Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy’
Today I am in Washington DC with peers and colleagues from various associations and businesses that believe in local, independent businesses and the impact we have on local communities.
The America Booksellers Association seems to be the leading entity behind the AIR Summit.
On the agenda:
A Measure of Independent Retail Vitality in Every Metropolitan Area
The State of Independents Movement
Models of Local and Indie Engagement: What We Hear, What We Read, What We Eat, and Where We Shop
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This past week I was glad to lend a hand to a PAII member asking for help. Vinessa Milando, owner of Ivy Terrace B&B in New York, NY, informed me about a bill (click here for bill’s full text) that had just made it through the New York State Senate that would essentially make illegal all short-term lodging facilities that were not bona fide hotels, i.e. B&Bs and vacation rentals. The law, if signed by Governor David Paterson, would make it illegal for a property owner of an apartment, condo, B&B, etc., to take money from guests who stay less than 30 days. But the issue brings up a touchy subject – the lack of laws, regulations and/or ordinances that properly define B&Bs.
In New York City, it seems that those who have been running B&Bs out of residential buildings have been able to do so because the language that described their type of dwelling was vague enough to allow for it. Since 2003, according to Milando, innkeepers came forward and began paying the city’s occupancy taxes – just like hotels. Supporters of the bill argue that loud, obnoxious, dirty tourists don’t mix well with “permanent” residents in the city, where permanent housing is apparently scarce. And, they’re saying that some property owners are scamming tourists into unsafe places. With the quick rise of the vacation rental market and sites like Craigslist, where it’s easy to advertise a couch or room for rent, there is no doubt going to be scammers and irresponsible purveyors out there. But I would imagine that the lion share of travelers and those who operate B&Bs and vacation rentals are legitimate people wanting to do the right thing. A law like this should not pass on account of the rotten apples, because the law would essentially kill ALL the apples – the proverbial baby AND bath water.
Property owners (innkeepers among them) quickly rallied this past week and certainly got their message out. Check out www.protect-vacation-rentals.com to see what they were able to do, including rallying 500 folks at City Hall. I wrote a letter to Governor Paterson urging him to veto the bill (he’s mentioned an intent to veto, but you never know) and to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports the bill, maybe due to heavy ear-bending by the hotel lobby. TripAdvisor CEO, Steve Kaufer, also submitted a letter to the Governor. Several main stream press have been covering the story, such as USA Today, New York Times, Budget Travel and more.
Tags: Advocacy, Vacation Rentals
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Marti Mayne of Maynely Marketing today sent me a link to a CNN interview with Pauline Frommer that covers what changes might be in store for the travel industry under an Obama administration. Click on the link below to be directed to the video.
Tags: Advocacy, Tourism, Travel
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Nearly 300 innkeepers submitted their stories of hardship, grievance and praise for TripAdvisor when I asked the industry to share thoughts and opinions of how this site impacts the businesses and lives of innkeepers. Innkeepers spoke up and continue to send me emails almost daily on the subject. There is no doubt of the need for PAII to facilitate a conversation between our industry and TripAdvisor. The conversation began just a couple of weeks ago, when I visited with TripAdvisor CEO, Stephen Kaufer, and some of his top staff.
Distilling 300 different stories and perspectives into a succinct message was a difficult task (and I read every single one of them), yet some patterns emerged. With only an afternoon with TripAdvisor, I had to pick some of the most pressing matters to bring to the table.
My meeting with Kaufer and others (Brian Payea, Director of Trade Relations, and Tricia Oliveira, Manager of Hotel Relations and Fraud) was 3 hours of rapid-fire questioning. It must have felt like a deposition to them. I found their team to be very reasonable and willing to listen and respond to the issues we are bringing to the table. I was pleased to leave the meeting with what seemed to be some agreement for certain changes and a commitment to keep discussing other matters that couldn’t be solved in one afternoon. As expected, there were some requests and ideas I brought to the table on behalf of innkeepers, which were not met with agreement.
Tags: Advocacy, Online Reviews, TripAdvisor
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