MANCHESTER, VERMONT – The Vermont Lodging Coalition, formed during the pandemic, and the Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association (VIBBA), with 11 years of advocacy history in the state, together announce the formation of one collaborative organization named the Vermont Lodging Association (VLA). The lodging industry in Vermont, which represents $600 million in annual revenue, is the backbone of the state’s $2.9 billion tourism industry.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak in mid-March, which led to devastating financial losses in the state’s lodging sector, a group of hoteliers formed a network to create a path forward for safety and business continuation as well as stronger connections to the state legislature and governor’s office. To strengthen these efforts, more lodging partners joined, including an alignment with VIBBA, which has a well-established platform, statewide recognition, and robust membership base.
As a result, the group collectively formed the Vermont Lodging Coalition, which began to outline the industry’s advocacy needs and hired Downs Rachlin Martin (DRM) as a lobbying group to represent its members’ interests and issues to the state government.
“The VLA has been laser-focused on securing Covid-19 relief grant money for lodging from the state,” said Brian Maggiotto, owner of the 21-room Inn at Manchester and founding member of the VLA. “Now, with a solid working relationship with the Administration and Legislature, we look forward to growing the membership base to turn the promise of our ad-hoc group into a thriving voice of action for the industry.”
While the coalition has been successful in cultivating results, yet to enable an even more efficient effort, the group created a Vision and Mission statement to formalize an association. There has not been a lodging association since 2005 when they were partnered with the restaurant industry under the Vermont Lodging & Restaurant Association. The Association will not only play the role of an advocacy outreach organization, but also a source for industry education and relevant resources.
Said Patti Komline, Manager of Government Relations and Public Affairs at Downs Rachlin Martin, “A critical piece of Vermont’s overall financial health, the lodging sector is among the greatest contributors to the state tax base and one if its largest employers. The newly formed Vermont Lodging Association will be a proactive advocate at the state government level for all its members, from the family-owned bed and breakfast to the mountain resorts.”