ATLANTA—Like most industries, the hospitality sector is ever evolving. Keeping up with industry news and changes, and staying informed about the latest trends and innovations is important. Young professionals in the hospitality sector, whether they are just starting out or have been working in the industry for a number of years, are eager to learn all they can from their more experienced colleagues—at least, that’s what can be gleaned from the strong turnout at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Young Professionals’ (YP) recent inaugural Day at Hyatt event.
Held at Hyatt headquarters in Chicago on July 15th, the first-time initiative attracted nearly three-dozen AAHOA YP members. The daylong event gave these young professionals an opportunity to learn from and network with leading experts in the field.
“Hyatt is one of America’s top brands and a recognized leader in our industry,” said Chip Rogers, AAHOA president and CEO. “AAHOA members, and especially young hoteliers, are very interested in working with Hyatt and building their portfolios to include successful Hyatt properties.”
Activities for the attendees were scheduled throughout the day and included tours of two Hyatt hotels as well as an overview of the hotel’s history, brands and culture. Young professionals also attended informative educational sessions and modules that touched on industry-related topics such as sales and operations support, design and planning, and development.
Binita Patel, AAHOA YP director at large (eastern division), expressed enthusiasm about the event and for the future of the organization’s growing relationship with the hotel brand. “This is an incredibly exciting time to be an AAHOA young professional member,” she said. “The Hyatt-AAHOA relationship has experienced significant positive growth in the last few years and this event—the first of its kind at Hyatt—is clear evidence of that growth.”
Joining the young members at the Hyatt event in the windy city were AAHOA Chairman Bharat (Bruce) Patel, Vice Chairman Bhavesh Patel, Treasurer Hitesh (HP) Patel and Neal Patel, AAHOA YP director at large (western division).
“It was a great networking, learning and eye-opening experience for the AAHOA Young Professionals,” said Neal Patel. “This opportunity would not be possible without AAHOA and its valued partners like Hyatt. Events like these provide so much value to our membership, and prove AAHOA is working for its members.”
Founded in 1989 and now in its 27th year, AAHOA represents more than 15,000 members across the country who own more than 23,000 properties, amounting to more than 50% of all hotels in the U.S., according to the organization’s website. Its mission is to “advance and protect the business interests of hotel owners through advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member brands and community involvement.”
The Young Professionals chapter of AAHOA was started primarily to foster younger members to become more engaged in the lodging business and the association, according to Vinay Patel, one of the original YP committee members. “It is a venue where the association can help, hear or implement different opportunities for the new younger generation of hoteliers,” she said. “It has helped many young people and helped guide the direction of their career path.”
The association continues to host events where the more experienced members share their professional stories with young hoteliers, including discussing the mistakes they’ve made along the way as well as tales of their many successes. “Overall, it has been a great opportunity for both the younger generation and for AAHOA as an association by creating future leaders,” said Vinay.
The next AAHOA brand workshop will be provided by Hilton at its headquarters located in McLean, VA, on Oct. 24th. For more information about the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, visit the organization’s website at aahoa.com HB