AHLA launches new campaign, training program

WASHINGTON—Dreams Happen Here. That’s the name of the AHLA’s new national campaign designed to promote the economic benefits the hotel industry brings to communities across the U.S., and it’s powered by a study conducted by Oxford Economics.

Katherine Lugar, AHLA president and CEO, said, “The hotel industry has a great story to tell, one of supporting eight million jobs across the country with vast opportunities of upward mobility, empowering America’s economy through our significant economic contributions, advancing development and growth in the communities we call home, and serving our guests. Indeed, from the jobs we create, the guests we serve and the communities we invest in, we are an industry where dreams happen every day.”

The goal of the campaign, she said, is simple: to share the industry’s story of jobs, opportunity and strong economic contributions in every community across the country. “The start of a new administration, Congress and newly elected state and local officials throughout the U.S is a perfect opportunity to meet with key officials and educate them on the positive benefits of the hotel industry as they go about setting their policy priorities,” she explained. “The campaign provides us an opportunity to share information about the industry grounded in a newly released Oxford Economics report; share stories of upward mobility provided by hotel jobs and professional opportunities; and educate elected officials about the issues that matter most to the lodging and travel sectors.”

Some of the key findings of the study include the following: More than one billion guests stay in hotels every year; hotels support $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales, including hotel revenue, guest spending and taxes; hotels generate $170 billion in local, state and federal taxes; hotels contribute nearly $600 billion to the U.S. GDP; and guests spend nearly $500 billion at hotels and local businesses.

“The Oxford Economics data, which is the most comprehensive analysis of our industry to date, reveals the strength of our industry and our commitment to job creation, career advancement, economic growth and community development. The depth and breadth of the industry and the impact hotels have on the local, state and national scale is undeniably extensive and significant,” said Lugar. “With three out of every five hotels run by small businesses, we are drivers of the economy in every community, and we look forward to reaffirming our commitment to active partnerships with elected officials representing cities and states across the country to advance policies that foster jobs, support our employees, boost economic activity, protect our guests and build our infrastructure.”

Individuals who would like to get involved in the campaign are encouraged to do so. “Our campaign features the men and women who are the heart of hospitality at all levels of the business. We encourage hospitality employees to share their stories with us at [email protected] and to get engaged in our efforts,” said Lugar.

In addition to the Dreams Happen Here campaign, the AHLA, in partnership with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF), recently signed a $1.8-million contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor on the national Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) initiative for the restaurant, foodservice and hotel and lodging industries. This initiative will create a new management level apprenticeship training program and build on existing programs, in an effort to give hotel employees the training, skills and resources necessary to climb the corporate ladder from entry level to management, upper management and, eventually, the C-suite.

“As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry. We proudly invest in the women and men who are the backbone of the hospitality industry and ensure they have the training, skills and resources necessary to earn promotions and establish lifelong careers,” said Lugar. “We are thrilled to embark on this new apprenticeship program that truly embodies the character of hospitality. Our shared goals of pursuing on-the-job training and career advancement will provide important opportunities for the next generation of hospitality leaders to begin lifelong careers in our dynamic industry.” HB

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