WH&LA is excited to support Wisconsin’s hospitality students with the following scholarships and encourage members to take advantage of this opportunity!

  •  WH&LA Merit Scholarship
      – up to $2,000 in scholarships are available for September 2016
  • GMH&LA Cal Worrell Scholarship
      – up to $1,000 is available for September 2016

Surprisingly, we have yet to receive an application and are extending the deadline to Wednesday, April 13th.  To apply, WH&LA is looking for hospitality students to write about their interests and goals in the industry.  Below are links to the application forms and requirements:

Watch for information regarding Conference Scholarships to our November  7th, conference later this year!

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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association (WH&LA), the sixth largest state lodging association in the country, has a new opportunity available to join our team as the Marketing & Services Director!

We are looking for someone with a bachelors degree and least one year of experience with implementing timely marketing plans and writing succinct marketing messages, as well as having meeting/event planning and great organizational skills,  plus a passion for associations striving to strengthen their industry’s success.

Learn more and apply now!

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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association named the recipients of its top three industry awards at the Wisconsin Lodging Conference this week at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake.

Innkeeper of the Year: Jason Ilstrup, HotelRed, Madison

Jason Ilstrup has been the General Manager of HotelRed in Madison since it’s opening 4 years ago, quickly making his positive mark on the community and the area lodging industry, as well as being nominated and elected to serve on the WH&LA Board of Directors. Just elected at the Conference to serve as WH&LA’s 2016 Secretary/Treasurer on the Executive Committee, Jason also is actively engaged in leadership roles in the Madison lodging and tourism industry.

Corporate Champion of the Year: Kevin Gallagher, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Milwaukee

Kevin Gallagher is Senior Director – Project Management for Marcus Hotels and Resorts in Milwaukee. His responsibilities include to lead and direct all design and construction projects for all Marcus Hotel, which involves developing the scope and scheme of the work with the focus on how to improve the hotels performance.

In addition to serving as WH&LA’s Chairman of the Board in 2014, Kevin has served five years on the WH&LA Executive Committee, chaired the Legislative/Tourism Committee in 2008, and the Education/Conference Committee in both 2010 and 2013.

Associate of the Year: David Jerrett, Bay Towel, Green Bay

David Jarrett is the COO of Bay Towel, Inc., having been there 17 years. He is the chief caretaker of the brand, and considers it his job to ensure that they are consistently delivering the Bay Towel Experience across all business units. He is responsible for the attainment of all short and long term financial and operational goals through the continued implementation of redesigned strategic business and organizational effectiveness plans that have reshaped the strategic direction and vision for the organization.

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By Trisha Pugal, President, CEO

Room Tax is a complex issue that began quite simply. It was created in 1967 with the lodging industry agreeing to accept a small tax on their guests to generate local funding to promote and grow local tourism. It was never intended or imagined to be treated like a property tax that funds general municipal services, as lodging properties already pay their fair share of this, similar to other retailers bringing non-residents to the community.

Unfortunately, some began to look at room tax to fund other interests, so changes were made in 1994 and 2006, which helped, but still did not get back to the original intentions and purpose of this unique tax.

On May 27, the Joint Finance Committee approved the following changes to the Room Tax statute to move closer to the original intentions, while reducing the impact on municipalities compared to recent proposed legislation.

1. Transparency – Beginning in May 2016, each municipality with a room tax (more than 270 estimated) will need to file an annual report with the Department of Revenue (DOR) providing such details as their local room tax rate, total room tax collections, how the revenue for tourism promotion and tourism development was spent, and identification of who oversees it. In the first year, any municipality claiming eligibility for the 1994 “grandfather clause” would need to provide documentation demonstrating this. The DOR will have the authority to assess a penalty on those choosing not to report.

2. Tourism Development Clarification – The current definition of “tourism promotion and development” is clarified to specify “tourism development” as currently interpreted.

