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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A new trade group for hotels and lodging establishments in Iowa launched Thursday under the leadership and management of the Iowa Restaurant Association.
The Iowa Hotel and Lodging Association, a not-for-profit trade association, was incorporated earlier this month, according to a news release. The group will work to promote and advocate for over 700 hotels and lodging establishments in the state.
The group’s formation comes as the industry attempts to recover.
Data from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, national partner of the newly formed group, estimated Iowa hotels lost nearly 10,000 jobs and $420 million in room revenue. Industry employment in the state has declined 9 percent, with nearly 2,000 pre-pandemic hotel jobs that have yet to return.
“Iowa’s hotel and lodging industry was one of the hardest hit business sectors when COVID travel restrictions were put in place,” Paul Rottenberg, president and CEO of Orchestrate Hospitality Group and chairman of the IHLA board, said in the release.
“We need a unified voice as we fight our way back to pre-pandemic occupancy rates.”
The group will work toward “recovery-friendly legislation” and a better regulatory environment, the state association said the release.
As an inaugural member of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking, it also intends to take an active role in combating human trafficking.
The group’s first educational outreach will focus on helping the industry with a new law that took effect Jan. 1 requiring training of all hotel employees on how to spot and report human trafficking crimes. Hotels must be compliant to host and receive payments for state employee overnight stays or for state meetings held on hotel properties.
“A thriving hotel industry is critical to strong local economies, and strong state and local hotel associations are critical to a thriving hotel industry,” said Chip Rogers, the national association's president and CEO.
Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, will serve as the head of the IHLA for the time being.
The IHLA’s board of directors includes Paul Rottenberg of Orchestrate Hospitality in Des Moines as board chairman, Ravi Patel of Hawkeye Hotels in Coralville as vice chairman. and Greg Edwards of Catch Des Moines as director.
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