The Session is Over - Legislative Recap
In 2014, the KY Hotel & Lodging Association was actively involved in the political process in Frankfort, serving as a voice for the lodging industry in the state. Here are some of the highlights:
Sales Tax on Internet Bookings
One of the biggest concerns was the proposed collection of sales tax and room tax on internet room sales. Although the Association does not have an issue with the sales tax, we feel strongly that any tax due on internet room sales should be collected by the internet company and remitted directly to the state. Collecting this tax could be an expensive and impossible burden on Kentucky hoteliers.
The Lieutenant Governor is on record as saying, if this proposal passes, it would be the responsibility of the internet agency to collect and remit the tax due. KH&LA will continue to monitor the situation to make sure any change in the law or regulation abides by that statement.
1% Room Tax for Tourism Marketing
During the Fletcher Administration, hotels across the state agreed to an increase in room tax of 1%. The purpose of that tax was to fund marketing and tourism efforts for the state. Additionally, CVB’s that ran approved ads could obtain a rebate for that work. The Governor’s Budget this year sweeps that money in the general fund. The Tourism Cabinet budget is reduced and the Matching Funds Program is gone. Some of the CVB’s around the state have a substantial part of their budget tied up in the rebates.
Expansion of Rupp Arena and Hotel at KY Horse Park
A transient room tax proposed for Lexington would be used to help fund the renovation of Rupp Arena, but would also fund a proposed hotel at the KY Horse Park. While the expansion of Rupp Arena is important to the hospitality community, there are deep concerns about including language to fund a hotel development at the Horse Park. The measure was not passed during the regular session.
A number of other issues, such as workers comp, minimum wage, and tip credit also surfaced in 2014. We were able to work with our colleagues with the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) and the Kentucky Restaurant Association (KRA) to help defeat those issues.
Member News - April
The Courtyard Cincinnati Airport has finished its remodel and the rooms look beautiful, according to GM Jim MacFarlane. They are having an open house on May 8th starting at 5pm so please come out and see what they have done. They are also pleased to announce that Lisa Edwards has joined our sales team here at the Courtyard and Residence Inn.
Homewood Suites Lexington-Hamburg Grand Reopening was held on March 12th
Residence Inn Louisville Airport is currently undergoing a renovation project that will be completed by the end of April. The hotel’s Grand Reopening the first week of May
Commonwealth Hotels, LLC, based in Covington, KY, has several hotels under construction nationwide. One exciting project is that of the Art Hotel in Denver, Colorado. A boutique hotel featuring contemporary art, banquet space, and restaurant. Each room will be outfitted with luxurious amenities and exquisite contemporary artwork. Also the public space will house museum-quality sculptures and paintings. Designed with people in mind featuring a massive outdoor terrace with excellent views and an adjoining bar.
Bowling Green CVB Welcomes New Sales Manager
The Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes Janet Henderson as new Group Sales/Services Manager. Henderson, a Bowling Green resident of over 20 years, will be promoting Bowling Green as a destination for conventions, meetings and special events.
Harrodsburg Named to “Best Small Towns” list for 2014
The April issue of Smithsonian Magazine features its third annual list of “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014” and Harrodsburg is the only Kentucky city to appear in the prestigious list joining other noteworthy communities across the nation such as Williamsburg, Virginia; Beaufort, South Carolina; Sedona, Arizona; and Chautauqua, New York to name a few. The article also appears online at www.smithsonianmag.com
Karen P. Hackett, Executive Director of Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission said, “For those of us who reside in Harrodsburg, we already recognize what a special treasure our community is, but it’s always nice to hear and read what others say about this great town and its unique tourism opportunities. HMCTC has placed advertising recently with this particular publication as the readership audience is a great fit for our historic area. I’m confident this coverage will influence the decision of heritage travelers to plan a visit this year.”
New Visitor Center in Christian County
To capitalize on the potential for increasing tourism in Hopkinsville and Christian County, the Hopkinsville Christian County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) in conjunction with the City, is proposing to construct a $650,000 visitor’s center at the Trail of Tears Park.
