Miraj S. Patel becomes youngest AAHOA chairman

Texas hotelier Miraj S. Patel is the newest chairman of the AAHOA board of directors and the youngest serving in the position in the association’s 35-year history.

Patel became chairman at the conclusion of the 2024 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show in Orlando, which set a record level of exhibiting vendors and welcomed nearly 6,500 attendees.

“It is an honor to serve America’s hotel owners as the newest AAHOA chairman,” Patel said. “I am committed to helping solve some of the industry’s toughest challenges with simple and straightforward solutions and to putting our members at the center of every decision we make.”

Patel is a second-generation hotelier who began his career in hospitality at a young age, growing up in his family’s first 30-room independent property. He got his start in volunteer service at AAHOA by serving as a committee member for several years and joining the AAHOA board of directors in 2019 after being elected as Young Professional Director Western Division.

“Serving as the youngest chair in the association’s history further demonstrates AAHOA’s commitment to fostering the growth and success of the next generation,” Patel said. “I’m always encouraging young professionals not to let age determine success. Many times, people may say you’re too young, but that is absolutely not true. There are so many folks who are young but still do whatever it takes to find success. If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving.”

Today, Patel is president of Wayside Investment Group, a Houston-based company that specializes in making opportunistic investments in the lodging and hospitality real estate sector. He also serves on various industry associations and charitable organizations and continues to seek opportunities to make a positive difference.

“On behalf of the entire AAHOA organization, we congratulate Miraj on becoming AAHOA’s newest chairman,” said Laura Lee Blake, president/CEO, AAHOA. “We look forward to working under his leadership to continue to advance the industry and position AAHOA as the only true voice of hotel owners in the nation. Miraj has an incredible passion for serving the industry and members of AAHOA, and, like those who have come before him, we know he’ll have a significant positive impact on AAHOA in the years ahead.”

Patel added, “I promise to lay the foundation for a tomorrow that reflects the aspirations, needs and challenges of today. I am where I am today because of AAHOA, and it’s incredibly reassuring to know the same is true for so many other AAHOA members. As chairman of AAHOA, I will strive to work alongside the 2024-25 AAHOA board of directors to shape a future where we are pioneering new ways of thinking, a collaborative spirit, and results for AAHOA members.”

New secretary and board members

Pinal Patel of Goodlettsville, TN, was elected the new AAHOA secretary.

He was born in Bardoli, India, and moved to the U.S. at the age of two. His family emigrated from India to Nashville in 1984, and his parents bought their first independent hotel in 1991.

Patel graduated from flight school at Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach, FL, but soon after, he bought his first franchise property. Previously, he has served as an AAHOA ambassador and as AAHOA’s director at large Eastern Division.

“Hard work definitely pays off,” he said. “I’m going to make sure we do what’s right for the association and for the members. I promise to all my supporters, my family, and my fellow members that I will not let you down. I will do what’s best for the association’s interests.”

AAHOA members also elected the following 10 members to the board of directors:

  • Gulf Regional Director: Vimal Patel
  • North Florida Regional Director: Jayesh (Jay) Patel
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Director: Mahendra (MZ) Patel
  • Mid South Regional Director: Ajay Patel
  • South Carolina Regional Director: Fenil Desai
  • South Pacific Regional Director: Nilesh (Neil) Bhakta
  • South Central Texas Regional Director: Vikash K. Patel
  • Southeast Texas Regional Director: Bhavik Patel
  • Southwest Regional Director: Dharmesh Ahir
  • Women Hoteliers Director Western Division: Shetal Zina Patel

“As we install our new board of directors for the 2024-25 term, I am honored to work alongside these esteemed individuals as we embark on a journey to shape the future of our association and the hospitality industry as a whole,” said Miraj Patel. “I congratulate Pinal on his election as AAHOA’s newest secretary and look forward to working alongside the AAHOA officers and board to continue to prioritize the needs of our 20,000 members, ensuring that AAHOA remains the leading voice for hotel owners nationwide.”