Building Tomorrow Today


New AAHOA Chairman Miraj S. Patel on the importance of seizing opportunities

AT THE CONCLUSION OF AAHOACON24 IN Orlando, FL, on April 5, Miraj S. Patel officially began his tenure as AAHOA Chairman for 2024-2025. As the youngest Chair in AAHOA’s history, Patel first joined the AAHOA Board of Directors in 2019 when he was elected as the Young Professional Director Western Division, followed by his election as AAHOA Secretary at AAHOACON21 in Dallas, TX. Despite what may seem like a quick ascendency on the outside, Patel has been preparing for this moment nearly his entire life.

A second-generation hotelier, Patel began his career in hospitality from a very young age, growing up in his family’s 30-room independent property in Texas.

“My brother and I literally grew up there,” he said. “We shared a bunk in a tiny room that connected to my parents’ room. My parents sacrificed for us and that hotel in countless ways, putting aside what they wanted, to not only appease their parents, so their children could reap the benefits in the future.”

Patel recalled tagging along with his dad to AAHOA events even before he was 10 years old. After attending his first AAHOACON in 2013 in Houston, TX, he hasn’t missed one since.

aahoa chairman miraj

AAHOA Chairman Miraj S. Patel and his fiancée, Binita Patel, pictured together. The couple is set to marry in late Summer 2024.

The independent property Patel’s family owned, he said, “gave my family an opportunity to create a new future, and it allowed me to attend Johnson and Wales University in Miami, FL, one of the premier hospitality schools in the country.” 

However, though Patel was physically far from Texas during his time at school in Florida, he remained active in AAHOA. On his 18th birthday, Patel asked for a slightly atypical gift from his parents; he requested they invest for him to become an AAHOA Lifetime Member.

from the ground up the independent

“My dad thought I was nuts,” he recalled.

However, that forward-thinking decision kickstarted Patel’s eventual rise to the role of AAHOA Chairman.

Just a few years later, Patel was elected as the youngest Secretary in AAHOA’s now-35-year history, and his journey is just getting started.

And that 30-room property in Texas where Patel lived with his family?

“It’s been 26 years, and we still have that hotel in our portfolio today,” he said, proudly.

aahoas top industry challenges

As he begins his tenure, Patel points to a few key issues where he feels like the industry needs to be focused to move forward.

“I’m exceptionally proud of the relationships we’ve built with our federal legislators, but we’ve made significant progress on the state and local levels, as well,” he said. “We need to be in front of these representatives, explaining the unique needs of our industry and why certain laws could impact small business owners and entrepreneurs”

And, while Patel worked closely with AAHOA leadership to identify the challenges for his 2024-2025 tenure, he speaks of one aspect quite frequently and cites it as the cornerstone of all industry growth. Learn more on the following page.

“The most important element that runs through everything is NOI,” he said. “Everything we do as hoteliers should ultimately be done to increase NOI, whether you’re a franchised property or an independent. And, while independents have plenty of their own unique challenges, franchised properties are facing potential dilution of brand value due to the number of new brands coming to market, leaving consumers with a struggle to differentiate in the marketplace.”

Patel along with the AAHOA Board of Directors, is committed to truly helping hoteliers by following AAHOA’s mission, vision, and core values, pushing AAHOA to evolve, elevate, and protect the industry as a whole.

“I look forward to challenging all of us to stay focused on what matters with intention, clear goals, realistic objectives, and simple and straightforward solutions,” Patel said. “Simply put, we will put our members at the center of every decision we make.”

aahoas top industry challengesTHE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
As the youngest Chairman in AAHOA’s history, Patel hopes others will use his story as fuel for their own careers.

“I’m always encouraging young professionals to not let age determine success. Many times, people may say you’re too young or you can’t do what other people are doing, but that’s absolutely not true. There are so many folks who are young but still do whatever it takes to find success. If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving.”

The lessons Patel said he hopes to pass onto those early in their careers in the industry that has already given him so many opportunities are simple – take advantage of every opportunity and get involved, network and make as many meaningful connections as possible, and let AAHOA be the foundation.

“I am where I am today because of AAHOA, and it’s incredibly reassuring to know the same is true for so many other AAHOA Members.”

AAHOA’s top industry challenges in 2024 and beyond


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