Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association names Michael Jacobson president, CEO

The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. Photo credit: Marriott International

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association appointed Michael Jacobson as incoming president and CEO.

Jacobson, who most recently served as the senior director of industry relations and political engagement for the U.S. Travel Association, joins the IHLA effective Oct. 1, 2018. He will replace industry veteran Marc Gordon, who announced his December 2018 retirement earlier this year after a 21-year tenure as the association’s president and CEO.

Michael Jacobson. Photo credit: Illinois Hotel
& Lodging Association

“This has been an exhaustive search, and we are thrilled with the outcome,” Tom Robertson, IHLA chairman and GM of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, said in a statement. “Michael brings experience, innovation and unmatched enthusiasm to this role. We look forward to his transition and to working with him to expand upon the great work that the IHLA has accomplished for the industry.”

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With USTA since 2010, Jacobson has contributed to a dynamic organization made up of 1,200 member organizations, 65 employees and $34M in revenues. Beginning as a coordinator, then manager, overseeing USTA’s political action committee and grassroots advocacy, he quickly rose to director of industry relations and political engagement, and then senior director. He has built fundamental relationships both locally and nationally with elected officials and senior-level leaders in the travel industry. In addition to his business development and member retention responsibilities, he has also led the charge in political engagement activities—including grassroots advocacy, state-based campaigns and PAC fundraising. His expertise led to numerous speaking engagements for USTA, where he has shared industry insights at travel industry conferences and state-level lobby days. One of USTA’s most successful initiatives, Jacobson also spearheaded “Travel Talks,” a site visit program connecting members of Congress with local travel leaders.

“I am honored to join the IHLA team,” Jacobson said in a statement. “As an Illinois native, I am excited to combine my love for the state with my dedication to the hotel industry. This is a crucial time for hotels and lodging statewide, and I look forward to building upon IHLA’s commitment to legislative advocacy, education and member engagement. As one of the state’s key economic drivers, I am thrilled to represent the 281,000 Illinoisans whose livelihoods depend on the hospitality industry.”

“As Michael begins a new chapter leading IHLA, I couldn’t be prouder or more pleased for his new opportunity,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement. “I’ve been a witness to Michael’s outstanding contributions at U.S. Travel, the value he’s created for our members and the role he’s played as a travel advocate—all aspects that will benefit IHLA in its critical work ahead. We offer him our full support and wish him much success.”

Jacobson holds a BA in political science from Seton Hall University, and remains active in the alumni community. An advocate for the American Cancer Society, he sits on the Global Relay For Life Leadership Team and founded Seton Hall University’s annual effort. Global Relay For Life enables cancer leagues around the world to increase their visibility and generate cancer awareness, outreach and income while building survivorship, volunteerism and advocacy efforts in their communities. Jacobson also serves as a trustee on the Illinois Township District 214 Education Foundation Board of Trustees.

A native of Prospect Heights, Ill., Jacobson resides in Chicago with his wife Sarah and newborn daughter, Madelyn.

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