Biran Patel, left, has taken on the role of chairman of AAHOA, after the transition was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He succeeds the association’s first Chairwoman Jagruti Panwala, right.

BIRAN PATEL HAS assumed the chairmanship of AAHOA after a delay caused by the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. He succeeds Jagruti Panwala, the association’s first woman to hold the position, and takes the reins as the association must help its members through the current crisis.

AAHOA’s chairmanship transition usually occurs at its annual convention and trade show, but that was delayed from April. It is currently scheduled to take place at the Orange County Convention Center, August 9-11.

Patel, a partner in BHP Investment Co. in Irving, Texas, posted a video message to the association’s 20,000 members praising their resilience during the  pandemic and promising to continue AAHOA’s efforts to help them continue to endure.

“In the face of this challenge, there is hope,” he said. “While there are many challenges for us as hoteliers, there are also opportunities for our association to grow and for us to grow with it. Over the past three months, AAHOA delivered valuable educational resources to our members about navigating, adapting to, and learning about COVID-19. Our advocacy team worked tirelessly to pressure Congress to address the liquidity crisis hotel owners face. AAHOA delivers under pressure.”

Patel said his priority will be to revise the association’s strategic plan to best help members face the sharp decline in occupancy that has occurred during the pandemic as a result of travel restrictions.

“Every few years, we revise AAHOA’s strategic plan. We are at one of those points now, and it could not come at a better time,” he said. “We can evaluate how to best meet our members’ needs on the road to recovery. Our board is united in serving AAHOA’s members, and we will see that reflected as we lay out our plan for the next few years.”

Patel joined AAHOA in 2003 and served as an ambassador and then a member of the board of directors as a regional director for North Texas. AAHOA members elected him as secretary in 2017. Along with his position at BHP Investments, Patel owns and operates multiple branded and independent properties. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and holds a degree in finance.

Patel thanked Panwala for her leadership over the past year since she assumed the chair at AAHOA’s 2019 convention in San Diego. Panwala said it was her honor.

“Over the past year, our association saw exceptional growth in membership, engagement, franchise relations, education, and advocacy. I am proud of how we pivoted to help hotel owners navigate the challenges of COVID-19,” she said. “AAHOA is here for America’s hoteliers, and I am confident that we will get through this crisis together. I look forward to continuing to serve AAHOA as the immediate past chair. Our association will continue to grow and to help our members at the highest level. I am excited for our upcoming convention in Orlando, and I cannot wait to see everyone there.”

Along with thanking Panwala for her handling of the chairmanship, Cecil Staton, AAHOA President and CEO, thanked outgoing Immediate Past Chair Hitesh “HP” Patel.

“His understanding of our industry, what owners are going through in different segments, and his knowledge of the challenges facing owners of both branded and independent properties are incredible assets that will serve AAHOA and America’s hoteliers well,” Staton said.