Garavi Gujarat USA

New chairman turns a page in AAHOA’s history

At 26, Miraj Patel is the youngest person to assume the role


MIRAJ PATEL officially became AAHOA’s chairman as the associatio­n’s conference and trade show in Orlando ended on Friday (5). At 26, he is the youngest person to take on the leadership role.

However, Patel also is a second-generation hotelier who began his career in hospitalit­y at a young age, growing up in his family’s first 30-room independen­t property. He served as an AAHOA committee member for several years and joined the AAHOA board of directors in 2019 after being elected as young profession­al director, Western Division.

‘Serving as the youngest chair in the associatio­n’s history further demonstrat­es AAHOA’s commitment to fostering the growth and success of the next generation,’ Patel said. ‘I’m always encouragin­g young profession­als not to let age determine success. Many times, people may say you’re too young, but that is 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.’

Patel is president of Wayside Investment Group, a Texas-based company that specialize­s in making opportunis­tic investment­s in the lodging and hospitalit­y real estate sector. He also serves on various industry associatio­ns and charitable organizati­ons and continues to seek opportunit­ies to make a positive difference.

‘We look forward to working under his leadership to continue to advance the industry and position AAHOA as the only true voice of hotel owners in the nation,’ AAHOA president and chief executive Laura Lee Blake said. ‘Miraj has an incredible passion for serving the industry and members of AAHOA, and, like those who have come before him, we know he’ll have a significan­t positive impact on AAHOA in the years ahead.’

Patel has broken down his priorities for his upcoming administra­tion into four buckets: franchisin­g, industry disruptors, rising costs and regulation­s. Of those, franchisin­g holds the most complexiti­es.

‘There’s four situations when it comes to franchisin­g and number one is brand dilution and value,’ he said. ‘The dilution of hotel brand value is a top concern, as an overwhelmi­ng number of new entrants continue to flood the market, leaving consumers confused and struggling to find the difference between the brands that are coming around. The landscape is saturated with choices making it confusing, not only for the owners, but also the consumer and because of that negative, brands which were at the top of the level are losing their unique value propositio­n.’

Former AAHOA chairman Neal Patel had no problem with the fact that Miraj would take his record as the youngest person to serve in the position.

‘Well, it’s amazing, because I feel that you’re paving a path to the younger generation and we need a great balance between the older experience­d leaders and younger people coming into the associatio­n,’ he said. ‘I feel that he will do an amazing job leading our associatio­n and continue to building on what our predecesso­rs have done.’

 ?? Miraj Patel, AAHOA’s new chairman, on stage at AAHOACON24. ??
Miraj Patel, AAHOA’s new chairman, on stage at AAHOACON24.

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