!
 
1. Evaluate Your Business
 
Though often skipped, self-assessment is the key first step to moving forward. When you base your business’s strategy on learnings from real-time experiences, you can find your niche and what can really set you apart in the marketplace. It’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day grind, by either staying too safe with operations as business as usual or by gravitating toward what’s on-trend with the competition. Spend some time evaluating what is currently happening within your business, both the good and the bad. This evaluation process may clue you in to an area that could be restructured for greater efficiency or it could offer insight about how to improve an already high-performing area.
 
2. Assess Key Relationships
 
Take some time to assess your key business relationships. Compare any vendors or agencies you currently use against their competition to ensure that you are getting the job you need done as efficiently and effectively as possible. Also consider how you are making payments to your outside vendors. Can those processes be improved? Are there opportunities and financial tools you could use to save or streamline the accounts payable process?
 
3. Assemble an Internal Think-Tank
 
Assemble a group or groups within your organization and task them with developing solutions, delegating a plan for improvement, or in success, determining how to maintain certain projects or relationships. Bring together individuals from different departments to greatly enhance your business’s ability to think outside the box and collaborate during the planning stages. Keep this group of individuals engaged throughout the upcoming year as they will be able to help your business adjust or modify the plan in the face of changes. Hold them accountable as they can have a significant impact on how the business will perform in the coming year.
 
4. Examine Your Spend Strategy
 
Be sure that you are aligning your spending strategy as your business evolves. What has worked in the past may not be good practice for what is to come. For example, as remote work continues to boom across the country, it may be time to adjust your budget and spending strategies to account for more of your workforce working from home or off-site. It’s also important to review and update company policies on spending and reporting, if deemed necessary. Take action and standardize where opportunities exist.
 
5. Review Your Recording Tools
 
Consider how you have historically managed, tracked and controlled spending on things like travel, materials, office supplies and subscriptions. Are there new tools available? Utilizing commercial credit cards that provide budget tracking, spending resources, and rewards programs can help you keep a handle on your bottom line, while maximizing your potential. 
 
For example, the Arvest Corporate Credit Card with Arvest Flex Rewards™ features 24/7 online access to monitoring and management tools through CentreSuite. And from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017, Arvest is offering a one-time bonus of up to 10,000 Arvest Flex Rewards™ bonus points when you sign up for a corporate credit card. Points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including travel and cash back. The overall idea is to streamline your spending to work smarter, not harder in the coming year. 
 
Though this type of examination and planning takes time and resources, making it a priority will help your business grow. Chances are the roadmap you create will keep your business on track to achieve success!
 
The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

 

Tags: Business Banking, Credit Cards
 

Managing Changes in the Dairy Industry

Wednesday, June 14 at 06:50 AM
Category: Business Banking
A recent discussion with a co-worker took me back to a childhood memory: sitting in the local A&W enjoying a root beer float and gazing up at the picture on the wall. You know, the one with two young boys in overalls with their hands in their pockets, one kid leaning toward the other and saying, “You been farming long?” This thought passed through my mind as we were discussing some of the current trends in agriculture and comparing notes of the experiences shared by some longtime area farmers.
 
As I thought about that discussion, it became very evident the world is moving at a much faster pace than it once did and that couldn’t be more evident than in agriculture. Technology, genetics, equipment, efficiencies, processes and delivery systems are just a few areas that have experienced rapid advancement in recent years. If “you’ve been farming long,” you have witnessed these advancements first-hand. And while not all of them have been embraced, they are nonetheless here to stay – at least until the next wave of changes.
 
The one thing that is inevitable in the dairy industry, and in any industry for that matter, is change. These changes may come in many forms and impact your daily business operations in numerous ways. One word that is familiar to all, milk, can be used to provide guidance on managing these changes and preparing for the next wave, whatever that may bring.

M – Mission and management are critical pieces to the success of any business, and arguably the most important. A mission statement provides the opportunity to define your business goals, fundamentals and objectives. Furthermore, it provides the foundation on which your business model is based and helps you remain focused on desired results. Whether you have written or verbalized this mission, it has likely been considered throughout the business cycles. This mission should be formalized and reflected upon periodically to evaluate direction and progress. The mission goes hand in hand with the management aspect of your enterprise. Each day the demands will vary and the hat you wear may change significantly in the spur of the moment. Consider all the different roles you employ during the course of a typical day and consider each hat accordingly. Take time to reflect on the areas in which you excel, identify the shortfalls and formulate a plan to address these issues accordingly.
 
I – Innovation should be considered from time to time to help keep ideas and methods fresh and efficient. Innovation does not have to mean state-of-the-art technology or the latest and greatest, but simply an evaluation of the everyday processes already taking place. Consider the daily practices and processes you can improve to gain efficiencies. This will help streamline your operations and free up time to focus on other critical areas that need attention or may be overlooked due to time constraints in other places.
 
L – Liability certainly comes to mind due to the nature of my work in the financial industry. However, this does not necessarily translate to your balance sheet or income statement, although these pieces should also receive focus from time to time. A liability can be anything that is a challenge, detriment or hindrance. If there is a daily task or long-term issue that is negatively impacting your business, take the time to identify these problems and consider the steps toward a solution. The liability focus ties in with the management and innovation concepts, and the combination of these pieces will help eliminate future pitfalls and provide value to the business.
 
K – Knowledge is key, as the old adage goes, and this certainly rings true in the dairy industry, and any agriculture-related industry for that matter. Take advantage of any opportunities offered to expand your expertise. These knowledge-building opportunities could range from attending an extension meeting, field day, a seminar hosted by a local college or professional group, a dairy organization, or just a trip down the road to a neighbor. The agriculture industry is one of the best-networked industries I’ve had the pleasure to work in. It’s no secret most farmers share ideas and successes within their network and this should be an integral piece of the business model. Learn from those who have managed through the ups and downs and learn from those experiences.
 
Change is inevitable and will present both challenges and opportunities for your enterprise. Employing the MILK concept will help you navigate these challenges and ensure “you will be farming long!” 

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

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