At today’s American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) board meeting and special meeting of members, a new membership model and bylaw amendments were approved. The vote enables AH&LA to transition from a dual membership organization, where partner state associations collect national dues, to a platform of broader engagement. The new model provides a foundation to position AH&LA as an advocacy and communications powerhouse that reflects the lodging industry’s tremendous economic footprint as a major driver of jobs, opportunity, and growth.
Under the new model, hotel companies, owners/REITs, and management companies are provided a greater role and voice in setting the association’s agenda. Lodging properties now are able to join through their brand and independent properties can join AH&LA directly or through their partner state associations. Additionally, the member rate has been lowered. Partner state associations move from collecting branded property national dues to members that provide their state properties with additional benefits and local representation. AH&LA will have a stronger grassroots voice and broader reach as it will represent a much larger percentage of hotels in the United States.
Membership groups will be created, including a Brands Council, Owners Council, Management Companies Council, Independent Hotels Council, and Partner State Association Council. These groups will provide leadership on their specific issues and nominate members for the 75-member board of directors. A 19-person Executive Committee will convene between board of directors’ meetings. Additionally, a Public Policy Steering Committee will provide guidance on key national governmental, regulatory, and media issues.
“From immigration to the implementation of a massive new healthcare law, the industry is at a crucial juncture when Congress and the Administration are debating a myriad of issues that affect hoteliers’ bottom line,” said AH&LA President/CEO Katherine Lugar. “This new structure allows AH&LA to engage more hoteliers throughout the country, significantly grow our political presence, and launch focused public policy campaigns that will garner significant results for the industry.”
Two years ago, a study was commissioned to evaluate the association’s structure and value proposition. Approximately 575 state executives, brand leaders, property executives, and allied members were surveyed. An AH&LA Funding Task Force, in conjunction with the Strategic Planning Committee – both of which were comprised of a broad-cross section of members – developed a new funding model. In April, the board of directors approved the model, and a Bylaws Committee was convened to draft amendments to the existing bylaws.
“We created a business model that accomplishes what members requested, and as promised, we’ll deliver it by the end of the year,” said AH&LA Chair Ron Vlasic, regional vice president of hotels, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “This restructuring will allow a greater level of involvement from the brands, owners, management companies, properties, and state associations for a truly unified and effective voice in our nation’s capitol.”
AH&LA will continue to provide direction and oversight to its affiliates, the Educational Foundation and the Educational Institute, and will continue partnerships in the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show and the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.
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