Celebration of independence

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By Bhavesh Patel, AAHOA Chairman (2017-2018)

July is the month for independence. As Americans – even new Americans – we celebrate Independence Day on July 4.

In 1776, in what was probably a very hot and stifling room in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, America’s founding fathers signed what they knew the British Crown considered treason: The Declaration of Independence. Hindsight being what it is, we now know their incredible wisdom and courage in crafting the words that would reverberate across the world:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That American creed, captured forever in the declaration, is part of what makes America great. It inspired President Abraham Lincoln as he overcame the American Civil War and ended slavery. It inspired a slew of declarations of independence from countries throughout the South and Central American continents. And the life, liberty and free pursuit of happiness that it promises continues to inspire generations of Americans, including and especially new American immigrants like what you, your parents or grandparents might be.

In good timing, July is also the month of AAHOA’s own Independent Hoteliers Conference. This year’s event at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas, on July 31 is a must-attend industry event for anyone with a stake in an independent property. Not only is the conference built to help you succeed specifically in an independent property, it’s a celebration of the traits that make independent properties great.

Perhaps there’s no greater advantage that independent hoteliers should take advantage of than the confluence of the enhanced creativity and identity you can carve out for your business and consumers’ trending tastes for local, unique experiences. The rise of home-sharing companies like Airbnb – and their reported $31 billion valuation – speaks to the power of this trend.

“People who choose Airbnb are seeking an intimate, non-manufactured experience,” Elizabeth Lowrey of Elkus Manfredi Architects told The New York Times. Lowrey designs hotels for a living, so her voice is stronger on this than most. What better way than to use your decidedly not-manufactured independent property to fill this demand among consumers?

Moreover, as an independent owner, you’re freer to chase emerging trends. As guests want more of the “alone together” space (think of a crowd in Starbucks, all wearing earbuds but “together”), fill that void with a unique and new concept in your lobby or courtyard. Find that unique and new concept – and the vendors that will make that dream a reality for you – at the Independent Hoteliers Conference.

This July 4, take a moment to appreciate what happened 241 years ago in Philadelphia, just minutes away from my own home in New Jersey. Then, on July 31, celebrate your own independence by joining us in Dallas at the Independent Hoteliers Conference.

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