By Kate Hughes
April 30, 2019
Last week, more than 8,000 hotel professionals converged in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter for the 2019 Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Convention & Trade Show. Hoteliers, vendors, brand leaders, and other hotel industry partners gathered at the San Diego Convention Center—home of the massive San Diego Comic Con—to celebrate AAHOA’s 30th anniversary, reflecting on the organization’s past and the path that led AAHOA to its current levels of success.
Past & Future
Last Thursday, the Convention kicked off with industry legend Mike Leven, who, in 1989, was one of the co-founders of AAHOA. He talked about the discrimination facing Asian American hoteliers 30 years ago, and how AAHOA was formed to combat challenges that stemmed from this oftentimes-hostile environment.
Leven also mentioned that the first AAHOA Convention had only 150 attendees and a year’s membership to the organization cost just $25. Today, AAHOA has 18,500 members, making it the largest hotel association in the world. “How proud I am of what you have done,” he said. “And the young people here should know how much work went into it, how many of the original founders left their businesses behind and worked so hard to get the membership that [AAHOA] has today.”