Small Hotel Groups Like Vimal Patel’s ‘In Danger of Losing Everything’


Source: Green Lodging News
by Anthony Mcauly
June 4, 2020

LAPLACE, LA.—Vimal Patel spent three decades building a small family empire of hotels along Louisiana’s highways and byways, but the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to tear the whole thing down.

From behind his desk in the LaPlace headquarters of QHotels Management, his family-owned hotel-development and management firm, Patel has been fighting to keep the businesses running while scrambling through a thicket of government programs. The 11 budget hotels he owns or operates in Louisiana and neighboring states have seen guest counts tumble and revenue plummet by nearly 90 percent since the coronavirus virtually halted travel across the United States.

Patel, who is a member of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, said the group recently met with Vice President Michael Pence in Florida to press the case for federal legislation aimed at CMBS practices as well as extending more SBA loans.

“If we could get measures to just stop the gouging and the exorbitant fees that would at least be something,” Patel said of the CMBS lenders.

Patel, who is now 50, said he lives in a state of constant anxiety. The fear, he said, is that he and his wife Mina, who runs the group’s finances, as well as his cousins and business partners Vedant, Jay and Kevin, could see their American dream evaporate.

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