DC policy spat: Hotels to meet with OTAs, but lobby against themNewsBy Dennis Schaal | March 15, 2010Share This article was originally published on Responding to an invitation from a coalition of intermediaries, the American Hotel & Lodging Association says it will arrange to meet with the online travel agencies about a federal hotel-tax standard -- but AH&LA's hotel members will meet with Congressional lawmakers this week "about the threat posed" by the OTAs' proposed legislation.On Friday, three days before the start of AH&LA's Legislation Action Summit, which begins today, a coalition -- including the American Society of Travel Agents, the Interactive Travel Services Association, the Business Travel Coalition, the U.S. Tour Operators Association and Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association — proposed a meeting this week with AH&LA so hotels and online travel agencies and travel management companies might work together to address any concerns about the legislation’s “potential language.”Marlene Colucci, AH&LA's executive vice president for public policy, says when the organization became aware last Spring of the OTA's intent to propose a federal standard on occupany taxes, the OTAs refused to share the legislation's proposed language and declined to meet."Because they refused to meet or discuss our concerns and continued to press for the passage of their legislation, we were compelled to inform Congress of our concerns and began to meet with many Congressional lawmakers to express our opposition to the Internet Travel Tax Fairness Act."Colucci says the measure would give the OTAs a preference in avoiding local hotel taxes on retail rates and would subject hotels "to massive tax increases" as cities and states look to recoup lost tax revenue."We are pleased the OTCs (Online Travel Companies) are now seeking to discuss this topic as we requested," Colucci says. "We look forward to arranging the details of this meeting and attending it to discuss our mutual interests."Meanwhile, AH&LA members will continue to knock on Congressional doors this week to lobby against the proposed legislation -- meeting or no meeting.