Bijal Patel, chairman of the California Hotel & Lodging Association, received AAHOA’s Political Forum Award for Advocacy. His work with initiatives to help hoteliers weather the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for the recognition.

BIJAL PATEL, CHAIRMAN of the California Hotel & Lodging Association, received AAHOA’s Political Forum Award for Advocacy. His work with initiatives to help hoteliers weather the COVID-19 pandemic was cited as a reason for his selection.

The award recognized Patel, CEO and principal partner of Coast Redwood Hospitality in Northern California, for guiding numerous advocacy initiatives on behalf of hotel owners during the pandemic.

It was presented at AAHOA’s 2021 Convention & Trade Show at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas last week. While accepting the award, Patel said that government officials have a more profound impact than ever on the bottom line of hotel owners.

“Our advocacy activities focus on making sure that hoteliers are helped more and harmed less by the decisions of legislators and regulators,” he said. “I’m honored and humbled that this award salutes the many proactive hours invested by our members and allies.  Political advocacy is never ‘one and done’ – the issues may change but our mission on behalf of hoteliers always continues,”

According to the statement, Patel’s notable achievement was the defeat of Proposition 15 on last November’s election ballot in California.  This victory prevented an increase in property taxes for business owners in the state that was projected to be double or triple or higher of current rates.

He effectively harnessed the collective power of CHLA and AAHOA to join with other pro-business parties who favored low taxes and high growth, it said. The “No On Prop 15” information campaign launched by the coalition spent more than $80 million to show voters why voting “no” was in their best economic interest.

Patel also worked with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, state agencies, and state regulators to expedite safe re-opening guidelines for small businesses like hotels and to lift restrictions on meetings of small groups so hotels could regain this important revenue stream.

He also led the initiative  to get hotel employees vaccinated as essential workers.

CHLA is the largest state hospitality group in the U.S. Its members operate almost a quarter million rooms at properties that range in size from small inns to hotels with 3,000 rooms.

The award is presented once a year to an individual who helps advance the interests of hotel owners through political involvement and government affairs, the statement further said.