Hotels reluctant to cut rates for RNC

November 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Accomodations, News

Tampa hoteliers are pushing back as organizers of the August 2012 Republican National Convention continue efforts to renege on their year-old contracts, the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Bay Business Journal tell us. The largest hotel in the county, for one, isn’t budging.

Earlier this week, the St. Pete Times broke the story about how RNC organizers want to lower convention-week room rates and hike commissions that hoteliers pay the RNC for the business even though officials inked a contract a year ago.

Initially, it wasn’t clear if everyone would try to make nice, since the Republican National Convention’s an important event and a public dispute might sully someone’s image. But the hotels came out swinging on Thursday – one day before the RNC organizers wanted the new rate deals finalized. According to the paper, Hillsborough County Hotel and Motel Association Executive Director Bob Morrison told hotel managers they need not budge on the previously agreed-upon rates. He says the rates were fair and, in some cases, 60% below what the hotels could have charged. “Our position is we will comply with the terms of the contract,” Mary Scott, general manager of the 717-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina – the county’s largest hotel – tells the paper in its latest story this morning. Scott’s not the only general manager irked by the situation, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports today. “I can’t imagine anyone who is on board with this,” Joe Ruiz, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Tampa Westshore, tells the Business Journal. “I called some of my colleagues, and they are outraged.” The agreement signed last year let the RNC lock in about 15,000 rooms at 95 hotels, the Business Journal says. RNC spokesman James Davis says the problem is that rates were based on the hotels’ February rates, or peak season rates. The convention is scheduled for August, typically a quiet month for hotels.

The rule book, however, appears to favor the hotels. The St. Pete Times says: “The convention bidding rules allow hotels to charge as much as their highest rate for the month that falls 18 months before the convention

Travel Promotion Act Faces Final Passage, Vote Expected Soon

February 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Accomodations, News, Travel, Updates

The travel community is on the cusp of final passage of the Travel Promotion Act, landmark legislation which will for the first time create a public-private partnership to promote travel to the United States. The travel community is on the cusp of final passage of the Travel Promotion Act, landmark legislation which will for the first time create a public-private partnership to promote travel to the United States. After months of focus on other issues, including health care reform and jobs stimulus legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that final consideration of this important bill is imminent. President Obama also touted the value of the legislation during his comments in Las Vegas this past Friday.

We urge you to please start reaching out to your Senators today to ensure that when the bill is brought to the floor they are ready to support it. Speak to them about the immediate need to pass this bill in order to help our economy by attracting new spending, creating new jobs and reducing our national deficit, all at no cost to American taxpayers (see below for links to contact information and talking points).

In order to help you make the case, we worked in conjunction with Oxford Economics to develop a new analysis of overseas travel to the United States titled The Lost Decade which shows the failure of the United States to simply keep pace with the growth in international long-haul travel worldwide and how much it has cost our economy:

– 68.3 million lost visitors, each of whom on average spend well over $4,000 dollars.

– $509 billion in lost spending, including $214 billion in direct spending and $295 billion in downstream spending at restaurants, retailers, and scores of other small businesses.

– 441,000 lost jobs, direct, indirect and induced, in all regions of the country.

– $32 billion in lost tax revenue at the federal, state and local levels.

– $270 billion in lost trade surplus, export funding needed to rebuild our economy.

As you know, the Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act in September (S.1023) with a strong bipartisan vote of 79-19. The Travel Promotion Act was then unanimously approved by the House of Representatives in November as part of H.R.1299. Because the legislation creates “revenue” for the federal government, the Constitution requires that the Travel Promotion Act originate in the House. Therefore, the Senate must now take a final vote on H.R.1299.

It’s important that every Senator who supported the legislation in September hear again from members of the travel community thanking them for their original vote of support and urging their continued support in the coming weeks for final passage of the legislation.

Your relentless grassroots advocacy for more than two years has moved the United States one giant step closer to its first multi-million dollar, nationally coordinated travel promotion program. Let’s get the job done in the Senate with final passage.

Contact Your Senators TODAY

Call or email your Senator today and let him/her know that you value their support for the Travel Promotion Act.