President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association
Katherine Lugar is president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). As the head executive of the largest trade association representing the U.S. lodging industry, she implements and directs AH&LA's services and works directly with the volunteer officers and board of directors in determining the industry's major strategic initiatives. In addition, Ms. Lugar also oversees AH&LA’s two affiliate organizations, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) and the Educational Institute (EI).
Since joining AH&LA in 2013, Ms. Lugar has been pivotal in transforming the association and spearheading the rollout of a new membership model and growing its base, which now represents almost half the properties in the entire hotel industry. In just one year, she has led the association to grow to its highest point in its 100-year history and has also achieved record HotelPAC contributions, increased the focus on advocacy and has achieved overall greater, industry engagement.
She has also led the development of a three-year strategic plan that will guide the association as it navigates the numerous opportunities and challenges that face the hospitality industry. With a renewed focus on advocacy, Ms. Lugar’s depth of experience in public policy and Capitol Hill will help shape the agenda the industry seeks to center its priorities around: workforce issues, technology and distribution and travel and tourism promotion.
Katherine has more than 20 years of experience in private sector public affairs, working on Capitol Hill and previously served as executive vice president, public affairs, with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). While at RILA, she was the principal contact for the public affairs and government relations program. Her tenure at RILA was marked by several significant accomplishments, including, but not limited to, the development and execution of a major and successful campaign to regulate debit swipe fees (hailed by Politico as the biggest legislative battle of 2011) and the creation and implementation of a dual state-federal campaign to level the playing field on on-line sales tax collection.
Before her time at RILA, she was vice president of government relations for Travelers Insurance, serving as the company’s chief representative before Congress and the administration. Prior to that, she served as vice president of legislative and political affairs at the National Retail Federation.
Katherine Lugar’s career in Washington, D.C. began on the staff of Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer, and she is a graduate of The University of Colorado – Boulder.