Drusch, director of sales at Brookfield Suites, talks with
Carolyn Hahn, Brookfield Suites’ public relations
director, in the atrium of the hotel.
– While the trend in recent years has been the staycation,
statistics are showing people will once again be hitting the road
and staying in hotels for their summer vacations.
Matt Drusch, director of sales and marketing for Brookfield Suites
Hotel & Convention Center, said as of May 1, the hotel was
showing a 15 percent increase in hotel reservations for the months
of June, July and August compared to the same period last year.
Nationally, the trend is similar, according to a recent study by
STR, which tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry.
STR is predicting occupancy will increase by 1 percent to 70
percent for June, July and August when compared to those three
months in 2012. The average daily rate will increase 4.4 percent
to $112.21 and revenue per available room will grow 5.4 percent to
$78.50, according to a recent STR news release.
“The pickup has been fairly strong going into the month,”
Drusch said. He said during the past few years advanced
reservations for those months have been soft.
Events and renovations
“A lot of it does have to do with the big events going on,”
Drusch said, indicating Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary
party in August.
Other demand comes from travelers wanting to see the Brewers, the
Milwaukee County Zoo and other area attractions. Brookfield Suites
Hotel & Convention Center markets its Brewers package
strongly, Drusch said.
A bedroom in a standard suite
at Brookfield Suites.
The predicted increases for Olympia Resort Hotel, Spa &
Conference Center in Oconomowoc are even greater.
Fred Fischer, director of sales, said occupancy for last June was
61 percent and is predicted to go up by 1 percent this year. The
biggest jumps come in July and August. Last July, Olympia Resort
had 44 percent occupancy and is predicting 52 percent this year.
In August last year, there was a rate of 42 percent occupancy, and
this year that month is anticipated to have a 59 percent occupancy
“The word is out that we have done a pretty good renovation,”
The resort finished renovating the hotel rooms last month and will
be opening up a new bar, Cricket’s Lounge, soon. A new website
has also been launched.
Age, uniqueness are draws for Clarke Hotel
The Clarke Hotel in downtown Waukesha is already seeing a 7
percent increase in room occupancy this year so far compared to
Sean Skellie, vice president of Inn Development and Management,
which was hired as a short-term consultant to provide operating
procedures, property management system, Internet and GDS presence
and bookkeeping services for The Clarke Hotel, said business and
leisure travelers are back. He contributes this to an improving
economy. Most customers are still staying within a driving range
of home, Skellie said.
For the summer months, Skellie said they are anticipating about a
5 percent to 10 percent increase in occupancy rates compared to
the same months in 2012.
What’s also helping to draw people to The Clarke Hotel is the
age of the hotel and its uniqueness.
“Today’s travelers are looking for something more special,”
Promoting tourism equals increased occupancy
Trisha Pugal, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Hotel &
Lodging Association in Brookfield, said the organization is
hearing a variety of reports from hotel members around the state
regarding occupancy rates.
The atrium of Brookfield
“Overall we are hearing there is an increase that is being
predicted. Naturally it’s a prediction; it’s not a
certainty,” Pugal said. “Everyone seems to be pleased and
hopeful that the continued investment in promoting tourism in our
area will pay back by bringing in more people.”
Investing in promotion of tourism through the state budget and at
local levels, as well as by individual businesses, is key to
growing the hotel occupancy rate, Pugal said.
“The Milwaukee area in general is up year to date,” she said.
“That’s good news too. And obviously we want to keep that
trend going and keep promoting and attracting visitors to the
About 70 percent of customers at Brookfield Suites Hotel &
Convention Center are from Wisconsin, Drusch said, but the hotel
also hosts many guests from Chicago who stay there to go shopping
in the Brookfield area and pay less in sales tax than in Illinois.
Brookfield Suites is also marketing around the region.
“Milwaukee is becoming one of those cities where people are
willing to go out and see what is going on,” Drusch said.
The average room rate is also going up, Drusch said, which is
another plus because that is what drives revenue for hotels.
“It tells us people are willing to spend more to travel,” he