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AAHOA Honors Members for Community Service, Philanthropy


I reported on some innovations I came across at the AAHOA Convention & Trade Show in this week’s Publisher’s Point of View column. Here, I would like to highlight some additional news from the annual event. 

Each year, AAHOA recognizes the exceptional endeavors of hoteliers who exemplify service and excellence, selected by an esteemed Independent Awards Selection Committee.

The following 2024 Award Winners were announced on the final day of the Convention & Trade Show:

AAHOA Award of Excellence. This award recognizes a hotelier who has demonstrated strong leadership, has high standards of excellence, and is making a significant contribution to the lodging industry. Dr. Jay S. Patel – Chief operating officer of NashBuilt Construction in Pensacola, Fla., and an Annual Member in the North Florida Region.

Cecil B. Day Community Service Award. Named in honor of Cecil B. Day, the founder of Days Inn known for his commitment to community service, this award recognizes someone who has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving his or her community. Hitesh Patel – Of Sai Ram Hospitality, LLC, in Argyle, Texas, and a Lifetime Member in the North Texas Region. Prakash Saraf, Founder of the nonprofit Friends of Sparsh, in Baltimore, Md., and an AAHOA Lifetime Member in the Washington D.C. Area Region.

Outreach Award for Philanthropy. This award is given to an individual deeply involved with helping humanity through philanthropic and charitable activities, domestically or overseas. Amit Bhakta – Founder and CEO of Nansad Group, in Abilene, Texas, and an AAHOA Lifetime Member in the North Texas Region.

Outstanding HerOwnership Award of Excellence. This award recognizes a woman hotelier for strong leadership and a commitment to lodging excellence, and for her significant contributions to the industry and to her community. Dr. Ruby Dhalla – President & CEO of Canada-based Dhalla Group of Companies and an AAHOA Annual Member.

Outstanding HYPE Award of Excellence. This award is for young hoteliers under the age of 30 who have exemplified the spirit, dedication, and achievement of a professional hotelier. Dhruv Patel – Director of Operations at Lotus Hospitality in Kansas City, Mo., and a Lifetime Member in the Central Midwest Region.

“We are delighted to commemorate the 35th anniversary of AAHOA by highlighting the exceptional achievements and contributions of individuals within our association through our esteemed annual awards program,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “As we honor this year’s award recipients, we celebrate their unwavering dedication, tireless efforts, and exceptional leadership, which inspire us all toward continued prosperity and success within our industry and association.”

Congratulations to the above award winners.