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Brand USA Reauthorized: A Triumph for America's Economy
The U.S. travel community thanked and congratulated Congress on Friday, December 13, for passing a spending bill that renews Brand USA, America's public-private travel promotion partnership.
"It's not every day that Congress makes a policy move that makes abundant sense and has demonstrable value for every region and demographic of this country. Renewing Brand USA is one such thing," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The overwhelming majority that passed reauthorization in the House, coupled with the unanimous vote that passed it out of the Senate Commerce Committee, are a ringing bipartisan endorsement of Brand USA's mission and effectiveness. The tens of thousands of jobs it creates, the zero cost to federal taxpayers, the fact that it helps our trade balance by bringing huge amounts of foreign currency to the U.S., the contribution it makes to reducing the deficit by millions—Brand USA is simply a policy that works."
In only its third year of existence, Brand USA's economic impact through attracting international visitors is already enormous. In 2013, the program drew more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States, generating $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending and $1 billion in federal, local and state tax revenues. Returning $47 on every $1 spent on promotion, the program supported nearly 53,000 new U.S. jobs.
A recent study by Oxford Economics further confirmed Brand USA's economic impact by revealing the consequences of a future without the program. Over the ensuing five-year period, 2016-2020, America would have lost nearly $54 billion in total business sales, $27.6 billion in value-added (GDP) and $53.8 billion in personal income. Rather than supporting new jobs, the U.S. economy would have instead created 53,000 fewer jobs.
Said Dow: "The travel community gives great thanks to Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Peter Welch, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt along with Senate Major Leader Harry Reid for leading the effort to reauthorize Brand USA. Further, committee leaders in the Senate and the House, including Reps. Fred Upton, Henry Waxman, Lee Terry, Jan Schakowsky, Hal Rogers, Nita Lowey, Sam Farr and Sens. John Thune, John Rockefeller, Brian Schatz, Tim Scott, Barbara Mikulski and Richard Shelby, have our deep appreciation for their steadfast leadership."
Click here to see how Brand USA is working for small and large destinations nationwide.
New Survey Reveals Top Hotel Trends Across the Country
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and its Foundation released the definitive industry survey examining the top trends in the hotel industry, which this year is marked by personal service, healthy lifestyles and convenience. The survey, “The 2014 Lodging Study Hotel Trends: An Inside Look at Popular Amenities and Guest Services” conducted by industry data provider STR, illustrates how hotels are adapting to consumer demands by adjusting their services and amenities to take into account guests’ needs.
This survey, funded by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), shows that in addition to advancing consumer service, hotels are also giving back, making charitable contributions and being good stewards of the environment. Environmentally-friendly programs, such as towel reuse programs, recycling capabilities and water savings programs are increasingly popular, with overwhelming majorities of hotels participating. Hotels are also giving to charities, and employees are offering their personal time to volunteer efforts.
The innovation and creativity of the hotel industry continues to benefit the guests. Travelers can expect high-speed and wireless Internet in more places, as well as in-room video on demand services and high-definition, flat screen televisions. Hotels are also prioritizing convenience and comfort with mobile check in, mobile apps, better bedding, and allergy-free rooms. The hotel guest can also expect a healthier experience, with more access to healthy menu choices, free breakfast and health facilities.
“Providing the highest level of quality service is paramount in our business and keeping ahead of guests’ needs is a critical component,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “From high-tech gadgets and amenities to charitable giving to being good stewards of our environment, the hotel industry continues to grow, innovate and accommodate changing consumer behavior. It is this flexibility and remarkable adaptability that allows the hotel to grow and thrive even as other business sectors struggle.”
“Since 1988, this survey has been the most authoritative and comprehensive benchmark of services that are so important to our industry,” said Amanda Hite, President and COO of STR. “The hotel industry continues to push for innovation, staying ahead of the curve to ensure hotel guests have an excellent experience. It has been a privilege working with AH&LA on this survey, which is a helpful guide for hoteliers, industry vendors and the traveling public.”
