WI Lodging Conference & Trade Show

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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association (WH&LA) honored the stars of the industry on Monday, November 6th at the Wisconsin Lodging Conference and Trade Show at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino

Local hospitality supplier Jennifer Church of Milmark Hotel/Motel Investments was honored with the “Associate of the Year Award” for 2017. The award recognizes one professional each year who services the Wisconsin lodging industry in an exemplary manner. Church was presented with the award by 2016 “Associate of the Year” Jim Laurino from Charter Spectrum.

Hotelier Becky Rogers of IDM Hospitality was honored with the “Corporate Champion of the Year” award for 2017. This award recognizes one individual in key management of a company owning/operating multiple lodging properties in Wisconsin. Rogers was presented with the award by the 2016 “Corporate Champion of the Year” Amy Simchak, North Central Group.

Madison hotelier Skip Harless, General Manager of the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, was awarded the annual “Innkeeper of the Year” award for 2017. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in the Wisconsin lodging industry each year. For the past 3 years, Harless has been responsible for overseeing all aspects of the operation of the 240-room full-service Hilton hotel. Harless was presented with the award by 2016 “Innkeeper of the Year” Charlie Eggen, Madison/Verona.

Additionally, ten non-managerial employees were honored with the “Spirit of Hospitality” award which recognizes employees that exceed guest’s expectations, are wonderful examples to the rest of their team, and help to make the hospitality experience in Wisconsin legendary. Three award winners were not in attendance and will be honored at their property. 2017 Spirit of Hospitality Award Winners:

  • Josh Buttram, Bistro Chef at the Courtyard Madison East, Madison
  • Maria Cerna Ortiz, Housekeeper at the Hampton Inn Appleton
  • Abigail Elder, Bartender at the Amber Grill at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center in Stevens Point
  • Charles Feit, Guest Services Representative at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Madison West/Middleton
  • Jesse Frost, Steward at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center Stevens Point
  • Madelyn Lutz, Guest Services Manager at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Verona
  • Jacob McDonald, Maintenance Engineer at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center Stevens Point
  • Ryan McRae, Assistant General Manager – Operation at the Ambassador Hotel & Ambassador Inn Milwaukee
  • Rick Rehfeldt, Concierge at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
  • Scott Stoltz, Resort Night Manager at the Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan
  • Lisa Wendtland, Guest Services Representative at the Hampton Inn & Suites Madison West
  • Nora Xouca, Room Inspector at the Residence Inn Madison West/Middleton
  • Jared Dove, Assistant Maintenance Manager, Hampton Inn Brookfield (Hero of Hospitality)

 

 

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Meet our panelist for our Wisconsin Women in Lodging event  – Leadership Luncheon and Panel Discussion -  held on November 7th at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino (after the Wisconsin Lodging Conference and Trade Show.

 

Deb Archer, CDME is the President & CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and Madison Area Sports Commission (MASC). She oversees combined staff of 35 with a budget of $5.4 million.

She started her tourism career as a travel agent and in hotel sales and marketing. She is past chair and continues to serve on the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Tourism and, the WI Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.  She has served as Chair of Destination International’s Foundation, on the DI Board of Directors and is an instructor on Community Relations and Advocacy for the industry’s professional CDME certification program.

Archer has been recognized many times and most recently was named one of In Business magazine’s Women of Industry and 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of 2017.

 

Connie Barbian is the Principal of Connect Hospitality Solutions, LLC, which provides management and development consulting services to hotel owners, developers, and communities.

Previously, she was a co-founder of IDM Hospitality, a full-service development, and management company that specializes in all aspects of independent boutique hotels.  She was responsible for business development and marketing.

Connie has 35+ years of sales and marketing, public relations, meeting and special event planning in the hospitality industry. She’s worked as a director of sales for a 500-room Four-Star convention hotel in Houston, Texas; regional director of marketing for a large hotel chain responsible for 15 midsized hotels in the Midwest; and corporate meeting and travel manager for a major insurance company.

