Insights from Chris Barr, Board Chair, from AHLA’s June board meeting

As we anticipate the lifting of restrictions on July 1, many businesses are looking forward to resuming normal operations as quickly as possible. But hoteliers understand all too well that our industry is unique, with years of recovery ahead. At our June board meeting, your Board of Directors turned its focus to the long-term needs of our members as we navigate our new, post-pandemic world.

Welcome to New Board Members

We warmly welcomed our two newest board members, Tyson Ghostkeeper and Joumana Ghandour. Tyson is the Regional Director of Operations with the Mouallem Management Group, and Joumana is the General Manager of the Westin Edmonton We look forward to the contributions of both as we navigate the coming year.

Working with Key Stakeholders

As the AHLA board represents Alberta’s hotel industry, it meets regularly with key stakeholders to discuss our members’ interests.

At last week’s meeting, we met with Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) director Steven Watters, who discussed the HAC’s current advocacy priorities:

A critical piece of the HAC’s advocacy work this summer will be ensuring that Members of Parliament (MPs) understand the challenges that hotels across the country are facing, even as people start to travel again. The AHLA encourages our members to talk to their federal MPs and provincial MLAs while they are home this summer to ensure they understand the unique realities facing the hotel industry.

The HAC’s advocacy is critical to the federal government’s understanding of the issues facing hotels — especially now. Hotels affiliated with major brands pay for HAC membership through their franchises. The AHLA encourages all independent hotels to support HAC’s important advocacy work by becoming a member for just $2/room.

The AHLA’s Board of Directors also met briefly with the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA) Board Chair Alisha Reynolds to discuss issues of common interest, and plans to meet with her again for further discussion at its retreat in August.

Advocating for Our Members’ Interests

The board has been pleased that the government heard and acted upon most of the AHLA’s advocacy requests from the last quarter, including:

This summer, your association will focus on the following advocacy priorities:

  • Encouraging all hotels in Alberta to support employees in getting vaccinated as soon as they are able. A new vaccination web page is available on to help you talk to your employees about vaccines.
  • Seeking support from the provincial government on:
    • utility cost relief on regulated charges,
    • liquidity measures, and
    • measures to address labour shortages.
  • Collaborating with the HAC on:
    • extension of federal liquidity supports for industry survival, and
    • a federal re-opening plan, including international travel.

Membership Update

Even during these difficult times, 80% of members have renewed their membership for 2021. This strong support is heartening, and ensures that our industry voice will continue to demand the attention of the government. But to effectively do this, it is critical that your association’s board understands the changing needs of our membership. This summer, the AHLA will be surveying members to collect staffing and wage data. The board strongly encourages all members to participate so we can accurately inform the government about the labour challenges facing our industry as the pandemic abates.

Upcoming Member Events

The AHLA’s Quarterly Innsight (QI) exclusive member webinars have been extremely well-attended since they were introduced in 2020, as the AHLA’s President & CEO Dave Kaiser shares the most recent updates about the Alberta hotel market and the ways the AHLA is responding. If you want to get the inside edge on what’s happening in the industry, you don’t want to miss these sessions! You can register now for the next QI on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 1:00-2:30 p.m.

The Board is eagerly anticipating our first in-person Ascend conference, and we are optimistic that we will be able to move forward with the event on September 20 & 21 in Edmonton. Watch future issues of the Innsider for details.

Moving Forward, Together

Thank you for the continued support of our members, both for your memberships and for trusting the AHLA to represent your interests. You are always welcome to reach out to the association at, or to contact me or any other board member, to discuss how the AHLA can continue to serve you.