May 2010

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On Tuesday, May 25th, we hosted an information-packed webinar featuring WI Legislative Council Deputy Director Laura Rose and Senior Staff Attorney Richard Sweet along with WH&LA’s own Trisha Pugal.

All three shared excellent information with attendees including:

  • Minimum distances from entrances required for smoking outdoors
  • Definitions of ‘enclosed place’, ‘substantial wall’ and ‘roof’
  • Signage requirements
  • Suggestions for handling charge-backs on smoking charges
  • Requirements of lodging operators & more!

If you missed the presentation, members can access a recording here.  (You will need your Member ID & Password to access, please contact the WH&LA office at for assistance.)

Special thanks again to our co-sponsor, P&G ProLine.


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In an early look at January-April 2010 Occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) figures, could there be light up ahead?

2009/2010 Month-over-Month percent change:

Statewide numbers show that demand is rebounding & bringing RevPAR with it. While positive year-over-year ADR growth may be a ways away, the gap is narrowing. April numbers show that all but two WI metro markets showed positive Occupancy & RevPAR growth and four markets posted positive rate growth as well.

Click on over to this article to see how STR is projecting summer 2010 travel— here’s a hint, they say both demand & revenue are forecasted to increase compared to summer 2009.

Each month WH&LA members receive the most recent occupancy, RevPAR and ADR data available from Smith Travel Research: statewide, by region and by metro market.  Not getting this every month? Please contact the WH&LA office for assistance.


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Back in late April and early May, Wil-Kil Pest Control sponsored and presented two separate free webinars on bed bug identification, detection, prevention and treatment.

Speakers Randy Allen and Craig Rohde shared excellent information with attendees including:

  • Where bed bugs come from
  • Anatomy of a bed bug
  • Ways to protect your property
  • Canine detection services & more!

If you missed either of these presentations, members can access a recording here. (You will need your Member ID & Password to access, please contact the WH&LA office at for assistance.)

For more information on Wil-Kil and their bed bug detection and treatment services, please see their website.


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The Rudner Law Offices is proud to continue its series of no-cost educational audioconferences exclusively for hotel, resort and conference center salespeople.

Effective Collection of Amounts Due to Your Hotel, and Your Group Sales Questions
May 27th, 3:00 pm CST

Details from Rudner Law Offices:
“There is no charge for participation in the audioconference. We promise a high-quality and timely seminar, and we encourage your participation. During the last portion of the seminar, we will answer questions submitted by registrants. Please email any questions you would like for us to consider covering to as soon as possible.”

Please send an email to no later than 24 hours prior to the seminar. Identify the name and email address of each person who will join in on the call (salespeople at the same location must listen together by speaker phone), and the property at which each participant is currently employed. If you have a question which you want to have anonymously addressed during the seminar on ANY subject regarding group sales contracts, please submit that question at the time of your registration.
The day before the seminar you will be sent an email which will provide the toll-free telephone number for you to call in on to join the seminar, as well as a required code number you will need to join the seminar

The WIA does not endorse Rudner Law Offices 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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UPDATE: From, May 6th: Best Practices for Responding to Online Hotel Reviews, Part I.
and the second part, posted May 20th: Best Practices for Responding to Online Hotel Reviews, Part 2.

UPDATE: From, March 29th: Tips for Managing Online Hotel Reviews: An Interview With TripAdvisor
UPDATE, March 23rd: USA Today’s HOTEL CHECK-IN section just posted this as well: Hotel managers monitor online critiques to improve service
Back in July of 2009 we did a post called “Good Tips for Bad Reviews“. One of our most popular topics, we still often take inquiries from members suddenly facing negative guest reviews online. We already know that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t please all the people all the time & bad days happen…

So, here’s my question:
Do you have a strategy for handling guest feedback in person, over the phone, or in writing to your establishment AND do you have a plan for dealing with these same type of comments when made online?

If you answered no, why not?

Conversations about your place are happening, whether you’re part of them or not.  So, in the spirit of encouraging you to be an active participant in those discussions, we’ve pulled together three more articles worth checking out:

  1. Join the conversation about your business (from May, 09)
  2. Responding to the good, the bad and the ugly (February, 2010)
  3. SmartBrief on: How to handle customer comments (March, 2010)

Finally, this article was originally included in our first post, but I wanted to highlight it one more time because it details a PROACTIVE approach to online guest feedback: Beating negative hotel reviews: An action plan for proactive reputation management.

