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American Hotel & Lodging Association

AH&LA restructures bylaws to become the first dual-membership organization in U.S. hotel industry

During its biannual Meeting of Members, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) voted on final proposals to become a…

During its biannual Meeting of Members, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) voted on final proposals to become a dual-membership group. The election marks an historical event for the 94-year-old AH&LA the only trade association representing the U.S. lodging industry as it continuously aims to streamline its efficiency and strengthen its core operations.



In a majority vote, members approved the association`s suggested amendments to improve the existing membership model as well as identified long-term goals to benefit the entire U.S. lodging industry.



Following are several modifications, which were imposed under the new structure:




  • AH&LA`s core members are individual lodging properties that are served by both the state associations and the national organization. State associations are no longer considered members but instead serve as AH&LA partners. Also, the dues structure is now based on a tiered, dues-neutral system.

  • Corporate entities will now be allowed to join the association under one of three categories: those that own and/or operate properties carrying their own brand names (e.g., Marriott International, Inc.), corporate entities that own and/or manage multi-unit properties that do not carry their own brand names (e.g., Interstate Hotels & Resorts), and corporate entities that sell their names or membership through franchise contracts (e.g., Cendant Corporation).

  • The governance of the board of directors will be updated to be more representative, cost-efficient, and effective. The new board, to be formed in November 2004, will consist of 83 members that represent hotels, corporations, state executives, and industry vendors and suppliers. The board`s size and composition will then be reviewed after an initial two-year period to ensure that all constituencies are being represented appropriately.

  • AH&LA`s core functions will address, in order of importance, industry advocacy and governmental affairs, public relations and image management, education, research, information dissemination, and value-added benefits and services.


Our former federation model, in many ways, forced us to stay in a holding pattern. We risked being outdated by the constrictions of our antiquated bylaws, said AH&LA President and CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA. This vote fosters change allowing us to more efficiently and effectively advocate for the U.S. lodging industry`s needs. It transforms AH&LA and truly allows us to represent the new face of our industry today as well as be the sustainer of what it will become tomorrow.



Initiated by 2003 AH&LA Chairman Michael K. Handlery, CHA, the association`s restructuring is based on extensive research that was conducted to measure the opinions of core interest groups. In June 2002, AH&LA commissioned Bethesda, Md.-based Washington Resource Consulting Group (WRCG) to review AH&LA`s functionality through various assessment phases, such as meetings, telephone interviews, and focus groups. Subsequently, some of these members were tapped to create a Governance and Membership Task Force, which helped to identify and determine the approved recommendations.

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