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08/01/2022

HFTP Moves Forward to Publish the USALI, 12th Revised Edition, Ends Relationship with AHLA

A combination of unsuccessful negotiations to resolve differences after HFTP refused AHLA unsolicited merger offer and AHLA announcing a competing event over the same dates of HITEC has brought an end to the associations’ relationship.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) has been associated with the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI) since the association was established in 1952. In recent editions, HFTP has provided expertise support and funding for its publication without reimbursement. Widely used across the globe as the standard for hospitality financial and operational reporting, the successive revisions to the USALI have consistently been a collaborative process between representative industry organizations, ensuring the information presented best represents current reporting standards and industry practices.

After definitively purchasing the rights to the USALI, HFTP began in 2019 the process to revise the current 11th edition. To start, the association established with AHLA the Global Finance Committee (GFC), comprised of financial leaders representing both groups from the largest U.S. and international hotel brands, operators and owners. This new committee was a change from the previous revision process, which was overseen by the AHLA Educational Institute. However, after AHLA EI assets were sold to the National Restaurant Association, including its hospitality certification programs, the idea was for the GFC to independently govern/oversee the content and future revisions of the USALI.

While both organizations initially aimed to work together on numerous projects, including the USALI, it became apparent that their business practices are too diverse. This includes AHLA's ambition to become the one voice for the entire hospitality industry in the United States. From the perspective of AHLA in initial talks between the two groups, this could only be achieved by a merger of the associations. HFTP declined the offer to merge, and subsequently the co-chairs of the GFC, who represent AHLA, held a vote to halt all work on the 12th edition until an agreement could be made between AHLA and HFTP.  Due to the disparate interests and business models of HFTP and AHLA, HFTP has determined the best path forward to complete the 12th edition is to do so on its own. 

All current members of the GFC will be invited to continue the project which will be finalized by the end of the year.  It is expected that there will be some vacancies on HFTP’s USALI committee which will maintain a balance of hotel owners, operators and consultants. Industry experts interested in applying for a vacancy should contact Millicent Athanos, HFTPs Staff Vice, Administration at [email protected].

Furthermore, AHLA’s intent to become a competitor in the event space spurred a change in the associations’ relationship. This was evident with the recent announcement of a new, competing AHLA / Questex event, scheduled over the same days as the 2023 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®). 

“HFTP wishes AHLA and their for-profit partner the best of luck in the new endeavor,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO of HFTP. “Competition always makes everyone in the comp set raise the bar a bit and HITEC has had plenty of competition over the years. The unfortunate issue for the industry is that the impact on the suppliers and HITEC allies such as AAHOA, CHTA, HSMAI and IHITA was not taken into consideration before duplicating the HITEC dates, published well in advance. Decisions like this really create a hardship for the industry, especially the suppliers without whom we would not survive.”

HITEC North America, established in 1972, is the oldest and largest hospitality technology conference in the world. The upcoming HITEC will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 26–29, 2023. For more information, www.hitec.org.