Annapolis, Maryland (January 11, 2022) –On January 6, 2022, members of the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association (MHLA) – including owners, managers, associates, and hospitality industry partners across the state of Maryland – came together virtually to kick off MHLA government affairs 2022. As the Maryland General Assembly prepares to open its 2022 session on January 12, the MHLA briefed its members on the state of the industry as ‘she continues to adapt and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and presented the main issues of the association’s government. The Business Committee and lobbyists will be watching Annapolis closely this year.
‘An Industry of Hope’: Thomas Penny, President of Donohoe Hospitality, Says Promoting Career Opportunities Key to Industry Recovery
With many hotels still experiencing declining revenues due to the pandemic and the entire industry facing a nationwide labor shortage, the workforce will continue to grow. be a major concern for MHLA members this year. MHLA is committed to showing how its members apply innovative solutions to attract past and future talent and to spread awareness of the many rewarding employment opportunities and career paths that exist at hotels in every region of the state.
Thomas Penny, President of Donohoe Hospitality, was MHLA’s guest speaker at the Government Affairs Launch and, like many in the industry, experienced these opportunities firsthand. Born and raised in suburban Washington, DC, Penny shared his personal journey over his 30-year career, debuting as a hotel dishwasher while in high school and now supervising one of the largest independent hotel management companies in the DC Metropolis. Penny stressed the importance of engaging as much as possible with elected officials to create solutions that benefit both industry and local communities. As an example, he cited how a Donohoe hotel, Canopy by Hilton Baltimore Harbor Point, is working in partnership with Baltimore City to develop a rigorous training program that will allow the city’s squeegee children to apply their entrepreneurial skills to obtain entry-level positions in local hotels.
“Our industry is an industry of hope. And hope will play a vital role as we recover from this pandemic. My story is consistent with the experiences of many people in our industry. We need to educate our elected officials on the types of opportunities that exist within our business because too often people define it as just making beds and serving tables, ”said Penny. “The strength of our industry has always been the safety we provide to our employees. The pandemic has obviously disrupted that, and now in the future we need to rename our industry to welcome more team members again. ”
MHLA Government Affairs Committee provides insight into 2022 session and seeks membership support
MHLA lobbyists Frank Boston and Ari Plaut of the law firms of Boston & Plaut presented a preview of the upcoming Maryland General Assembly, which will be held until at least February due to the recent wave of COVID- 19. MHLA will closely monitor any proposed laws that could impact the state’s accommodation industry, including a pre-tabled human trafficking bill and advance law bills. recall and the increase in the Maryland minimum wage.
The position and actions of the MHLA on these and other issues are guided by its government affairs committee. Made up of a diverse group of hotel brand representatives from across the state, the committee meets weekly to actively promote the interests of MHLA members and engage with lawmakers to advocate for pro-friendly legislation. industry. The MHLA Government Affairs Committee is currently co-chaired by Jason Curtis, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Baltimore, and Jim Stark, General Manager, Best Western Plus BWI Airport-Arundel Mills.
MHLA hosted members can support the Government Affairs Committee by attending weekly meetings, volunteering to testify as a subject matter expert, or sharing any connection with local representatives who can help facilitate dialogues. on important issues. For more information, please contact MHLA at [email protected].
“We are almost two years after the start of this pandemic, and the recovery has certainly been uneven for hotels across the country and here in Maryland,” said Amy Rohrer, president and CEO of MHLA. “But we are very confident in the resilience of our industry and we are committed to advancing the interests and legislation that best support our continued recovery. We are extremely grateful to our members who volunteer tirelessly on our Government Affairs Committee – their invaluable insight and experience make our advocacy possible.
The kick-off for MHLA government affairs was presented by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the largest association of hotel owners in the country and benefactor patron Marriott International. Supporting sponsors included the Maryland Center for Hospitality Training, Best Western Plus BWI Airport Hotel, and the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.
“These continue to be extremely difficult times for our industry, and we are honored to support the MHLA Government Affairs Committee to ensure the voices and concerns of Maryland hoteliers are heard by state leaders.” , said Priti Patel, Ambassador for AAHOA and MHLA Government Affairs. Advisory member of the committee.
“The MHLA Government Affairs Committee plays a vital role in ensuring that the Maryland hospitality industry is well represented in Annapolis, and Marriott is proud to support its advocacy efforts,” said Travis Cutler, Director of Business state governments, Marriott International.