AAHOA CHAIRMAN (2020-2021)
AAHOA is well-positioned to realign our resources, events, and educational offerings to confront the evolving realities of the pandemic. We are always in the process of developing plans to adjust to travel returning and business rebounding. In March, our industry began showing promising signs of recovery with occupancy rates and other metrics reaching pandemic highs. The vaccine rollout has proved highly successful in the past weeks as millions of Americans received COVID-19 vaccines and millions more became eligible under updated state guidelines. This is encouraging news heading into the summer season, and we will continue to do our part to get Americans traveling again in a safe and secure manner.
After a year of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, Americans are eager to get back on the road. Hoteliers bear the mantle of reaffirming public trust with safety and security measures on our properties. Since day one of the pandemic, we have shifted operations to accommodate social distancing guidelines and implement the best cleaning standards. The events of the past year battered our industry and tested our resolve, yet I am confident there are lessons learned that we can build upon moving forward.
The national concern for our health and safety, coupled with major disruptions to travel, have been central challenges to hoteliers. In the CARES Act, the landmark COVID-19 relief legislation passed in March of 2020, “Economic Security’’ served as the endcap of the legislation’s title, comprising the bulk of its provisions. The small business and economic disaster loans funded by this legislation continue to assist small businesses, yet they have a shelf life – even the Paycheck Protection Program is set to expire at the end of the month. AAHOA will continue to elevate the interests of hotel owners and advocate for sound public policy but know that federal relief will not be a mainstay in the long term. In the near future, we will be on the road to recovery on our own, which will require constant reevaluation of hotel operations and financing.
In the service industry, the safety and security of our guests and employees will always be a top priority. When looking at the guest experience moving forward, it will be critical to consider our guests’ pandemic behaviors and expectations. Maintaining trust with the consumer, especially considering the changing landscape of local restrictions and regulations, presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Hoteliers who can carry over the best practices guests have come to expect will be better positioned to capture their business. Hotel operations are always chasing a moving target to adapt to the “new normal,” and that can vary from hotel to hotel and market to market. Flexible, dynamic business plans have carried us to this point and will undoubtedly be vital to our future successes in a post-pandemic economy.
In light of signs of recovery, AAHOA is strategically aligning our core association missions of education, advocacy, and networking with the growing needs and aspirations of America’s hoteliers. We are committed to a distinctive vision for member engagement and resource curation to help hoteliers now, tomorrow, and in the future. The road to recovery runs through AAHOA, and I am confident in our ability to maintain this positive momentum in the coming months.