It’s your turn for feedback – let us have it in the comments section below!


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In Presque Isle, WI, the Alpine Resort is garnering some excitement of their own. National Geographic magazine featured the resort in its May/June issue as one of 10 American family resorts made for reconnecting.

Of the resort, the article says:
Set in far northern Wisconsin on a pristine lake amid towering white pines, this down-home resort, with its collection of circa 1920s log cabins complete with knotty pine interiors, is a real throwback. These days, owners Kim and Tim Bowler and their ten-year-old daughter, Cameil, host angling lessons off the dock and stargazing around the campfire (look for the northern lights). It can be quiet in the North Woods. “The only sounds you hear in the morning are the loons,” notes Kim. For some, that’s exactly the type of alarm clock they want.

Read the entire article here.


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Wisconsin’s Smoking Ban: Interpretations & Implications for Lodging Properties
Tuesday, May 25th
1:30 PM

$15 for WH&LA lodging members
$100 for all others

What you’ll learn:

  • What lodging property owner/operators are required to do under the new smoking ban law
  • What steps must be taken if smoking is witnesses indoors
  • Who will oversee compliance with the ban
  • Answers to questions about guests smoking on balconies, decks and patios
  • What type of signage must be posted
  • The “do’s & don’ts” of matches and ashtrays – especially regarding in-unit fireplaces
  • Legal obligations in converting rooms/units currently designated as smoking units
  • & more!

State of Wisconsin Legislative Council Deputy Director Laura D. Rose
Senior Staff Attorney Richard Sweet
Moderator: WH&LA President/CEO Trisha Pugal

Download the registration flyer or register online here. Questions? Please contact Denise at

Co-sponsored by Proctor & Gamble ProLine.


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Congratulations to the White Gull Inn in Door County for being named America’s Best Breakfast by Good Morning America!

The Inn and its Cherry-Stuffed French Toast was featured on GMA Saturday, May 15, along with two other finalists, and viewers had 12 hours to vote for their favorite on the program’s Web site.

Want to try the award-winning recipe at home? Check it out here.


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A Wisconsin Innkeepers Association member is going up against three other finalists Saturday, May 15  in Good Morning America’s Best Breakfast Challenge. Correspondent Marysol Castro and Producer Ameya Pendse visited Door County’s White Gull Inn on May 4, to shoot footage of the restaurant’s Door County Cherry Stuffed French Toast, which will be shown on the program Saturday, May 15. at 7 am CDT. 

Voting will commence after the show as viewers across America will be encouraged to vote on line for the ultimate winner.  The White Gull and the other three finalists from Houston; Asheville, North Carolina; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire were selected by the show from entries from the fans of thousands of restaurants across the country.

Immediately after the segment airs on Saturday, May 15th, voting beings. Viewers can log on to and look for a link that says, “VOTE FOR THE BEST BREAKFAST”. The link will be up until about 7 pm CDT on May 15.  Viewers can only vote once. The viewers’ votes add up to 50% of the vote. The other half goes to our four anchors (after tasting the food). By 8 pm EDT, Good Morning America will inform the nominees of the outcome. Pendse will then travel to the winning restaurant in time to feature it live on the show Sunday (May 16th) morning.

The 114-year-old White Gull Inn in Fish Creek is a bed and breakfast that also serves three meals daily to the public.  It has been owned and operated since 1972 by Jan and Andy Coulson.


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From AH&LA Smart Brief:

U.S. lodging properties could see higher occupancies, rates and revenue in 2010 than previously forecast, according to a Smith Travel Research report. Whereas occupancy previously was predicted to remain flat for the year, the company now expects 2010 occupancy to increase 1.9% to 55.8% and average daily rates are expected to decline by 2.3% to $94.45, compared with the previously predicted 3.2%. Revenue per available room is expected to decrease only by 0.5%, compared with the earlier forecast of 3.2%.

To read the entire article from Travel Weekly, click here.


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