by LYNN S. MOHRFELD, CAE
As one of the most visible industries in the nation, we are constantly being held accountable for our actions. Every day we proudly embody the spirit of hospitality by welcoming guests to our properties and destinations. For our communities, we create jobs and launch careers, generating much needed tax revenues to support services locally and on a statewide basis. And we do this well, abiding by a host of regulatory and legislative requirements that are largely unseen by our guests, our employees and our community.
Thus, it’s important that – at all times – we represent the best interests of our industry. There are many voices seeking changes in legislation and regulations for issues that can and will greatly impact our businesses, employees and communities, such as short-term rentals, human trafficking, workplace safety and sexual harassment. These changes are requested constantly and, in some cases, demanded.
This is when our voices matter. Every voice has impact, especially when the discussion aligns with our actions. When that single voice becomes the entire industry’s voice, it carries influence and is magnified to enhance the reputation of all of us – one hotel at a time, one brand at a time, one employee at a time.
Combining our actions and our voices is the focus of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. It’s what we do. It’s how we protect your rights and interests. Our goal is to educate and communicate with the industry and make your voices heard through the strongest possible advocacy at all levels of government.
There, perhaps, is no clearer illustration of this alignment than our work protecting our industry as it competes with the largely unregulated short-term rental industry. As municipalities struggle to regulate, tax and ensure the safety of these alternative accommodations, hotel community voices are being heard from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco, as well as nationwide. Owners and managers of all sizes and types of properties, along with our broader membership, have enjoined residential neighbors, organized labor, educators, elected leaders and environmentalists as coalitions demanding level playing fields to protect our destinations, our employees, our businesses and our neighborhoods.
Another example is focusing on our employees, the lifeblood of our businesses. From our inception, CH&LA and its hotel members have been strong advocates for employee safety through education, training and communications. Protecting workers also protects our guests and provides a safe environment, which is paramount in today’s world. A very important place where the industry can make a difference is in the identification and reporting of human trafficking, no matter where it may exist. Through the voices of individual members and individual hotel employees, we’ve acted for years to ensure this heinous activity is rooted out of our hotels through dedicated training programs and strong legislative advocacy.
These efforts represent your interests and, importantly, they connect us to other voices in our communities so we can work together to reach equitable solutions – for everyone.
The DNA of our industry is based on providing individual hospitality – that experience that separates us from so many other industries. We know the value each engagement has for our employees, our guests and our communities. Every day, one voice matters. And, every day, one action speaks louder than a word. ■
Lynn Mohrfeld is president and chief executive officer of the California Hotel & Lodging Association.
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