Key findings include:
This is one of the longest-running surveys of its kind. The 2014 Lodging Survey is conducted every two years, and with more than 9,600 participants, it is the most comprehensive analysis of the trends in the hotel and lodging industry based on direct feedback from hotels. Respondents are also representative of the geographic makeup of the hotel industry.
ISES Announces Catersource : Event Solutions as Global Conference & Trade Show Partner
The International Special Events Society (ISES) has today announced Catersource : Event Solutions as its first Trade Show Partner as part of its recently launched Global Partner Program.
The partnership will see the two organizations work together on a number of cross promotional initiatives over the next 12 months, with ISES providing a dedicated Education Program, containing its ‘ISES Approved’ content, at the 2015 Catersource and Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow, which takes place at the prestigious Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on March 8 – 11, 2015.
Kevin White CSEP, ISES International President, comments; “I am pleased to be able to announce this significant partnership today. Catersource : Event Solutions is an event which shares many of the objectives and values with those of our own members and we look forward to working together for the benefit of both our two organizations and our industry.”
Ron Bigley, Brand Director for Catersource and Event Solutions, notes that; “We are thrilled to be able to join forces with this talented group of professionals who, like us, bring such creativity and inspiration to their client relationships and we know this collaboration will serve to enhance and build upon each other’s strengths.”
This collaboration is the first to be announced as part of the ISES Global Partner Program, launched in early November, and which enables organizations to develop commercial partnerships with the international event association and gain access to its membership and their combined $22 billion of global event spend.
AH&LA Calls for Broader Reforms in Wake of President's Immigration Address
Following President Barack Obama’s address announcing an Executive Order to expand and extend programs for selected groups of undocumented immigrants, the American Hotel and Lodging Association called on the President, Congress and other stakeholders to work together towards comprehensive immigration reform.
“The President and Congress have a unique opportunity to reform and enhance the current immigration system and provide the hotel industry and many other sectors a powerful tool to establish certainty, grow jobs and continue to build our economy. Our nation is desperate for a modern, effective immigration system that reflects the needs of today’s marketplace. Providing employers an efficient system to verify workers, enhancing national security, and creating a process to address those undocumented workers already in the country are just a few of the reforms that would enable hotels to solidify their business models, better understand their current needs and plan for the future,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
“The hotel industry welcomed Senate passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act largely because it was a bipartisan, comprehensive approach for fixing our immigration system. And while today’s action by the President seeks to address the critical issue of immigration, we strongly urge President Obama and Congress to work closely together with invested stakeholders and industry leaders to find common-ground solutions that lead to wide-ranging, permanent reforms. By doing so, workers will be better positioned to seek employment in the hotel industry, which provides incredible opportunities for career development and upward mobility. In addition, investors, developers and hotel employers will have the certainty they need to successfully create good jobs, with benefits that so many people need,” Lugar said.
In June 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), which included key provisions sought and supported by AH&LA and the lodging industry, including:
Program, establishes a pilot program for the use of secure videoconferencing for visa processing, and reduces wait times
for visa processing. Implementation of these measures will grow U.S. exports, create additional American jobs, and
generate increased tax revenue.
Sold-Out PACK gives BACK™ Event Supports K9s for Warriors
PMMI's PACK gives BACK™ at PACK EXPO International and Pharma EXPO 2014 raised over $34,000 for K9s for Warriors, a charitable organization dedicated to providing service dogs to military veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress as a result of their service since 9/11. The Nov. 3 event, open only to PACK EXPO and Pharma EXPO registrants, featured former Tonight Show host and celebrated comedian Jay Leno.
Leno entertained a sold-out crowd of 1,900, and funds raised included a portion of ticket sales and supplemental donations collected online and on site at PACK EXPO. The program includes three weeks’ training for the canine/warrior teams at the K9s for Warriors facility in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Over 90 percent of the partnered dogs are obtained through rescue groups.
