Independent hoteliers bring the entrepreneurial spirit to AAHOA


Cecil P. Staton
AAHOA President & CEO

I have a deep appreciation for entrepreneurs – the risk-takers who boldly pursue their passions and bring businesses to life. In fact, the ability to work with more than 19,500 entrepreneurs is one of my favorite parts of my role as president and CEO of AAHOA. Whether you own a franchised property or an independent hotel, there’s nothing like the freedom that small business ownership affords you in pursuing your dreams, and AAHOA is here to give you the tools you need to make your business a success.

More than 30 percent of members have independent hotels in their portfolios. Many AAHOA Members got their start in independent properties and developed successful hotels without the assistance of brands. Independent hotels bring an important diversity to a marketplace that is dominated by franchised properties.

As many members know, one of the benefits of owning a franchised property is the vast resources that can come with a franchise agreement. Independent hoteliers, on the other hand, do not enjoy benefits like national advertising, reservation systems, professional development resources, and a built-in network of similarly situated hoteliers.

That’s why AAHOA’s member benefits are so important for independent hoteliers. We strive to provide them with many of the resources that would otherwise be provided by a brand. Professional development is one of the key tools with which AAHOA equips its members. Through the AAHOA HOTEL OWNERS ACADEMY™, members can access hundreds of webinars, education sessions, and trainings that cover key areas like revenue management and optimization, financial management, ADA compliance, marketing, human resources, and many more.

AAHOA also provides independent hoteliers with free access to more than 200 events nationwide each year, including the annual convention, 28 regional meetings, and more than 100 town halls. These provide valuable networking opportunities and the chance to meet with vendor partners face to face to determine what deals are best for one’s property. AAHOA also offers conferences specifically tailored for women hoteliers, independent hoteliers, and young professionals. AAHOA’s partnerships with more than 500 vendors gives members exclusive discounts with vendors such as Chase, HBO, Lowe’s, UnitedHealth Group, UPS, and Zonetail. Members also enjoy discounted credit card transaction rates offered by Chase, one of our longtime partners.

When I first joined AAHOA, someone told me, “At AAHOA, we lift each other up.” No hotelier should have to go it alone, and with AAHOA’s incredible member resources, no hotelier is ever on their own. We will continue working to provide our members with the tools and resources they need to thrive and support the entrepreneurial pursuits that make our industry and our nation great.


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