3. Tourism Funding Oversight – Municipalities would have a choice for oversight of the tourism promotion and tourism development revenues between an appointed “tourism commission,” appointed by the mayor or administrator, or a “tourism entity” (usually a CVB or chamber of commerce) which enables decisions to be totally under local control.

4. Modified ‘Tourism Entity’ Definition – A new definition provides that a) entities created up to January 2015 are eligible, or where there is no other entity one can be created; b) more than half of the entity’s revenue is spent on tourism promotion and tourism development; c) they must provide marketing staff and services for the local tourism industry; d) one local lodging operator is on their governing board; e) an annual report on room tax revenue expenditures is provided to the municipality.

5. Dollar Cap on Grandfathered Municipalities – For grandfathered areas that do not provide at least 70 percent of Room Tax collections to tourism promotion and tourism development, starting in 2016 there will be a gradual reduction for five years in a row of the dollar amount the municipality may keep for its own purposes. In 2016, the cap will be the dollar amount the municipality kept for its own purposes in the year 2013; then in 2017 the cap is the dollars retained in 2012, in 2018 the cap is the dollars in 2011, in 2019, the cap is the dollars retained in 2010, and in 2020 and into the future the cap is the dollars retained in 2009. The concept is that municipalities that are not providing their fair share (at least 70 percent) to tourism promotion and tourism development, should no longer be entitled to the growth in room tax revenue. A clause was also added that the municipality may retain the greater of the capped amount, or 30 percent of room tax collections.

Example: A grandfathered municipality retained $100,000 of the room tax for their own purposes in 2009. Assuming an average annual growth of 2 percent per year, this equals approximately $108,000 in 2013. Moving forward to 2016, the municipality had most recently kept $112,600. The first dollar cap would be $108,000 which is a reduction of $4,200 (-4.2 percent); however, this amount is still invested in growing local tourism, which helps businesses in the community, making it more appealing to locate or stay there.

There is considerable misinformation out regarding what the changes are. We recommend asking to view the municipality’s financial statements relating to room tax to better understand if the concern is a true budget challenge or move a wish to avoid change. To view a copy of the state Room Tax Statute and other Room Tax resources, visit WisconsinLodging.org/roomtax.

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Occupancy was up 1.1 percent in Wisconsin for February 2015. Most market areas saw an increase in occupancy for the month, with the largest increase in La Crosse. ADR was up 4.4 percent statewide for the month, with the largest increase in Door County.

View Smith Travel Data for your region for February 2015 here. This link is password protected for WH&LA Lodging Members only.

SOURCE: SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH, INC. REPUBLICATION OR OTHER RE-USE OF THIS DATA WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF STR IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Provided by STR. For detailed lodging performance data for your area, contact STR at (615) 824-8664 ext. 3504 or info@str.com. *Analysis provided by WH&LA.

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The AH&LA Career Center, powered by HCareers, grants access to the nation’s largest searchable online database of candidates and job openings specific to the lodging industry. WH&LA lodging members receive a 20% discount from HCareers.

To view the HCareers and WH&LA member discount whitesheet click here.

Learn more here or speak with an HCareers representative by calling 800/832-3738.

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Showcase the excitement and beauty that Wisconsin lodging has to offer as the featured property on the cover of the 2016 Wisconsin Lodging Directory!

   

Gain exposure across the Midwest and beyond when your property graces the cover of 175,000 copies of this annual directory. The Wisconsin Lodging Directory Cover Contest allows properties to submit photos for judging, and compete in an online quest for the most votes from a group of 12 finalist photos. Engage your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, newsletter subscribers and loyal guests to help get out the vote!

THE CALL FOR ENTRIES ENDS
THURSDAY, APRIL 9 @ 11:59 pm CDT.
Submit your images to  communication@wisconsinlodging.org 

Details
WH&LA member properties may submit up to two photos featuring indoor or outdoor locations at their Wisconsin lodging property. No identifying signage is allowed. Web-resolution photos may be submitted for judging, but a high-resolution, print-quality version must be available. No exceptions.

