Funded Research Summaries

Funded Research Summaries

Final research reports for most of AHLEF-funded research can be found on AHLA’s website at Some require AHLA members to log in to the Members Only section to access “AHLA Research."  Nonmembers may purchase study results for $3,000 through Member Relations.    

AHLA Lodging Survey

Funded by AHLEF since 1998, the biennial AHLA Lodging Survey is one of the most comprehensive in the industry, collecting information about trends related to hotel services, facilities, and amenities within the U.S. The study provides essential data that will be used to better represent the lodging industry and shape its compelling narrative to policymakers, regulatory agencies, and members of the media. STR has been conducting the survey for ten years and is currently working on the 2018 survey, which is expected to be released in December. The 2016 Lodging Survey is available on AHLA’s website

The Impact of Tax Reform on the U.S. Lodging Industry

In late 2017, the Foundation awarded a grant to quantify the potential impacts of proposed tax policy changes on the hotel industry and the industry’s valuable contributions to the US economy. Oxford Economics conducted a scenario analysis that examined a five-year period beginning in 2018, focusing on tax policy changes under tax cuts of $1.5 trillion over a ten-year period. The final report is on AHLA’s website

In early 2018, the Foundation awarded a second grant that solidified both the House and Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law. PWC will conduct the study to analyze and calculate the impacts of each separate bill on hypothetical hotel projects that are representative of the industry.

Economic Impact of the U.S. Hotel Industry

Representing the most thorough economic impact analysis of the hotel and lodging industry to date, this comprehensive industry analysis was conducted by Oxford Economics and is based primarily on data from federal agencies and from leading providers of travel and hotel industry data, STR, and Longwoods International. The data reveals that the industry is a driver of economic growth, supports millions of jobs, spurs community development, and provides guests and consumers with unrivaled experiences and satisfaction. The final report is on AHLA’s website

A second grant was awarded to break down this data by congressional district. Here is the link to the new online state facts data tool, which can now easily search the number of properties and the economic impact of hotels by state and congressional district.   

2017 U.S. Hotel Property Tax Study

This study estimates the total volume of property taxes paid by U.S. hoteliers in 2016 and provides an estimate of total property taxes for each state. STR estimated property tax using HOST P&L data for 2014, 2015, and 2016. For 2016, total estimated property tax expense equaled $8.1 billion in the U.S. The final report is on AHLA’s website.

Interactive Food Waste Management for Hotels

With a $50,000 grant, AHLEF funded a new online platform, "Hotel Kitchen," to feature the Interactive Food Waste Management for Hotels, which showcases best practices for food waste reduction in hotels. This follows a pilot research project conducted by the World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with AHLA's Sustainability and Food & Beverage committees and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation. The aim of the research was to create a persuasive institutional narrative and success story to spur action across the entire food service industry. The toolkit can be downloaded at 

Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership

The Castell Project will benchmark and track the percentage of leadership positions held by women in the hospitality industry. Annual statistics will be published for the next two years. The 2018 annual report is expected to be released in January 2019.  

Hospitality Inter-Cultural Communication Research

The research examines the relationship between culture and communication style in the hospitality industry. It uses theory to compare the preferred communication style of people in the hospitality industry from the U.S. and Asian countries. The results suggest there is a statistically significant difference between communication styles of the two samples. The final report is on AHLA’s website.  

Economic Significance of Meetings Study

The study quantifies the 2016 economic contributions made by meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place throughout the United States. The study, conducted by Oxford Economics, was commissioned by the Events Industry Council and supported by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and other industry partners, including the AHLEF. The Foundation supported the initial study in 2010 and an update in 2012. The final report is on AHLA’s website

ADA Title Rulemaking Support Activity Grant 

AHLEF has funded seven grants totaling $434,000 relating to the lodging industry's response to the U.S. Department of Justice's proposed changes to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Visit AHLA's website for more information about this issue. 

ANSI Committee Support Activity

The funding provides the necessary resources so the lodging industry can engage with the ANSI Committee regarding any proposed changes to commercial building accessibility requirements, which, if adopted, could eventually appear in state building codes and significantly impact hoteliers. 

Hosts with Multiple Units – A Key Driver of Airbnb Growth

CBRE Hotels’s Americas Research conducted an analysis of 13 U.S. markets to determine the number of entire-home hosts and corporate landlords on Airbnb that rent out more than one residential property to short-term visitors. The study showed that 81% of Airbnb’s U.S. revenue comes from whole-unit rentals and revenue from hosts renting two or more entire-home units generated nearly $2 billion in revenue in 2016. The final report is on AHLA’s website

2017 Lodging Tax Burden Assessment

To support a better understanding of the current tax burden on U.S. hotels, Oxford Economics researched historical trends in lodging tax rates in 26 major U.S. cities. The final report is on AHLA’s website

U.S. Hotel Small Business Ownership Study

AHLEF funded a study to determine the number of hotels that were classified as small businesses. The study, conducted by STR, found that 61% of U.S. hotels (33,651 hotels) are considered small businesses. A vast majority of these hotels are in the economy class. The study analyzed ownership of U.S. hotels to determine which ones fit into the United States Small Business Administration small business hotel classification.The final report is on AHLA’s website

Millennials in the Hotel Industry

Wage Watch conducted two national surveys to identify how best to recruit and retain millennials in the hotel and lodging industry now and in the future. As the largest demographic class in America’s workforce, which will become the dominant generation within five years, millennials already represent the largest single class in the hotel and lodging industry, representing 44 percent of the workforce. To ensure impending and unwavering success in the hotel and lodging industry, it is critical to continue to attain and secure millennials who are both currently in the workforce and the students who are deciding on their future career paths.  The final report is on AHLA’s website

Airbnb Analysis: Penn State Report

A grant was awarded for the first comprehensive national study of the commercial activity on Airbnb, one of the most trafficked short-term rental platforms. The analysis, conducted by researchers at Penn State University's School of Hospitality Management, tracked data collected in 14 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. The final report revealed a notable trend among two overlapping groups of hosts, multiple-unit operators who rent out two or more units, and full-time operators who rent their unit(s) 360 or more days per year. The final report is on AHLA’s website.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Tourism, Hotel and Lodging Survey

A grant was provided to the U.S. Conference of Mayors to survey its members regarding the impact of the hotel industry on cities and communities around the country.  The survey showed that the hotel and lodging industry is a critical component of the local economies of cities across the nation. Hotels are catalysts for increased revenue, opportunity and wages for employees and commercial growth to area business large and small. Offering career opportunities for a wide variety of people at different levels, hotels employ many entry-level positions and provide internal upward mobility for their employees. The final report is on AHLA’s website

2016 U.S. Lodging Tax Study

Conducted by STR Analytics and RRC Associates with assistance from ISHAE's Lodging Tax Taskforce, this study provides current information by state on lodging tax structure, total lodging tax collections, and lodging tax in the largest cities. The final report is on AHLA’s website

Demystifying the Digital Marketplace

AHLEF was one of the sponsors of this study conducted by Kalibri Labs, which explores how the evolving digital marketplace presents new opportunities for consumer engagement and revenue growth. Learn more about the key takeaways for leveraging an optimal distribution channel mix, encouraging direct booking, and prioritizing legislative and policy actions. The final report is on AHLA’s website

The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reacting to Child Trafficking Online Training

At the request of ECPAT-USA, a grant was awarded to develop a 30-minute e-learning course to provide lodging professionals with the information necessary to identify and respond to child trafficking. The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) developed the training for employees to recognize the signs of trafficking, and the appropriate protocol for addressing suspicious incidences at their properties.  

The training can be purchased through The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI).