AAHOA CHAIRMAN (2021-2021)
AAHOA has continued to uphold our member-centric mission so critical to the hotelier and the hospitality industry with steadfast resolve and innovation. We are proud to have pushed through the most challenging year on record. Yet for travel to fully return, our communities must first overcome the imminent threat this pandemic still poses. The recovery of our industry and the health of the nation go hand in hand. I look to the national development and distribution of vaccines as a glimmer of light at the end of a long, trying period of darkness and difficulties. As the frontline medical workers and at-risk citizens receive the first wave of vaccines, we can embrace this glimmer of light and renew our hopes for the future.
Less than one year ago, our nation’s economy ground to a halt. Many AAHOA Members and hotel owners stepped up to provide housing to medical workers, the homeless, and others adversely affected by the pandemic. Through our efforts, hotels have been deemed essential businesses from the onset, affording our businesses to provide critical services to our communities while keeping the lights on. AAHOA coordinated with our industry partners at the state and federal levels to ensure hospitality services remained open and readily available to assist our communities in any way possible. We implemented new cleaning standards, adopted industry-best practices, and shifted our operations so that our guests and staff are safe, healthy, and protected. Moving forward, it is clear that the next step in industry safety will be the vaccination of hospitality staff, both for the benefit of their health and the guests we service.
The Biden administration has taken the reins of the Trump administration’s pandemic response, and we are monitoring the rollout of new pandemic response policies and plans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administration issue federal guidance on the vaccine distribution strategy, and governors ultimately manage the in-state logistics and allocation phases of the vaccines. In the coming phases of the vaccine distribution, AAHOA is advocating for hospitality workers to be appropriately classified in the vaccine distribution strategy. We are on the frontlines, but we will not jump the line. AAHOA places confidence in the CDC and governors to, when appropriate, make the vaccine available to the workers who keep the hospitality industry running.
This issue of Today’s Hotelier highlights the great expectations levied upon the hospitality industry in response to the pandemic. There is an excellent piece highlighting the importance of brand communication and customer service for the hotel guest both before booking and even after check in. I encourage you to read this feature by Bruce Haase, President and CEO of Extended Stay America.
As your AAHOA Chairman, I’ll leave you with my own expectations for our association as we approach the one-year mark of this pandemic. The unifying trials of the pandemic have brought the AAHOA community together like never before. We are all working to bring our businesses back to the healthy operations we enjoyed in 2019. As many experts have noted, this could take years. AAHOA has already begun preparing the hotelier for recovery, and I look forward to leading our efforts to provide valuable resources and a sense of community for you, my fellow hoteliers.