Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association

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What is it? Created as a service for smaller and independent properties with limited marketing budgets, but also of value to larger properties, our lodging members can now access complementary professional marketing advice that will be targeted to meet your unique needs in increasing your bottom line!

Who can participate? Only current WH&LA lodging member properties are eligible, as a free membership service.

How does it work? 

  • Three marketing service companies have committed to provide complementary marketing consulting services exclusively for WH&LA lodging members within certain guidelines. You get to choose which company you wish to work with.
  • You will provide some requested background information about your property and current marketing choices (confidential of course!), so that the vendor can spend some analysis time up front. You can also specify what type of marketing assistance you are looking for, so it is even more customized.
  • The vendor will contact you within two weeks of receiving your information, and will spend at least 15 minutes on the phone with you asking any further questions and giving you specific suggestions to help you to more successfully market your property.

What does it cost? This service, as outlined, is complementary to our lodging member properties. Should you wish to seek enhanced or ongoing services beyond this complementary package, you would need to discuss this directly with the vendor for their pricing.

How do I sign up? 

  1. Complete the WH&LA Marketing Concierge Registration Form.
  2. Think about what type of marketing consulting that you need the most, and note it on the form, so that you get what you are looking for.  Some examples could be: a new marketing message for your property, suggestions on your website, help with identifying your target markets and how to reach them, help with a basic Marketing Plan to start with, etc.  If you are unsure, just say so, and the consultant will determine the expertise most needed.
  3. Be prepared for the consultant’s call within the next two weeks, so that you can take full advantage of their expertise in the time you have with them. Learn what you can implement to improve your bottom line… and then you can take it from there!
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Who do you think are the best in Wisconsin’s lodging industry? Visit http://www.tfaforms.com/249235 to submit your nominations! Deadline for nominations is August 11, 2017. Questions? Contact Monica in the WH&LA office by email at  monica@wisconsinlodging.org or call 262/782-2851.  

Innkeeper of the Year
WH&LA recognizes the complete commitment to lodging excellence with this award, open to all WH&LA member property general managers or owner/operators, regardless of property size. One individual, one couple or one set of family members from the same property will be selected from all completed entries to receive WH&LA’s highest honor. Judging criteria include ongoing involvement in WH&LA and the lodging industry, commitment to both the profession & the community, personal and/or property achievements, general leadership abilities, and human resource skills.

Corporate Champion of the Year
This award is for key management of companies owning/operating multiple lodging properties in Wisconsin, with all of their Wisconsin properties in WH&LA membership. One individual will be selected from all completed entries by the Awards Committee to receive this prestigious honor. Judging criteria includes contributions to the company’s success in the lodging industry, personal or company recognition received, ongoing WH&LA involvement, and other industry or community involvement.

Associate of the Year
WH&LA honors a high degree of industry dedication & knowledge with this award, open to all current WH&LA associate members. One individual will be selected from all completed entries to receive WH&LA’s highest associate member honor. Judging criteria include a proven track record of exceptional commitment & service to the industry, ongoing participation in WH&LA, personal and/or company achievements and general leadership abilities.

Spirit of Hospitality Award
Is there someone very special working at your property who demonstrates the spirit of hospitality to your guests and to your staff? Only 12 WH&LA “Spirit of Hospitality” Awards will be given in 2017, making this achievement and recognition even more special to our winners! WH&LA’s Awards Committee will review all nominations remitted as required, review the description submitted on the Nomination Form on why they deserve this award, and will then  select the most deserving nominees to receive this year’s Award. WH&LA will then contact the person making the nomination to let them know if their nominee won, so that they may plan accordingly. Winners are not announced publicly until the Recognition Luncheon on November 6 at the Wisconsin Lodging Conference. Limit one entry per property.

Hero of Hospitality Award
The NEW hero of hospitality award was introduced to recognize employees who save a life or prevent serious injuries. The nominations committee established this award in 2017 to commend heroic acts performed by hospitality employees at Wisconsin Lodging properties. Any employee from a WH&LA property can submit a nomination on behalf of a colleague who performs a life-saving act, whether it’s clearing the airway of a choking victim or reporting a life-threatening security issue to authorities. Limit one entry per property.

