WLA and the WRA finalize partnership to become one hospitality association.

WLA and the WRA finalize partnership to become one hospitality association.

(July 26, 2016) The Washington Lodging Association (WLA) and the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) have finalized a partnership that will lead to the creation of one of the state’s largest trade associations.

On Oct. 1, 2015 WLA and the WRA began operations under a joint operating agreement, combining staff and operational functions in the WRA’s Olympia office. On July 26 the chairs of the two associations signed final contracts and adopted cornerstone plans for a united hospitality association in Washington. President and CEO Anthony Anton will spearhead the joint association.

“This is an exciting time for our membership and the businesses they represent across Washington. Combined leadership capabilities and viewpoints also create more opportunities for innovation,” said Anton. “By joining forces and harnessing the ideas from all of the hospitality sectors, we really have a chance to lift people up and do great things. Now, we can even more effectively address the challenges facing our industry from providing resources, to government affairs, to the shared goal of finding and training a future workforce. We have never been in a stronger position to really make a difference.”

The next step in WLA and WRA collaboration, launching of a unified new brand, will take effect on October 1, 2016. The new, unified hospitality association will have more than 6,000 members and advocate on behalf of an industry that employs more than 250,000 Washingtonians and generates $17.7 billion in revenue each year. It will also serve as the primary source of hospitality information for the state’s restaurants and hotels.

“This alliance delivers even more value to members, and we are excited to be joining forces with the Washington Restaurant Association,” said Matt Van Der Peet, WLA chair and general manager of the Westin Bellevue Hotel. “By coming together, we are better able to leverage the strength and resources of both associations, benefiting our members, their employees and, ultimately, the state as a whole,” he said.