April 2009

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logo1Thinking you should know more about this Social Media “craze”?  Whether you’re embarking upon your first foray into social media, want to be sure your current efforts yield the optimal results, or just need to stay in the loop, there are three upcoming 30-minute webinars currently scheduled by eRocketFuel:

* How to Apply Facebook to Your Business, April 30th @ 12:00 pm CST
Facebook just hit over 200 million users - If Facebook were a country it would just trail the US and Indonesia making it the 5th largest country. What’s it all about? How do you get an account? And, most importantly, how would you like to harness Facebook for a marketing channel to drive leads for your business?

* How to Apply Twitter to Your Business, May 7th @ 12:00 pm CST
Twitter is a social media site that lets you answer the question - What are you doing? Quite a simple tool – the business applications are HUGE. It’s right now, in your face, top of the mind LIVE marketing. It has nearly 10M users now, but it is growing at over 100% each month.

* Strategic Marketing in a Recession, May 14th @ 12:00 pm CST
Houston, We are in a recession. Budgets across the board are getting cut including the most important one – Marketing. Companies are trimming staff, temporary help, and even consultants until the economy starts to bounce back. But is that such a smart idea? How do you maximize marketing on lower budgets?

Please click the linked titles to each to register.

The WIA does not endorse eRocketFuel nor any of their seminars, materials, or information, and will not be held accountable for any such representations. The information above is simply provided as a courtesy to our members.

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cdc1At this time, there have no been no confirmed cases of the Swine Flu reported in Wisconsin.   The number reported in the U.S. has risen to 40 as of Monday afternoon, none of which are in hotels.  Although there are no current travel advisories in place in regards to the Swine Flu, there have been reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to issue a recommendation to avoid non-essential travel to Mexico.

Precautions to take to help control the spread of the virus include the following from the CDC:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

To learn more about Swine Flu, see this Questions & Answers page.  Based on all currently available information, it is not necessary to curtail travel within Wisconsin or the U.S.  For more information specific to the lodging industry, please see this American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) site and corresponding links.

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Sponsored by Time Warner Cable Business Class

The Wisconsin Innkeepers Association Board of Directors would like to invite lodging property owners and managers in the Appleton area to attend a special Wisconsin Innkeepers Association Briefing Luncheon on Wednesday, May 6 from Noon – 1:30 pm at the Radisson Paper Valley in Appleton. This is a one-time opportunity for non-members to attend as well to learn what your industry association is doing for you.

With so many issues facing our industry this year, the WIA wants to make sure you have the opportunity to hear first-hand about key issues such as the status of the VGBA Pool Entrapment Regulations, the proposed repeal of the September 1 School Start Date affecting family travel in late August, a Paid Sick Leave Mandate precedent the courts will rule on shortly, the broad reach of the proposed federal Card Check legislation impacting all size businesses with employees, and more!  We will also touch on some programs that help you to inexpensively market your property.

It is also our opportunity for our Board members around the state to hear from you about local or state issues you find critical to your property.

Immediately following the Luncheon Briefing, we have a number of committees meeting that members are invited to sit in on, such as Legislative/Tourism Committee, which meets starting at 1:45 pm. This is where committee members learn about legislative and regulatory issues moving forward and votes to determine the position the association wishes to take on each. You can just listen or actively participate, whichever you prefer.

The registration form for the Luncheon Briefing (and other meetings/events) is available here. Or you may register online. The only fee is for the cost of your lunch, with three options provided on the form.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions?  Contact Denise Barnett at 262-782-2851 or service@wisconsinlodging.info.

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Rudner Law Offices is offering a no-cost educational audioconference exclusively for hotel, resort and conference center salespeople. During the first portion of the program, they will present educational content addressing a timely issue of concern to salespeople, and then will answer questions on any subject regarding group sales contracts, which have been submitted in advance by conference participants.
DETAILS:
Government & SMERF Business: Unique Legal Issues
April 23, 3:00 pm CST
In this hour-long call you’ll hear answers to the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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EI-TRAC trainingNew training program available from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Educational Institute: TRAC (Train, Retain, Assess, Certify)

Click on the image to learn more about the program.

WIA members can take advantage of the special introductory offer ($280) if you order before June 1, 2009.

For assistance with your AHLA member number, please contact the WIA office.

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The WIA is once again offering a free educational session on the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGBA) on pools & spas in conjunction with the WI Dept of Commerce and Dept of Health Services.  If you are a lodging property owner or manager with a pool or spa on your property (or you’re the pool/ spa manager), then this seminar is for you!

DETAILS:
Thursday, April 23, 2009
1:00 – 2:30  pm
Wisconsin Dells

“VGBA Update:  What Modifications are Really Needed?”
The federal Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGBA), imposing new requirements for pools to prevent suction entrapment incidents, went into effect December 19, 2008.  With high quoted costs and a measurable amount of misinformation from a variety of sources adding to the confusion, the WIA wants lodging properties with pools and the vendors that service them to hear directly from the Department of Commerce what is needed to come into compliance with the new regulations, without spending more than may be necessary.

WHAT WILL BE COVERED:

  • The basic process for compliance
  • Who is required to do what, and where is there flexibility?
  • Are there less expensive alternatives to digging up concrete, and what are they?
  • What new information is now available?
  • What are the most common fallacies relating to this law?
  • What should pool operators ask engineers (PE’s) and vendors when “shopping” for assistance?
  • The status of the current state Emergency Rule holding down Plan Review Fees until May

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED:
This is a free seminar to all WIA member lodging property pool owners or managers and WIA member pool vendors registering before April 21st.  Non-member lodging properties may attend for $20 per person.
Contact the WIA office for more information or sign up online at the WIA members’ site.

For more information on either the Act or the upcoming seminar, please contact the WIA office.

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park-with-roofWhat do the Milwaukee Brewers and the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association have in common?

Well…
Wisconsin Innkeepers Association “staff, family & friends” can take advantage of seriously discounted Brewers’ tickets for the following April games: Read the rest of this entry »

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USCIS_logoAttention Employers:  Changes have been made to the list of acceptable documents for employment verification and a revised I-9 form goes into effect tomorrow, April 3, 2009.

From the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services web site:
Beginning April 3, 2009, employers may only accept documents listed on the List of Acceptable Documents on the revised Form I-9. When an employee must be reverified because his or her employment authorization has expired, employers should ensure that they use the revised Form I-9 with its new List of Acceptable Documents. An employer may not reverify the employee by completing Section 3 – Updating and Reverification on a previous version of the Form I-9.

All U.S. employers are responsible for completion and retention of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and non-citizens. On the form, the employer must verify the employment eligibility and identity documents presented by the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form.

Edition Date : Rev. 6/5/07.
Please note that the revision date can be found on the lower right hand corner of the form. No previous edition accepted.

Where to File :
Do not file Form I-9 with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or USCIS. Form I-9 must be kept by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials (e.g., Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Office of Special Counsel).

New I-9 forms:
You can download the revised forms here (bottom of page) or order paper copies by calling USCIS at 1-800-870-3676.

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