AH&LA and ASFONA Meet to Address Hotel Industry Issues

  • AH&LA
  • 10.29.13
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) met with the Association of Starwood Franchises & Owners - North America (ASFONA) to join forces in influencing lawmakers regarding issues that affect the lodging industry.

ASFONA and AH&LA Confer in Atlanta to Address Key Hotel Industry Issues in Washington
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has long been a strong advocate of the U.S. lodging industry in Washington, regarding key issues that affect the millions of hoteliers across the country each year. At the recent ASFONA (Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners - North America) Associate Board meeting in Atlanta, AH&LA president/CEO Katherine Lugar presented the association's most recent governmental initiatives to the attending ASFONA board members. The meeting, which was held at Le Meridien - Atlanta in early October, signaled an alliance between the two powerful industry associations, as they joined forces to influence lawmakers regarding legislative and regulatory issues that affect the lodging industry.
Ms. Lugar's highly informative presentation to the ASFONA board
addressed such critical issues as healthcare, immigration reform and labor, which have been identified as the top three topics affecting hotel brands, franchisees and other members of the lodging industry. Other legislative issues that AH&LA provided advocacy for during 2013 included travel and tourism policies, Online Travel Companies (OTC's) and government travel. AH&LA efforts have resulted in favorable outcomes on a variety of bills and other key legislation this year, including the JOLT (Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel) Act, the H-28 Immigration Reform Act and the Internet Travel Tax Fairness Act. Headquartered in Washington D.C., the AH&LA represents the interests of the U.S. lodging industry, actively working with members of Congress to educate them on the impact of the industry on the nation's economy.
In addition to the outline of AH&LA initiatives on Capitol Hill, the ASFONA Board meeting also included a presentation on the state of the industry, which was conducted by Bobby Bowers, senior vice president of Smith Travel Research (STR). The extensive economic overview of lodging industry performance indicated that 2013 was the fourth consecutive year of positive growth in the U.S., with a 5.8% increase in REVPAR year-to-date. STR research also showed that, after a steady 40-month recovery, rates have now surpassed pre-2008 levels, with an ADR increase of 4.1% over the past year. The strongest growth continues to be in the top end of the market, with upper upscale and luxury segments experiencing the highest REVPAR numbers and occupancy levels nearing an all-time high among luxury chains at 74.2%.
Dave Marr, Starwood Hotels & Resorts senior vice president of brand management North America, presented the company's unique Le Meridien brand, which is positioned in the upper upscale to luxury market. Le Meridien now includes a portfolio of 100 properties around the globe. Marr defined the Le Meridien brand to the group, describing it as a design-led, niche brand that appeals to today's "creative-minded traveler" with such unique concepts as "The Hub," a central, multi-use public space that serves as a focal point for Le Meridien properties.
"With the continued growth of the business this year and, in particular the strong performance of brands such as Le Meridien and Sheraton, which is the fastest-growing Starwood brand internationally, Starwood franchisees and owners continue to experience the benefits of belonging to such a powerful global organization," said ASFONA president, John Shingler. "One of the goals of ASFONA is to provide our board members with a constant flow of high-level hotel and travel industry insight to ensure we are fully conversant and current with all aspects of the industry."
For more information on ASFONA, please visit www.asfona.com.


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