Ear to the ground


Exploring the most pressing issues in the independent hotelier community

Vipul Dayal was elected and served as AAHOA’s Director at Large in 2015. During his tenure, he was responsible for identifying national trends, recommending fundraising tools and techniques, and spreading awareness of AAHOA’s resources and initiatives. He currently sits on AAHOA’s Independent Hotelier Committee and serves as a board member of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. Vipul also co-founded a Facebook group that has 41,000 hoteliers from around the world, and he’s been receiving an abundance of feedback. Here, he offers his thoughts on some of the most pressing issues affecting the independent hotelier community, especially those in the U.S.

“It’s hard for an independent hotelier to negotiate a lower reduction in OTA fees. So, when a powerful organization like AAHOA comes in and uses their platform to negotiate from 18%, to maybe even 15%, that 3% goes directly to our bottom line in terms of savings. The more that we can help hoteliers’ bottom line, especially AAHOA as an organization, that’s what I mean by OTA commission reduction.”

“I’ve noticed some entrepreneurs are having a tough time finding financing. Why? Your brand, less risk for the banking industry. I don’t know what the solution is, but we need to start exploring banks that are willing to work with independent hoteliers, who have a good plan and who have a good budget. Maybe AAHOA helps these independent hoteliers with the budget and with the marketing plan. There needs to be something banks could use in order for them to feel secure enough to loan money and help more people start their own independent hotels.”

“Brands have SOPs, but independent hoteliers don’t have any SOPs. You essentially have to create it on your own. What if your organization had some of these SOPs already available, just like some of the brands do? What if we had an SOP template that we could customize? A lot of hotels are archaic in nature, from how you check in a guest or you answer the phone call. All these kinds of things are archaic in nature. Creating an SOP would greatly benefit the independent hotelier.”

“Independent hoteliers have shared with me the tough time they have with contracts. Legal resources that they can use to help write contracts for vendors in order to negotiate or understand contracts from Expedia or other OTAs. I’m a big person on minimizing liability.”

“There’s a revenue manager I talked to yesterday who shared that one of their hotels has 117% occupancy. What hotel would not want to have that? Resources need to be available for independent hoteliers to go to and ask questions. No one is asking the right questions. Maybe we come up with a list of resources or come up with a list of vendors.”

“An AAHOA ‘intranet’ would facilitate communication among independent hoteliers. A lot of this communication is already happening on various WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups. But what if AAHOA created an intranet system connecting independent hoteliers and addressed any questions or concerns that are brought up in the “intranet.” 60% of the hotels in the U.S. are owned by AAHOA, what if you knew what they wanted on a day-to-day basis?”


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