Hospitality leaders from around the state gathered in Olympia Tuesday to mark the official start of a new trade association, the Washington Hospitality Association. A ceremony formally marked the launch of the association with the unveiling of a new association logo. The event took place at the headquarters for the combined group, which is located in the former Washington Restaurant Association’s office.
“Today’s restaurateurs, hoteliers and hospitality professionals face an unprecedented array of business and policy challenges at the state and local level. The hospitality industry needs an efficient, responsive and results-oriented advocate that genuinely cares about people and community. Our new association will help our members meet challenges, find solutions and provide more opportunities for innovation, collaboration and outreach than ever before,” says Anthony Anton, who will serve as the president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association.
On October1, 2015 the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) and the Washington Lodging Association (WLA) began operations under a joint operating agreement, combining staff and operational functions. Anton served as president and CEO of the WRA for nine years and of WLA under the joint operating agreement. In July, the boards of directors of both associations approved a formal merger into the Washington Hospitality Association, effective Saturday.
The joining of forces as the Washington Hospitality Association creates one of the largest industry-focused associations in Washington state. With more than 6,000 members statewide, the new association will advocate on behalf of an industry that employs more than 268,700 Washingtonians, generates $17.6 billion in revenue and pays more than $1.1 billion in state taxes each year.
“The success of our state and hospitality businesses are tied. The more we offer an environment where our members can provide jobs, grow careers, support communities and provide tax revenue the stronger our entire state is,” Anton adds.
The new brand of the new Washington Hospitality Association is designed to reflect the organization’s core values, attributes and mission. The logo, designed by Daniels-Brown Communications of Olympia, includes color attributes that reflect the diversity of Washington as a state and the diversity of the Washington Hospitality Association membership. The triangles represent the different type and size of member businesses. The colors also reflect the state’s regional diversity with green for Washington’s trees and forests; blue for rivers, lakes and ocean; and orange for summer and eastern Washington landscapes.
“This is an exciting day, and the start of an exciting new era for those of us in the hospitality industry,” says Frank Welton, Hilton Worldwide’s area general manager for Seattle/Northwest and co-chair of the association’s board of directors. “Hospitality is not only what we do; it is who we are, and we are proud to launch a supportive, inclusive, member-focused organization. The new logo reflects this united spirit and unified industry voice.”