Changing the calendar at the end of December marks a time for reflection on the past year, and planning for the future.

As we look back on 2017 and the stories that shaped our industry, Texas hoteliers can be proud of the good work and compassion of our members, the challenges we faced, and victories we accomplished.

For THLA, the first half of 2017 was dominated by one of the most challenging, and ultimately successful, legislative sessions in memory.

We started with an extremely successful Converge on the Capitol, before settling into a long battle on two important issues: blocking the passage of the harmful transgender “bathroom bill,” and stopping a tough short-term rental preemption bill.

After achieving major victories on both issues at the conclusion of the regular legislative session, we found ourselves right back at work battling the same issues again in a summer Special Session. We were again successful, and yet we are fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead on these issues.

The end of the summer travel season was marked by one of the most destructive events in Texas history.

Hurricane Harvey destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, leaving tens of thousands without a place to live.

Texas hoteliers stepped in by donating thousands of hotel room-nights to affected hotel employees, local residents, and first responders.

Hotel ballrooms were turned into temporary shelters, and desperate Texans fled to hotel rooms with their families, pets, and possessions in tow. Nearly five months later, we are continuing to rebuild many of our communities, and many residents are still displaced from home.

However, we are well on the road to recovery, and our destinations are open and ready to receive visitors.

In September, as we were still focused on Hurricane Harvey recovery, a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel.

In response, our industry is reevaluating safety and security protocols, with a renewed emphasis on employee training.

This issue, along with other hot topics and trends in hotel education, will be a large focus of the upcoming 2018 THLA Short Course.

We at THLA are enthusiastic about serving the Texas hotel industry in 2018. We are expecting a great year ahead, with high demand amongst a vibrant economy. Whether we are prospering or when we are facing challenges, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association is ready to assist.

We look forward to connecting with you in 2018.

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