June 2009

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Fisher & Phillips offering Free Webinar – July 8, 2009


“In light of the burgeoning number of immigration-related federal and state laws, immigration compliance is now a major concern among employers of all sizes. This is especially true in the hospitality industry, where employers face unique challenges in complying with federal and state immigration laws. For example, the presence of contract or seasonal workers in your business, or management of your facility by a hospitality management company, can complicate compliance efforts.

During this webinar we will highlight the most important steps that should be taken immediately to ensure compliance, and we will also preview new and emerging rules and regulations. These include revisions to the Form I-9 and special I-9 issues for contract labor, new state and federal laws requiring use of E-Verify, including a new requirement that businesses holding federal contracts use E-Verify, workplace immigration raids targeting hospitality businesses, and Social Security no-match letters. It is important to remember that these compliance issues affect all businesses, not just those with foreign national employees.

The second portion of the webinar will focus on the unique visa options that are available for foreign-national employees working in the hospitality industry. Whether you are looking to hire new talent, or seeking to retain a valued foreign-national employee, understanding the breadth of visa options available will be valuable in managing your personnel resources. We will not only describe the qualification criteria and limitations of each visa, but will give specific examples of how it can be used in a variety of hospitality settings.

This hour long webinar is free, but registration is required. Once your registration is complete you will receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to join the webinar.

Webinar date and time:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 – 2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT

If you have any questions, please contact Gail Rice at 404-231-1400 or grice@laborlawyers.com

The WIA does not endorse Fisher & Phillips LLP 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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Web 2.0 & social media for business – seems I can’t open my email anymore without seeing another article, blog or headline about utilizing the web to increase your visibility, engage customers or generate interest in promotions.  The following are some of the best from my email this week & are definitely worth checking out:

Google’s Matt Cutts on “How to Get Better Visibility on Google”
In less than five minutes Matt shares 5 common sense & completely above board tips to increase the Google ranking of your site.  Some may be elementary, but this short video is definitely worth your time.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GK0aQrCDEo]

Google also recently launched a new free tool in their Local Business Center which allows “business owners to control the content of their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps.”  Check out this blog post by Google on how to access the following info on your site: Impressions, Actions, Top search queries and Zip codes where driving directions come from.  Google also does a good job of including a short instructional video with more info on using this new dashboard.  Pretty cool, eh?

Hotels jumping on social media bandwagon
If you’re not sure how Twitter applies to your property, Maya Meinert shares info on how companies such as Marriott International are utilizing Twitter.  Also included are single property tweeters including LA’s Westin Bonaventure and Milwaukee’s Iron Horse Hotel.  With over 1,800 followers, the Iron Horse Hotel shares info on current promotions, responds to guest comments and offers fun, random thoughts (“Is vice-versa to a dyslexic just plain redundant?”)

Meet The Hotel Tweet
Over at HotelsMag.com, Adam Kirby shares more info on properties using Twitter and has some good advice from Susan Black, a NY “travel industry social media consultant”:
“Develop a personable, recognizable voice for your Twitter account and focus on building brand loyalty, picking up one-off business when you can, Black says—and never lose sight of the fact that Twitter is a conversation, not a bullhorn.
“It’s not one-way. It’s a dialogue,” Black says. “Be there to answer the queries. It’s well known on Twitter that people follow other people when they know there is a person or a personality behind it.”

And finally, if you’re looking to the future and want to know what’s headed this way soon, check out this post from 4Hoteliers.com:  Will you be Ready for 2012, The Real Year of Mobile. 1.5 BILLION users accessing the web from mobile devices by 2012?  If that doesn’t make your head spin & your stomach a bit queasy, you’re stronger than I!


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ByTempoNoTempo,Flickr2008 brought us $4 gas, the first rumblings of a tough economy and the dreadful media focus on ‘staycations.’

What’s in store for 2009?

Check out the following article from AdWeek: Where Will Folks Spend Their Summer Vacations? Author Mark Dolliver reviews the latest polls, industry trends & the impact of aggressive discounting, and ‘nearcations’.

In addition, PhoCusWright.com offers this advice for businesses to “plan smart during the recession”:

  1. Plan for each phase of the business cycle.
  2. If you discount, do so carefully so you can preserve brand value and price opportunities when recovery comes.
  3. Do not over-allocate marketing budgets to promotion versus image advertising

Read the full article here for more on each of the above tips.


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Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is currently offering their Meetings Matter Webinar Series, featuring “solutions to issues that are confronting today’s [meetings] industry professional.”  Webinars are free to attend and past webinars are recorded and can be viewed from your computer.  On June 3rd the topic was “Survival Strategies for Suppliers” and addressed current issues affecting lodging properties, CVBs, DMOs, restaurants and other meeting suppliers.

Presented by Plan Your Meetings, this session shared solutions for current business challenges based on a series of Town Hall meetings they’d conducted with suppliers in sites such as Dallas & Atlanta earlier this year.  You can also download notes from each of these Town Hall meetings at their site here.

Also included in the presentation is a walk through of how suppliers can use current social networking platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  Presenter Kristi Casey Sanders gives real-life guidance into using these tools to interact with planners and find more business.


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I had the opportunity to attend a class yesterday called “Technology Decoded” and learned a TON about what’s out there now, the Hot Stuff to watch for and, of course, tips on free stuff we can use today to be better at what we do.  I also received permission to repost the following from speaker/ author Tony Rubleski. While not written specifically for the lodging industry, with a little creativity Tony’s strategies can be incorporated into your current marketing efforts for minimal financial or time investments…
Thanks Tony for the post!

