WLA and the Washington Restaurant Association advance plans to create combined hospitality association.

WLA and the Washington Restaurant Association advance plans to create combined hospitality association.

OnePlusOne_webfeaturedImage-Square(March 16, 2015) WLA’s Board of Directors has been working with the leadership of the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) on a plan to join forces in a new trade association that will represent both lodging properties and restaurants. Both organizations have been successful in supporting and advocating for their respective sectors of the hospitality industry, and a combined association would bring even greater capacity to deliver even greater results to members.

WLA and WRA have partnered in recent years to address issues at the state and municipal levels, and one of the goals in establishing a new association is to build on this partnership and strengthen the hospitality industry’s influence in government affairs.

As the extreme minimum wage increases in SeaTac and Seattle have shown, the political landscape has changed and trade associations must act with greater speed, greater resources and greater impact than ever before. By combining forces in a single hospitality association, the industry will be even better positioned to meet challenges than with two separate associations. The equation “1+1 = 3” symbolizes this exponential increase in capacity and influence.

“WLA and WRA have so much in common, from shared policy goals to similar programs, that leveraging resources to create a unified association that is so much greater than the sum of its parts makes sense,” says WLA President & CEO Jan Simon. “More than 20 states have combined lodging and restaurant associations, and in Washington this would be a very thoughtful merger of two strong and effective organizations.”

Initial discussions about joining forces began in 2012. The WLA and WRA Boards are participating in a facilitated process aimed at leveraging the strength of both organizations to deliver even greater value to members.

The mission of Washington’s new hospitality association would be to enhance the success of its members and its goal will be to have:

  • Increased influence in the government affairs arena
  • Greater strength in addressing legal issues
  • A stronger voice in funding tourism promotion
  • A stronger financial base
  • Greater administrative efficiency and effectiveness
  • Expanded opportunities for educational programs and member services
  • Greater value for allied members
  • Increased opportunity for innovation

Leaders and Executive Committee members from WLA and WRA will present plans for the new association and address member questions at WLA’s Board-Hosted Luncheon on April 23, 2015 at the Hotel Monaco Seattle. Please make plans to attend and reserve your place here.

For more information about the merger or to speak with an Executive Committee member about the plan, please email info@walodging.org