AAHOA Commends Florida Attorney General Crackdown On Vacation Rental Scams

ATLANTA–AAHOA, the nation’s largest hotel owners association, commends Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s crackdown on vacation rental scams.

Attorney General Moody tweeted that she was kicking off a Summer Scam Series with a focus on fake vacation rental ads. She included tips to avoid rental scams and announced a new consumer protection series about vacation rental scams.

AAHOA stands behind Attorney General Moody and her dedication to protecting communities and travelers.

“Florida’s kickoff of the Summer Scam Series with a focus on fake vacation rental ads is a much-needed first step regarding short-term rental regulation,” said AAHOA President & CEO, Laura Lee Blake. “We must be aggressive when it comes to fake postings offering vacation rental properties, and hold the scammers accountable. AAHOA commends Attorney General Moody’s crackdown, and remains committed to protecting all our valued tourists and visitors.”

Attorney General Moody’s office issued a press release describing how the scammers behind these ads are taking advantage of unknowing tourists.

It describes how these scammers:

  • Create fake listings
  • Often request an application fee or security deposit
  • Rental listing disappears along with the consumer’s money after they pay
  • Vacationers show up only to find that the actual owners of the property have no record or intention of renting

“Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in America,” said AAHOA Chairman Neal Patel. “Preventing travelers from falling for this scheme falls under AAHOA’s mission to advance and protect the business interests of hotel owners, who are committed to the reputable property owners in the hospitality industry.”

AAHOA urges all travelers to take extra precautions, pay attention to red flags, and report anything suspicious when renting a vacation home to ensure you’re getting the vacation you’re hoping and paying for.

AHLA Welcomes ClubCorp As New Member

WASHINGTON–The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced it has welcomed ClubCorp, now known as Invited, as a new member.

ClubCorp is the largest owner and operator of private clubs, with more than 200 golf and country clubs, city clubs and stadium clubs in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and two foreign countries. Founded in 1957, ClubCorp provides first-class amenities, industry-leading benefits, lodging, and unparalleled service to Members and guests.

Ron Vlasic, ClubCorp Executive Vice President – Operations City & Stadium Clubs, is a current member of AHLA’s Board of Directors and former chair of the board. He will remain on AHLA’s Board of Directors as an individual representative in his capacity for ClubCorp beginning in June 2022.

ClubCorp joins an AHLA membership roster that includes more than 30,000 members, 80% of all franchised hotels and the 10 largest hotel companies in the U.S. In addition to hoteliers, AHLA membership includes state and local lodging associations, leading hospitality associations, industry service providers and suppliers, universities, and hospitality students.

Today’s announcement builds on AHLA’s strong membership growth trajectory over the past two years, during which AHLA achieved record membership and overall satisfaction levels and has expanded via strategic partnerships and mergers with leading hospitality organizations, including Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) and the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA).

“I’ve seen the vast array of benefits AHLA members realize firsthand, and I know that an AHLA membership is an important investment in the future of hospitality,” said Vlasic. “As an operator of lodging and accommodations offerings within ClubCorp’s portfolio, we are excited to have access to AHLA’s advocacy, communications, conferences and events, and organizational resources through our membership.”

“We are thrilled to welcome ClubCorp to the growing AHLA family and excited to benefit from Ron’s continued counsel and service on the AHLA Board of Directors,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “As the largest owner and operator of private clubs, ClubCorp will bring a unique perspective to AHLA’s membership ranks. And we look forward to expanding AHLA’s membership base with other clubs that operate lodging accommodations.”

Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) Release “Spring 2022 Industry Outlook Survey” Results

BOSTONThe Hospitality Asset Managers Association (“HAMA”) today released the results of its Spring 2022 Industry Outlook Survey.  The semi-annual report collected the opinions, experiences and predictions of nearly 100 hotel asset managers concerning the hospitality industry since the beginning of the pandemic through today.  The survey also addressed respondent’s thoughts on the future outlook of the industry.

Presented live in Hollywood, Fla., the survey was conducted in advance of HAMA’s 2022 Annual Spring Meeting.  In total, 84 asset managers, comprising approximately half of membership, participated in the survey.

“Overall, it would appear the hotel industry is entering a more optimistic phase than it found itself in as recently as last year,” said Matthew Arrants, The Arrants Company, CHAM, HAMA president.  “The majority of respondents see the acquisition market heating up, and many believe the industry will begin to return to pre-pandemic levels within the next year or two.  Some markets already have surpassed 2019 numbers, and continued, pent-up travel demand has asset managers in a positive mood.”

