There are more than 54,000 hotels across the United States, supporting eight million jobs and generating more than $167 billion in annual tax revenues, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association is the singular voice representing every segment of the hotel industry including major chains, independent hotels, management companies, bed and breakfasts, industry partners and more.
Like many others, the hotel industry has found itself caught in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Despite the hotel industry’s long-standing commitment to raising awareness about sexual violence and providing hotel operators with new training tools and resources to educate employees on identifying and reporting sexual harassment and assault, legislators in several states and cities have attempted to pass sweeping, one-size-fits-all legislation that would require hotels to provide housekeepers with additional safety protections. The hotel industry is extremely diverse and faces many unique challenges that won’t allow for a one-size-fits all regulatory approach. For example, technology that might work in a grand resort may be different than for a quaint bed and breakfast, and many of these proposals threatened hoteliers’ businesses.
Our strategy was straightforward: leverage AHLA’s ability to facilitate dialogue among member companies – which included prominent hotel brands, such as Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham and Marriott – and national partnerships to help AHLA’s member companies make a proactive, national commitment to provide enhanced policies, trainings and resources that focused on a holistic picture to prevent and help hotel employees respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault. We also recognized that due to the complex nature of the industry, AHLA would work with each member company to make in order to tailor the announcement and timeline.
In September 2018, working hand in hand with PLUS, AHLA and the major hotel brands in membership announced the 5-Star Promise, a pledge to provide employee safety devices across the United States by 2020 and enhance their policies, trainings and resources related to sexual harassment and assault prevention and response. In addition to garnering positive coverage in major U.S. outlets, such as Reuters and The Washington Post, and receiving praise from #MeToo movement leaders, PLUS helped AHLA secure legislative victories in major cities such as Chicago, Miami Beach and Long Beach, among others.