AAHOA Chairman Hitesh “HP” Patel (third from left) and Treasurer Biran Patel (second from left) meet with Republican Senator Ted Cruz during the association’s 2019 Spring National Advocacy Conference last week.

MORE THAN 180 AAHOA members came to Washington, D.C., last week for the association’s two-day 2019 Spring National Advocacy Conference. The conference members met with lawmakers to make them aware of the hotel industry’s economic impact and its needs. Topics included job creation, small business development and AAHOA’s human trafficking prevention efforts.

“With over one hundred new office holders in Congress, this presents a great opportunity for hoteliers to give lawmakers a picture of where the hospitality industry stands and how we can work together to keep this vital sector of the American economy growing,” AAHOA Chairman Hitesh Patel said at the time.

Lawmakers understand the need for input from their constituents, said AAHOA Interim President and CEO Rachel Humphrey.

“Our members [talked] with them about how to make the tax cuts work for even more small business owners and workers, clarifying trademark licensing laws for franchised businesses, and cementing funding for Brand USA to attract more international visitors to our shores,” she said.

Last year AAHOA’s primary target for its legislative advocacy was tax reform. They celebrated the success of those efforts at its annual convention.

“AAHOA delivers for you, our hotel owners,” Bhavesh Patel, AAHOA 2017-18 chairman, said at the time. “This year we have delivered in a big way.”

That year, President Trump and Republicans in Congress enacted the most extensive tax reform in 30 years, which proponents have said greatly benefitted small business and investors in hotels and commercial real estate.

For at least three years in advance of the historic tax overhaul, AAHOA leadership and members met regularly with “hundreds of members of Congress and told our story,” Bhavesh said. “The final tax cut is our greatest legislative accomplishment to date.”