Bijal Patel, chairman of the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) for 2020—2021, has won AAHOA’s Political Forum Award for Advocacy.
Presented during AAHOA’s 2021 national convention held in Dallas last week, the award recognizes Patel for guiding numerous successful advocacy initiatives on behalf of hotel owners during “the year of the pandemic.”
“Government officials have a more profound impact than ever on the bottom line of hotel owners,” said Patel in accepting the award. “Our advocacy activities focus on making sure that hoteliers are helped more and harmed less by the decisions of legislators and regulators.”
Added Patel, “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.”
A 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. In just six weeks leading up to the November election, Patel effectively harnessed the collective power of CHLA and AAHOA to join with other pro-business parties who favored low taxes and high growth. The powerful “rapid response” coalition spent more than $80 million in a statewide “No On Prop 15” information campaign that showed voters why voting “no” was in their best economic interest.
The award also recognized Patel’s advocacy work with Governor Newsom, state agencies, and state regulators to expedite safe re-opening guidelines for small businesses like hotels; to lift restrictions on meetings of small groups so hotels could regain this important revenue stream; and to get hotel employees vaccinated as essential workers.
AAHOA’s Political Forum Award for Advocacy is presented once a year to an individual who helps advance the interests of hotel owners through political involvement and government affairs.
Bijal Patel guides CHLA, which is the largest state hospitality group in the United States, whose members operate almost a quarter-million rooms at properties that range in size from small inns to hotels with 3,000 rooms. Patel is also CEO and principal partner of Coast Redwood Hospitality, a company based in Northern California that owns and operates a portfolio of hotel and multi-family assets.