ConventionSouth

MAY 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ M A Y 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 8 headlines, trends & ideas On April 17, this year's deadline for filing income tax returns, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) called on state and local government leaders to start taxing Airbnb and other short-term rental sites with the same oversight and transparency as hotels, especially in light of Airbnb's recent announce- ment that it will start including hotels as part of its listings as well as the continued growth of commercial Airbnb operators. AHLA also called on state and local gov- ernment leaders to reject Airbnb's pursuit of voluntary collection agreements (VCAs) unless it includes transparency with taxpayers and the oversight to ensure Airbnb is paying its fair share. VCAs are deals Airbnb has been making with jurisdictions in which the company agrees to collect and remit certain predetermined state and/or local taxes on behalf of the property owners, subject to certain stipulations, which are often strict and atypical for tax matters. AHLA says Airbnb is negotiating these deals behind closed doors, and the agreements are crafted without public input and don't include adequate oversight or auditing measures to ensure Airbnb is paying the proper amount of taxes. "Airbnb has been making back-room deals and strong-arming state and local jurisdictions into 'voluntary' tax deals with no transparency, oversight or auditing capability to ensure the company pays its proper share of taxes," said Troy Flanagan, vice president of government affairs and industry relations at AHLA. "It's like putting an empty jar at the counter of a retail store and asking customers to voluntarily pay sales taxes. There's no accountability." In addition to changing the way state and local governments tax Airbnb, Flanagan said government leaders need to hold Airbnb accountable to the same regulations that hotels must follow. "If Airbnb wants to enter the hotel business, then it needs to be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances and oversight that law-abiding hotel companies adhere to each and every day," he said. According to a 2016 analysis by Oxford Economics, hotels generated $167.2 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2016. Since Airbnb's inception in 2008, the hotel industry has contributed more than $1 trillion in taxes and supported nearly $10 trillion to the U.S. economy, and currently supports more than eight million jobs across the country, according to the AHLA statement. n Hotel Association Seeks More Oversight of Airbnb Yancey Strickler To Keynote 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting Yancey Strickler, former CEO and co-founder of Kickstarter and The Creative Independent, will be the opening keynote speaker for the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposi- tion, set for Aug. 18 – 21 in Chicago. ASAE is expecting more than 6,000 association professionals and industry partners to attend. According to ASAE, Strickler will discuss how Kickstarter was developed, provide ad- vice for association leaders on how to execute on their own terms, hire people with similar values, create a vibrant and diverse corpo- rate culture and scale growth while ensuring sustainability. "Along with education, ASAE continues to give back to the local communities," said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. "This year, we are helping two charities: Greater Chicago Food Depository and Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly. Looking forward to a great meeting and attendees learning new strategies and solutions they can implement back into their organization." During this year's meeting, ASAE will have five curated "career and knowledge path- ways" with three by career stage – young professionals, aspiring exec, CEO/ED – and the other two by knowledge: global opportunities and healthcare/biomed. On Aug. 18, ASAE will have five Master Classes and two deep workshops for attend- ees. The Master Classes topics are global operations, blockchain and healthcare, CEOs creating an experience for their board, how to resolve conflict in teams and finance for the non-financial manager for young profession- als. The two workshops will give participants advice on how to strengthen their presenta- tions and how to create gender equality in the workplace. To learn more, visit annual. asaecenter.org. n Hilton Americas-Houston received the 2017 Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand's Award of Excellence, the only Hilton property in the world to have earned this distinction for seven consecutive years. The annual award is bestowed upon hotels that embody excellence by providing superior guest service through authentic Hilton hospitality. Since 2011, Hilton Americas-Houston has consistently been recognized as a top-performing hotel among all Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties. "We are so proud of our team," said Jacques D'Rovencourt, general manager of the Hilton Americas-Houston. "To receive this award for an unprecedented seven consecutive years speaks to the deep commitment our team has in providing the best in hospitality for our guests." Directly connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hilton Americas-Houston, a AAA Four Diamond hotel, boasts 1,200 guest rooms, 91,500 square feet of meeting space, restaurants, lobby bars, Starbucks and a full-service spa and health club. n Hilton Americas-Houston Receives 2017 Hilton Hotels & Resorts Brand Award Strickler

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