2013 AAA Four Diamond® Properties Announced Congratulations to the following MH&LA members who are AAA Four Diamond® Properties for 2013. They were announced and recognized at the 32nd annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit presented by the Maryland Tourism Council, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Tourism Development Board. Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center Hilton Baltimore Hotel Monaco Baltimore Hyatt Regency Baltimore Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina Loews Annapolis Hotel Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore New Hotel is Likely Next to Maryland Live! The owner of Maryland Live! casino recently said there is a "very good chance" that a new high rise hotel with conference facilities will be built next to the recently opened casino in Anne Arundel County. No further details were made public on a time frame for a final decision. New Crib Standards Effective December 2012 Effective December 28, 2012, all places of public accommodation that provide cribs for their guests must provide cribs that comply with new Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. AH&LA, STR to Launch Food and Beverage Benchmark Report AH&LA and STR have joined forces to create the first Food & Beverage STAR Benchmark Report. The intent of the report is to provide a standard language or metric quantifying hotel F&B revenues. The goal is to create the first report by 2014. State Gaming Bureaucracy Ramps Up Forty four new positions have been approved at the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to deal with expanded gambling. The new positions include 7 commissioners, management for oversight of table games, licensing and financial investigators and compliance officers. Mark Your Calendar for the 2013 Maryland Tourism Travel Summit The 2013 Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit will be held from November 6-8, 2013 at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve. U.S. Travel Association Launches Grass Roots Program The U.S. Travel Association has unveiled plans for "Travel Blitz" a new grass-roots initiative to cultivate industry advocates in Congress. The new program is set to launch next year. Brand Loyalty May Decline A panel of hotel executives speaking at a recent AH&LA Hospitality Leadership Forum noted that, among other challenges facing the industry, an emerging issue is a decline in brand loyalty as young travelers increasingly prioritize experience over brand image.