As this issue is distributed at the annual AAHOA Convention & Trade Show, held this year in San Antonio, April 11-14, we decided to feature Bruce Patel, president of Dabu Hotels and 2016/17 chairman of the association, as our Industry Insider (see page 28). With new initiatives—and a unified approach—the organization reported an unprecedented year of growth last year.
AAHOA has represented and given a voice to the Asian-American owners community for decades—this year will mark its 28th anniversary—and has lent its support and influenced change for its now 16,000-plus members. Support that was much needed when the association formed in 1989 to help combat discrimination not only within the industry from banks and insurance companies, but from outside: potential guests. Hotel Business was there in 1992 to report on the struggles and AAHOA’s first attempts at progress (see page 16).
In our interview with Patel, he not only recalls some of the steps the association took to get to its present-day status, but looks forward, sharing the direction AAHOA is heading. Following is part of the interview that didn’t make it onto page 28. You can feel the chairman’s enthusiasm for his association in his words:
“While I am honored to have led the association, the reality is that all accomplishments are a direct result of dedicated collaboration and teamwork… No one person can take credit for what is the joint effort of thousands.
I am really proud of how this board accepted the challenges we set for ourselves… We committed to a team approach, understanding that when any of us do well, we all do well. We have been able to grow our membership, our PAC donations and our attendance at events, while at the same time creating new educational programs along with opportunities for second-generation, women and independent hoteliers.”
When asked how he sees himself and AAHOA continuing to influence the future of lodging, and what he plans to do after completing his term and handing the reins over to Bhavesh Patel, the chairman told Hotel Business:
“Alongside our industry friends, we will continue to provide input in design, construction and development in order to innovate. AAHOA has already started establishing relationships with hospitality schools around the country. We want to be a resource for young, aspiring hoteliers as they make their way in this industry and to help them develop professionally… It’s safe to say that going forward, AAHOA will put a lot of emphasis on broadening and deepening its educational options. As for myself, I will always be active in this industry that I grew up in and love.”