The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) represents every segment of the nation’s hotel industry, including major chains, independent hotels, management companies, bed and breakfasts establishments and industry partners

It strives to be an indispensable resource serving, supporting and advocating on behalf of the industry to build a united hospitality industry that powers the US economy.

Its members represent every segment of the hotel and lodging business across the US, including 80% of all franchised hotel properties and amounting to more than 3.2m rooms.

Hotels contribute $600bn to US GDP [gross domestic product] each year, yet the industry is currently facing hurdles such as the decline in deal activity seen in January and February 2024.

Hotel Management Network spoke to AHLA interim CEO Kevin Carey to gain insight into the workings of this mammoth industry.

AHLA’s priorities in 2024

The AHLA’s 2024 State of the Industry Report forecasts that American hotels will generate historic amounts of tax revenue, pay employees a record in total wages and inch closer to pre-pandemic occupancy levels in 2024.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

But despite this good news, hoteliers still face challenges. According to Carey, these include “labour shortages, stubborn inflation and a host of federal regulations that are tying hoteliers up in red tape.” These regulations are referred to by the AHLA as “onerous workplace rules”.

Carey asserts that it is currently “the peak time of activity in state legislatures across the country. That means we’re tracking legislation in several states on a range of issues.”

New Jersey is a particular focus for AHLA as it aims to defeat state legislation on hotel franchising (A3495 and S2336) that Carey says would “destroy the industry’s franchise model by making it harder for hotels to enforce the quality, service and safety standards that guests have come to trust.”

The organisation has also taken a stance against the controversial practice of housing homeless individuals in hotels — an issue that has reared its head in recent months in Los Angeles.

At the national level, the AHLA has filed comments in opposition to the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime-pay regulation, which Carey says “would eliminate hotel jobs, make it more difficult for employees to rise in the ranks and put small business hoteliers at risk of going out of business.” It has urged Congress to back the Overtime Pay Flexibility Act, which would prevent the rule’s implementation.

Another Department of Labor regulation aims to change the way workers are classified as independent contractors or employees. Carey asserts that this will “limit opportunities for individuals to work as independent contractors and hurt hotels’ ability to maintain operations.” The AHLA is supporting a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn this rule.

Issues such as these are “why AHLA will continue advocating for hoteliers at all levels of government to solve these problems and keep our industry on an upward path,” says Carey.

AHLA’s view on hotels vs short-term rentals

Carey states that the AHLA’s biggest focus is ensuring hotels and short-term rentals are competing on a level playing field.

“That means fighting back against efforts in states to give short-term rentals like Airbnb unfair tax and regulatory advantages.

“Because short-term rentals compete with hotels, we must ensure they are subject to the same laws, taxes and regulatory standards as hotels. That means registering their business, paying taxes, following laws and regulations, and removing illegal listings – particularly for multi-unit operators that are effectively running illegal hotels.”

GlobalData’s travel and tourism analysis recently found that as American authorities impose new regulations on Airbnb, its business model — which relies on ease of use— is being threatened, benefitting the hotel industry.

Across the pond and beyond

Outside the US, the AHLA works to execute its vision with the international hotel industry and expand its global footprint.

AHLA is teaming up with the Hotel Association of Canada to operate the Green Key Global sustainability certification programme in the US and Canada from 1 April 2024.

Focusing on technology through its Hospitality Technology Next Generation arm, the Hospitality Show, an exhibition for industry technologies, will be held in Texas in October 2024.

In early 2024 AHLA also launched the Global Technology 100, a group of hospitality technology leaders who will advise the hotel industry on leveraging the latest tech to better serve guests and maximise profitability.

Through its work with the World Alliance of Hospitality Advocates, AHLA is also partnering with national hotel association counterparts to create a global forum for hospitality-related advocacy.

Carey believes that “International cooperation among hoteliers is better than it’s ever been, and it continues to improve.”