HITESH (HP) PATEL
AAHOA Chairman (2018-2019)
Being Chairman of AAHOA is one of the great honors of my life. For the past year, I have witnessed the exceptional work ethic, professionalism, and determination of our members. While I have been involved in the hotel industry for as long as I can remember, this experience shined a new light on who we are as an industry and the extent of our contributions to society.
Some of my favorite moments happened on the road. Participating in Town Halls and Lobby Days with my fellow hoteliers was a unique opportunity that allowed me to learn firsthand about the local issues that affect our membership. Through these events, I built strong relationships with hoteliers from every part of the country, each who offered their voice to help promote policies that benefit the business interests of us all.
But I am most proud of the many accomplishments this year that helped AAHOA have the most successful year in its history. In 2018, AAHOA set new records in almost every area. We reached more than 18,500 members, had record-high participation rates at our educational events and webinars, and AAHOA PAC had its best year yet raising more than $1.25 million. AAHOA’s Human Trafficking Awareness Training initiative also has grown, thanks to the overwhelming commitment from our members. To date, more than 2,000 hoteliers and their employees have completed training through AAHOA’s partnerships with Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) and Polaris and now have the tools to help keep their communities and properties safe.
Active engagement from our members brought AAHOA’s advocacy initiatives in Washington D.C. to new heights as well. From the hundreds of hoteliers who descended upon Capitol Hill for the Legislative Action Summit to the regional fly-ins, our members advocated one on one with our elected officials for the issues that are most important to us. As small business owners, we provide a valuable perspective on a variety of issues, from the importance of preserving the small business tax deduction to the need for a statutory fix to the joint-employer definition. These ongoing relationships with lawmakers continue to foster AAHOA’s reputation as the foremost resource and authority in the hotel industry.
I would like to thank each of you for your crucial role in making these accomplishments possible. Your commitment and dedication to AAHOA is the reason why we have so much to be proud of. The work we do goes beyond being a trade association; we have built a community that gets stronger each year. I am so grateful to have played a part in this milestone year as Chairman, and I wish the best of luck to Jagruti Panwala in her term at the helm of this great organization. I know she will continue to help AAHOA flourish, and I am excited to continue working with all of you in the future to build an even stronger AAHOA.