Industry Update

March 15, 2013


Founder and director Barb Tippett has announced the launch of BT Group, LLC, a new business-to-business development company with a promotional products division. Focusing on giveaways, awards and uniforms, as well as perennial promotional favorites such as branded pens and coffee mugs, BT Group, LLC benefits from Tippett’s 15+ years as a marketing professional.

Tippett is a serial entrepreneur who formerly founded and managed Apparelink, creating exclusive retail stores that enabled client companies to offer a wide range of branded apparel to their employees and customers. She and her husband also collaborated on a venture known as Creative Packaging Resources, which provided custom packaging and corrugated displays for manufacturing companies and distributors.

IU Barb

Barb Tippett



Pole Position Raceway has announced that its new state-of-the-art high-performance indoor kart track will open in mid-March, 2013. Located at 8800 Watson Rd. in Crestwood, Mo., Pole Position Raceway St. Louis joins eight other Pole Position facilities already established in the U.S.

The high-performance karts at the new raceway maintain speeds up to 45 MPH with an EK20 electric motor rated at approximately 18 HP, and high-torque output for rapid acceleration and immediate throttle response. The karts also have electronically adjustable power outputs to ensure evenly matched karts. The speed is radiocontrolled with automatic pit-speed reduction.

The PR2 track surface uses Blastrack technology, allowing racers minimal push and optimum drift – the karts hug the track with ultraslick, Formula 1-inspired performance radials – the actual tires used in the competition kart race circuit.

Several million dollars were spent on this technology because it offers the best performance and produces no smelly fumes, ensuring the most consistent fleet of karts in the United States. Each kart is electronically tuned so that performance is nearly identical and measurable – something that can’t be done with gas technology in the world of indoor karting. The end result at Pole Position Raceway is an adrenaline-filled ride and the ultimate racing experience.

The world-class facility is an independently operated franchise created by Mike Johnson, a former professional racecar driver, television commentator and current race team manager.

“I have been racing in one form or another for over 20 years, and it feels great to bring all those experiences to my hometown,” said Johnson. “There is such great racing history here in Saint Louis with IndyCar, NASCAR, drag racing and even Formula 1 boats, and we expect Pole Position Raceway St. Louis to be another great form of racing entertainment.”

Mike Johnson was born and raised in St. Louis and has been running race teams in the NASCAR owned Grand-Am Rolex Series since 2000. His teams have won four Championships and Johnson has led his teams to class wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He is currently the team manager of Stevenson Motorsports which campaigns the Chevrolet Camaro in Grand-Am.

Tickets and gift certificates may be purchased at any Pole Position Raceway ticket counter. For more information about the track, karts and all things Pole Position Raceway, please visit: www.polepositionraceway. com/st-louis or call 314-925-7545.


Look for more complete coverage of Pole Position Raceway St. Louis in the cover story of the upcoming Summer 2013 issue of MM&E magazine.



The U.S. hotel industry reported increases in all three key performance metrics during January 2013, according to data from Smith Travel Research (STR).

Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy rose 3.6 percent to 51.0 percent, its average daily rate was up 5.1 percent to $105.96 and its revenue per available room increased 8.8 percent to $54.02.

“January RevPAR growth rate was the strongest performance we’ve seen since June 2012,” said Brad Garner, STR’s COO. “The results were driven both by solid ADR and demand gains with Washington D.C., Miami and New York among the top performers.

“The Chain Scale segments saw growth across all scales, with Luxury leading in both ADR and RevPAR growth rates. Independent hotels also saw strong results this month,” he continued.

Among the Top 25 Markets, New York, New York, achieved the only double-digit occupancy increase, rising 11.4 percent to 73.8 percent. New Orleans, Louisiana, fell 4.5 percent in occupancy to 57.4 percent, posting the largest decrease in that metric.

The three markets that achieved the largest ADR increases were: Washington, D.C. (+17.0 percent to $151.75); Oahu Island, Hawaii (+15.0 percent to $209.06); and Miami-Hialeah, Florida (+12.2 percent to $211.11). New Orleans posted the only ADR decrease, falling 0.2 percent to $144.76.

Three markets experienced RevPAR increases of more than 15 percent: Washington, D.C. (+25.8 percent to $79.24); Miami-Hialeah (+17.5 percent to $174.26); and New York (+16.3 percent to $145.17). New Orleans posted the largest RevPAR decrease, down 4.7 percent to $83.12.

STR ( provides clients-including hotel operators, developers, financiers, analysts and suppliers to the hotel industryaccess to hotel research with regular and custom reports covering the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean. STR provides a single source of global hotel data covering daily and monthly performance data, forecasts, annual profitability, pipeline and census information. STR founded the STR family of companies and is proudly associated with STR Global, RRC Associates, STR Analytics, and STR also founded the Hotel Data Conference (



The Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center located in Springfield, Mo. was recently awarded the best “Sales Team of the Year” for 2012 by Wyndham Worldwide. The award was announced at this year’s Wyndham Revenue Generation Summit in Puerto Rico. Wyndham Worldwide represents more than 7,000 hotels throughout the world, and is headquartered in Parsippany, NJ.

“It was a complete shock that we won this prestigious award out of over 7,000 hotels,” said Missy Handyside, General Manager of the Ramada Oasis. Handyside attended the Wyndham Revenue Generation Summit in January, where her hotel and two Wyndham Resorts were nominated for the award. “I was just honored to be nominated, and winning was completely unexpected. I knew our sales team was the best, but to have Wyndham Worldwide acknowledge it is absolutely amazing,” Handyside said.

The award is based on the sales team’s involvement with the Wyndham Global Sales Team, group business revenue, engagement with the franchise, community involvement and creative selling ideas. “The Ramada Oasis Springfield is an outstanding property with a truly tremendous staff, a fact underscored by this most recent award,” said Caryl Porter, Vice President of Operations for Ramada Worldwide. “On behalf of myself and everyone at Ramada Worldwide, we offer our sincerest congratulations to the hotel’s sales team and thank them for being such dedicated ambassadors of our global brand.”

Located in Springfield, MO., the Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center offers more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space and 173 guest rooms and suites. The Ramada Oasis also offers an indoor pool and hot tub nestled in a gorgeous tropical atrium, outdoor heated pool, fitness room, business center, Fire & Ice Restaurant and (Ice) Bar, 24-hour gift shop and complimentary airport shuttle service. For more information visit or call 888-532-4338.


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