The AAHOA Board of Directors shares highlights, triumphs, and outlooks as we embrace and define a new decade
What are you looking forward to most this year?
We’re planning to host at least 12 Town Hall meetings, including women’s and youth’s. We have goals to raise more PAC funds and have at least 25 members attend legislative events. We also want to engage at the local level and partner with NCRLA to raise concerns for hoteliers. I also now serve on the NCRLA Board, so I want to take the partnership to new heights and make it much stronger than ever before.
Akshat A. Patel
North Carolina Regional Director
AAHOA Members are accomplished and inspiring individuals. I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible this year and hearing their stories of small business success and their pursuit and realization of the American Dream.
President & CEO
This year, we will build upon our success in federal advocacy by strengthening our partnerships with state and national lodging organizations. These efforts will mirror the advocacy work we do in Washington. Helping hoteliers organize to address state and local laws and regulations will have a direct impact on issues that affect hoteliers’ bottom lines. Scaling our approach to federal advocacy for individual states will cement AAHOA’s status as an advocacy leader in the hospitality industry.
Jagruti Panwala, CHO
In 2020, I’m most looking forward to seeing AAHOA continue to increase our efforts to advocate for members on behalf of brands and sharing with members the proactive work we do behind the scenes to advocate on their behalf.
Jayesh R. Patel
Northeast Regional Director
I’m looking forward to working on member concerns, such as franchise and OTA issues. I’m also looking forward to working with AAHOA’s new president and CEO to see how we can take our association to new heights.
Leverage my past 21 years of experience with the association to help it grow to new heights by helping to increase its member base and partnership opportunities with resourceful vendors.
Tackling membership concerns over fair franchising with all the brands, legislative priorities on ADA-related lawsuits, and educating members on human trafficking awareness and prevention.
Georgia Regional Director
As we approach 2020 and continue this fast-paced growth, I am looking most forward to serving the interests of our members and putting them first in every decision we make. Being member-centric is a fundamental pillar of the association’s founding and it is the reason we are where we are. It is vital that we spend 2020 expanding on that principle.
Sawan H. Patel
Southeast Texas Regional Director
I am optimistic we will continue to make superb progress in my company, in AAHOA, and our industry. The challenges facing our industry are daunting, yet the power of AAHOA – combined with the passion and ingenuity of our members – will continue to address and resolve the issues affecting our industry, such as OTA fees and franchise mandates.
Imesh Vaidya, CHO
Southwest Regional Director
I am excited about the 2020 AAHOA Convention because we will celebrate several significant milestones, notably completing our 30th year and also completing a year of leadership with women in the two highest positions of power and decision-making. Women have always been the backbone of our industry, and at AAHOA, they are at the forefront. This sends an important message to our industry.
Washington, D.C. Regional Director
In 2020, we will continue to make gains on the issues facing all hoteliers. Franchise mandates, OTA fees, and franchise impact are some of the issues I expect to improve in the coming year.
Sanjay (Sam) Patel
Mid Atlantic Regional Director
Reflecting on 2019, what was the biggest highlight for you?
The biggest highlight would definitely be the 2019 AAHOA Convention with more than 8,000 AAHOA Members in attendance. Also, the stance AAHOA took to combat human trafficking for the hotel industry and now to see brands and other associations take the same initiative is phenomenal.
Hitesh (HP) Patel, CHO, CHA
Immediate Past Chairman
Hosting a record-breaking regional meeting with close to 300 attendees along with nearly 80 vendor partners participating in the trade show. Interacting personally with members and potential members and discussing their needs. Sitting on a panel discussing issues relevant to our members in the robust Nashville economy. Overall, the Regional Conference & Trade Show by far is my biggest highlight as it gives me an opportunity to meet my constituents.
Sunil Patel, CHO, CHA, CHIA
Mid South Regional Director
Representing AAHOA and the hospitality industry is a highlight I reflect upon this past year. It was an honor to be chosen by the White House to stand behind the president of the United States at the Rose Garden, where he spoke about a health care rule that can help small business owners all across the country.
The biggest highlight for this past year was being named to the board for the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Chetan (Chet) Patel, CHO
South Carolina Regional Director
2019 was unbelievable! I was able to see things and meet people I would have only dreamed of before. I underestimated how impactful the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard would be. Every time a young professional would mention what an impact AAHOA has made in guiding them and supporting them in their goals, it made me realize how just showing up or being engaged can make an impact on others and their potential life trajectory.
Purvi Panwala, CHO
Young Professional Director
The Convention was the biggest highlight of 2019 for me – to see where we started and where we have come is an overwhelming accomplishment. To see we are having to rethink our venues for future conventions due to member enrollment and engagement is a proud feeling.
Sanjay M. Patel
Alabama Regional Director
My biggest accomplishment is Arkansas becoming its own region for the first time in 30 years and passing two major bills, including protecting hoteliers from having to pay taxes on pre-pay bookings and misrepresentation of service animals in hotels. I am Arkansas’ first Regional Director, which is something I will always cherish.
Girish (Gary) Patel, CHA, CHO,
CHIA, Arkansas Regional Director
AAHOA’s focus to provide and educate hoteliers across the nation with Human Trafficking Awareness Training was a great success, and it’s growing among AAHOA Members.
