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The Hotel Industry: Recovery and Future Development in Our Communities


July 2022 — Hotels provide an important service to our communities and represent a significant economic engine for jobs, business income, and taxes. They often serve as a gateway to a community, influencing perceptions of the local community. During the pandemic, the hotel industry experienced significant challenges, including changes in travel behaviors, both in the US and in Wisconsin. In this webinar, we discuss the hotel industry during and after the pandemic with three industry experts, Michael Lindner, Bill Elliott, and Richard Sprecher.

Webinar Recording

Additional Materials

Read more about the hotel industry in Wisconsin in Downtown Economics, Issue 197, May 2022 and The American Hotel & Lodging Association 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report, in collaboration with Accenture

Our Presenters

Michael Lindner is a consultant with Hotel R&D, LLC. Michael has completed hotel market studies and feasibility analysis since 1993. Hotel Market Studies and Feasibility Analysis since 1993, conducting more than 450 market studies for new hotel and tourist developments in a variety of major, secondary, and foreign markets for independent developers, operators and community economic development organizations. He has provided extensive impact analysis on existing lodging operations for several local community-funded studies, placing emphasis on market demand segmentations and quantifying specific levels of demand volume.

Richard Sprecher, CHA, currently serves as Vice President of Development for Meyer Jabari Hotels based out of their Nashville Area Offices. Prior to joining Meyer Jabara Hotels, Rich spent over 11 years with Aimbridge Hospitality, serving as their Vice President of Business Development. In 2009, he formed the Distressed Hotel Asset Division at Aimbridge. Rich also worked as Director of Franchise Sales for the Upper Midwest with Choice Hotels International (17 years) and held senior management positions with Amerihost Properties, Bradbury Suites Hotels, Adams’s Mark Resorts, Stouffer Hotels, and Renaissance Hotels. Rich currently serves on the Planning & Advisory Committee for the Southern Lodging Summit and is an active member of the Chicago Real Estate Council. He is a graduate (with Honors) from the University of Wisconsin-Stout Hotel & Restaurant Management School and is a Certified Hotel Administrator.

Bill Elliott, CAE, is the President & CEO of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association (WHLA). Bill returned to the WHLA as President & CEO in June of 2020. From 2007 through 2011 Bill worked in various roles with WHLA, mostly focusing on membership development, advertising programs and operations. During his short tenure, Bill has championed the effort to put $95 million in grant funding into the pockets of hotel and lodging property owners who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the pandemic, he and his team have worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of the industry. Bill and his team have worked diligently to streamline operations through the use of technology, with an aim to develop better lodging leaders and more profitable lodging businesses throughout the state.


Bill Ryan is a Community Business Development Specialist who works with local economic development professionals, municipal planners, and interested residents wanting to improve their downtown and commercial districts. Awarded the title of Distinguished Lecturer, he has developed innovative and practical tools to improve the mix of businesses and the use of space. The goal of his work is to improve local quality of life through increased economic activity in these commercial districts. As a statewide specialist, Bill provides practical, locally-based research and educational programs to inform community planning and investment. He has led the development of the nationally utilized Downtown and Business District Market Analysis Toolbox. This and other research and educational programs have been presented nationally, and continue to be the dominant source of commercial district, community-led market research techniques. In 2005, Bill was awarded the Wisconsin Idea Fellow in recognition for public service on behalf of the UW. Bill’s initial years after college were in hotel development. He has worked for Holiday Inns Corporation, Laventhol & Horwath-Boston, and the Boston-based Flatley Company. He transitioned to Extension, working as a tourism specialist, and then a business district economic development specialist. He is a graduate of Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, and the UW-Madison MBA program.

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