Connie is actively involved in a variety of organizations in Wisconsin and she serves on the Board of Directors of WH&LA. She was the 2012 Chairman of the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association and in 2014 was awarded the prestigious honor of Corporate Champion.

 

Linda Gulrajani is Vice President of Revenue Strategy and Distribution for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of revenue management and distribution activities and strategies for all hotels in the company’s portfolio. In addition, she also oversees the Marcus Reservations and Customer Care Center which takes reservations call for both the Marcus portfolio as well as external hotel customers.

Gulrajani joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2009 as Regional Director of Revenue Strategy. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts, she served in a variety of revenue management and sales roles at hospitality companies including TravelCLICK, Walt Disney World, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Loews Hotels.

She was elected to serve as the Chair of the HSMAI Revenue Management Advisory Board for 2016, 2017 and 2018. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

Lola Roeh is the General Manager of The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. She began her career in hospitality over 25 years ago, accepting a position at The American Club in Kohler. Over the course of her tenure there, Lola held management and development positions in guest services, marketing, special events, and quality control, culminating her hotel management experiences with the position of General Manager. She was also the opening manager of the Kohler Design Center, the first manager of Commercial Development and finished her career at Kohler as the Director of Destination Marketing for the Kohler Hospitality Businesses.

In 1998, Lola became the General Manager of The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake.  In the same year, the resort earned the AAA Four Diamond award for the first time, as well as the following 18 years.  During her tenure at The Osthoff, the resort added 100 guest rooms, a 100 seat restaurant, Aspira Spa, and two spacious ballrooms, growing its conference space to 38,500 sq. ft.

She has served as Chair and Board Member for the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association for the past 14 years, and received the Association’s Innkeeper of the Year Award in 2002 and 2012.  Lola currently serves on the Board of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, as a Partner State Representative. She continues to serve on the Governor’s Council on Tourism, as past Chair and Board member for the past 15 years.  In 2014, she was honored with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Legacy Award.  Lola also serves on the Boards of Wisconsin Bank and Trust and Lakeland University, her alma mater.  She has served as the President and Board Member of the Elkhart Lake Chamber of Commerce, Chair and Board Member of the Elkhart Lake Tourism Commission and the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment.

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Employment and Labor Law Update – an Insider’s Guide for Wisconsin Hospitality Employers

Our most requested speaker is back again to cover new issues relating to employment labor law developments that impact Wisconsin hospitality employers. This nationally renowned speaker will provide relatable scenarios and advice on how to remedy them.

This session covers current labor law developments, including the latest on overtime regulations, and how to protect your property from costly mistakes.

Year-after-year this session is among the most valuable to conference attendees because of her timely and succinct information provided in a way that you can apply to common situations at your property.

Andria Lure Ryan is a partner in the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, and she serves as the chair of the firm’s Hospitality Industry Practice Group.

Andria represents employers throughout the United States in defending employment discrimination and harassment cases as well as handling traditional labor matters.

She is a frequent speaker to industry groups and human resources professionals on such topics as avoiding harassment in the workplace, maintaining a union-free workplace, avoiding discrimination claims, proper interviewing, and effective discipline and discharge techniques.

For More Information:    Visit our Conference Web Site

 Accommodations:
Contact the Potawatomi Hotel at 800-729-7244 or visit their website and enter the Group Code WHL11052017 to reserve a room in the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Room Block for the special rates of $107 single/double standard room and, plus applicable tribal, state and local taxes in effect at the time of check in. The deadline for the room block rate is October 13, 2017.

Full Conference Package with Sunday Reception – only $245
Monday/Tuesday Conference Package – only $215
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Will Your Company Culture Help You to Win the Talent War? 

Lodging properties are in a war for top talent and reliable employees. Even if your property wins employees initially, you are at risk for losing those top performers to competitors offering a new title, pay increase or other perks.

Company culture has been defined as “the nothing that is everything”.  For employers, it is a key factor in attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Nothing beats an engaged workforce comprised of highly talented employees, aligned with your company’s values and culture.

