May 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.

The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association invites member lodging properties to participate in the Growing Revenue Through Electronic Channels Webinar on June 8, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

Webinar participants will learn electronic distribution channels on which to focus investment, what guests are looking for online, what makes a consumer pick a property, increasing incremental revenue online and more!

The cost to attend this online-only Webinar is $10 for WH&LA member lodging properties and $75 for non-members (lodging properties only). The deadline to register is June 7 at 10:00 a.m. – after this deadline registration rates will increase!

Sign up online here or download the registration form here.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency responsible for oversight of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGBA) relating to pool entrapment protection regulations, has released a recall of certain drain covers mistakenly rated as acceptable in protecting against entrapment under the VGBA. It is projected that this recall will affect approximately 5% of drain covers currently in use.

More about the pool drain cover recall can be accessed here by clicking on the May 27 link. This link is password protected for lodging members only – contact Michelle in the WH&LA office if you need access to your password or help logging in.

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The May 26 WH&LA Capitol Insider provided a round-up review of several issues relevant to the lodging industry, including:

- SB 93 regarding concealed carry of firearms, bows or crossbows in Wisconsin under certain circumstances;

- SJR 23/AJR 31 regarding a Constitutional amendment protecting the state transportation fund;

- SB 85 regarding theft of spa services;

- SB 59/AB 73 which extends the deadline for registration of a grandfathered pier from April 1, 2011 (already passed!) to April 1, 2012;

- SB 12/AB 31 which would allow lodging properties and other retailers to offer a discount to the public equal to the amount of sales tax, requiring the retailer still submits the required taxes;

- SB 62/AB 106 regarding culling of bass at fishing tournaments;

- meetings regarding room tax reform progress; and

- the state Tourism budget.

The entire Capitol Insider can be accessed here by clicking on the May 26 link. This link is password protected for lodging members only – contact Michelle in the WH&LA office if you need access to your password or help logging in.

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Occupancy was up in Wisconsin in April 2011 compared to April 2010 and all market areas saw an increase in occupancy, with the largest increase in Madison. ADR was also up statewide compared to April 2010, with the largest increase in Milwaukee.

To view Smith Travel Data for your region for April 2011, 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 strglobal.com.

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Congratulations to the Wilderness on the Lake, Wisconsin Dells, winner of the 2012 Wisconsin Lodging Directory Cover Contest! See this great photo gracing the cover of the directory starting in January 2012!

Thanks to all 12 excellent finalists, as well as the nearly 2,000 people who cast a vote!

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From the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA):

Under a U.S. Department of Labor rule, which went into effect May 5, 2011, employers must comply with specific procedures if they seek to claim a tip credit for wages paid to employees who receive tips in addition to a cash wage.

How it Works
Every employee for whom a tip credit is applied as part of his or her wages, must be notified of the following:
- The cash wage being paid to him/her, which must be at least $2.13 an hour (or higher depending on state law)
- The tip credit amount, which may not be greater than the difference between the minimum wage and the cash wage or the actual amount of tips received by the employee up to $5.12 per hour (or less depending on state law)
- All tips must be retained by the employee, except in the case of a valid tip-pooling arrangement
- The credit will not apply to any employee who has not been informed of this information

Although the rule states that employers do not necessarily need to provide this information in writing, it strongly advises employers to do so in case they are called upon to prove they have complied.

Questions? The Department of Labor has produced a fact sheet on the new rules.

State Laws
Employers must also comply with state laws that apply to tipped employees in addition to federal laws. Wages for tipped employees in specific states can be found here.

UPDATE: Fischer & Phillips LLP has posted an article in their laborlawyers.com blog regarding interpretations of the new Tip Credit requirements, including general principles, informing employees of the law’s provisions, no limits on tip pooling amounts, the chances for increased scrutiny of tipped-employee pay practices and additional Department of Labor news. Read the article here.

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The May 5 WH&LA Capitol Insider provided a round-up review of several issues relevant to the lodging industry, including:

- Passage by the Joint Finance Committee of the proposed increases in Tourism Marketing Funding over the next two years;

- Reductions in funding and realignment of the Arts Board;

- SB 59, which would extends the deadline for registration with the DNR of a grandfathered pier from April 1, 2011, to April 1, 2012;

- Wisconsin Act 16, which prevents local ordinances from exceeding the state family and medical leave act relating to employer requirements on paid or unpaid leave; and

- SB 85, which would treat lack of payment for services rendered by a service provider the same as retail theft, which would be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the service.

The entire Capitol Insider can be accessed here by clicking on the May 5 link. This link is password protected for lodging members only – contact Michelle in the WH&LA office if you need access to your password or help logging in.

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AH&LA is set to host a Regional Hospitality Forum on Tuesday, May 24 from 2 – 4:30 p.m. at McCormick Place in Chicago. AH&LA’s executive staff will provide updates on industry and governmental affairs initiatives, as well as a panel discussion on new ADA compliance regulations. The event is hosted by the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IH&LA) during the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show.

The $80 registration fee includes IH&LA 16th Annual Hospitality Luncheon at Noon, NRA Show badge and all AH&LA programming. AH&LA members can register here. WH&LA members that are not AH&LA members can contact Katie Hais at AH&LA via e-mail or by calling 202/289-3114.

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