Back in the Saddle
August 27, 2010
You haven’t heard from me for three whole weeks! I’ve been on my summer vacation, visiting Canada and the west, which was my Sheraton territory from 1966-1969. Ruth and I took a three-day train ride from Toronto to Vancouver. We spent time relaxing, reading books, playing gin rummy (Ruth trounced me every time we played), and viewing the impressive scenery, including the Rocky Mountains. We stopped in Vancouver for a couple of days visiting Whistler, which was just as impressive as it looked on television during the Olympics. We also stopped in Victoria; it was my first trip there and I wished we had made plans to stay longer.
All good things come to an end, so this past Monday I headed into work to finalize the 2011 business and financial plans, and write an RFP to distribute to interested companies in September as we investigate how to improve AH&LA’s value proposition. Although I fielded a couple of interviews on my vacation, including one on bed bugs with NPR’s Diane Rehm Show , my week included speaking to reporters doing similar pieces for the Boston Globe, DC’s Fox and NBC affiliates, among many others.
Tuesday the AH&LEF board of trustees met via conference call for our mid-year meeting. Wednesday, AH&LA COO Pam Inman and I headed to Rockville, Maryland, as I was a speaker at the Sunburst Hospitality Conference. I’m happy to report that they made a generous donation to the AH&LEF Annual Giving Campaign.
Thursday, AH&LA SVP of Governmental Affairs Kevin Maher, AH&LA SVP of Communications & Marketing Kathryn Potter, and I joined AHLEI staffers for a call with the Department of Homeland Security and members of AH&LA’s Loss Prevention Council to discuss ways to work more closely on various initiatives they’re rolling out. A formal announcement will be made at our November Fall Conference.
Tomorrow I’m heading to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs for our AH&LEF Golf Classic. Happily I get to stay on for one more day to attend the AH&LA HotelPAC/Broadmoor Golf Classic. We’ve got great attendance as both events are sold out as we raise money for two great causes.
It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. Enjoy the last days of August.
Headway Inside the BeltwayAugust 6, 2010
I wrapped up a fun weekend with family in Saugatuck, Michigan, and am already looking forward to doing it again next year. But I wasn’t ready to leave the Midwest just yet – I was off to Kentucky . Arriving Monday, I had dinner with Kentucky Hotel & Lodging Association (KH&LA) EVP Ray Gillespie and Chair Greg Davis, along with board members Dan Fay, Bill Abner, and Bill Ott. It was a great chance for us to discuss the state of the industry and membership opportunities.
The following day was KH&LA’s board meeting, which was positive and enlightening. We talked a great deal about the different facets of KH&LA and how they could work in partnership with AH&LA to increase membership.
I was back in the office Wednesday in time to be featured in Fox’s television piece on bed bugs, which you can see here. That afternoon senior staff members and I met to follow up on issues raised during the Strategic Planning Meeting. We finalized the Strategic Plan itself and submitted it today to the committee for their review.
Thursday the entire staff came together for our monthly meeting to get up to speed on association activities, including the Strategic Plan, membership numbers, and the state of the industry. There were a lot of positive things to discuss in regards to membership and legislative initiatives, and it’s great to see how far we’ve come since last year at this time.
This morning I was pleased to hear the Obama Administration filed a rule to enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a fee from select international travelers beginning September 8, which will fund up to 50 percent of America’s travel promotion activities as a result of the Travel Promotion Act. Hopefully we’ll soon reap the benefits of this much needed act to internationally promote the U.S. as a travel destination.
I’ve just returned from lunch with AH&LA SVP of Marketing & Communications Kathryn Potter, Choice Hotels President Steve Joyce, U.S. Travel Association President & CEO Roger Dow and Director of Marketing Research David Sheatsley and Suzanne Cook of Suzanne Cook Consulting, LLC . We met to discuss commissioning a study of minority travelers in regards to spending patterns, growth, etc., and it was a very positive meeting and we’re all anxious to move forward.
My travels start up again next week and in light of my absence, Pat Maher, AH&LA’s Green Consultant will participate in the United Nations Foundation’s first Tourism Sustainability Council meeting on behalf AH&LA and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), as PATA President & CEO Greg Duffell is unable to attend.
I’m looking forward to a sunny weekend and enjoying atypical August weather here in DC. I’m taking a break from blogging and will fill you in on my travels in a few weeks. I hope the upcoming weeks treat you well and enjoy the weekend!