Five Low Cost Marketing Strategies
Here are five often overlooked low cost marketing strategies anyone can use to better promote their product, service or organization:
#1. Use more inserts with your direct mail
Anytime you send out something make sure to drop something in with the mailing such as a flier describing additional services, a positive testimonial letter, article reprint or thank you note to leverage and maximize the mailing. Very few companies take advantage of what direct marketing pros call ‘ride-along’ offers in their mailings. For example, every book order we ship from our office has a two-page flier enclosed promoting our offline newsletter and a short post-it-note on the front page that reads, “If you like the book, you should definitely check out this newsletter!”

Confession time: It wasn’t until my wife Kim made the casual comment, “Why don’t you put the newsletter flier in with book orders?” when packing a book order over the holidays, that we added inserts into every order we ship. Yes indeed, I married a smart and wonderful woman who continually reminds the ‘marketing guy’ of things he’s missing the boat on or simply forgetting to do!

#2. Postcard mailings
I’m baffled that more people don’t use postcard communications with their best customers on a regular basis. Here are a few reasons I love postcards: They’re low cost, easy to produce, fun, memorable, and when done properly they jump out of the mailbox versus other forms of marketing communications.

My dentist and local vet office are perfect examples of two businesses that use postcard marketing with precision and maximum effectiveness. With our busy daily lives, they’re masters at reminding us of upcoming appointments, special announcements and gently nudging us via a postcard that we’re either on track or overdue for a checkup.

I know this sounds like common sense, but I’m stunned at how few businesses communicate on a consistent basis with their customers using the power of simple postcard mailings. Many of you know that I’m a big believer in an amazing direct mail service called Send Out Cards. Their system allows you to not only build a database for your contacts, but also lets you build memorable card campaigns using the power of the Internet and their offline mailing services. I’ve been amazed at the incredible reaction we get by using it every week along with our other follow up systems to stay in touch with key clients, prospects, family members and friends.

#3. Article marketing
If you educate people versus selling them you’ll be amazed at how differently people will perceive you and your organization. I know, some of you reading this are saying, Tony this sounds good but I’m not a writer. That’s an understandable concern but let me set you at ease. You don’t have to be a good writer. Here are three quick ways to find great articles:

a.Leverage articles, with permission, from your industry trade groups. They often have a treasure trove of informative and timely articles available from their newsletters and archived on their websites which are great to use in your marketing efforts.

b.Do a Google search for free, public domain articles that have been granted permission by the writer or publisher. There are tons of these available and often all the writer asks for in exchange is a short bio line and putting their website address at the end of the article to build awareness and drive interested readers back to them for more information.

c.Set up a section on your site, blog and in your eletters where you reference great information via links to other sites that have articles you recommend.

#4. Set up and use a blog within your marketing efforts
I believe every company should set up and use a blog within their marketing efforts. Here’s the big reason why: you want to have a forum where you can update, share and build a following with your customers. A great free resource is WordPress.com. Many people use this to set up their blog presence.

In addition, the major benefit from consistent blogging is that it improves your chances within the online game called ‘search.’ You win in two ways every time you make a blog post. When you update your blog posts you get to share your message with others, and at the same you’re also increasing the odds that the online search engines will move you up in ranking because you regularly update your pages with new posts.

#5. Take at least one key client or referral partner out to breakfast or lunch every week
This will be the best $20-30 you can spend to not only cement a great relationship, but it’s also smart for the following reasons:
    •You can learn more about what your client does and greatly enhance the relationship
    •It’s a great way to get focused, uninterrupted, face-to-face time away from the office
    •You can educate and update your client on the many things you provide
    •To give and receive referrals
    •You discover areas of opportunity and get great feedback

Even when I’m traveling, I make it a habit to schedule a breakfast, lunch or dinner meeting in between speaking or meetings with a friend, key client or prospect. I get to enhance relationships and also build my business at the same time. This is a solid part of my marketing mix that really pays off.

There you have it. Review this list of five simple ways to increase your marketing and promotional efforts for little or no cost to see what you can add into the mix.MSS

Tony Rubleski is a best selling author and the president of Mind Capture Group. For future column ideas, suggestions or feedback contact him at tony@mindcapturegroup.com or visit www.MindCaptureGroup.com.



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This newly revised text features “the most up-to-date control processes used to reduce costs in food and beverage operations”.  Included are “many Web-based references to illustrate the concepts introduced in the book.”
AHLA Training Materials
Click on the image to learn more about the program.

Members can take advantage of discount pricing ($66.95 for members/ $96.95 for non-members).

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


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AHLA PSA logoAs a partner state association of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), all WIA members with 51 rooms and above automatically receive dual membership in both WIA & AH&LA.  (Properties with 50 rooms or fewer may choose to add AH&LA membership for less than $120 annually.) Benefits to AH&LA membership (in addition to your WIA benefits) include:
* Subscription to Lodging Magazine
* Electronic newsletter subscriptions to Lodging SmartBrief, Lodging HR,  and Lodging Law
* Money saving discounts from industry vendors such as Staples, STR Global & Wage Watch
* Savings on music licensing fees from ASCAP, BMI & SESAC
* 20-40% Savings on training materials from AH&LA’s Educational Institute
* Access to industry research & reports including the 2008 Room Tax Study & Lodging Survey
* & more

AHLA Summer SummitAlso, be sure to mark your calendars for the Summer Summit, June 23-24 at the Hilton Chicago.  Find more information including educational programming & events here.

AHLAWhether you’re a single property, multi-unit owner or manager, hospitality faculty or student, or lodging industry vendor, there’s a membership category for you.  If you’re interested in joining AH&LA or learning more about your benefits, please contact the WIA office for assistance.


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