Kalpesh Joshi, CHO
Upper Midwest Regional Director
The biggest highlight of the year is providing a platform for women hoteliers to engage, learn, and be informed of the ever-changing hospitality industry. This year, over 2,000 women hoteliers have attended our women’s sessions across the nation. We also provided two women-specific Brand Development Days at Hyatt and Marriott headquarters, where women were given the opportunity to learn about the brand and meet and connect with brand executives.
Lina Patel, CHO
Female Director Eastern Division
The biggest highlight for me was that we held an AAHOA event in Wyoming for the first time ever. We held a Town Hall meeting in an area where we were never present, and not only was it a big benefit for AAHOA, the people there were very excited to see us. They were glad we were there and said they look forward to attending our events next year.
Hiten Patel, CHO
Northwest Regional Director
One of the biggest highlights of 2019 was going back to basics in purchasing an independent motel, which was a first for us. My parents owned an independent, and while I never have, it was just a great feeling to take all the resources from what I have learned from major hotel chains and use the same best practices at our independent. I feel like I am in the driver’s seat.
Nimesh (Nick) Zaver
Gulf Regional Director
We had a great year, able to sit face to face with franchisors and discuss the issues many franchisees are facing. AAHOA is the only organization that will advocate for you with vendors, franchisors, and on Capitol Hill and at the state and local level. AAHOA defends us from policies that impact our industry.
Director at Large
As a hotelier, what excites you most about the future?
One word excites me about the future: hospitality. Our industry is not for the faint of heart – it is cyclical, competitive, and constantly changing. But hospitality also constantly brings us new opportunities for profit and progress. Our AAHOA family helps us capture those opportunities. As the marketplace changes, AAHOA will evolve and change. What will remain constant is AAHOA’s role as an essential resource in helping owners to make money, save money, and protect our investments.
Bharat Patel, CHO, CHIA
Florida Regional Director
These are some of the most exciting times for us as hoteliers. In the next five to 10 years, I see our members breaking ground on hotels like the JW and Ritz Carlton. I see us dominating this industry.
Kamalesh (KP) Patel
North Pacific Regional Director
As a hotelier, the next generation of leaders is what excites me the most about the future. It is apparent that we know the amount of hard work our predecessors have put into this industry to give us an opportunity to succeed. We are now seeing such a strong vibrancy in the industry as young professionals are actively participating in AAHOA. It is this participation that shows determination in the next generation of leaders to make an impact in the hotel industry through collaboration and innovation.
Miraj S. Patel, MBA, CHIA, CHO
Young Professional Director Western Division
Today, AAHOA Members own nearly 50 percent of the hotels in America, and I am looking forward to seeing AAHOA increase this percentage of hotels represented. I am a father of two children, and I am looking forward to providing a strong foundation for their future so they can take it to the next level.
Bhavesh N. Patel
North Central Regional Director
It will be interesting to see how our industry overcomes various challenges including but not limited to those posed by short-term rentals, rising costs of construction and labor, regulatory overreach, constant change in consumer expectations, rapid changes in technology, and new competition. Today’s threats to the hospitality industry are those that were unimaginable 10-15 years ago. How the hotel industry comes together to overcome these challenges will be exciting.
Mayur (Mike) Patel, CHO
North Texas Regional Director
Advancements in technology are fostering perpetual change in our industry. From automation to the guest experience, technology touches so many parts of our industry. So much has changed, and it will continue to change at a rapid pace. I’m excited to see how technology identifies and creates more efficiencies in our businesses and allows us to save time and money and reinvest that into expanding our businesses and enhancing the experience for both guests
Nishant (Neal) Patel, CHO, Secretary
The industry is going through major changes. There will be more independent hotels, more technology, more government interference, more demand on the owner to police the environment, compliance issues, and more. Life in three, five or 15 years is going to be totally different. Micro hotels. Modular building strategies. Robotics. Shortage of labor. Labor costs. These and more are going to impact the industry.
Central Midwest Regional Director
I strongly believe the hospitality industry will always be about guest experiences and connecting to the people, and it surely will require a human touch… but I am excited about the new technologies that would bring new capabilities and sources of revenue with lesser cost to do business.
South Central Texas Regional Director
With the platform AAHOA has built upon since it was founded, the AAHOA name is now embedded at the national level. It is exciting to see the value AAHOA brings to many of the elected officials and even more exciting to know we matter and are being heard. With a strong voice of more than 19,000 members, our future can only be brighter.
Prashant H. Patel
Director at Large
I am excited to see how far AAHOA has come from when I first joined 19 years ago. AAHOA has risen to America’s largest hotel owners association, and we are not stopping now. I am excited that I have an opportunity to serve as the voice and vision for our members to express their concerns at a larger scale and be heard. If we continue to join together, nothing will stop us from achieving the goals we have set for the future.
Jayesh (Jay) Patel, CHA
Director at Large
Technology has allowed hoteliers to develop much faster and operate over greater distances. Technological advancements that are being incorporated into hotels are also enhancing the guest experience and making travel and staying at hotels more convenient than ever before. I’m excited to see how the hotels of tomorrow will look and operate with these innovations. Could we see a modular 3D-printed hotel?
Mike Riverside, CHO, CHA
South Pacific Regional Director
Having passion for what I do excites me the most as a hotelier. Having platforms like AAHOA to learn and grow has been a great benefit to me personally. This organization has come a long way, and it is exciting to serve with a great group of leaders to learn from and pave the way for
Female Director Western Division