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The AH&LA Information Center, Housed at the University of Houston
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management,
Celebrating Five-year Anniversary 
HOUSTON, July 19, 2007— Think of it as the Google of the lodging industry.  

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Information Center, housed at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, will celebrate the five-year anniversary of its partnership with the college this September.

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With a strong presence on Capitol Hill, AH&LA has a Government Affairs Department that advocates for industry-specific causes: immigration reform, labor unions, minimum wage.  The Information Center provides the data for that voice by collecting, organizing and disseminating industry-specific information.  Lydia Westbrook, research director of the Information Center, has headed the office since its move to Houston in September 2002.

“We dive into everything from absenteeism to zoning, with archival holdings on more than 1,000 topics and an average yearly yield of 1,483 inquiries,” Westbrook said.  “Occupancy rates for Minnesota—we got it.  Hotel pet and smoking policies, data on hotel amenities—we got it.  Almost anything you could imagine.”  

The Information Center primarily serves AH&LA members, comprising mostly of properties, but also fields questions from allied vendors, print and broadcast media, government organizations, college faculty and students.
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Lydia Westbrook, research director of the American
Hotel & Lodging Association Information Center,
collects and disseminates information on the hospitality
industry to a variety of commercial, media,
government and academic outlets.
“We’ve been the information source for USA Today, the New York Times and CNN.  We’ve helped inventors who hope to revolutionize the industry complete market research,” said Westbrook.  “We don’t always respond to glamorous topics.  Sometimes the questions concern bed bugs or creation of makeshift methadone labs in hotel rooms.” 

Formerly housed within AH&LA’s headquarters in Washington DC, the Information Center moved to the Hilton College to benefit from the college’s renown faculty expertise and to cement the tie between hospitality industry research and hospitality education.

“The Information Center has always been one of our most popular member benefits,” said Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, president/CEO of AH&LA.  “Our members rely on the Center to gather data to help their businesses; our staff relies on the Center to allow them to serve our members better; and the press relies on the Center to supplement their reporting.  It is a critical service to practitioners in the hospitality industry and to students who are looking to be future leaders in the field.  The fifth anniversary of the Information Center is a noteworthy milestone, and proves that housing the Center at the University of Houston was a wise decision.” 

“Other institutes and centers were already in place and thriving at the Hilton College, so the decision to relocate here just made sense,” Westbrook added.  “This one-person office may be small, but its scope is large.  Over the last five years, the number of inquiries has remained high, so our office has been forced to maximize efficiency.  Our data concerns the hospitality industry, so we strive to be hospitable when we deliver.”

For assistance with your lodging research, contact Lydia Westbrook at (713) 743-2515 or informationcenter@ahla.com, or visit the AH&LA Information Center website at www.ahla.com/products_info_center.asp.

The UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management is recognized as one of the premiere hospitality programs in the world, offering both undergraduate and graduate course work for students interested in pursing careers in the dynamic hospitality industry.  In addition to the AH&LA Information Center, two other national research and information centers, two university institutes and two centers of excellence are housed here.   Each provides a direct link between academia and industry, research and real world applications. 

About the University of Houston 

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

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Contact:

Office of University Communication 
David Raffetto
713/743-1509 (office)
 draffetto@uh.edu
www.hrm.uh.edu/
 

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