Latest Associations/Organizations News & Views...
ISES Announces HCC Specialty Insurance as Latest Global Partner
AH&LA Statement on President's State of the Union Address
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, issued this statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 20, 2015:
“Tonight, by hailing an economic recovery in the works and speaking to the power of the American Dream, President Obama presented an optimistic future for our great nation – a future that can be seen in the hotel industry. With four straight years of consecutive growth and job creation, the hotel industry is responsible for strengthening communities and providing a solid path to promotion for those who have chosen lodging as a career seeking to climb the ladder of success, with good pay and benefits.
“Despite the optimism, there are still many challenges ahead, and this evening, the President addressed some of the policy areas that most impact our industry. The President Obama addressed many issues, including healthcare. We applaud Congress for taking steps to fix parts of the Affordable Care Act, most notably the existing definition of a full-time employee. We urge the President to carefully consider – and sign - legislation to restore the 40-hour work week once passed by Congress. The President also acknowledged that immigration is a passionate and emotional issue, and expressed that the system needs to be fixed. We strongly encourage President Obama and Congress to find bipartisan, permanent reforms. Providing employers an efficient system to verify and hire workers and creating a process to address those undocumented workers already in the country are just a few of the policies that would enable hotels to solidify their business models, better address their current workforce needs and plan for the future.
“Innovations in technology are enormously beneficial to the hotel industry and to every sector of the economy, except when the good is used to do harm. We value the trust our guests give us to not only keep them safe physically, but to protect the data they provide. Both tonight and previously, the President outlined his approach to tackle cyber security and data security issues. In order for these efforts to be successful, the President and Congress must work hand-in-hand to find bipartisan solutions that will not only address this critical issue, but can also anticipate future needs and risk.
“The President also spoke about the need to reform the tax code. Business owners in this country crave clarity, and we are looking for Congress and the Administration to come together to create a tax code that maintains America’s competitiveness and fosters economic growth.
“With the start of a new Congress, the next year holds enormous potential for bipartisan solutions that will help bolster the economy and continue to allow industries such as the hotel sector to invest in communities and create jobs. We look forward to working with the White House, the Obama Administration and Congress to find ways to work together towards advancing our common goals,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
In Letter to U.S. House, Hotel Industry Calls on Congress to Reauthorize TRIA Immediately
In a letter to every member of the United States House of Representatives, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today urged the chamber to immediately address the need to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) now that the 114th Congress has commenced. Both chambers of Congress have passed legislation to reauthorize the program, yet no final legislation was passed and sent to the President’s desk for signature.
“As the 114th Congress begins its legislative work, it is imperative that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) be reauthorized immediately. Therefore, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. hotel industry, urges you to vote in favor of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 when it is brought before the House for consideration this week,” states the letter. “The time is now to reauthorize TRIA.”
First passed by Congress in 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, TRIA was created to provide a federal backstop for terrorism insurance coverage. The program was renewed in 2005 and again in 2007. The program expired at the end of December.
AH&LA has been a persistent advocate of TRIA reauthorization, including by activating its membership with phone calls, emails and letters to members of Congress. Additionally, in November 2014, AH&LA, along with more than 80 other hotel industry groups including hotel brands, management companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), owners and state hotel associations, sent a letter calling on the House of Representatives to get back to work and pass the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in the wake of the midterm elections.
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.