AAHOA revealed its new chair and slate of officers at the conclusion of the 2021 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show which was the first major convention in Dallas since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The convention was held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Virginia hotelier Vinay Patel is the new chair of AAHOA’s board of directors. “Serving America’s hotel owners as the AAHOA chair is an honor, and I look forward to working with AAHOA’s nearly 20,000 members on the road to recovery,” Patel said. “Industry estimates continue to project a full recovery some time in late 2023 or 2024. Coming together as an industry is paramount to economic recovery, especially as new variants threaten to inhibit the reopening of America. I am confident that AAHOA’s enhanced advocacy and education efforts as well as the implementation of our new strategic plan will help our industry get back on track.”
He plans to focus on elevating the association’s advocacy and engagement at the state and local level including coordinating political education efforts with the American Hospitality Alliance. “We must be united in our advocacy efforts, especially as we engage with local governments,” he said. “I am also committed to broadening our outreach to lawmakers who have not necessarily engaged on the issues we champion. Building a broad coalition that supports small businesses and their employees will help draw more attention to why issues such as 1031 like-kind exchanges and the Save Hotel Jobs Act are so important to rebuilding our economy with new, good-paying jobs.”
In his inaugural address, Patel highlighted the importance of the industry’s collective efforts to keep the lights on during the pandemic, as well as the necessity of remaining optimistic about the recovery and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. “We are in uncharted territory as a country as we emerge from this crisis,” he said. “In a way, we are all letting our eyes adjust to the sunlight after spending more than a year in the darkness. It will be challenging. It will be frustrating. But AAHOA is here to help guide us as we rebuild, reinvest and recover.”
Patel joined AAHOA in 1993 and has served on its board since 2014. AAHOA members elected him as secretary in 2018. He is the President of Fairbrook Hotels, which owns and operates eleven properties including IHG, Hilton, Radisson, Choice and Wyndham brands. Patel also serves on the board of directors for the Virginia Hospitality and Tourism Association and is the president of the Herndon Hospitality Association.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Vinay prior to joining AAHOA, and he truly embodies the characteristics, qualities and values that make a great chairman,” said Ken Greene, interim president/CEO, AAHOA. “I have seen him in action as a property owner and as vice chair of AAHOA, and I couldn’t be more excited to work with him now as the chair. As we continue to lead AAHOA into its next chapter, I am certain his leadership, commitment and enthusiasm will play a pivotal role in AAHOA’s future success.”
Miraj S. Patel of Houston is the new AAHOA Secretary. Patel is the president of the Houston-based Wayside Investment Group.
AAHOA members also elected the following twelve members to the board of directors:
Female Director Western Division: Tejal N. Patel
Gulf Regional Director: Vimal Patel
Mid Atlantic Regional Director: Mahendra (MZ) Patel
Mid South Regional Director: Harikrishna (HK) Patel
North Pacific Regional Director: KP Patel
Northeast Regional Director: Sunil (Sunny) Patel
South Carolina Regional Director: Fenil Desai
South Central Texas Regional Director: Kiran (Kevin) Patel
Southeast Texas Regional Director: Ailesh Mulji
Southwest Regional Director: Dharmesh Ahir
South Pacific Regional Director: Mike Riverside
Upper Midwest Regional Director: Mehul (Mike) Patel
“Congratulations to our new AAHOA secretary and all of our newly elected board members,” said Greene. “It is encouraging to see so many members volunteering to serve America’s hotel owners. I look forward to working with new AAHOA Chair Vinay Patel, the board officers, our board of directors, and the entire AAHOA team as we assist the hospitality industry on the road to recovery. AAHOA’s value and resources have never been more apparent as we work tirelessly to reopen our economy and ensure that our communities are prepared to welcome back guests as the nation starts to travel again.”