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International Society of Hotel Associations celebrates member anniversaries in the US

State and local hotel lodging groups mark 80 to 145 years of service.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – From the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the soaring peaks of the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, the International Society of Hotel Associations (ISHA) is celebrating anniversaries of six of its hotel lodging organization members. Those members include Arizona Hotel & Tourism Association, California Hotel & Lodging Association, Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, Hotel Association of New York City, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association and Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, whose 2018 and 2019 anniversaries mark a combined 665 years of operation and service. Those years are actually a fraction of a combined 2,000 years of experience that ISHA’s 42 members bring to the travel industry. The unified voice of lodging associations throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, ISHA offers extensive advocacy, information, networking and professional resources for its members. Formerly known as The International Society of Hotel Association Executives, ISHA recently changed its name to reflect the group’s new initiative to attract a wider range of members by opening membership to all staff of its member associations.

Hotel associations were initially organized to provide European-style training in Five Star service for American workers who were needed to staff the new luxury hotels being built in major US cities in the early part of the 20th Century. Most of these iconic properties are still flourishing today: The Waldorf, St. Regis and Sherry-Netherland in New York; the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix; Dallas’ Adolphus, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs; The Tudor Arms, a Gothic Revival hotel in Cleveland and high on a San Francisco Hill, The Mark Hopkins. Known for spectacular architecture and lavish decor, these legendary hotels drew princes and presidents, movie stars and moguls to their luxurious rooms, fine restaurants and grand ballrooms.

Education and training remain a priority for ISHA members and the subjects now covered reflect the growth of the lodging industry and the profound societal changes and challenges facing hoteliers today. “Hotel associations now handle a multitude of complex issues from sales and marketing to legislative issues,” says Christina Pappas, executive director of ISHA. “The industry enjoyed a very successful 2018, but we must plan for the long term and that means keeping members informed and educated on issues that will impact their business in 2019 and beyond,” she notes.

Competition is fierce and hoteliers must use every resource available to them to be sure their property stands out. An increasingly diverse work force calls for knowledgeable human resources and labor relations policies. Sustainability efforts are often under legal mandates but can also be used as an effective marketing tool as guests demand polices and services that include recycling, reduced use of plastics, locally sourced food and consideration of animal welfare. Hoteliers must be concerned with safety and security issues including fire prevention, and criminal activity from theft and drug abuse to human trafficking. Conference planners demand greater security for information and electronic devices, which calls for a higher level of technical sophistication than in the past.

In an increasingly complex legislative environment marked by strong competition for grants and funding, state lodging association’s advocacy programs play an important role in in helping not only hotels, but local tourism associations and CVBs in effectively presenting the industry’s position on issues such as taxation, wages, sustainability, security and more.

In fact, advocacy was the reason one of the oldest ISHA members, theNew York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, was formed in 1887. Its mission was then and now, to protect the industry from regulatory oversight that made doing business more difficult. The organization was started in the popular resort of Saratoga Springs and hoteliers lobbied for funds to clear the roads of snow, so guests could travel to the area’s hotels.

Hotel associations celebrating major anniversaries:

  • Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association – 80 years
  • Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association – 80 years
  • Texas Hotel & Lodging Association – 115 years
  • Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association – 125 years
  • California Hotel & Lodging Association – 125 years
  • Hotel Association of New York City – 140 years
Tatiana Rokou

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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.