Restaurant Association Acquires Hospitality Credentialing Body

The National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association will more closely align their industries as they begin to share management of AHLA’s credentialing body.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has recently acquired the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute (AHLAEI), a certification body for the hospitality industry, through a partnership with its parent organization.

While the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) will retain the certifications and its branding, NRA will take on the development and distribution of training programs, materials, and content while running AHLAEI as a separate business under its Training and Certification division.

“It’s a natural and logical evolution that combines two outstanding teams committed to excellence in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industries,” NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney said in a press release. “By adding the AHLEI assets and business lines to our offerings, we will increase our reach and enhance our credibility as the acknowledged leader in industry training and certification—while extending our expertise to the hotel and lodging industry.”

The certifications produced by AHLEI will still cover the hospitality industry generally but will also be available to those working in the restaurant industry.

“Ultimately, the two words we always talk about here is member value, how are we providing value to our members,” NRA Chief Financial Officer Marvin Irby said. “And, in this case, it’s by providing world-class training materials and certifications for the two respective industries.”

The acquisition will benefit both memberships by providing better personal development opportunities that incorporate knowledge and expertise from the industries, and it also will provide increased revenue that both associations can then reinvest in their members and advocacy efforts. In addition, AHLA will be able to capitalize on NRA’s size and scale to reach more individuals through the credential.

“Both organizations have a great interest in enhancing the career pathways of employees in our industries,” Irby said. “A big, big push right now is creating the credibility in our industries for the work people do. If we believe by enhancing our employees … we’ll support the industries, the product sales themselves are just an outgrowth of meeting that mission.”

He expects this partnership to expand once it takes effect in January because of how closely aligned the two industries are. But, at this point, customers will not see any change.

“This new partnership gives us the opportunity to focus on what we do best, providing the training and resources necessary to offer pathways to upward mobility for our talent and the future generation of hospitality leaders by maintaining the certifications program,” said AHLA President and CEO Katherine Lugar in the statement. “We are very excited about this collaboration and are confident that the NRA will continue to grow and enhance training offerings for our industry.”


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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