Learn how to identify and cultivate a positive company culture to recruit and retain top talent and increase successes. Our respected speaker will define culture in the most practical ways and provide tips for enhancing and leveraging it to win the talent war.

 

As the Culture Strategy Director for The Good JobsGeorge Blomgren helps employers define, refine and leverage their culture to attract and retain talent. The Good Jobs unique model helps employers quantify the culture points that are important to today’s job seekers, so they can tell a better story.

He is the Talent Attraction Committee Co-chair for the Milwaukee 7 – M7 Talent Advisory Council and is a recruiter at Lucuas-Milhaupt. He was previously the Recruiting Solutions Director at MRA and is a graduate of Beloit College and Cardinal Stritch.

For More Information:    Visit our Conference Web Site

 Accommodations:
Contact the Potawatomi Hotel at 800-729-7244 or visit their website and enter the Group Code WHL11052017 to reserve a room in the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Room Block for the special rates of $107 single/double standard room and, plus applicable tribal, state and local taxes in effect at the time of check-in. The deadline for the room block rate is October 13, 2017.

Full Conference Package with Sunday Reception – only $245
Monday/Tuesday Conference Package – only $215
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Safety & Security 2.0
Providing the highest levels of safety standards and security ensures good marketing for lodging properties by preventing an accident before it involves a significant loss, liability, and PR challenge.
Effective training and education on safety and security is a vital step to take to avoid potentially ruinous incidents including lawsuits, compliance issues, and accidents.
Todd Seiders, of Petra Risk Solutions, was one of last year’s most popular speakers is back this year to cover a fresh, new list of issues impacting the lodging industry today such as law enforcement requests, helping guests with medical issues, hotel shuttle issues, ADA email and phone scams and more.

As the Director of Loss Control for Petra Risk SolutionsTodd Seiders oversees the risk management and claims departments for approximately 4000 hotels, resorts and spas nationwide.
He is a Certified Lodging Security Director (CLSD), awarded by the American Hotel Lodging Association and has extensive hands on experience with administering Hotel Security, OSHA Safety, and Loss Prevention programs in the workplace.

For More Information:    Visit our Conference Web Site

 Accommodations:
Contact the Potawatomi Hotel at 800-729-7244 or visit their website and enter the Group Code WHL11052017 to reserve a room in the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Room Block for the special rates of $107 single/double standard room and, plus applicable tribal, state and local taxes in effect at the time of check in. The deadline for the room block rate is October 13, 2017.

Full Conference Package with Sunday Reception – only $245
Monday/Tuesday Conference Package – only $215

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The Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association is pleased to announce we are accepting applications for our 2017 Scholarships. This year we have two scholarships available! After over 100 years representing Wisconsin’s third largest industry, we are excited to recognize qualified students with the following  opportunities for their education:

  • The WH&LA Merit Scholarship offers up to $2000 to be applied toward education. Online application available click here.
  • The GMH&LA Cal Worrell Scholarship offers a $1000 to be applied toward education. Online application available click here.

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements:

  • Reside in Wisconsin
  • Enrolled in an accredited member college/university in Wisconsin
  • Declared major in a hospitality program with lodging components
  • Work experience in the hospitality industry

Applications must be submitted by April 12 for recognition.

Distribution of funds available for September 2017. Recipients must be present at the Wisconsin Lodging Conference Luncheon at The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, WI on November 6, 2017.

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2017 WH&LA Executive Committee 

WH&LA is pleased to announce the 2017 Executive Committee. Congratulations go to:

  • 2017 Chairman of the Board: Amy Simchak, CHA, North Central Group, Middleton
  • 2017 Chairman-Elect: Aaron Wolf, Comfort Suites Hotel, Green Bay
  • 2017 Vice-Chairman: Jason Ilstrup, HotelRED, Madison
  • 2017 Secretary/Treasurer: Kimberly Vele, Konkapot Lodge, Bowler
  • 2017 Past-Chairman: Dan Schetter, CHA, Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center, Oshkosh
  • 2017 At-Large Delegate: Greg Stillman, Foremost Management Services Inc., Fish Creek

WH&LA Board Member Update

WH&LA is also pleased to share the addition of 12 new board members elected by their industry peers.

