AAHOA Chairwoman (2019-2020)
I can say with confidence and certainty that an AAHOA membership is unlike any other. During the many years I have been a member, I have witnessed the association open doors and expand opportunities for so many hoteliers, both new and experienced. This membership gives each and every one of us tools and resources that help our businesses succeed, but the success of AAHOA itself is totally dependent on us taking full advantage of these benefits. Active participation allows AAHOA to gauge the needs of members to determine what initiatives and benefits are most important to the entire association moving forward.
With over 200 events each year, AAHOA makes it easier than ever for members to get involved. At many of these events, such as Regionals, AAHOA offers relevant education sessions that help hoteliers navigate new industry trends, learn best practices, and get tips on business development. Members can even access education sessions digitally through the online AAHOA HOTEL OWNERS ACADEMY™ where all AAHOA webinars are housed for use at any time. AAHOA’s education team relies on member engagement to tailor education sessions and webinars to the needs of members, making them as helpful and informative as possible.
AAHOA’s efforts on human trafficking awareness, for example, is one of the most important education initiatives to the entire association. In partnership with leading prevention groups, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) and Polaris, AAHOA Members have access to free, comprehensive training on human trafficking awareness. Sadly, human traffickers take advantage of the privacy inherent in hotels to exploit their victims, but all hotel owners have the power to make a difference by getting trained and requiring staff to do so as well. This step equips trainees with the ability to spot trafficking situations and learn how to respond appropriately. Every participating hotelier brings our industry and American communities across the country one step closer to being rid of the criminal acts of traffickers. Every member of AAHOA’s Board of Directors has been trained and challenges hotel workers to do the same.
In addition to educational opportunities, it’s essential for AAHOA Members to engage with their elected officials on both the state and federal levels. To do this, all members can attend their state’s lobby day and both of AAHOA’s annual advocacy events in Washington, the Legislative Action Summit and the Spring National Advocacy Conference. Hoteliers are invaluable advocates for the entire hotel industry, and lawmakers can utilize this important perspective to understand the effects of certain policies on small business owners in their districts and states. Members who attend these events form relationships with legislators at the highest levels of government who become key allies on our legislative efforts. And to make sure that pro-business officials make it into office, AAHOA Members can contribute to AAHOA PAC, which supports candidates with a proven track record of advancing our initiatives.
Opportunities for members to engage in the association are not limited to education or advocacy, but these are great ways to get started. Members should also take advantage of brand development days, various certification and training workshops listed on aahoa.com, and AAHOA’s annual convention, which boosts the industry’s largest trade show. Being an active participant allows AAHOA to serve us and our businesses in the best way possible, and since this year is AAHOA’s 30th anniversary, it’s the perfect time to get involved.