DEHOGA: The most important questions & answers about the German Hotel and Restaurant Association


On December 6, 1949, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) was founded in Frankfurt am Main. DEHOGA was founded in Frankfurt am Main. You can find out exactly what kind of association DEHOGA is, whose interests the association represents, whether and how you can become a member and everything else you need to know about DEHOGA in our magazine article.

What is DEHOGA?

DEHOGA is a federal association made up of 17 state associations and two professional associations. The trade associations are the German Hotel Association (IHA = "International Hotel Association") and the Union of Tenants of Motorway Service Companies (UNIPAS). DEHOGA represents two very large sectors, namely the catering and hotel industries, and its members benefit from representation vis-à-vis politicians, the media and the public. DEHOGA fights for fair economic conditions and labor rights for hospitality companies, for example. DEHOGA is also a service provider for its members, which means it also brings them financial benefits. The association has around 65,000 members, including hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, canteens and cafés.

Why do associations like DEHOGA exist at all?

According to the Duden dictionary, an association is "a larger grouping formed by several smaller associations, clubs or the like or by many individual persons to assert common interests". This means that associations form a framework for a certain group of people to discuss social issues together, regulate them and achieve common goals. However, being a member of an association also means getting to know lots of new people and being able to make contacts within the industry.

What industry topics does DEHOGA deal with?

DEHOGA's aim is to secure the future of the catering and hotel industry, taking current challenges into account. "A policy that recognizes and values the economic and social importance of the industry and acts accordingly is of central importance," says the association's own website. At the top of the association's agenda is currently the permanent application of the seven percent VAT. However, according to the latest information from Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the coalition government has agreed that VAT on food in restaurants will be raised to 19 percent again at the start of 2024. DEHOGA's task is to address issues such as these in order to secure the future of the industry.

DEHOGA's industry topics at a glance:

  1. Securing labor and skilled workers
  2. Workers from third countries (speeding up and reducing bureaucracy)
  3. Working Hours Act
  4. Accessibility
  5. Vocational training
  6. Company pension schemes
  7. Energy and climate policy
  8. Digitalization
  9. Food law and consumer law
  10. Taxes
  11. Value added tax

You can find out more about DEHOGA's industry topics here.

Does DEHOGA deal with future topics?

Sustainable thinking has become very important in the catering and hotel industry in particular. The focus is on topics that are intended to secure the future of the industry and that involve environmentally friendly action. DEHOGA is also committed to combating food waste, for example. DEHOGA members are given tips on how they can act in a more sustainable and resource-saving way.

Speaking of which: In this magazine article, we present various ways in which you can hand in your leftover food to counteract food waste.

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Which trade associations and specialist departments belong to DEHOGA?

As already mentioned, two trade associations are part of the federal association DEHOGA: the IHA and UNIPAS. For your business, this means that if you are active nationwide and would like to discuss supra-regional topics, you can become part of a specialist department and a specialist association with a Plus membership of DEHOGA in addition to membership of the regional associations.

The trade associations of DEHOGA

What does the German Hotel Association (IHA) do?

The IHA has around 1,400 members and represents a large part of the German hotel industry. At national and international level, the association influences the future performance and competitiveness of its members. This means that the association represents the interests of the hotel industry and aims to maintain the industry's reputation.

What do I get as a member of the IHA?

Members of the IHA receive quality information about the industry and current and important marketing tools from the association, naturally tailored to the individual needs of each member.

What does UNIPAS do?

The Union der Pächter von Autobahn-Service-Betrieben e.V. (UNIPAS) represents the interests of freeway service stations and freeway service station operators. It therefore regulates all economic and legal changes that the businesses encounter.

The specialist departments of DEHOGA

The DEHOGA specialist departments include system catering, communal catering, station catering, catering and discotheques.

The system catering department

System catering has been part of DEHOGA since 1991. This specialist department represents the interests of system and brand catering in Germany at an economic and political level. Examples of system catering are McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King and Subway.

The specialist department of community catering

Communal catering is the catering of people, for example in healthcare facilities or canteens. DEHOGA has been supporting and representing communal catering since 1999. Thanks to DEHOGA, communal caterers stay up to date with the latest legislation and have the opportunity to exchange ideas within the industry.

The specialist department for station catering

The UNION Deutscher Bahnhofsbetriebe represents the DEHOGA specialist department for station catering and works together with the Verband Deutscher Bahnhofbuchhändler e. V. (VDBB) to defend the rights of retail businesses at railroad stations.

The catering department

The DEHOGA Catering Department also represents the political and economic interests of the industry. It is concerned with the provision of food and drink at a specific location and is therefore very important, especially in today's world of co-working or international appointments, for example.

The Discotheques department

The specialist department for discotheques is made up of the Bundesverband deutscher Discotheken und Tanzbetriebe e. V. (BDT) (Federal Association of German Discotheques and Dance Halls) and is committed to the concerns of the industry. Examples of this are fair competition and only seven percent VAT on entrance fees.

What are the benefits of DEHOGA membership?

Membership of DEHOGA is basically voluntary for entrepreneurs in the catering and hotel industry. However, there are some positive aspects to DEHOGA membership.

Why should I become a member of DEHOGA?

Reasons that speak in favor of DEHOGA membership:

  • Your political, economic and social interests are represented and issues relating to your rights as a business are clarified.
  • Public relations work is undertaken for the community catering sector.
  • You gain an information advantage in the industry through various newsletters.
  • You can make new contacts in your sector and exchange information and experience.
  • Cooperation with hotel management schools promotes training and further education in the industry.
  • Your cooperation with other organizations is coordinated by DEHOGA.
  • You receive individual business advice and can benefit from lower GEMA fees.

How much does DEHOGA membership cost?

The membership fee for a DEHOGA regional association varies depending on the federal state; you can easily find the fee regulations of the respective regional associations on the Internet. Using Bavaria and Hamburg as examples, we would like to show you the approximate costs you will incur. You will be assigned to a contribution level depending on the number of employees you have. The number of employees also includes you as the business owner and family members. You can claim the membership fee in full as a business expense for tax purposes.

Membership of DEHOGA Hamburg

To become a member of DEHOGA Hamburg, you must first pay an admission fee of 38 euros. The contribution levels to which you can be assigned range from zero to nine and the contribution level has been valid since January 1, 2023. For a membership in DEHOGA Hamburg, you pay 11.90 euros per month without a business(level 0) and therefore without employees. Contribution level one includes zero to three employees and you pay 23.60 euros per month. The total contribution amount increases to level 9 (201 employees or more) to 286.60 euros.

Membership of DEHOGA Bavaria

In DEHOGA Bavaria, the contribution levels to which you are assigned range from one to seven. With just one branch, you pay 36.71 euros per month. From level seven, you pay 225.20 euros for more than 75 employees. Personal membership of DEHOGA Bayern costs 11.30 euros per month.

How can I become a member of DEHOGA?

Before you apply for DEHOGA membership, you should know that each federal state has its own membership regulations, which you should read through before you apply. The membership fee varies depending on the number of employees and your business premises. There are also different contribution levels to which you can be assigned. So first of all, read everything carefully.

You can become a DEHOGA memberhere.

(Image source: ©Hamburg Messe und Congress / Julian Huke)

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