December 2010

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.

Occupancy was up in Wisconsin in October 2010 compared to October 2009 and all market areas saw an increase in occupancy, with the largest increase in Green Bay MSA. ADR was also up statewide compared to October 2009, with the largest increase in Green Bay MSA.

To view Smith Travel Data for your region for October 2010, click here. (Password protected for lodging members only – 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


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WH&LA pleased to announce that Jennifer Church has joined its staff as Director of Membership Development!

Jennifer has experience in hotel operations, convention & visitor bureau sales and as a certified hotel broker. As Director of Membership Development, she will be servicing lodging members and state chapters. She will also work to continue to make the annual Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show a great benefit to members with excellent educational opportunities.

Jennifer can be reached via e-mail at or by calling the WH&LA office at 262/782-2851.


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A new Room Tax resource with a national perspective has just been released, called “Lodging Tax Primer.” The purpose of this new resource is to provide a nation-wide explanation of Room Tax/Lodging Tax, how it varies around the country, what some of the primary challenges have become and some solutions that can be pursued to restore the integrity of the tax.

The target audience ranges from the lodging industry to all of the tourism industry to state and local government officials and to the media, who frequently do not know any background helpful in presenting a fair overview in their writings. There previously was no overview of this tax and it’s implications.

The entire WH&LA Advisory e-mail can be found here (password protected for lodging members only) by clicking the November 9 link, and the Lodging Tax Primer is available to the public from the Room Tax Tools page at the members site on


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The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of Bassettbaby drop-side cribs with external plastic hardware. The cribs were sold at national and online retailers between January 2000 and August 2010, and approximately 45 models of the drop-side cribs are affected by the recall.

According to the CPSC, the drop-side of the crib can malfunction, detach or otherwise fail, causing a space between the drop side and crib mattress, which could trap an infant or toddler. If your property uses any of the Bassettbaby cribs listed here, you should stop using the cribs immediately and contact Bassettbaby for a free kit to immobilize the drop side. Bassettbaby can be contacted at at (800) 308-7485 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at

Properties should also check their cribs for Simplicity Nursery brand of cribs, bassinets and play yards. A list of Simplicity Nursery product recalls can be found here.

Browse recent recalls and search recalls by month at the Product Safety News section of the CPSC Web site.


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It seems like another e-mail scam creeps into an inbox near you on a daily basis. Particular to the lodging industry is a scam typically involving a foreign agent looking to book a number of rooms for an extended period of time for several people. The request is made to pay in advance (with an illegitimate or otherwise unlawful) credit card and a partial refund or transfer to a third party is almost immediately requested.

WH&LA sent out a detailed scam warning to member properties in November 2008, including tips for spotting scam e-mails:

E-mail scams that ask to pay a large sum plus money to “wire” to a third party are almost always scams based in Nigeria or Indonesia. The scammers willingly pre-pay for requested rooms with either a credit card number that was stolen or send a fraudulent cashier’s check from a non-existent bank. Almost immediately after, they make a change to the reservation, such as canceling one of the travelers, shortening the length of stay, etc. They ask you to either wire a refund or issue a cashier’s check for this smaller (but still substantial) amount. While the requests may seem legitimate, the scammer’s payment to you will be worthless and they will have your money.

Precautions to keep in mind:
- If you think an offer received by e-mail is too good to be true, it most likely is.
- If you believe the credit card number provided may be stolen, do not process the card. You may be stuck with chargeback fees from the credit card company when the legitimate cardholder disputes the charge on their stolen credit card.
- Do not place any international calls to the potential scammer. Automatic re-direct services make it possible for these criminals to route calls from what appears to be a UK phone number to anywhere in the world, and you may incur a per-minute fee in addition to the long distance fees on your local telephone bill.

The specific origin of these e-mails is incredibly difficult to determine, and resources are not typically available to attempt to find and prosecute the perpetrators. If you think you may be dealing with an attempt to make a fraudulent reservation, ask the person to fax or email a photocopy of the front and back of their credit card and a copy of a state-issued identification card. Let the person know that their credit card will not be charged in any way until they check in on-site at your property, and that will likely be the last you hear from them.


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The American Hotel & Lodging Association and WH&LA Associate Member EcoLab have teamed up to develop a nifty toolkit to help in the prevention of bed bugs.

From the EcoLab Web site:

Hotel operators and housekeeping staff are on the front lines in the fight against bed bugs. That is why the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute has joined Ecolab in launching this free online resource featuring information and materials on how to train staff to detect bed bugs early, and know what to do if a guest room is infested.

The tookit contains a bed bugs fact sheet, room inspection pocket card and poster and a housekeeping instructional video. Each of the files can be downloaded for no charge here.


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The Voice of the GM Survey shows general managers are “good at weathering the storm and remaining happy despite economic hard times,” according to the results posted at The survey reports that 67% of respondents did not lay off employees this year, and about 33% were able to hire full time staff.

Other highlights:

- 72% of respondents are happy with their property’s ownership group
- “The people you work with” is the #1 reason general managers stay at their jobs
- 30% of respondents report a rise in room rates between 5-10% over last year
- a majority of respondents predicted a rise in occupancy by nearly 5% in 2011
- flat screen televisions are still at the top of the “wish list” for most properties
- most respondents have implemented linen re-use programs and other eco-friendly practices

Additional survey results can be found by clicking the above link.


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The Wh&LA Board of Directors would like to welcome the following new directors and Executive Committee officers to their new positions for 2011:

Robert Y. Dove, Jr., Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel, Neenah

Connie Barbian, Inn Development & Management, Fort Atkinson

Vice Chairman
Buck Drossart, CLM, The Pointe Hotel & Suites and Conference Center, Minocqua

Kevin Gallagher, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Milwaukee

Past Chairman
Kirk Drusch, CHA, Brookfield Suites Hotel & Convention Center, Brookfield

AH&LA Director
Scott Krause, Heidel House Resort & Spa

Newly-Elected Directors
Anna Anderson, The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee
Dawn Byczek, Super 8, Adams
Rick Duarte, Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells
Jan Graunke, Birch Creek Inn, Manitowoc
Keri Hall, Super 8 Hotel, Verona
Richard Hoffman, Coachlite Inn, Sister Bay
Kimberly Vele, Konkapot Lodge, Bowler
Randall Upchurch, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie


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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association has chosen Robert Y. Dove, Jr., General Manager & Partner, Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah, WI, as its 2010 Innkeeper of the Year.

A winner of numerous “Best of the Best” Awards from Best Western International for hotels rated tops in Guest Satisfaction and Quality Assurance for the franchise, Mr. Dove has served as the property’s General Manager/Partner for more than six years, and has served in WH&LA Committee leadership roles as well as officer roles with the WH&LA since 2006. Mr. Dove will assume the position of Chairman of the WH&LA Board of Directors on January 1, 2011.

In addition to receiving this special honor, Governor Jim Doyle sent a Certificate of Commendation, also signed by the Governor, in recognition of
the contributions of Mr. Dove.

The Innkeeper of the Year award is bestowed annually on just one exemplary professional who is the owner or manager of a lodging property in Wisconsin.


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