  • Connie Barbian, Connections Hospitality Solutions, Fort Atkinson
  • John Chastan, CMP, Lake Delton Waterfront Villas & Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells
  • Jenna Christensen, Best Western Riverplace, Spooner
  • Jennifer Church, Milmark Hotel/Motel Investments, West Bend
  • Skip Harless, Hilton Monona Terrance, Madison
  • Jeff Hess, Westin Hotel, Milwaukee
  • Mark Hinich, Heartland Payment Systems, Brookfield
  • Mark Johnson, Best Western Plus Milwaukee Airport Hotel & Conference Center
  • Jay Jones, UW-Stout, Menomonie
  • Chris Scheel, Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells
  • Todd Winkler, Wisco Hotel Group, Madison, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Appleton, Oshkosh
  • Kari Zambon, Holiday Acres Resort, Rhinelander

The current board members will continue their term in the 2017 year.

  • Tony Beer, Courtyard by Marriott Milwaukee Downtown
  • Justin Behling, Northernaire Resort & Spa, Three Lakes
  • Stacey Bunkelman, Sleep Inn & Suites Conference Center, Eau Claire
  • Bob Dove, Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel, Neenah
  • Charlie Eggen, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Madison, Verona
  • Kevin Gallagher, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Milwaukee
  • Dean Graunke, Birch Creek Inn, Manitowoc
  • Cory Latourell, Hotel Marshfield, Marshfield
  • Jim Laurino, Charter Spectrum Business, Madison
  • Peter Leiby, Best Western Premier, Brookfield
  • Pat Olejniczak, Kress Inn, De Pere
  • Mike Patel, INNsight Management, Eau Claire
  • Lola Roeh, The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
  • Char Stankowski, Country Inn & Suites – Appleton North, Little Chute
  • Noall Silvester, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Stevens Point
  • Sheryl Tharman, Red Crown Lodge, Arbor Vitae
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WH&LA’s 2016 Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show featured just under two days of whirlwind scheduling with attendees in many cases going right from the Conference to the polls and a busy night watching election results roll out, or in some cases hosting candidate election results festivities back at their properties!

 

With lodging member registration packages up another 10% for the third year in a row, and a completely full 84-booth Trade Show (the largest in over 10 years), our room block at our host hotel was exceeded, and additional rooms sold out. It was a great opportunity for lodging property owners and operators to network with peers around the state and gain some new perspectives, while also having some fun at the social events.

 

Special thanks go to our Chairman of the Board Dan Schetter, not only for his leadership of the association but also for wearing a second hat as General Manager of our host site: The Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center! Dan and his team went above and beyond in accommodating our growing size and demonstrating their great hospitality as well.

 

Most members are not aware that the conference programming is created and set by a combination of our Education/Conference Committee and a special Program Task Force that chooses topics and provides speaker suggestions. This helps us to stay on track in providing the type of topics and content that is what you are looking for. Thanks go to Brandon Springer from Lake Lawn Resort for leading both groups through the program puzzle process, and to our Task Force lodging members for their valued input!

 

With a dozen fantastic packages assembled and donated by many dedicated leaders and members with values ranging from $500 to $2,000, our Monday night voice auction and reverse bingo was great entertainment, combined with plentiful and tasty food stations and beverage stations.  With our daytime silent auction combined with Monday evening’s events, well over $10,000 was raised for a combination of our legislative campaign funds, the Scholarship Fund, and for WH&LA’s Room Tax Legal Defense Fund. Thanks to not only our many donors but also our many buyers throughout the Conference!

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Over the coming weeks, WH&LA 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.

REGISTER NOW!

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Over the coming weeks, WH&LA 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.

REGISTER NOW!

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