Garavi Gujarat USA

Pinal Patel elected as AAHOA secretary

New board members also elected, industry partners named


PINAL PATEL was elected secretary of AAHOA at the culminatio­n of 2024 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show held last week in Orlando. New members of the associatio­n’s board of directors were also elected and new industry partners were announced.

Pinal, of Goodlettsv­ille, Tennessee, defeated H.K. ‘Hare Krishna’ Patel for the secretary position. He was born in Bardoli, India, and his family moved to the US in 1984 when he was 2, according to AAHOA. They lived in Nashville, Tennessee. Pinal said his parents did not speak any English when they brought him and his 1-year-old brother to America.

Pinal’s parents bought their first independen­t hotel in 1991, and the second-generation hotelier graduated from flight school at Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach, Florida, before buying his first franchise property. Previously, he has served as an AAHOA ambassador and as AAHOA’s director at large, Eastern Division.

‘Hard work definitely pays off,’ Patel said. ‘I’m going to make sure we do what’s right for the associatio­n and for the members. I promise to all my supporters, my family, and my fellow members that I will not let you down. I will do what’s best for the associatio­n’s interests.’

Taking to the debate stage

During AAHOACON24, Pinal and H.K. took to the debate stage where they each answered questions from the moderator, John Crow, president and founder of Crow Hospitalit­y Investment Group and founding member of AAHOA. Some of Pinal’s answers included:

On the plans for fair franchisin­g legislatio­n: ‘We have been supporting fair franchisin­g for the past 30 years and will continue to support fair franchisin­g. But what’s more important is the four pillars that we have right now. Right now, we have to make sure that the brands do not have mandated vendors, they are fully disclosing brand rebates, do not sell our loyalty points and also no new fees without the approval of the [Franchise Advisory Council].’

On advocacy priorities: ‘We need to get advocacy at the grassroots level. We need to educate our ambassador­s, our regional directors where they are connected to their local officials, we need to be more proactive than reactive. We need to get in front of the issues before they’re happening.’

On raising lifetime membership fees or changing benefits to help protect future finances: ‘AAHOA’s membership fee has been the same for the last 20 years now. Have your hotel rates been the same for the last 20 years? We must raise rates on everything. I understand that AAHOA’s membership has been $3,000, however, now it’s time that we need to raise the rates on everything in order to be able to sustain. To be able to help you we have to be able to get profits now.’

On adding education, conference, and other support to encourage young hoteliers in pursuit of new and different opportunit­ies: ‘Absolutely, we just launched our very first HYPE conference in New Orleans just a few months ago and it was an absolute success. You know what, we’re going to continue to do this.’

On cost overruns for last AAHOACON and the choice between greater venues and amenities and staying within budget, even if it means less expensive venues: ‘Yes, in Los Angeles, we did lose money for the very first time, but that is the planning. I have that experience to be able to plan future convention­s. I was a big advocate on reducing this convention now by one day, if we reduce this convention now, it saves the associatio­n $1 million.’

 ?? Pinal Patel of Goodlettsv­ille, Tennessee, (R) was elected secretary of AAHOA at the AAHOACON24 ??
Pinal Patel of Goodlettsv­ille, Tennessee, (R) was elected secretary of AAHOA at the AAHOACON24

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