CECIL P. STATON
AAHOA PRESIDENT & CEO
During the past 14 months, hoteliers have adapted protocols to constantly maintain best practices in sanitation, safety, and security. While the health and safety of guests and employees remains top of mind, the increase in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders piles additional stress to an already trying period for our industry. Just weeks ago, hotel owner Ushaben Patel and her husband Dilipbhai Patel of Elkton, MD, were violently attacked, resulting in the passing of Ushaben and the hospitalization of Diliphbai. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dilipbhai Patel and his family. Rest assured that justice will be delivered.
This violent attack against two small business owners in our community is repugnant and disturbingly among an increase in violence against hoteliers. As an association committed to lifting up America’s hoteliers and members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, AAHOA stands firmly against violence, hate, and discrimination of all kinds. I want it to be clear to every member of AAHOA and the broader hospitality industry that you are an essential, valued part of our community and we feel deeply for anyone who experiences anxiety, uncertainty, or fear from these abhorrent acts of violence.
Today’s climate poses extraordinary challenges to hoteliers and their teams already operating during a global pandemic. When considering fire escape plans, security cameras, and ADA accessibility standardized on every property, the enhanced cleaning measures and social distancing introduced by the pandemic pile onto an already extensive list of protocols and safety measures. It takes a lot to make a hotel thrive. Now, more than ever, search for means to find peace of mind and ease the anxieties of operating a small business. It takes resilience and intuition to adapt to the ever-changing hospitality market, and we are always seeking ways to make lodging service more secure for you and your employees.
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOCAL FIRST RESPONDERS
In the event of a fire, crime, or natural disaster, your local first responders will be first on the scene. Annual check-ins with local law enforcement, the fire department, and paramedics are encouraged to keep your staff trained and your emergency response plans updated. You can’t anticipate what may occur on your property, but you can have a plan ready and rehearsed. With the recent cases of violence against hoteliers, building relationships with law enforcement has never been more relevant. Hotel staff are already trained to recognize and report potential crimes, such as human trafficking, to local police. Dedicated security personnel are often not suitable to have on staff full time, but you can prepare your team and better execute a response to a worst-case scenario by maintaining frequent communication with law enforcement.
While we build back our industry and grapple with the horrific incidents of violence perpetrated against our community, AAHOA remains committed to ensuring hoteliers, their guests, and employees are respected and supported. No hotelier should go it alone, and always know that you can turn to AAHOA. We are here for you, your families, and your businesses.