By Chris Barr, AHLA Board Chair
Alberta hotels are one of the hardest-hit industries of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoteliers have had to drastically adapt our businesses and make a lot of hard decisions just to survive.
When the pandemic hit, the AHLA quickly refocused to provide members with the immediate support and resources they needed the most. As many hotels faced closing their doors, laying off staff, and struggling with drastically reduced occupancy rates, the AHLA ensured the government understood the scope of these impacts, and pressed for measures that would help our members get through the crisis, including:
- Allowing hotels to keep the 4% Tourism Levy,
- Extending temporary layoffs until the end of 2020, protecting AHLA members from costly terminations, and
- Getting access for hotels to the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
These would not have happened without AHLA members working together. To ensure the AHLA continues to support its members as effectively as possible —now and in the future — the Board of Directors has approved a new three-year plan. This plan will focus on helping our members recover from the pandemic and ongoing low oil prices, while ensuring the association will continue to be there for its members in the future. We will do this by:
Advocating for the interests of our members:
- Lobbying government for tax relief for hotels, labour policy that makes sense, and support for re-purposing distressed properties,
- Ensuring Alberta’s tourism strategy supports the accommodation sector, and
- Reducing unfair competition for hotels by limiting short-term rentals to principal residences.
Providing programs & services that will help our members:
- Developing stronger relationships with hotel owners & decisions makers,
- Developing relevant HR and health & safety resources to help hotels when they need it most, and
- Delivering impactful events that give hotels the information and resources they need to survive and recover.
Ensure our sustainability:
- Introducing a new membership model to ensure membership is affordable and fair, and that members’ loyalty is rewarded,
- Focusing on strong fiscal management of the resources our members entrust to us, and
- Ensuring effective and progressive governance of the association.
The AHLA belongs to you. We are stronger when we work together. I encourage you to reach out to the association for support, and to contact me or any board member to discuss how the AHLA can serve you better.