NOMINATION RULES: All nominees must be employed by a current WH&LA member property. An official nomination form must be submitted for each nominee. All submitted materials become the property of WH&LA and will not be returned. In fairness to all candidates, no deadline extensions will be permitted.

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The mission of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Associate is “To lead Wisconsin’s lodging industry by delivery valued services to and advocating for our members”. Since 1896, WH&LA has represented hotels, motels, resorts, inns, vacation homes, condo hotels and bed & breakfast throughout the state since 1896. Today, our membership is comprised of all types and size of Lodging properties as well as Vendors, CVBs, Chambers of Commerce, Lodging Executives, Educational Institutions, and Students.

We are delighted to welcome three new Lodging Members!

We are also pleased to welcome three new Associate Members!

We look forward to welcoming even more properties into the WH&LA community this year!

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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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Congratulations to the following WH&LA member property on its recent award & recognition!

Kress Inn, De Pere, was named 2014 Hotel of the Year by the Ascend Collection. The award is based on guest surveys from Choice Hotels, completed by guests after their stays. General manager of Kress Inn, Pat Olejniczak, spoke to postcrescent.com about the award.

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WOW! Our hard-working Program Task Force has put together an amazing line up of talented speakers for the 2010 Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show and here’s just a sneak peek at who will be presenting:

Mark Murphy
He holds a law degree & an MBA, spent 16 years as director of athletics at the college level and played professional football for the Washington Redskins for eight years, earning a Super Bowl ring with them in 1982. As Green Bay Packers’ President & CEO since January 2008, Mr. Murphy, brings his extensive experience to (in his words) “one of the great franchises in all of professional sports, with a rich history and incredible fan support.”

Mr. Murphy opens this year’s Conference on Monday, October 25th at 9:00 am where he’ll share Delivering the Total Guest Experience.

Brad Brewer
As Regional Business Development Manager for MileStone Internet Marketing, Mr. Brewer specializes in search engine marketing and e-commerce strategies for the hospitality industry. Since 2008 he has worked closely with properties, management companies and tourism organizations to develop complete Internet marketing solutions.

Mr. Brewer will be presenting two Internet Marketing  & Social Media breakout sessions this year, the first on Monday, 10/25 will cover local versus global search, utilizing directory listings to drive relevance to your web site and more. On Tuesday, Mr. Brewer will be back again with a program on Web 2.0 including social media and monitoring online conversations about your property.

Susan Hartman
Tuesday morning kicks off with Reinventing Your Business by strategic planning expert Susan Hartman. Founder & President of the The Hartman Group, Ms. Hartman can help you to better understand your business, your customers and your competitive field. Then, once she’s helped you identify and understand the opportunities available to you, she’ll work with you to develop customized solutions to achieve success.

Let’s face it, most guests’ expectations have changed in the last few years and Ms. Hartman will lead a discussion on what it takes to make your business thrive in the ‘new normal’.

Michael J. “Doc” Terry, PhD
With a background in hospitality Marketing, Finance & Operations, Dr. Terry is frequently in demand as a consultant, coach and speaker.  He is one of those rare finds– enthusiastic, educated, and grounded in practical experience.

Thanks to American Express and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) we are fortunate to have Dr. Terry with us to share Does Your Marketing Plan Have Real ROI? In this Tuesday morning breakout session, Dr. Terry will share marketing culture used by both domestic and global lodging companies as well as his five steps to maximizing YOUR marketing ROI. You will leave with innovative skills you can use immediately to prepare for 2010/11.

Robert Cole
Finally, to wrap up the Conference, Robert Cole from RockCheetah will take attendees through Future Lodging Trends & Emerging Technologies. With 30 years of hospitality experience, Mr. Cole provides hospitality marketing strategy and travel technology management advisory services to the lodging & tourism industries.

He joins us for the closing session at 11:00 am Tuesday with a look at technology advancements including search & personalization as well as anytime/ anywhere mobile access and what that means for your lodging business.

Are you registered yet? Early bird registration expires Tuesday, 10/12 – don’t miss out! Download the full registration information here or sign up online today.

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The WH&LA Board of Directors would like to invite lodging property owners and managers in the area to attend a special WH&LA Briefing Luncheon on Wednesday, September 15th from 11:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. at the Holiday Acres Resort in Rhinelander.  This is a great opportunity for you to meet our leaders, learn about what they are working on, and to participate with your opinions at committee meetings – in a location not too far from you!

