August 2010

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Today, the federal General Services Administration (GSA) released the Federal Per Diem Rates for federal employees traveling on business, effective October 1, 2010 until September 30, 2011.It is important to note that the GSA determines their rates based on STR data on rates.  This emphasizes the importance of Wisconsin properties responding to Smith Travel Research (STR) surveys to ensure the rates set for each area are as accurate as possible.

The full text of the Capitol Insider e-mail, with a chart of federal per diem rates for Wisconsin and notable rate changes can be found here by clicking the 8/30/10 link.

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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association (WH&LA) Room Tax Task Force has developed a new tool to help determine if local Room Tax is compliant with state statutes. The WH&LA Wisconsin Room Tax Self-Audit Tool will help you make sure your local tourism industry is receiving appropriate funding for tourism promotion and development from the tax.

This five-page tool is designed to guide lodging and other tourism businesses, CVBs, chambers of commerce and municipalities through an analysis of the room tax authorized in individual municipalities.

The Room Tax Self-Audit Tool can be found here, by clicking the 8/31/10 link. (This page is password protected for WH&LA Lodging Members only. If you need assistance with logging in, e-mail Michelle or call 262/782-2851.)

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In 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism embarked on an ongoing study to track traveler perceptions and behaviors over time. Qualitative research was conducted during January in Chicago and Minneapolis. During the month of May, travelers who live in Chicago, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities and Iowa then took an online survey. Only those respondents who had spent one overnight involving vacation travel in the past year and – at a minimum – shared in the responsibility for making travel or vacation plans for their household were included. More than 1,600 travelers’ responses were included in this research.

The research report is prefaced as being a beginning, and additional data will be shared as it becomes available. The report highlights travel habits, planning tools and motivators for leisure travel. A few interesting statistics from the report include:

- “Having Fun” is the number one motivator for embarking on leisure travel in Wisconsin.

- 73% of respondents selected a hotel or place to stay online, compared with 45% of respondents in a national sample reported in a similar study called “The State of the American Traveler” in January 2010.

- 69% of respondents reported booking a hotel or other lodging online, compared to 43% of respondents in the “American Traveler” poll.

The full two-page report, complete with handy charts and graphs, can be downloaded here.

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Occupancy was up in Wisconsin in July 2010 compared to July 2009 and all market areas saw an increase in occupancy, with the largest increase in Eau Claire/Menomonie. ADR was up slightly statewide compared to July 2009, with the largest increase in Janesville/Racine.

To view Smith Travel Data for your region for July 2010, click here. (Password protected – e-mail Michelle in the WH&LA Office if you need help logging in.)

Data is provided by Smith Travel Research, an independent research firm founded in 1985. Smith Travel offers WH&LA members discounts on various STR reports and products. For more information, visit strglobal.com.

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Would you like to get more bus group reservations?

The WH&LA co-op ad in the ABA (American Bus Association) is one of our longest running and most popular opportunities. For $280 you receive a listing that thousands of bus tour operators will see throughout the year. The best part is that you don’t need to be a member of ABA to participate! While we are a bit passed deadline on this, we can get you in up until Wednesday morning (September 1). Please click here and fax back the form to 262-782-0550.

As always, feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Bill Elliott, VP Member & Revenue Development WH&LA
E: bill@WisconsinLodging.org
P: 262/782-2851

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WH&LA was asked to share the following message from the Department of Tourism’s survey vendor:

Click to see the 2009 State Report

Davidson-Peterson Associates has been commissioned by the Wisconsin Tourism Department to conduct a survey of lodging properties as one element in an economic impact study for the state of Wisconsin. To have accurate and complete information to help the state better promote tourism, the study depends on accurate information and widespread participation. Please be assured that all information that you provide us is absolutely confidential. It will never be shared or otherwise distributed without your express written consent.

The third quarter of data collection for the 2010 Lodging Manager Survey will begin the week of August 30th and your participation will increase the accuracy of the study.

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Hard to believe that the kids are already headed back to school & the leaves will soon start to change their colors…

Here in the office we’re already looking ahead to November & December in our cooperative advertising program.  Take a look below at three targeted opportunities with deadlines fast approaching:

Wisconsin Trails – deadline September 1st
November/ December issue
Focus on Holiday/ Leisure travel
Circulation – 90,000+
Ad cost – $325/ property
Download sign-up form here

MPI- Wisconsin Chapter – deadline September 13th
November/ December issue
Focus on small meetings, corporate retreats & more
Circulation – 200+ members of Meeting Professional International, WI Chapter
Ad cost – $175/ property
Download sign-up form here

Reunions Magazine – deadline September 13th
November/ December/ January issue
Focus on family, military, class & other reunions
Circulation – 20,000
Ad cost – $390/ property
Download sign-up form here

For more information on these, or any of the WH&LA cooperative advertising opportunities, please contact Bill in the office via email or phone at 262/782-2851.

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“The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is revising its Certified Lodging Security Director (CLSD) review materials and exam to include new information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on terrorism threats and hazards and protective measures for lodging; USA PATRIOT Act information; information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on standards important to security directors; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information; and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance standards affecting security.

In addition to the updated content, the format of the review materials will be revised. Candidates for the CLSD designation will now receive a Exam Preparation Booklet with their resource materials to streamline and focus their study and exam preparation more effectively. This booklet, along with a CD that includes resource materials, lets candidates assess their knowledge and experience by individual competency, and then directs them to the specific resource by volume, chapter, and subject for study and review.

For more information on the release of the updated CLSD certification materials, check out the AHLEI certification page here.  Need help with your AH&LA ID Number or not sure if you’re an AH&LA Member? Contact Denise in the WH&LA office for assistance.

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Okay, so I missed this big announcement from the US Treasury, Federal Reserve & Secret Service last April.  Not that I have these in my wallet all that often either!  But, in the interest of full awareness & safe money handling, here’s the info:

  • beginning February 2011, new $100 bills will hit circulation
  • the old design will still be considered ‘legal tender’
  • there are a number of new security features built into the new design
  • the “$100 is the highest value denomination” issued
  • and is also the “most often counterfeited denomination outside the U.S.”

So, how do you ensure you & your staff are accepting only legal $100 bills? Check out the following resources from the Dept of the Treasury at newmoney.gov:

  1. Interactive Note: mouse over this note to see the ‘hidden’ bell in the ink pot, the 3-D security ribbon woven through the bill, and more
  2. Additional Security Features: scroll down the page to view, in detail, 12 more security features on the new bill, some of which were retained from the older version
  3. Download educational & training materials, including a free booklet & poster

And hey, if you’d like to throw one of these new bills my way when they come out next February, go right ahead!

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Click on the image above for more information from the AH&LA Educational Institute.

Need help with your AH&LA ID Number or not sure if you’re an AH&LA Member? Contact Denise in the WH&LA office for assistance.

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