The Vermont Lodging Coalition, formed during the pandemic, and the Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association, with 11 years of advocacy history in the state, together announce the formation of one collaborative organization named the Vermont Lodging Association (VLA).
The lodging industry in Vermont, which represents $600 million in annual revenue, is the backbone of the state’s $2.9 billion tourism industry.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak in mid-March 2020, which led to devastating financial losses in the state’s lodging sector, a group of hoteliers formed a network to create a path forward for safety and business continuation as well as stronger connections to the state legislature and governor’s office. To strengthen these efforts, more lodging partners joined, including an alignment with VIBBA, which has a well-established platform, statewide recognition, and robust membership base.
As a result, the group collectively formed the Vermont Lodging Coalition, which began to outline the industry’s advocacy needs and hired Downs Rachlin Martin (DRM) as a lobbying group to represent its members’ interests and issues to the state government.
“The VLA has been laser-focused on securing Covid-19 relief grant money for lodging from the state,” said Brian Maggiotto, owner of the 21-room Inn at Manchester and founding member of the VLA. “Now, with a solid working relationship with the administration and Legislature, we look forward to growing the membership base to turn the promise of our ad-hoc group into a thriving voice of action for the industry.”
While the coalition has been successful in cultivating results, yet to enable an even more efficient effort, the group created a vision and mission statement to formalize an association. There has not been a lodging association since 2005 when they were partnered with the restaurant industry under the Vermont Lodging & Restaurant Association.
In addition to the VLA being “the voice of lodging in Vermont” the organization stated goals include: “retaining a professional and experienced lobbying firm to represent the Vermont lodging industry” and “providing educational, networking and other resources to help a diverse membership of licensed Vermont lodging properties succeed.”
The group is also advocating for an agreement between governors of northeastern states on travel/quarantine restrictions, which could make it more equitable, open, logical and effective — a resident can currently travel hundreds of miles within their own state but not 5 miles across a boarder without quarantining?
Patti Komline, manager of government relations and public affairs at Downs Rachlin Martin said, “A critical piece of Vermont’s overall financial health, the lodging sector is among the greatest contributors to the state tax base and one if its largest employers. The newly formed Vermont Lodging Association will be a proactive advocate at the state government level for all its members, from the family-owned bed and breakfast to the mountain resorts.”
The new VLA organization came out of Gov. Phil Scott’s Restart Vermont task force initiative, it currently has 82 members according to the organizations website, lodgingvt.com.
Those in Rutland and Windsor Counties include:
506 On The River Inn, Woodstock
Ardmore Inn, Woodstock
Bentley House B&B, Poultney
Blue Horse Inn, Woodstock
Brandon Inn, Brandon
Cascades Lodge & Restaurant, Killington
Echo Lake Resort, Ludlow
Farmhouse Inn at Robinson Farm, Woodstock
Fat Sheep Farm & Cabins, Windsor
Gold Stage Inn, Proctorsville
The Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville
Jackson House Inn, Woodstock
Liberty Hill Farm, Rochester
Mountain Top Inn & Resort
October Country Inn, Bridgewater Corners
The Pettigrew Inn, Ludlow
Sleep Woodstock Motel, Woodstock
Stone Hearth Inn, Chester
Trailside Inn, Killington
Twin Farms, Barnard
Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock (Courtney Lowe is on the VLA board of directors)
The Woodstocker Bed and Breakfast, Woodstock (Karim Houry is the VLA secretary)