IHG Owners Association Advocates for Hotel Owners With Legislative Initiatives in 2014
- Minimum wage/hours in the work week
- Patent trolls
- Brand USA
"The only way we can impact these critical issues is to have a voice in Washington," Ferguson said. "We encourage owners to share their concern and reach out to legislators on such issues as the rise of Airbnb, which unlike traditional hotel companies, operates without any regulations, controls or brand standards - and could ultimately compromise safety and the guest experience. Ensuring Airbnb adheres to the same regulations as hoteliers is crucial for a level playing field in the industry."
Adds Bakulesh "Buggsi" Patel, the first Asian-American chairman of IHG Owners Association and president of BHG Hotels, "We're finally all coming together as an industry to get these messages out on the Hill and educate legislators how such issues as Airbnb and the extreme minimum wage initiatives in several cities around the country will make it very difficult for many of our owners to continue to operate."
The IHG Owners Association also supports patent reform, with small businesses that are the bulk of IHG hotels continuing to suffer from frivolous patent lawsuits, which prevent them from turning to enhancing the guest experience and driving the economy forward.
"Hotels across the country have fallen victim to patent trolls, those claiming that devices used to provide guests with Wi-Fi infringe upon their own patents," said Ferguson. "We urge our members tosupport legislation to end the abuses of patent trolls and protect U.S. business patent reform."
In the case of immigration reform, hotels with high turnover in some positions need willing employees, and keeping the talent pipeline full is a challenge. The IHG Owners Association supports legislation that establishes a path to citizenship for those already in the United States, and rationalizes our legal immigration system to more closely align with the economy's need for labor.
"With our industry projected to create 141,000 jobs by 2020, who will do the work?" asked Ferguson. "Reform must include a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants already in our country; a reliable, secure and accurate electronic verification system, and retention of programs that allow seasonal and temporary workers to enter the U.S. through H2-B visas and other classifications."
Brand U.S.A. is the nonprofit, public-private partnership dedicated to increasing inbound international travel to the U.S. The program costs taxpayers absolutely nothing, and generated an estimated $7.4 billion in increased economic activity in 2013. During its first year alone, it returned $47 in direct economic benefits for every $1 spend on travel promotion.The IHG Owners Association supports legislation to reauthorize Brand USA (the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act) and renew the program until 2020.