Small business owners can make a difference


Bhavesh Patel
AAHOA Chairman (2017-2018)

The reversal of the NLRB decision is good for hoteliers – now it’s up to small businesses to keep that positive momentum going.

The hotel industry is a vital part of the nation’s economic stability. The wages and salaries produced by hotel employment support local communities in immeasurable ways. In fact, labor department statistics show that the industry supports more than $350 billion in U.S. labor income.

It should come as no surprise that this is largely thanks to the vast number of enterprising small business owners who build and operate hotels across the country, and the proven hotel franchise business model they use to do so.

In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) substantially broadened the definition of the joint-employer standard, which threatened the stability of the franchise business model by drastically changing the labor-related responsibilities formally held by franchisees and franchisors.

Joint liability reduced the incentive for franchisors to continue investing in the traditional franchise business model, so much so that the growth in employment that had been rising annually began to stagnate.

Last December, however, the NLRB reversed its decision to expand the definition of the joint-employer standard – a move that AAHOA had been fighting for on behalf of hoteliers nationwide.

The NLRB decision to go back to the previous standard protects the franchise business model, and promotes the local economic stability and growth small businesses provide. It’s a significant accomplishment for the industry.

Franchise hotel owners create jobs for local residents, pay taxes that go directly into township and city coffers, and provide a recreational outlet for residents and tourists. But more than that, franchisees are not just business owners. They have the ability to reach out and build a community within a community. For example, dozens of AAHOA members stepped up to help those in need last fall when two of the most devastating hurricanes we’ve seen in a few years hit the southern United States.

Small business owners make a difference in so many ways. As 2018 takes off, there are myriad ways to bring the community in and stand out. To name a few:

Be inviting. Make the hotel the center of social and cultural functions in the community.

Use social media to generate discussions and conversations about events and happenings in the area that will appeal to residents and tourists alike.

Participate in local community events (e.g., rent a booth space and hand out branded freebies like pens or hand sanitizer).

Contact the local news media whenever the hotel does something newsworthy in the community (i.e., support a charity event, etc.).

The reversal of the NLRB decision brings added clarity to business owners and hoteliers; it is now up to us to make the best of that stability.


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