CECIL P. STATON
AAHOA PRESIDENT & CEO
ur advocacy hinges on the strength of the relationships we forge. These relationships are as numerous as they are varied: elected officials, hotel brands, state and local lodging associations, vendor partners, members of the media, OTAs, and more. AAHOA has called upon our associates to discuss and deliver real help to hotels and other small businesses severely impacted by the pandemic. To make possible the flow of information from which our advocacy efforts depend, we continue to cultivate straightforward communications built on credibility and unique insight.
As in many professional relationships, there exists an expectation of mutual benefits, or in other words, there is give and take. Hotels are a pillar of many local economies across the country, and our efforts to amplify the issues our members face are strengthening our stake in the Washington, D.C. and state capitol buildings. Hoteliers are seasoned small business owners with val-uable perspective into the travel and tourism industry. For politicians and media alike, our members can serve as trusted sources for legislative solutions or a breaking-news piece. In exchange for lending industry expertise and insight, our AAHOA Members have direct influence on aspects of the lawmaking process and the presentation of our industry’s challenges in public discourse.
AAHOA is and should be proud of the ways in which our members have engaged in the advocacy process. AAHOA is a conduit for the voice of America’s hotel owners and member participation in our grassroots advocacy campaigns has been remarkable throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands of member advocates sending more than 40,000 messages to state and federal legis-lators, city councils, and OTAs. Back in May, our Government Affairs team and several AAHOA Members met with representatives from the House to discuss our recommendations to improve the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). By early June, the PPP Flexibility Act was drafted and became law. I was thrilled to see that several of our recommendations were included in the bill, and this reaffirmed the im-pact our advocacy can generate, by both grassroots and direct engagement.
Through our ongoing outreach, we will continue to produce actionable solutions that make it into the hands of policymakers locally and nationally. Our outreach manifests in several ways, from meetings with politicians to featured stories in the news. As the fall election season approaches, let me encourage AAHOA Members to continue their active participation in the advocacy process, be it through our association, community engagement, or in the elections at the local, state, and federal levels.