October 2011

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Occupancy was up in Wisconsin in September 2011 compared to September 2010 and most market areas saw an increase in occupancy, with the largest increase in Wausau/Stevens Point. ADR was also up statewide compared to September 2010, with the largest increase in Green Bay MSA.

To view Smith Travel Data for your region for September 2011, click here.
The above link is 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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From HotelOnline:

Court finds that Online Travel Companies (OTCs) ‘help consumers make informed choices in spending their travel dollars, and to do so conveniently and efficiently.’

The Texas 14th Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed that online travel companies (OTCs) pay all of the taxes that they are legally required to, and that the City of Houston and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority cannot impose taxes on them for their reservation services. This decision follows the clear national trend, where state and federal courts have rebuffed efforts by state and local governments to attempt to impose taxes on online travel companies for their services.

The court went on to point out that an OTC, “does not have rooms or occupancy… the OTCs do not have the right to use or possess hotel rooms. Instead, the OTCs have websites and provide information.” The court noted that, “the OTC does not purchase the right to use the room and then resell that right to a consumer, and does not promise that any reservations will be made.” OTCs simply allow their customer to place a reservation with the hotel through the OTCs’ websites.

The court also correctly applied long-standing rules of statutory construction in interpreting a tax statute: if the taxpayer’s interpretation of the words of the statute is reasonable, the taxpayer prevails and any ambiguity must be resolved in favor of the taxpayer. Here the court held that the OTCs’ argument that their compensation was not part of the “cost of occupancy” was reasonable, and that “the provisions at issue reasonably can be construed to tax only the amounts paid to hotels,” so it ruled in favor of the OTCs.

Read the article in its entirety from HotelOnline here.

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From The Los Angeles Times:

While the cost of business travel continues to climb, executives say airline and hotel workers need to treat them with respect if they want to keep their business.

A survey released last week found that business executives rank rude hotel staff, intrusive security procedures and “steerage-like treatment” on crowded commercial planes as the worst parts of traveling for business.

Asked to pick the things they hate most about travel, 86% of executives said airport security screenings, 76% chose tiny, dirty commercial planes and 74% said impersonal treatment by hotel staff, according to the survey of about 3,000 business executives by Vitesse Worldwide, an executive travel firm in Connecticut.

Read more from The Los Angeles Times here.

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On July 8 of this year, Governor Scott Walker signed into law new legislation (Wisconsin Act 35) permitting licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons, with some exceptions, as of November 1, 2011. Currently, 48 other states allow “Concealed Carry;” however, there are differences between states in the laws and requirements that apply, so what applies in one state may not apply in Wisconsin.

While the law may appear simple, there are a number of considerations and conditions that lodging properties should be aware of. The full text of today’s Capitol Insider (available here by clicking the October 21 link) features highlights of what you should know and resources to assist you, including sample signage for those wishing to prohibit concealed carry at their lodging properties.

The full text of the WH&LA Capitol Insider is password protected for lodging members only. If you need help logging in, email Michelle in the WH&LA office or call 262/782-2851.

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Questions? Email Jennifer in the WH&LA office or call 262/782-2851.

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Over the coming weeks we will feature information on each educational session to be held at the Wisconsin Lodging Conference. The highlight series will give you a glimpse into the sessions, introduce the speakers, and provide a link to register to take advantage of the abundance of lodging information planned.

Best Practices Roundtables

REGISTER NOW!

Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show
November 6-8, 2011
Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Appleton

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Congratulations to Bob & Anita Dhir of the DHIR Group, Milwaukee; Cathy Ekendahl, GM of the Quality Inn Milwaukee/Brookfield; and the entire staff of the Quality Inn Milwaukee/Brookfield for receiving four 2011 Choice Hotels International APEX Awards. The awards included Exceptional Service – General Manager; Exceptional Quality Assurance Award; Service Excellence – Maintenance; and Best Renovation/Re-Design.

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From the Wall Street Journal “In Charge” blog:

If your small business doesn’t yet have a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed, a recent study may persuade you to finally join the social-media bandwagon.

Sixty-five percent of all U.S. adults now use social-networking sites, up from 61% a year ago and just 5% in 2005, reports Pew Research Center. The findings are based on telephone interviews conducted in April and May by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Most of the growth over the past year came from Americans over the age of 30, with seniors accounting for the bulk of it. One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they now use social-networking sites, compared with 26% who said this a year ago. Still, young folks between 18 and 29 years old remain the overall biggest group tapping social networks today, accounting for 83% of the total.

On a typical day, 43% of U.S. adults said they visit sites like Facebook and Twitter, up from 38% a year ago, the survey finds. Among just Internet users ages 50 to 64, social-networking usage on a typical day increased to 32% from 20%. Compared with other online activities, respondents overall said they only use email and search engines more frequently than social networks.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal “In Charge” blog here.

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Congratulations to WH&LA Chairman Bob Dove and the entire staff of the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center, Neenah, for recently achieving the BEST WESTERN PREMIER designation. Only 15 Best Western Hotels out of 2,200 hotels in North America have received this prestigious honor. The BEST WESTERN PREMIER properties offer guests an upscale hotel choice with upgraded amenities.

Tim Dixon, owner of The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee, was named 2011 Hotelier of the Year by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association.

 

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Has your property taken advantage of discounted rates for using Constant Contact for your e-mail marketing? While WH&LA does not endorse any product or service, we wanted to let you know about the availability of this discount, which, depending on your Constant Contact uses, could be as great as 25% off!

Get more information on WH&LA-member rates on Constant Contact e-mail marketing services here. The rates on the Constant Contact website do not reflect the discounted price.

If you are already a Constant Contact user, you can still take advantage of this discount! Just e-mail your Constant Contact username to Bill in the WH&LA office and we will arrange to have the discount applied to your Constant Contact subscription.

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