A fond farewell


Jagruti Panwala

It has been an honor to serve you as AAHOA Chairwoman. I speak for the entire AAHOA Board of Directors, my fellow officers, and the AAHOA staff when I say we have the greatest empathy for our members and their families who are enduring the many hardships that have become synonymous with this crisis. I could not be prouder of you, our AAHOA Members, for your resilience, your pride, and your willingness to help others during these troubling times. We’ve shown that, as a community, we’re stronger together. This strength in unity has defined AAHOA over our association’s 30-year history.

When I assumed my position as AAHOA Chairwoman, I never could have imagined the progress AAHOA and our members would come to achieve. Before we shifted our attention and our resources almost exclusively to addressing the pandemic, AAHOA continued advancing, growing, and making our mark on the hospitality industry. We saw our membership reach nearly 20,000, the highest in our history. We experienced a 92-percent increase in event attendance. We trained more than 6,000 people in our industry-leading human trafficking awareness trainings. We launched MyAAHOA.com, the one-stop shop to manage memberships and take advantage of all that AAHOA has to offer. AAHOA PAC reached new heights, recording the most $5,000 donors in association history.

When the COVID-19 crisis crippled our country, our economy, and our industry, AAHOA got to work for our members. We held more than 100 webinars to help hoteliers specifically address COVID-19. We fought for and won flexibility for hoteliers to use Paycheck Protection Program loans to cover more expenses. And over these past few months, AAHOA has led the charge for industry-wide changes that could potentially change our landscape for the better and help move us forward on the road to recovery. From opt-in housekeeping, limited room amenities, and removing hot breakfasts to hitting the pause button on the enforcement of brand standards, PIPs, and policy rollouts, AAHOA is advancing policy changes to help America’s hoteliers save money and keep the lights on.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to upend a period of historical growth both for our industry and our association. I’ve always known that our members are held in high regard for the work they do as professionals and as industry advocates. Throughout my term, and especially in the past months, AAHOA Members rallied together to aid each other and the communities they serve. Even as our industry experienced the shockwave of COVID-19, our members displayed their professionalism as small business owners and community leaders in times of crisis.

AAHOA is an association where hoteliers lift each other up. I extend my sincere gratitude to every AAHOA Member – with your continued support, we shall remain #AAHOASTRONG. Serving as the AAHOA Chairwoman, and as AAHOA’s first Female Chair, has been the honor of my life. I am grateful to have served my term, and I hold the utmost confidence in the leadership Biran Patel will bring as the incoming AAHOA Chairman.

Thank you to our Ambassadors, Committee Members, and all those who volunteer their time, their energy, and their talents to make AAHOA all that it can be. Thank you to the AAHOA Board of Directors and the past AAHOA Chairs for your service and for laying the foundation on which we continue to build. It was a pleasure to join you all for the first Past Chairmen Council and board retreat. And lastly, thank you to my parents, my brother and sister, my children, and my husband for their support and inspiration. I wish the best of luck to my fellow AAHOA Officers as they forge the path for our great association, and I look forward to working with hoteliers across the country as we help rebuild our industry.


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