|By Larry Avila, The Post-Crescent,
Appleton, Wis.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 29, 2007 - NEENAH -- Lambeau Field certainly has had its share of the national television spotlight, but sometimes, professional football isn't the only thing getting noticed in northeast Wisconsin.
Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 16, the Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center, 1000 Cameron Way, was among more than a dozen Best Western sites selected from around the country to be featured in a television commercial. The ad, designed to lure leisure travelers, which aired on major cable networks including CNN, the Travel Channel and A&E.
The two-year-old Neenah facility was featured in the spot for about 10 seconds and representing the site in the commercial was Bob Dove, general manager.
"It was quite the production," said Rich Batley, co-owner of the hotel. "I think Bob changed wardrobe at least six times."
A film crew of about a dozen people was on site for about three days, Batley said.
While filming a national TV spot left a lasting impression on Batley and Dove, the exposure was just another piece of good fortune for the hotel.
The resort this year was among 23 out of 2,400 Best Western sites across the U.S. and Canada to receive a "best of best in quality" award from the organization and one of only eight among the same group to receive a "best of best in design." The awards were presented during the recent Best Western International annual North American Convention in Montreal.
The best in quality award is presented to sites that receive two consecutive top-quality assurance assessment scores within a 12-month period as well as meet design and customer care standards. Design award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, whose members included representatives of the American Society of Interior Designers and the American Institute of Architects.
Batley said the awards recognize what he and his staff strive to provide to guests -- good service and a memorable experience that leads to repeat business.
"We live and breathe this," Batley said of the hotel business. "It was an honor to be selected for both awards."
Batley said the site's NASCAR-themed guest rooms for kids, space available for pre-event gatherings outside traditional ballrooms as well as overall facility design were among the many things that caught the judges' attention.
Part of ensuring good service involves Batley and Dove routinely walking and inspecting the facility, talking to guests and asking them about their experience.
Dove said greeting guests and understanding their needs can make a lasting impression.
"We try to get to know our guest, so by staying active, we feel it helps to bring in repeat business," he said.
The hotel intends to capitalize on the momentum of the recognition. The awards will be featured in all of the site's upcoming advertising campaigns.
Greg Linnemanstons, president of the Weidert Group, an Appleton-based marketing firm, agrees that industry honors can be effective sales tools.
"The first thing you'd want to do is look at the relevance of the award and how it will translate to how your customer base views you," he said. "If there's an easy link, you have to let your customers know about it."
Linnemanstons said industry honors also may be viewed by prospective customers as a seal of credibility.
"In a lot of ways, an award is a stamp of excellence," he said. "It symbolizes that you stand on top as one of the best."
To see more of The Post-Crescent, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.postcrescent.com.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wis.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. TWX, COX, L,