AAHOA meets with Colorado’s Hickenlooper about SBA loans, franchising

The meeting is part of the association’s ongoing advocacy efforts

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From left are, Laura Lee Blake, AAHOA president and CEO, Miraj Patel, AAHOA treasurer, Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper and Kamalesh “KP” Patel, AAHOA secretary. The AAHOA leaders and Hickenlooper met Sept. 27 to discuss Small Business Administration loan limit increases as well as fairness and transparency in the franchise industry.

AAHOA IS CONTINUING its advocacy efforts with new meetings with members of Congress. On Sept. 27, representatives from the association met with Sen. John Hickenlooper, Democrat from Colorado, in Washington at his Capitol Hill office.

Hickenlooper, who sits on both the Small Business Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, met with AAHOA to discuss Small Business Administration loan limit increases as well as fairness and transparency in the franchise industry, according to AAHOA.

In Hickenlooper’s home state of Colorado, 39.5 percent of all hotels in the state are owned by AAHOA members, comprising 520 hotels and 55,861 rooms, according to a recent study for AAHOA by Oxford Economics. Those hotels provide $5 billion in wages and other compensation, along with approximately 54,490 direct jobs and 101,000 total impact jobs in the state. They provide $8.5 billion in contribution to the state’s GDP, and $2.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes along with $201 million in total lodging taxes.

Hickenlooper, who was once a small business owner, discussed his own involvement in seeking to increase the overall maximum of SBA loans on different levels to better reflect prices in 2022. Currently, many hoteliers use SBA 7(a) and 504 loans to help finance the new construction or purchase of their hotel properties, and current loan limits are set at $5 million. The current costs of building and purchasing properties greatly exceed $5 million.

“Since the value of the hotels is significantly higher than these loan limits, there remains substantial collateral for higher loan amounts,” AAHOA said in its statement. “Congress can greatly assist small businesses by increasing the SBA loan limits to match the current economic conditions and thereby create a sustainable business model for the future.”

Regarding franchising, AAHOA said it seeks to ensure fairness in franchising with disclosures by franchisors to their franchisees concerning the receipt and collection of revenues and fees. The association supports the Franchisee Freedom Act which would enforce a private right of action with an opportunity for franchisee buyers to seek relief for FTC Rule violations for the benefit of all.

“Each day we can meet with a leading U.S. senator, like Sen. Hickenlooper in Washington, D.C., on issues important to our members, including raising SBA loan limits and increased transparency concerning the industry, means we are increasing our impact and exposure in our nation’s capital,” said Laura Lee Blake AAHOA president and CEO. “AAHOA remains committed to strengthening our advocacy efforts at all levels on behalf of our members, and on Tuesday, we truly served as the voice of all hoteliers.”

In September, AAHOA held its Fall National Advocacy Conference with legislators in Washington. Days later, AAHOA leadership met with Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya to discuss fair franchising concerns.