Hilton’s Jacobs named as 2024 AHLA chairman

Vision’s Mitch Patel is the vice chair, other officers also appointed

Kevin Jacobs
Kevin Jacobs, Hilton’s CFO and president of global development, is the 2024 chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The association also named new officers, executive committee and board of directors.

KEVIN JACOBS, HILTON’s CFO and president of Global Development, is the 2024 chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The association also named new officers, executive committee and board of directors, including Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, as vice chair.

The association also named other new officers, executive committee and board of directors. They include Liam Brown, group president for Marriott International, U.S. and Canada, as secretary/treasurer and Julienne Smith, chief development officer, Americas, for IHG Hotels & Resorts, as the chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees, AHLA said in a statement.

“It’s an honor to serve as chair and help build upon AHLA’s impressive record of accomplishments on behalf of the hospitality industry nationwide,” said Jacobs. “I look forward to helping AHLA advance policies in support of our incredible industry, deliver exceptional member services and communications support, and rally the industry around our shared priorities.”

Jacobs succeeds Leslie Hale, president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, as AHLA’s board chair for 2024, the statement added. However, Hale continues on the board as the immediate past chair. Jon Bortz, chairman and CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, remains chair of the HotelPAC Advisory Council, and Chip Rogers continues as AHLA president and CEO on the board.

“Year after year, AHLA raises the bar for hospitality advocacy and member services thanks in large part to the amazing leaders from all sectors of our industry who serve on our board and executive committee,” said Rogers. “We have assembled another slate of extraordinary executives in 2024. Their guidance and counsel will be instrumental to delivering advocacy victories for our members in 2024.”

New appointees

Julie Arrowsmith, president and CEO of G6 Hospitality, LLC, joined AHLA’s executive committee, AHLA said. New additions to the association’s board of directors include Bryan Giglia, CEO of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.; Sarah Gulla, senior vice president of asset management at Pebblebrook Hotel Trust; Alexi Khajavi, president of hospitality, travel, and wellness at Questex; Ayesha Molino, president and COO of ARIA and Vdara, and chief public affairs officer at MGM Resorts International; Vinay Patel, president and CEO of Fairbrook Hotels; Brad Rahinsky, president and CEO of Hotel Equities; Azim Saju, CEO and president of HDG Hotels; Scott Strickland, EVP, chief information and distribution officer at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; and Shai Zelering, managing partner at Brookfield, among others.

AHLA’s advocacy outcomes

In 2023, AHLA’s policy advocacy achieved outcomes for hoteliers nationwide, including:

  • Clarification of Paycheck Protection Program eligibility guidelines, yielding an estimated $14 billion in savings for hoteliers.
  • A $9 increase in the continental U.S. per diem rate, contributing an estimated $300 million to hoteliers.
  • Securing an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas for fiscal year 2024.

Meanwhile, the AHLA Foundation’s 6th Annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala held recently in Los Angeles honored industry leaders, presenting Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp., with the third annual Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award. The event raised nearly $1 million to support workforce initiatives.