According to Jeff Smith, CVB Chairman, the nation is expecting a boom in tourism during the next four years and Christian County has so much to offer visitors to “see and do.” “We have to be ready to capitalize on this surge in tourism, capture thousands of tourism dollars and grow tourism jobs in Christian County. The new Visitor’s Center will be a major tool in helping us do that,” said Smith. He elaborates that Christian County has only scratched the surface for capturing tourism dollars. Because of the Visitor’s strategic location at Pennyrile Parkway (connected to I-24), and Highways 41, 41A and 68-80, it will be the “gateway” to tourism offerings in Christian County. These offerings include Trail of Tears, Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County, Edgar Cayce Tour, Night Rider’s history, Little Green Men story, MB Roland Distillery, and other great parks along with our many great restaurants.
KTIA Spring Travel Forum
Registration is now open for this year's Spring Travel Forum. The agenda is packed with some wonderful speakers and hot topics so you don't want to miss this conference.
This year STF will be May 14-15 in Owensboro at the new Convention Center. For more information, visit their website at www.ktia.com.
KRA Golf Outing
The Kentucky Restaurant Association Northern Kentucky Chapter is hosting its 24th Annual Ben Bernstein Memorial Golf Outing on Tuesday, June 17 at the Golf Course at Twin Oaks. If you are interested in participating, contact the association at 859-291-NKRA.
Member News - March
KH&LA welcomes our newest member – The Holiday Inn Express Lexington Northeast. Manish Patel is the GM of the property.
Barren River Lake State Resort Park is starting a new program this spring – canoe trips! The three hour tour includes everything you need including lessons in basic canoe techniques. This fun adventure is great for a family reunion, corporate retreat or other group meeting. Reservations required. Call the park for details at 800.325.0057.
Changes in 2014 Membership Dues and Billing
2014 will bring several changes to the organization’s dues: how dues are billed, how dues are paid and the fees for hotelier members.
First of all, the change in dues structure for hotelier members. Starting January 1, there will be two categories for hotel dues:
- Hotels with 1 to 50 rooms will pay a flat fee of $225
- Hotels with 51 rooms or more will pay $6 per room
This new structure reduces a somewhat overcomplicated system of eight fee options to two fees. The new structure will actually reduce the membership dues of a number of members. The dues for Allied and Associate members will remain unchanged in 2014.
As for the billing of dues for the new year, the process has changed. Dues invoices will now be sent to all members electronically. We will only be sending dues invoices through the USPS to members who do not have email addresses on file with us. For the first time, members have the option of paying dues online with a credit card. You will receive instructions on how to login and process the payment. Paying by check, of course, is still an option.
KH&LA Annual Meeting Program
The new KH&LA held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 20th at the Crowne Plaza Airport in Louisville. It was a fantastic event filled with education, the annual business meeting and a luncheon. Awards were presented, featuring the Stars of the Industry Awards and the Garner Hanson Hotelier of the Year Award. The luncheon also featured a recognition of retired Executive Director Ray Gillespie, who served the organization for more than 30 years!
Touting the Economic Clout of the Hotel Industry in KY
KH&LA facilitated a hard hat tour of the new Owensboro Hampton Inn Downtownwith KY Senator Joe Bowen (center of the photo) Malcolm Bryant, owner of the new hotel property and hotel General Manager, John Morton, CHA. The hotel is a private development that will add to the local enhancements the city of Owensboro has implemented recently.The Hampton Inn & Suites will feature 150 rooms consisting of suites and large studios. The hotel will be a LEED certified property and will even have a car charging station and green plant roof. It will employ approximately 100 individuals from the local area and is scheduled to open mid December 2013.
The tour was designed to bring awareness to the senator of the strength of the economic impact of the hotel industry in Kentucky. What better way to do that than to give him a prime example in his own back yard. Evansville station WFIE covered the event for its midday news.
For more photos, visit our Facebook page.
The mission of the Kentucky Hotel & Lodging Association is to be the voice of the lodging industry, providing representation at the state level in governmental affairs, education, communications, diversity and value-added services.
* There are more than 500 hotels in state representing more than 55,000 rooms
* The hotel industry in KY employs almost 17,000 people
* Hotels represent an economic impact to the state of more than $2.5B annually
* Hotels in KY generate more than $1.4B in revenue
* The hotel industry in the state generates a payroll of more than $490M
* Almost $300M in various taxes are generated by the hotel industry in Kentucky
* The real estate value of hotels in the state is $4.6B
* The hotel industry is part of the broader tourism and travel industry, which contributed over $12B to the state’s economy in 2012.