Highlighted results include:

  • One-third of respondents currently forecast 51-75% of their hotels to exceed 2022 budgeted RevPAR.
  • Three-quarters of surveyed asset managers are more optimistic about the remainder of 2022 since the COVID-19 Omnicom variant has subsided.
  • The top three concerns of asset managers are labor availability (90.48%), wage increases (70.24%) and supply chain delays (61.9%).
  • 9% of participants believe RevPAR will return to 2019 levels for the entire U.S. by 2023.
  • Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed actively are seeking acquisition opportunities.

AAHOA Names Ken Greene Interim President & CEO

ATLANTA– In the wake of its recent announcement of a leadership transition, AAHOA is pleased to announce that it has appointed hotel industry veteran Ken Greene to serve as Interim President & CEO.

Ken is a well-known and highly respected industry veteran who is well-suited to lead AAHOA during the organization’s leadership transition. The Board’s selection of Ken as AAHOA Interim President & CEO reflects the group’s trust and utmost confidence that he can carry the organization forward as the industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ken is eager to continue to execute upon the Association’s 2021-2023 Strategic Plan and serve alongside AAHOA’s Board and staff to continue its forward-thinking vision to be the foremost resource and advocate for America’s hotel owners.

During each chapter of Ken’s career, he’s been involved with AAHOA, its members, and industry partners. Prior to joining AAHOA, Ken served as a global leader of many iconic hotel brands, including President, Americas for Radisson Hotel Group, President & CEO for Delta Hotels and Resorts, and in various roles at Cendant Corporation, Wyndham Worldwide, and many of its divisions. Ken also recently founded Greenehouse Consulting, which focuses on acquisitions, management, and advisory services to the hospitality industry.

Ken has a deep understanding of and appreciation for the hotel industry and has many long-standing relationships that are well-suited to guide AAHOA during this leadership transition period. Ken also has served on and led several industry-related boards, providing and contributing to strategic direction in a number of capacities.

“Ken will be leading the Association in an interim capacity during a critical time for AAHOA Members and the hotel industry,” AAHOA Chairman Biran Patel said. “We are confident his experience, relationships, and extensive knowledge and appreciation of the industry are the perfect fit to serve in this capacity as AAHOA Members continue down the road to recovery.”

“AAHOA’s nearly 20,000 members represent the heart and soul of America’s hospitality industry and I am eager to step into this role, working alongside the hotel owners who drive our industry forward each and every day,” Ken said. “As our industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a critical time for owners and America’s tourism industry, and I’m looking forward to bringing my extensive experience to the organization to help propel America’s hotel industry forward on the path to recovery.”

Over the course of Ken’s career, he’s had the opportunity to personally get to know and form relationships with many of AAHOA’s Members. Ken is well-positioned to build on AAHOA’s strong foundation as the organization carries out its vision of being the foremost resource and advocate for America’s hotel owners during this critical time in the industry’s recovery.

“We are confident Ken will bring the passion, dedication, knowledge, and insight he has exhibited in all of his prior roles within the industry to AAHOA and its members,” Patel said. “Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Ken in his new position as AAHOA Interim President & CEO.”

Urban Hotels Hit Hard By Pandemic, Recovery Expected To Take Years

WASHINGTON– A national survey conducted by Morning Consult commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that only 29% of Americans would consider traveling to a city or urban destination this summer, further showing the economic devastation facing urban markets, which rely heavily on business from events and group meetings, underscoring the need for targeted relief from Congress.

Urban hotels ended January down 66% in room revenue compared to last year, which does not include the lost revenue from groups, meetings and food and beverage that is a main driver for business in these markets. For example, New York City has seen one-third of its hotel rooms (42,030 rooms) wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels permanently closing in the city.

Hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid despite being among the hardest hit. That’s why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers’ union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Senator Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). This legislation provides a lifeline to hotel workers, providing the assistance they need to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. Key findings include:

  • Only 29% of respondents are likely to travel to a city or urban destination this summer, and 71% state they would not travel to an urban market.
  • 75% are uninterested in traveling to a U.S. city or metropolitan area to avoid dealing with pre-travel or post-travel quarantine and testing guidelines.
  • 73% are uninterested in traveling to a U.S. city or metropolitan area due to lack of interest in traveling generally.
  • 72% are uninterested in a vacation or leisure trip to a U.S. city or metropolitan area despite lower prices due to fewer people traveling.

