Details and Answers of Proposed Association Merger
After thoughtful consideration, the Board of Directors for each association met separately and voted to approve a merger between the Minnesota Lodging Association (MLA), Minnesota Restaurant Association (MRA) and Minnesota Resort and Campground Association (MRCA), becoming the Hospitality Minnesota "association" on April 1, 2020.
As required by the Association Bylaws, a formal vote of the Active Members of each Association is required to approve the Board of Directors' action. The vote will take place January 6 through January 19, 2020. Each Active Member business appoints one representative to vote in association matters.
A MLA Active Member is defined as an operator/owner of a licensed lodging property whose membership dues are paid and current.
A MRA Active Member is defined as an operator/owner of a foodservice operation whose membership dues are paid and current.
A MRCA Active Member is defined as a resort, campground or RV park in Minnesota whose membership dues are paid and current.
Each Board of Directors strongly endorses this action to combine forces - to become one of the largest trade associations in Minnesota, with nearly 3,000 member operations. The expanded membership base will allow the Hospitality Minnesota to create a stronger cross-sector industry voice and greater financial stability that will lead to more effective advocacy efforts; new and improved products and services; and more dependable and focused business intelligence.
You might have some of these questions:
Why are these three associations merging now and how is it in the best interests of membership?
The organization needs to be more reflective of the industry today, and the time has come to update our programs and services to meet our member’s needs. Our members in the restaurant, lodging, resort and campground sectors face many of the same business challenges and create many of the same opportunities, so it makes sense to leverage resources to address those while also attending to issues that are unique to each sector. Coming together, as many other hospitality associations around the country are doing, strengthens the reach, influence and impact of the industry as a whole.
Why does it matter to me and my business?
For you, it means a stronger association partner and new industry relationships to move your business forward. Our service and commitment to you will not change, but the connections and benefits will be stronger and more valuable. We’ll focus on the long-term vision for the industry, while you focus on growing a successful business in it.
I’m worried the issues that matter most to me will get lost or diluted. How can I be sure my issues will be a priority?
It’s an understandable concern that many of your fellow members serving on the board shared. Considerable time was spent on this topic during the deliberations, resulting in a strong commitment on the part of all to ensure that there is fair and balanced attention given to the issues of each of the core sectors. That will happen best if members stay involved. There will be many opportunities to be engaged in how we shape positions, programs and products.
What will change?
Actually, very little, except that we’ll become more efficient and effective. What many people don’t realize is that the three associations have been “silent partners” for more than 50 years. Administratively, what has happened for one association has needed to happen for all of them. Adding the management company (HM) and the education foundation (HMEF) on top of that, there is a lot of redundancy. By moving to one association board and one foundation board, we’ll streamline the administrative work we spend time on, and turn our focus to creating more value. The employees of the Hospitality Minnesota management company, currently serving all three associations, will become the staff of the combined entity. Please review the proposed merger plan, bylaws and articles of incorporation for full detail on the structure and operating practices of the proposed combined entity.
Will my dues go up? Go down?
We don’t anticipate making any changes to the dues structure for Active Members of any of the associations for the coming year. We will review our dues structure and event fees in 2020 to ensure they reflect the value of the services and benefits received by our members. Allied and Tourism Partner membership dues will be reviewed in the same way.
Why should I continue to be (or become) a member?
It is an exciting time to be involved with Hospitality Minnesota. We believe that you’ll continue to enjoy the relationships that have supported you in your own association and benefit from building new ones in the other sectors. As we come together by managing our collective resources more efficiently and effectively, we’ll add new programs and services Our vision includes a collaborative approach where we work together to find solutions that move your business forward.
What is required to make the merger possible?
The three Association boards have approved the merger. The remaining step is for a quorum of voting members to vote with respect to the merger, and for a majority of those voting to approve the recommendation with a ‘yes’ vote.