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IHG Owners Association Advocates for Hotel Owners with Legislative Initiatives in 2014

IHG Owners Association Advocates for Hotel Owners with Legislative Initiatives in 2014 (Forimmediaterelease.net) ATLANTA – The IHG Owners Association, which represents the interests of thousands of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) owners and operators worldwide, monitors important governmental issues on behalf of its members and is proactive to protect the lodging industry.

According to Eva Ferguson, who is celebrating 30 years with the IHG Owners Association and has served as its president since 2005, “Our Association strives to ensure that hotel owners and industry entrepreneurs participate in the democratic process and express opinions to safeguard their long-term success.”

Speaking with colleagues at the recent NYU Hospitality Investment Conference in New York City, Ferguson noted that the Association’s key legislative initiatives currently involve:
• Airbnb
• Minimum wage/hours in the work week
• Patent trolls
• Immigration
• 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 to support 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.

IHG Owners Association
The IHG Owners Association – originally established by Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson in 1955 – was the first association of its kind in the hotel industry. It currently represents the interests of owners and operators of more than 3,200 Intercontinental Hotels Group® (IHG) properties in the United States, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Mexico, and the Middle East. Throughout the years, the Association has been a voice for its members and played an integral role in communicating with IHG management on issues related to franchised hotel operations. The IHG family of brands includes InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hualuxe™, Crowne Plaza® Hotels and Resorts, Hotel Indigo™, EVEN Hotels™, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®. For additional information, visit www.owners.org.

Leora Lanz
LHL Communications
516-680-8529
leora@lhlcommunications.com

Barbara Fischhof
LHL Communications
404-314-9410
barbara@lhlcommunications.com

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