AAHOA Hosts Its Largest Show and Ramps Up Advocacy Effects

Source: AAHOA Hosts Its Largest Show and Ramps Up Advocacy Efforts (lodgingmagazine.com)

The 2021 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show kicked off its largest event in the association’s history this week. More than 6,300 hoteliers, vendor and brand representatives, and other industry professionals converged at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas—the largest booking in that space since the pandemic began. During the opening general session, incoming 2021-2022 AAHOA Chair Vinay Patel welcomed members, acknowledging the challenges that hoteliers faced over the past 18 months, their perseverance through the pandemic, and what gives him hope for the future.

AAHOA Members Share Their Thoughts on Hospitality Industry

“Throughout the pandemic, being part of AAHOA for me, personally, really helped me overcome the challenges posed over this very difficult year. This sense of camaraderie was grounding and reassuring, and I know that you all felt it as well. This is the power of association and being together,” Vinay Patel said as he addressed members during the opening general session. “AAHOA is built for times like this when we all need to stick together to survive.”

Current AAHOA Chair Biran Patel reflected on the state of the industry in the wake of COVID-19. The leisure and hospitality industry lost 3.1 million jobs, recorded an occupancy rate of 44 percent in 2020, and surpassed 1 billion unsold room nights for the first time in documented history. Despite these setbacks, many hoteliers stepped up to support their communities. “You are essential businesses that braved the health risk of this pandemic to provide shelter to those in need,” Biran Patel continued. “You showed the world what hospitality is all about. Our nation needs you and your businesses.”

Shining Light on the AAHOA Convention

During the crisis, AAHOA members showed up and banded together, Biran Patel said, tripling member engagement over 2019 levels. “We all joined forces because when the going gets tough, we want smart people with big ideas and the best resources in the industry supporting us,” said Biran Patel.

AAHOA members’ influence on the industry and impact on the U.S. economy is now documented in a newly released two-year study conducted in partnership with Oxford Economics. According to the report, AAHOA member-owned hotels account for 60 percent of all U.S. hotels and contribute $368.4 billion to the U.S. GDP.

Ken Greene, who was recently appointed interim president and CEO of AAHOA, said that this data highlights how far the association has come in the 32 years since a small group of hoteliers met in Atlanta to form the association. “The time is now for AAHOA to fight for our members on a federal, state, and local level and make a difference.”

“We aspire for AAHOA to be the foremost resource and advocate for America’s hotel owners,” Biran Patel shared. “From advocacy and franchise relations to events, education, and developing top talent, we have an aggressive plan to make sure that we best serve our members.”

Persona’s AAHOA Experience

The Persona team had a great experience at the AAHOA Convention in Dallas, Texas. Three Sales Representatives, Jordan Gabriel, Cole Fischer and Doug Becht, and Persona President, Mike Peterson got the chance to reconnect with current partners and meet many new people. Our Sales Reps covered our booth to talk with other AAHOA attendees about their signage and lighting needs.

Persona plans to attend other tradeshows this year such as SPECS and HotelPoint. We hope to see you there!