“Hotels and hotel employees in urban markets are among those most impacted by the dramatic decline in travel over the last year,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act so hotels in the hardest hit regions can rebound when business and group travel begin to resume once again.”

According to the same Morning Consult survey, more than seven in 10 Americans (71%) support the government providing targeted economic relief to the hotel industry as called for in the Save Hotel Jobs Act, with support being even higher among Democrats at 79%.

Hotels in urban markets have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. While leisure travel will start returning this year as more people are vaccinated, business and group travel, the industry’s largest source of revenue, will take significantly longer to recover. Business travel remains nearly nonexistent and is not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024. Business travel is down 85% from pre-pandemic levels and not expected to begin to slowly return until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in the second half of the year. Major events, conventions and business meetings have also already been canceled or postponed until at least 2022.

Leisure and hospitality has lost 2.8 million jobs during the pandemic that have yet to return, and the unemployment rate in the accommodation sector remains 225% higher than the rest of the economy. Leisure and hospitality unemployment represents more than 25% of all unemployed persons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hotel Industry & Union Join To Urge Congress For Aid

WASHINGTONThe American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers union in North America, today joined forces to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), provides a lifeline to hotel workers, providing the assistance they need to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, applauded Senator Schatz and Representative Crist for introducing this critical legislation to support hotel workers.

“Every day, hotels are closing for good, and hardworking, loyal employees are sadly being let go,” said Rogers. “No industry has been more affected by the pandemic than hospitality. Government-issued travel bans and restrictions, which are meant to slow the spread of the virus, have wiped out 10 years of job growth in our industry. Now, millions of jobs and thousands of businesses are at risk—not just hotels, but the many businesses and workers hotels also support in the community. Congress must step up now to support the hotel industry workforce with targeted relief.”

D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE, representing more than 300,000 employees said, “UNITE HERE members do critical work cleaning hotel rooms, cooking food, and welcoming travelers that is essential to our economy. Hospitality workers have been devastated by the pandemic, with 98% of our members laid off at the peak of the shutdowns and more than 70% still out of work today. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide important assistance in bringing back good hospitality jobs and making sure that workers who were laid off during the pandemic are recalled back to work.”

“The pandemic has left millions of hotel employees out of work and many more struggling to get by with less hours. They need help,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill creates a new grant program that will bring back hotel jobs, pay workers, and help our economy recover.”

“After a devastating year for the Florida tourism industry and the incredibly hardworking employees whose labor makes it all possible, I am proud to join the American Hotel & Lodging Association, UNITE HERE, and Senator Brian Schatz to announce legislation that will get our hotel workers back on the job and give our tourism economy the jump start it needs,” said Rep. Crist. “With the end of the pandemic within our sights, we need to make sure that the workers and hotels make it through to the other side as well. That’s what the Save Hotel Jobs Act is all about. When the rest of America is ready to return to Florida’s beaches safely, our workers and hotels will be ready!”

The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce. Leisure and hospitality has lost 3.1 million jobs during the pandemic that have yet to return, representing more than a third of all unemployed persons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even more stark, the unemployment rate in the accommodation sector specifically remains 330% higher than the rest of the economy.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long. While leisure travel will start returning this summer as more people are vaccinated, business travel—the largest source of hotel revenue—is down 85% and is not expected to begin its slow return until the second half of this year. Full recovery is not expected until 2024.

The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period. Key provisions include the following:

  • Supporting Hotel Workers: Direct payroll grants will be utilized for payroll and benefits expenses for workers. The legislation would also require grantees to give laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic are able to get back to work.
  • Allowing Worker-Friendly Tax Credits: Provides a Personal Protective Equipment Tax Credit to promote worker safety measures, which would allow for a payroll tax credit for 50% of costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees, and enhanced cleaning protocols that do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping staff.

Empty or permanently closed hotels have a ripple effect on communities throughout the country, hurting a wide range of businesses that rely on the presence of hotel guests, such as restaurants and retail, hotel supply companies and construction. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels also support an additional 26 jobs in the community, according to a study by Oxford Economics. With hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs, based on the pre-pandemic ratio, an additional 1.3 million hotel supported jobs are in jeopardy this year without additional support from Congress.

This crisis has been especially devastating in urban areas, hurting minority communities. Urban hotels, which are more reliant on business and group travel and more likely to host larger events, ended January down 66% in room revenue compared to last year. That does not include the lost revenue from groups, meetings and food and beverage, which contribute significantly to business in these markets. According to recent reports, New York City has seen one-third of its hotel rooms—more than 42,000—wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels closing permanently in the city.