Hospitality industry creates powerful new voice through association merger

Michigan Restaurant Association and Check In Michigan merge to become the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association

LANSING - The Michigan Restaurant Association and Check In Michigan (formerly the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association) announced today that each of their boards have approved a letter of intent to merge their two statewide associations. The proposed merger will result in a unified and commanding new voice for the hospitality industry in Michigan.

The successor organization will be known as the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA). Once member approval of a plan of merger is obtained, will officially launch April 1, 2019 at the current headquarters of the Michigan Restaurant Association.

“This proposed merger feels like the natural evolution of our two organizations,” said Justin Winslow, President & CEO of the MRA, who will serve in the same capacity for the new MRLA. “We already share many members, legislative priorities and industry challenges. Through this proposed merger, we have the opportunity to elevate the voice of the hospitality industry in Lansing and in Washington D.C., while expanding upon the value and vision we already provide for our members.

The restaurant and lodging industries play an integral role in Michigan’s economy. The restaurant industry employs nearly 450,000 people and creates more than $16 billion in annual sales, while the lodging industry employs more than 155,000 people and creates nearly $24 billion in sales.

“Our organizations represent unique industries that have many of the same interests,” said Deanna Richeson, President and CEO of Check In Michigan. “We look forward to joining forces with the Michigan Restaurant Association on this proposed merger to enhance the goals and priorities of the hotel and lodging industry.”

The respective boards of the 501(c)(3) educational foundations of each association also approved a letter of intent to merge, to create a unified education foundation for the restaurant and lodging industries. Once approved, it will serve as a philanthropic foundation of the MRLA to enhance the education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities for the industries.

The Detroit Restaurant Association, a local chapter of the MRA operating in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties with a special focus on the city of Detroit, will rebrand as the Detroit Restaurant & Lodging Association (DRLA).

While the merger will not be finalized until 2019, the Michigan Restaurant Association will do business as the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association effective immediately, with changes to its external presence already underway. The new website domain is mrla.org and social media handles for the MRLA are @TheOfficialMRLA.





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