MHLA February 2020 Newsletter

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

Updates from the 2020 Maryland General Assembly Session

Prior to the opening of the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session several legislators either resigned or were indicted, changing many committee assignments. The new Session also brought a new Speaker of the House, Adrienne Jones from Baltimore City/County, and Senate President Bill Ferguson, also from Baltimore. Former long-time Senate President, Mike Miller, now sits on the prestigious Senate Budget committee. We are now more than half way through the 90-day session and are experiencing far more “progressive” legislation being introduced in both houses.

The leadership in both houses is wrestling with finding methods to pay for the highly touted Kirwin Commission’s recommendations for improvements to Maryland’s education system—a $1.2 Billion annual commitment for the next ten years! The latest attempt was introduced as HB 1628: Sales and Use Tax, Rate Reduction and Services – a bill that would, in the words of Governor Hogan, “destroy our economy.” MHLA and AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association) have joined forces to oppose this bill on behalf of Maryland’s lodging industry. We will be joined by hoteliers testifying as a panel at the hearing on Monday, March 2, 2020 and have also engaged with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as part of the larger business community opposed to this horrific bill. (Of note to hoteliers, the proposed bill would impose a 5% sales tax on management contracts and other professional services that have not historically been taxed.)

Other Legislation of Importance to the Lodging Industry:

HB 771/SB 158 would require that ADA accessible rooms have beds that are between 20-23 inches in height and have a 7-inch vertical clearance from the floor. While MHLA members have expressed support for the intent of this legislation, we are working with the sponsor on amendments to address a reasonable phased-in implementation.

HB0382 addresses Human Trafficking Awareness Training. This bill is supported by MHLA and would require that all hotel employees be trained on an annual basis to recognize signs of human trafficking and appropriately report the activity. We have worked with the bill sponsor to ensure existing training programs (such as AHLEI, BEST, brand-mandated training, etc.) already used by the industry are recognized as meeting the requirements of this bill. MHLA has also proposed an amendment to apply this requirement to short-term rentals.

HB0354 would prohibit providing single-use soap, shampoo, or conditioner, unless requested by the guest. Many hotels have already switched to using bulk dispensers and MHLA’s legislative committee voted to support this bill.

These are just a few of many bills MHLA has taken a position on. Our full tracking sheet is available to members (email mhla@MDLoding.org with requests) and we will discuss key issues at MHLA’s Annual Meeting on April 29, 2020. Please plan to join us!

MHLA NEWS & EVENTS

Stars of the Industry
Nearly 400 professionals gathered on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at The Hotel at University of Maryland for the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association (MHLA) 31st Annual Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon, which honors exemplary employees and unique programs in the hospitality industry.  Congratulations to all of our nominees and winners!! READ THE PRESS RELEASE HERE

2020 Annual Meeting and Exhibitor Reception
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
1:30 pm – 4:30 pm @ Sheraton Baltimore North, Towson, MD
Featuring guest speaker, Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.  MHLA will also present a wrap-up of the 2020 General Assembly Session.  Registration will open soon!

Maryland Tourism Education Foundation Scholarships Available
MHLA is now managing the Maryland Tourism Education Foundation (MTEF), which is accepting applications for its 2020 Tourism and Hospitality scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to increase the skills and knowledge of Maryland’s tourism workforce. READ MORE

Membership Updates:
Welcome to our new property members:
– Grace Scott – Holiday Inn BWI Airport
– Laronte Bryant – Delta Hotel Baltimore Hunt Valley

Congratulations to the newly named General Manager at the following property:
– Emily McAuley–SpringHill Suites Annapolis

January 2020 STR Report
Smith Travel Research data for Maryland shows occupancy up 5.4%, ADR up slightly by 0.9%, and RevPAR increased by 6.3% for January 2020 compared to January 2019. Maryland data is provided monthly to MHLA by Smith Travel Research.

Members may view the full report online. Go to https://mdlodging.org/members/ and select “Industry Statistics and Research.” (Member log-in required.)

INDUSTRY NEWS & INFORMATION

The Bethesdan Hotel Opens in Maryland
Source: Hotel News Resource
The Bethesdan Hotel, a locally inspired, vibrant hotel, opens its doors as the first Tapestry Collection by Hilton in Maryland. Located at 8120 Wisconsin Avenue in lively downtown Bethesda, the hotel brings a new style of hospitality, offering authentic, local experiences to the city. READ MORE

College Park: Over $500 Million of Projects Slated
Source: The Hyattsville Wire
There is currently more than half a billion dollars’ worth of planned real estate development projects in the pipeline in College Park, including new student housing, hotels, office buildings, townhomes, apartments and retail.READ MORE

New Marriott Hotel Coming to College Park
Source:  Baltimore Business Journal
College Park’s hotel scene grew exponentially during the tail end of the last decade and it appears poised to continue that growth into the next. A new Marriott Residence Inn, Republic Properties Corp. has proposed for the intersection of Campus Drive and Corporal Frank Scott Drive, near the College Park Metro station. The D.C. developer has proposed a 160-room hotel with approximately 8,000 square feet of retail for this location within College Park’s Discovery District READ MORE

Plamondon Hospitality Partners expands hotel portfolio with acquisition of Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton
With the acquisition of these two properties, the Plamondon Hospitality Partners portfolio increases to thirteen Marriott and Hilton hotels throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and Georgia, including their Home2 Suites by Hilton in Grovetown, Georgia. The Maryland hotels are located throughout Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Howard Coutnies. READ MORE

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