Mission and Vision
To be the voice for the lodging industry in Vermont.
VLA is a volunteer-driven and member-funded advocacy group. Our goals include retaining a professional and experienced lobbying firm to represent the Vermont lodging industry; serving as the spokesperson for our industry; and providing educational, networking and other resources to help a diverse membership of licensed Vermont lodging properties succeed.
History – The Story Behind the Vermont Lodging Association
Think back to March 25, 2020. The day that the Governor closed lodging in Vermont due to the pandemic. The sense of panic that shot through all of us. The long hold times and standardized email responses from well-intended, but overloaded government agencies and legislators. It seemed all of the media talk focused on the difficulty of our restaurant friends with almost no recognition of lodging. If there ever was a time that lodging needed a voice, this was it.
It was in that environment of the early days of Covid that a handful of innkeepers, from large resorts to small inns, got together to break through the chaos. In a few short weeks we were able to raise the awareness of the plight of lodging through private meetings with key leaders including Governor Scott, Senator Patrick Leahy, Representative Peter Welch and key members of the Vermont Department of Health.
At the Governor’s request, members of our group helped create lodging protocols for Covid-19 restart. We also worked to exert significant influence on Governor Scott’s re-instatement of online bookings in June 2020. Remember that?
Working endless hours lobbying for Covid relief for lodging, our ad-hoc team (called the Vermont Lodging Coalition) soon realized we could not do this alone. By late summer we were able to team with the Vermont Inn and Bed and Breakfast Association (VIBBA) to better connect with the needs of smaller properties and to gain critical infrastructure support. Through the generous support of 60 lodging properties we were able to raise seed money to hire a professional lobbyist, Downs Rachlin Martin (DRM), to fight for grant relief during the extremely fast-moving fall 2020 legislative session.
DRM worked tirelessly with our volunteer board to maximize the amount of Covid relief grant money you received for your property. Together we were able to:
- Influence two rounds of business relief funding: for a total of $233.7 million including an additional $75 million targeted specifically to lodging and restaurants. DRM organized organic grassroots outreach from more than 100 properties that directly influenced the decision to allocate these incremental funds. This helped hundreds of properties cover 100% of unmet need (as calculated through 9/30/2020 up to $300k)
- Successfully excluded PUA payments from grant calculations: VLA worked in conjunction with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce to influence this crucial change. Without this adjustment, many small properties would have gotten little or no grant money.
- Organized successful press conference: to engage key press to keep Vermont lodging’s challenges in the forefront of public attention.
- Organized multiple industry zoom calls: to connect with fellow lodging operators.
And when we reached out to you to contact your legislators, you were there! The power of many united in one voice made a difference.
In December 2020 the leadership of the Vermont Lodging Coalition (that initial grass roots group) and VIBBA voted unanimously to merge to form the Vermont Lodging Association — the only state-wide organization dedicated solely to supporting you — the backbone of the Vermont lodging industry and the Vermont economy.
Learn about VLA’s advocacy efforts on your behalf with our governmental leaders.