In addition to joining our 2010 Chairman of the Board Kirk Drusch and other Board members for lunch, the following information will be shared:

  • Ira Hartman, president of the Northwoods Chapter of the WH&LA will give a brief overview of the current issues facing area properties, to increase Board awareness
  • The WH&LA will provide a brief overview of a few key legislative and other issues of concern to Wisconsin’s lodging industry, such as updates on the Statewide Smoking Ban and Room Tax action underway by the WH&LA
  • Lola Roeh, Chair of the Sustainable Tourism Funding Task Force, will provide an update on State Tourism funding cuts and what the future may hold.

In addition to the Briefing Luncheon, we will also have Committee meetings that WH&LA members are invited to sit in on. The following is a brief schedule for the day:
Wednesday, September 15th

  • 8:15  – 9:00 am              Education/Conference Committee
  • 9:15 – 10:15 am             Membership/Services Committee
  • 10:30 – 11:30 am           Communication Committee
  • 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.   WH&LA Briefing Luncheon  (Advance registration required)
  • 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.     Legislative/Tourism Committee
  • 3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.     WH&LA Room Tax Task Force
  • 6:00 p.m.                        Reception followed by Dinner at the Three Coins Restaurant at Holiday Acres Resort (Advance registration required)

You are welcome to join us for any portion listed that you are interested in… however we do kindly ask that you RSVP so that we can be sure to have enough hand-outs and seats for you and other attendees, and so that we can have your meal selection prepared. A fee is required for meal registrations to cover the costs of your meal plus all tax and gratuity, however there are no fees for members to attend Committee meetings. The deadline to RSVP is Monday, September 6 by 3:00 pm. Should you wish to receive a set of the meeting agendas, or have any questions, please contact Pamela at 262-782-2851 or office@wisconsinlodging.org.

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…but, if you’re like me, there are times Google just doesn’t understand what you’re looking for – OR – gives you way too many search results to sort through!

When you have questions about running your Wisconsin lodging property, head first to the Lodging Resource Guide (formerly the Innkeepers’ Resource Guide).

Available to all WH&LA members for download off the members’ site, the updated Guide contains more than 20 pages of answers, information, links, download-able checklists, WI codes & statutes and more…

What you’ll find inside the updated Guide:

  • Federal & State lodging and meal per diem rates
  • How the State addresses guest room maximum capacities
  • Links to the latest Smoking Ban resources & signage
  • Guest registration requirements
  • Sample job descriptions & wage comparison tools
  • & much more!

Your User ID & Password are required to access the Guide (located in the Member Resources/ Info Center). Please contact the WH&LA office for assistance if needed.

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On Tuesday, May 25th, we hosted an information-packed webinar featuring WI Legislative Council Deputy Director Laura Rose and Senior Staff Attorney Richard Sweet along with WH&LA’s own Trisha Pugal.

All three shared excellent information with attendees including:

  • Minimum distances from entrances required for smoking outdoors
  • Definitions of ‘enclosed place’, ‘substantial wall’ and ‘roof’
  • Signage requirements
  • Suggestions for handling charge-backs on smoking charges
  • Requirements of lodging operators & more!

If you missed the presentation, members can access a recording here.  (You will need your Member ID & Password to access, please contact the WH&LA office at service@wisconsinlodging.org for assistance.)

Special thanks again to our co-sponsor, P&G ProLine.

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In an early look at January-April 2010 Occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) figures, could there be light up ahead?

2009/2010 Month-over-Month percent change:


Statewide numbers show that demand is rebounding & bringing RevPAR with it. While positive year-over-year ADR growth may be a ways away, the gap is narrowing. April numbers show that all but two WI metro markets showed positive Occupancy & RevPAR growth and four markets posted positive rate growth as well.

Click on over to this article to see how STR is projecting summer 2010 travel— here’s a hint, they say both demand & revenue are forecasted to increase compared to summer 2009.

Each month WH&LA members receive the most recent occupancy, RevPAR and ADR data available from Smith Travel Research: statewide, by region and by metro market.  Not getting this every month? Please contact the WH&LA office for assistance.


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