“We’re always happy to support those that have fought for our country,” says Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO, PMMI. “Our service men and women have given so much for us. It’s a pleasure to be able to give something back to them.”
PMMI would like to thank Title Sponsors DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymer and Pro Mach, Inc., and Gold Sponsors Bemis North America and International Paper for supporting PACK gives BACK™.
“PACK gives BACK™ is a way to bring the entire PACK EXPO community together for a greater purpose,” adds Yuska.
A link for donations will be active through November at Packexpointernational.com, and donations are always accepted at K9sforWarriors.org.
Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at PMMI.org and Packexpo.com.
AH&LA Urges new Congress to Focus on Job Growth, Economy Following Midterms
President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Katherine Lugar issued the following statement regarding the results from the midterm elections:
“Yesterday, the American people practiced a right and privilege of citizenship by going to the polls and casting their vote for representation in Congress, state capitols, and local jurisdictions. Congratulations to every individual who has been elected for the first time and to the men and women who earned the confidence of the electorate yet again.
“Using the voice of their vote, American men and women have called for change in Washington D.C. and across the country, including by electing a Republican Majority to the United States Senate. The policies considered by this body have a tremendous impact on the hotel industry, from labor issues to healthcare to tax reform. We were pleased that, in the 113th Congress, the Senate overwhelmingly supported the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, (TRIA), which provides a vital backstop for businesses should they fall victim to a terrorist attack. As this transition takes place, the American Hotel and Lodging Association will continue to advocate for policies that protect jobs in the hotel industry – a sector that remains a bright spot for job growth and opportunity in this difficult economy.
“Now that Election Day is over, Congress should immediately get to work tending to unfinished business. Members on both sides of the aisle should commit to passing sensible policies that foster economic development, promote job growth and empower small businesses, a growing segment of the hotel industry. Before recessing for the year, the House of Representatives should pass TRIA, bipartisan legislation that promotes stability and job growth across many sectors. The Senate passed this bill by a vote of 93-4, sending a clear message to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi about the strength and force of this legislation. The House of Representatives must move swiftly to pass TRIA before it expires at the end of December.
“The American Hotel and Lodging Association welcomes new members and looks forward to connecting yet again with those returning from the campaign trail. Every Election Day serves as a reminder of the strength of our democracy and the opportunity that America represents to the entire world. As an industry that promotes upward mobility, we are eager to work with the 114th Congress to protect job growth and to continue to represent an industry that has, for decades, allowed individuals to work hard and climb the ladder of opportunity to attain success and live the American dream.”
Four Suppliers Achieve New Customer Certified Sales Expert (CCSE) Designation
The Hive Network announced today that four suppliers have completed the industry’s new Customer Certified Sales Expert (C.C.S.E) designation. First to achive the designation was Jennifer R. Sena, owner of Sena Sales & Marketing, followed by Deana Mitchell, CMP, DMCP, owner of Realize Planning – a Global DMC Partner; Taya Paige, VP of marketing at ACCESS Destination Services, and Tracy Fairman, CMP, CHDM, CEO of e-ProDirect.
“Getting the CCSE designation was definitely worth my time and the return on investment has already been worthwhile,” said Sena. “I have been telling my industry colleagues there is finally relevant education for us, and even if you have to pay for it out of your own pocket, don't hesitate."
“The Customer Certified Sales Expert program exists to alleviate frustration among suppliers – we’re giving them sales tips directly from their customers,” said Shawna Suckow, CMP, founder of The Hive Network. “Most of our courses are taught by senior-level planners, to give suppliers a roadmap on everything from how to write better proposals, to prospecting that gets better receptiveness.”
The Hive Network CCSE program requires candidates to complete 12 webinars taught primarily by senior-level planners. Candidates have a full year to complete their coursework and tests. CCSE designees then can attend private meet-ups of senior-level planners at major industry conferences like IMEX, MPI WEC, and IncentiveWorks. For complete information on The Hive Network and the CCSE program, visit www.thehivenetwork.org.