The Tennessee Hospitality Association's Newsletter
Greg Adkins
 Dear Members,

The 2013 legislative year has been a very busy year for TnHA.  We are in the middle of a busy session and in the last few weeks the Association has sent out many legislative calls to action.  We need your help in contacting your legislators when we send these out - Our lobbying team has been working hard on identifying key legislators and talking to them about several hospitality issues. 

This year many legislative issues are now being considered including the food code, workman's comp, wage and hour pre-emption, and even hospitality tax issues like the OTC Fair Taxation bill.  Two of the hottest hospitality issues the Association will be working on is the OTC (Online Travel Company) Bill and the Wage and Hour Pre-emption Bill.  In 2012 there was a lot of activity across the country and in TN about these two issues.


First, TnHA filed the OTC bill because the 6th Circuit Court ruled that due to the way the statute was written prior to the internet being invented the Online Travel Companies had a tax loophole compared to actual lodging properties.   OTC's do not have to pay sales or lodging taxes on the retail rate of a hotel room, but instead only the wholesale rate.  The court stated that if the statute was changed to "consideration charged to the public" instead of the operator both the OTC and hotel lodging properties would be taxed the same. This is a fairness issue and closing this tax loophole is a priority for the hospitality industry.  In 2012 the bill passed both the House and Senate Finance Subcommittee's and then was referred to a 2012 Study Committee.  That study committee met and now the bill is being considered. 


Second, the Wage and Hour Pre-emption bill was in a large part a response to the "Wage Theft" ordinance that the Shelby County Commission considered.   That local ordinance would have created a cause of action in general sessions court based on wage and hour issues and would have been very harmful to local business.  It is being considered by the Senate and House this session and we need your help on that issue as well.  Again, thanks for sending out notes, letters, emails and calls when we send out our legislative "call to action".  If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.   

Greg Adkin's Signature  
Greg Adkins, TnHA President and CEO  

Judge strikes down NYC's big-soda ban New York state Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling struck down New York City's ban on sugary soft drinks served in cups greater than 16 ounces on Monday, the day before it was to take effect. In his ruling, Tingling said the law is "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," with different rules for different kinds of establishments. The city plans to appeal the decision, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. The Wall Street Journal (3/11). Read More.

Industry concerns stall FDA's calorie-count rules   
The Food & Drug Administration continues to hit roadblocks as it struggles to finalize the rules for posting calorie counts that are required under the 2010 health care law, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. Supermarkets and convenience stores have been vigorously fighting the changes despite their expanding prepared-food offerings, and a coalition of pizza chains is pushing for more flexibility to account for the endless number of topping combinations. The Topeka Capital-Journal (Kan.)/The Associated Press (3/12). Read More


Restaurants seek solutions for higher labor costs   Most restaurant chains say they won't cut workers hours to offset higher labor costs under the Affordable Care Act, opting instead to try other solutions including training to boost productivity, better scheduling and higher menu prices to make up the difference. "It's our belief that everyone in our industry will need to pass along these costs to the customer," said Panera co-CEO Bill Moreton. The Wall Street Journal/Real Time Economics blog (3/13) Read More.

Rich Conti, president of The Plasencia Group, which specializes in hotel transactions, says real estate investment trust acquisition activity will grow this year. That in turn would drive more competition for properties in the major markets along with higher prices. Hotel Management online (2/28). Read More
Room rates will continue to fuel hotel growth in 2013  TravelClick's North American Hospitality Review for February indicates that average daily rate will continue to be responsible for growth in the hotel industry this year. "Based on TravelClick data, while committed occupancy is showing a steady increase as 2013 goes on, ADR remains the main source of growth for hotels. We expect to see this trend continue as we get further into the year," said Tim Hart, an executive vice president at TravelClick. The study found that average daily rate for February this year through January 2014 will rise 3.4%, as committed occupancy and revenue per available room are up 2.1% and 5.5%, respectively. TravelPulse (3/7). Read More 



AH&LA President's Letter

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Spring is almost here, and the changing season is being echoed by the activity and change at AH&LA.  Our biggest news is the announcement of Katherine Lugar as my successor.  Katherine, who comes to the association from the Retail Industry Leaders Association, has an outstanding track record in Washington and very strong relationships on Capitol Hill.  I met with her shortly after the announcement was made, and I walked away very impressed with her attitude, caring, and enthusiasm.  There's no doubt in my mind she will  be a great president/CEO and take AH&LA to the next level in fine fashion.
In recent weeks, we've been preparing ourselves for the impacts of "sequestration," an inside-baseball term for large, automatic spending cuts in federal programs, and hoping that Congress and the White House would reach an agreement.  They didn't, and the March 1 effective date for sequestration means there will be $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next nine years ($85 billion this year alone).  These cuts hold serious consequences for our industry, particularly with federal agencies booking fewer conventions and rooms, and - for those who do continue to travel - longer lines at the airport.  The problem hasn't been fixed, but you can make sure your input is factored into the solution.  AH&LA's Legislative Action Summit  (LAS), set for April 23-24, gives you a prime opportunity to show that, regardless of economic growth over the past year, indiscriminate cuts to federal programs will negate all of this progress.  And with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, several panels of industry leaders, and a special tribute to Bill Marriott on the schedule, this is an LAS you won't want to miss.  
Women in Lodging is off to a fast start in 2013, and their first Webinar is scheduled for March 14.   Women leaders will share their secret on motivating your team, gaining clarity on how to develop a culture in which great teams thrive, take away actions to build team performance, and understanding how your leadership is measured.  It's open to all women in the industry at just $79; register at
Our 2012 Annual Report, detailing the work of AH&LA, EI, and the Foundation during one of our most successful years ever, is now available.  Moving from the past to the future, the Strategic Planning Committee met yesterday and approved the new funding model and association structure.  It was a very positive meeting, and we were pleased that Katherine Lugar was able to join us for a few hours.  The next step will be for the funding model and structure to be approved by the board of directors on April 22, just prior to LAS.
On the sustainability front, I want to congratulate Peter Mason, CA, EVP, and his team at Konover Hotel Corporation.  Konover is the first hotel management company to have all of their properties Green Key certified. 

Additionally, you'll recall the announcement of our new partnership with the Clean the World soap recycling program, and the five percent discount and access to resources for participating members.  On February 25, CTW announced their official partnership with Marriott.  Congratulations to CTW CEO Shawn Seipler, his team, and our friends at Marriott on this great news.



Joseph A. McInerney, CHA   2013 AH&LA Legislative Action Summit
March 20th, 2013
TnHA (no words)

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."

- Sam Walton



 TN Hospitality Votes



TABC Revised Rules


Per Diem Rates


For more event information, 

GKHA April Mixer
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

4/17/2013 - 4/18/2013
NRA Public Affairs Conference
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

4/22/2013 - 4/24/2013
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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