Our cover story, which begins on page 16, features Chip Rogers, president/CEO, AHLA—a man who really needs no introduction. He’s well-known and well-respected. And when it comes to this industry, and advocating for it, supporting it and fighting for it, his drive and his accomplishments are truly remarkable.
In addition to the many noteworthy actions he has spearheaded and helmed on behalf of the association, its members and the industry at large, it is his tireless work—and, actually, work ethic—during the COVID-19 pandemic, that is unparalleled. Chip and the entire AHLA staff have been able to achieve real and tangible measures for the industry from lawmakers—from securing specific provisions in the CARES Act under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to the introduction of the HOPE Act, which provides mortgage relief for hoteliers, to supporting necessary relief through the HEROES Act. The AHLA has also garnered tens of thousands of signatures on letters to Congress and the Administration demanding relief.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what the AHLA has done:
- Passing of the PPP
- Waiving the Affiliation Rule so all hotels can access PPP
- Working to pass PPP Flexibility Act
- Reducing the 75/25 payroll requirement to 60/40
- Extending loan covered period from eight to 24 weeks
- Extending loan repayment period from two to five years
- Expanding loan forgiveness
- Passing liability protection against COVID-19 lawsuits in 13 states
- Freezing of per-diem rates for 2021
- Five-year carryback of any Net Operating Loss (NOL) generated in a taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2021
- Fixing the “retail glitch,” permitting Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) to qualify for 15-year bonus depreciation
- Employee Retention Tax Credit: Refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19
In addition, the AHLA has also worked to create industry safety standards. These include:
- Launching Safe Stay, the first industry-wide enhanced cleaning initiative endorsed by all major brands (these guidelines were developed with the help of outside industry experts such as Ecolab and have been reviewed by the CDC)
- This common set of standards has been broadly endorsed by hospitality leaders in all 50 states and Canada, the Infectious Disease Society of America and Dr. Murray Cohen, a certified industrial hygienist and former infectious disease epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO)
- The guidelines include the Safe Stay Guest Checklist, five requirements that will ensure safety for guests and employees, including the use of face coverings indoors, and a training course developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) But the association’s work is not done yet. While the AHLA has achieved these wins for the industry, it will continue to seek more to help to weather the crisis, such as:
- Advancing 2nd round of PPP funding for hotels
- Providing access for hotels to liquidity facilities such as the Main Street Lending Program
- Leading on national liability protection
- Passing business tax credits for all COVID-19 related expenses
- Passing tax credits for rehiring employees
- Promoting travel and tax credits to encourage staying at a hotel
As if that’s not enough, read our cover story to find out more behind the man who has led these efforts.
And Chip, thank you from everyone in the hotel industry for being the right leader at the right time.