Reflecting on the highs & lows of 2020 at the AHLA’s AGM
The AHLA’s AGM on April 13 enjoyed record attendance of 168 hotels, representing approximately 25% of hotels across the province.
By focusing on the immediate needs of hotels during the pandemic, the association was able to support members and safety subscribers effectively under three new strategic goals:
1. Advocacy to support industry recovery:
By working together through the AHLA, members were able to:
- Designate hotels as an essential service while other businesses were forced to close.
- Abate the Tourism Levy to March 31, 2021, allowing hotels to retain an extra 4% of room revenue.
- Extend temporary layoffs for AHLA members, helping them to maintain employment relationships and avoid termination costs.
- Get hotels access to Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch grant.
- Allow VLTs to re-open safely one week after being forced to close.
- Require short-term rentals to pay the Tourism Levy.
2. Delivery of programs and services that drive member value:
3. Ensuring the sustainability of the AHLA:
- Made the difficult strategic choice to cut staffing by 47% when the pandemic hit.
- Introduced a new membership dues structure that reflects the new reality for the hotel industry. The AHLA achieved 94% member retention in 2020, with 87% of members agreeing that the AHLA brings value to their business.
- Diligent fiscal management allowed the AHLA to end the year in a positive financial position.
President & CEO’s Report
President & CEO Dave Kaiser shared how the AHLA further delivered on the board’s strategic priorities, in addition to the items shared by Board Chair Chris Barr:
- Worked extensively with the Hotel Association of Canada on advocacy to support increased access to federal relief programs.
- Kaiser served as Co-Chair of the Red Tape Reduction Industry Panel for Tourism & Hospitality, which led to more employer-friendly health & safety regulations and reduced red tape for Alberta’s liquor and tourism industries.
- Supported two progressive initiatives to reduce regulated charges for utility transmission & distribution costs.
2. Programs & Services
- Great attendance and positive feedback for new Quarterly Innsight
- With drastic changes in the insurance market, the AHLA was unable to maintain the protected self-insurance structure of our Hospitality Insurance Program delivered in partnership with WFGIS. The association is exploring new structures for the future of our insurance program.
- ENMAX Energy announced they would be ending their partnership with the AHLA to offer power for our members. We have since announced a new power program with Gas Alberta Energy to help members manage their costs.
- To ensure the AHLA understood the challenges our members were facing, we personally called as many members as possible in 2020.
- Integrated health & safety training and resources after amalgamation with the former Alberta Hospitality Safety Association, allowing the AHLA to provide members with timely communications about changes to government health restrictions.
Clean Audit Opinion for 2020
Vice-Chair Brooke Christianson presented the audited financial statements, and informed members that auditors MNP had issued a clean audit opinion.
Leanne Shaw, Chair of the Governance Committee, officially welcomed four board members, who were acclaimed into the board’s four open positions:
- Joumana Ghandour, The Westin Edmonton
- Tyson Ghostkeeper, Mouallem Management Group
- J.D. Girado, Radisson Hotel & Suites, Fort McMurray
- Joel Hollingsworth, 53 North Collection
They will be joining the following board members:
- Chris Barr, Banff Aspen Lodge (Board Chair)
- Brooke Christianson, Canalta Hotels (Board Vice-Chair)
- Chad Gulevich, Mount Robson Inn and Mountaineer Lodge
- Paul Jones, Sawridge Group of Companies
- Garrett Turta, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Shaw also thanked Stefan Nasalski, who finished his term with the board, and to Ken Mealey, who retired at the end of 2020.
Recognition of the AHLA Services Corporation’s Board of Directors
Shaw thanked the Board of Directors of the AHLA Services Corporation for their dedicated efforts to support the work of the AHLA:
- Peter Pellatt, Chair
- Angela Armstrong
- Larry Dykstra
- Patty Guo
Recognition of Past Chair & Life Member
Leanne Shaw, as Past Chair of the AHLA Board of Directors, received her commemorative gavel to thank her for her service as board chair from 2018 to 2020.
Past Chair Perry Batke with Best Western Premier Denham Inn & Suites was recognized for his long service to the AHLA with a life membership.
Both Barr and Kaiser expressed their gratitude for members’ engagement and loyalty to the AHLA through the many challenges of 2020. Kaiser perhaps said it best: “I believe we can all agree that the AHLA’s goal of bringing together Alberta hotels has never been more important.”
AHLA members are invited to contact President & CEO Dave Kaiser, or any board member, with questions at any time. Members can also contact the AHLA at WeHelpHotels@ahla.ca.