Hospitality News: HX kicks off as AH&LA welcomes new chairman, announces partnership with NRA
Impactful changes are in store for the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), as a new chair was named and a business collaboration announced during the HX Hotel Experience Conference at New York City’s Javits Center earlier in November.
Mark Carrier, president of the B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, was honored for his new role as incoming 2017 AH&LA Chair of the Board at the organization’s Industry Leadership Dinner, held at The Waldorf Astoria on Sunday, November 13, 2016.
AH&LA president and CEO Katherine Lugar told a full crowd that the main reason for the night’s event was to celebrate their incoming chair, who will move up from his role as Vice Chair, a post he’s held since 2014.
As she introduced Carrier to the full crowd, Lugar praised Carrier’s thoughtful, steady nature and for, “Steering us through so many changes, seizing important new opportunities and laying the foundation for the organization’s new engagement model.”
She also recognized his ability to “align the industry’s advocacy efforts, his great expertise in travel tech and thought leadership.”
“After seeing him up close, in action, you know we are in for a great ride with his two steady hands on the wheel, as we drive this industry forward,” said Lugar.
Carrier joined B.G. Saul Company following graduation in 1980 from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and progressed to his senior officer position following a career of growing responsibility there, including, on-site management, regional responsibilities, as well as development and acquisition of hotels, according to the company’s website.
Carrier also spoke of his start in the industry, as a dishwasher at age thirteen.
“I was a really good dishwasher. That job on Cape Cod allowed me to see firsthand that a solid work ethic can lead to advancement and opportunity. My first job set me on my path to school at Cornell,” he said.
On his affinity for the hospitality industry, Carrier said, “It’s a big family. Thank you for your support and presence here tonight. I’ve learned so much being part of an organization with strong values, that is consistent about doing the right thing.”
In deference to the leadership of Ms. Luger, Carrier said, “Her team is talented and fully engaged on our behalf. We’ve never been more focused on targeted advocacy. You’re that magnet that has brought us together.”
Turning to his future focus as AH&LA chair, Carrier said, “We must continue to maintain our agenda. We’ve come a long way to our goal of reaching $25 million in annual funding. We’ve never been in a better position to succeed. Our ‘Drive to 25’ to further our financial goals is necessary.”
On his commitment to strengthen AH&LA members’ engagement, “We need to continue to deepen our engagement in the heart of the industry – among our property leadership communities and of course, in student communities.”
Looking ahead, Carrier added, “Each of you possess the ability to make a difference as leaders. Your commitment to AHLA is critical and necessary. I’m energized and proud to work with you. Thank you for your trust in me.”
Later at the conference, the AH&LA officially announced its business arrangement with the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Under terms of the agreement, according Luger, in an AH&LA press release, NRA will purchase the training business assets and products of its education and training arm, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). AH&LA will retain its certification business, but will no longer have the day-to-day responsibility for EI,” stated Luger. “From a financial aspect, AHLA will benefit from two new royalty streams, while fully maintaining our commitment to this important area. The acquisition is slated for completion by the end of this year and EI staff will transition to NRA by the beginning of January, 2017.”
Founded over 100 years ago, the AH&LA is a national association that represents and advocates for the U.S. lodging industry. AH&LA serves over 24,000 members, including eighty percent of all franchise hotels and nine out of ten top hotel brands in the U.S. Efforts include appealing to lawmakers about issues critical to the future of the industry, providing news and resources, and hosting events for members to connect, stay informed, discuss trends and engage with industry leaders.