Photos must be e-mailed to Michelle in the WH&LA office by THURSDAY, APRIL 9 at 11:59 PM CDT. Photos received after the deadline will not be considered. Hard-copy photos may be mailed to WH&LA Lodging Directory Cover Contest, 1025 S. Moorland Road, Ste. 200, Brookfield, WI 53005 and must be received by the deadline.

All photo entries will be submitted to a third-party for first-round judging, where 12 Cover Finalists will be chosen with no more than one finalist image from any one property. Each of the 12 member properties chosen as a Cover Finalists will be charged a $300 promotion fee for the added visibility outlined below. The past three years of cover contest winners (2015, 2014 and 2013) are not eligible to participate in the 2016 contest. No additional fees will be charged to the Cover Contest winner.     

Promotion
The 12 Cover Finalists will each have a 2016 Lodging Directory cover designed and displayed at WisconsinLodging.org/covercontest from Monday, April 13 through Friday, May 1. The traveling public will be able to vote for their favorite cover on the page. Each finalist will also be featured in a special edition of the WisconsINN Getaways email newsletter in April (click to see 2015 issue), sent to more than 8,000 subscribers. Additionally, finalists will be promoted via WH&LA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts throughout the voting period, and finalists are encouraged to promote the contest through their own social media channels. The winner of the cover contest will be announced on Friday, May 8.

Terms
WH&LA member property Cover Finalists will be notified and billed the $300 promotional fee on or around April 10, 2015. If payment is not received by May 1, 2015, the property’s image will be disqualified. The Cover Finalist that is chosen as winner must renew its WH&LA membership on or before June 30, 2015, to be eligible to be featured on the cover. The winner must also continue or expand its Lodging Directory advertising commitment from 2015. If a property wins the cover contest but chooses not to renew membership, it will be disqualified and the second-place finalist will be named the winner. By submitting photo(s) to the Cover Contest, entrant agrees to outlined terms. WH&LA reserves the right to refuse any photo submission for any reason.

 Questions? Contact Michelle in the WH&LA office via email at communication@wisconsinlodging.org or call 262/782-2851.

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Occupancy was up 6.2 percent in Wisconsin for January 2015. Nearly all market areas saw an increase in occupancy for the month, with the largest increase in Wisconsin North Area. ADR was up 5.7 percent statewide for the month, with the largest increase in Green Bay.

View Smith Travel Data for your region for January 2015 here. This link is password protected for WH&LA Lodging Members only.

SOURCE: SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH, INC. REPUBLICATION OR OTHER RE-USE OF THIS DATA WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF STR IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Provided by STR. For detailed lodging performance data for your area, contact STR at (615) 824-8664 ext. 3504 or info@str.com. *Analysis provided by WH&LA.

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Occupancy was up 3.0 percent in Wisconsin for year-end 2014. All market areas saw an increase in occupancy for the year, with the largest increase in Eau Claire/Menomonie. ADR was up 3.7 percent statewide for 2014, with the largest increase in Madison. For December 2014, occupancy was up 2.9 percent statewide and ADR was up 3.5 percent.

View Smith Travel Data for your region for December & Year-End 2014 here. This link is password protected for WH&LA Lodging Members only.

SOURCE: SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH, INC. REPUBLICATION OR OTHER RE-USE OF THIS DATA WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF STR IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Provided by STR. For detailed lodging performance data for your area, contact STR at (615) 824-8664 ext. 3504 or info@str.com. *Analysis provided by WH&LA.

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Congratulations to the following WH&LA members on their recent awards and recognition!

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Genva, was awarded the Meetings & Conventions Gold Key award. Winners are chosen by the magazine’s readers for overall excellence in specific categories like attitude of meeting staff, guest services, F&B and more.

Heidel House Resort & Spa, Green Lake, was voted Best Wisconsin Lakeshore Resort 2015 by Wisconsin Meetings magazine. The annual awards are determined by a survey that asks readers to weigh in on the suppliers and venues that rise to the top of the meetings and convention industry.

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