Friday, February 5, 2016

Realignment, Deeper Engagement on Your Doorstep

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is ramping up an important process to dig deep and implement a rolling strategic plan for the future of the organization. We are now over five years past the merger of the association, which brought lodging and restaurant members under the same umbrella of advocacy and connectivity. Many things have gone well and other areas we are excited to enhance.

As we look to the future, here are some samplings of what you can expect from your association as we further the value proposition for our lodging partners.

The Expansion of Guest Service Gold® Customer Service Training
Over 200 hospitality professionals in Oregon have already been trained through the ORLA Education Foundation’s new training product, Guest Service Gold. The launch has been made possible by the support of the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and Travel Oregon. Contact Wendy Popkin with ORLA’s Education Foundation to learn more about adding a new dose of confidence to our front line hospitality workers who have lasting impressions on the guest experience.

Relaunching the ORLA Lodging Policy Committee
In one of ORLA’s most recent scientific polls of the membership, lodging members expressed that the value of greatest importance is industry representation. Our goals will include statewide industry representation, consistent participation, and establishing a regular meeting schedule to tackle the advocacy issues of importance to members.

Online Travel Companies
In my first five months on the job, it has become clear that more exploration is needed to look at how ORLA can assist our independent lodging members in negotiations with online travel companies who carry significant leverage in their talks with this segment of our membership. Given the supply filled by these elusive partners, what can ORLA do to pool the collective power of independents? The issue needs a deep dive.

Human Trafficking
We will not shy away from uncomfortable issues that impact our industry and the professionals that work within it. We recently held a brainstorming session about the importance of introducing legislation in Oregon that could create rehabilitation services needed specifically for victims of human trafficking to break the cycle of abuse as well as harsher punishments for individuals seeking these services. We remain optimistic that a viable partnership between ORLA, lawmakers, law enforcement, and district attorneys is in the works and that our work will be driven by real outcomes that have the potential to change lives.

These issues and others will continue to be explored as we do our best to expand and enhance our deliverables to the lodging industry. We look forward to working with you to accomplish important goals for our future. Our work always starts with your feedback.

Feel free to email me with your suggestions at | Jason Brandt, President & CEO