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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) recently launched an awareness campaign entitled “Search Smarter”  aimed at helping travelers avoid lost reservations, additional fees, and ruined vacations.

Americans make 500 online hotel bookings every 60 seconds, but evidence from new, extensive polling data from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) suggests they’re not getting the deal they think they are. The two culprits are (1) online booking scams and (2) misleading marketing messages perpetrated by online travel agencies and their third-party affiliates.

Additional research reveals that online scams made through fraudulent sites are on the rise, resulting in 55 million “bad” bookings of this type each year, costing consumers $3.9 billion.  In 2015, just 6% of travelers reported booking on what they believed was a hotel’s official website, only to find they had booked on a fraudulent site not affiliated with the hotel. Just two years later, the number of travelers who have experienced this has nearly quadrupled to 22%. • Seniors in particular have major concerns about the lack of transparency in online booking – many of which are due to bad experiences. 1 in 10 consumers 65 or older say they have accidentally booked with a fake site when intending to book directly with a hotel.

AHLA Position

Transparency, consumer choice, and guest satisfaction are at the core of the hotel industry’s business model. AHLA is raising awareness among consumers, Congress, and federal agencies to make sure guests have all the necessary information prior to booking their hotel reservations. With so many ways to book a reservation, it’s important to make sure consumers understand how to slow down, search smarter and make the best decisions throughout the booking process for themselves and their families. Consumers should know what to look for before they book a hotel reservation.

Visit https://ahla.com/SearchSmarter to learn more about the “Search Smarter” campaign.

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The AHLA Stars of the Industry awards program was created more than 45 years ago to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the lodging industry. While the categories have evolved over the years, the concept is still the same — to honor lodging employees and properties that best symbolize the quality service of the industry. They want to hear your story!

The AHLA  is now accepting nominations for their STARS of the member companies, properties, and employees are eligible to submit an entry. Nonmembers will not be considered. Not sure if your property is an AH&LA member? Just reach out to AHLA Member Services at membership@ahla.com or (202) 289-3100.

Specific award categories are given based on property size. Size distinctions are small property(250 rooms or less) or large property (250 rooms or more). Important points to know about nominations:

  • Nominees can be either self or peer-nominated.
  • Support documentation may not exceed 10 pages. Videos may not exceed 3 minutes.
  • Incomplete entries will not be considered.

This year’s Stars of the Industry awards highlight the best employees from five coveted categories.

  • North Star Award: Lodging Employee of the Year 
  • General Manager of the Year 
    • Small property (250 rooms or less)
    • Large property (250 rooms or more)
  • Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year 
  • Paving the Way Award: Women In Lodging 
  • Innovation of the Year
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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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Congratulations to the following WH&LA member properties on their recent awards & recognition!

BEST WESTERN PLUS Milwaukee Airport Hotel & Conference Center; Coachlite Inn of Sister Bay; and Brookfield Suites Hotel & Conference Center were awarded TripAdvisor’s 2012 Certificate of Excellence, in recognition of consistent commendation from travelers.

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee received the inaugural 2012 Religious Conference Manager Praise Award for superior service.

The following properties were named one of “44 Midwest Resorts We Love” by MidwestLiving.com:

  • The Abbey Resort, Fontana
  • The American Club, Kohler
  • Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells
  • Garmisch USA Resort, Cable
  • Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells
  • Heidel House Resort & Spa, Green Lake
  • Holiday Acres Resort, Rhinelander
  • Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells
  • The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
  • Treeland Resorts, Hayward
  • Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, Wisconsin Dells

The following properties were named one of “15 Favorite B&Bs, Hotels & Resorts” by MidwestLiving.com:

  • The American Club, Kohler
  • Canoe Bay/Relais & Chateaux, Chetek
  • The Delafield Hotel, Delafield
  • Intercontinental Milwaukee
  • Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield
  • Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells
  • White Gull Inn, Fish Creek
  • Wild Eagle Lodge, Eagle River
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Looking for a fun, interactive way to better train your front desk employees? Front Office Manager is a 10-module, interactive online program that provides an overview of the organization and management of the front office. It outlines the interactions between the front office and other hotel departments that are required to create a positive guest experience. Users will love the self-paced, discovery-driven approach that puts them in control as they explore each area of the hotel and click on highlighted objects to learn about each facet of front office operations.

The program includes a glossary of terms, detailed site map, case studies, knowledge checks to test understanding, and 10-question quizzes for each module.

Click the image to learn more or purchase this item from the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute.

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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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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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Focus on Energy is set to host a “Smart Strategies for Hotels” seminar at the Radisson La Crosse on April 26, and is offering a $20 discount to WH&LA members. The seminar will help lodging property owners and managers to understand where and how energy is used at hotels; identify energy-saving opportunities throughout your facility; and estimate potential energy savings and develop an effective energy-management plan.

The cost to register is just $79 with the WH&LA member discount ($99 for non-members). The class includes training materials, continental breakfast and lunch.

For more information and to register, click here. This workshop is held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Continental breakfast and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Lunch is also provided. Use WHLA when prompted to enter a discount code while registering. The seminar flier can be downloaded 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 hotelworldnetwork.com. 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 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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