Pratik Harishchandra Bhakta is a second generation hotelier and multi-property owner. He has served as a Board Member for the Days Inn Franchise Advisory Committee, AAHOA North Carolina Regional Ambassador, and AAHOA North Carolina Regional Director. Pratik earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1994.
The son of Harishchandra Jivanji Bhakta and Manjula H. Bhakta, Pratik was born in Gujarat, India in 1971 and is from the village of Ghaluda. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1978, and settled in New Jersey. In 1984, he and his family moved to Candler, NC (a suburb of Asheville). He graduated from Enka High School in 1990 and later graduated in 1994 from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. While working towards his master’s degree in 1995, his father’s health started deteriorating while constructing their 49-unit Days Inn. Pratik left his graduate studies to finish oversee the construction and fulfill his duties to his family by assuming the family business in the hospitality industry.After his father’s death in 2003, Pratik earned his real estate license in North Carolina. His father was an inspiration to him and constantly drove him to succeed. Pratik considers his father his hero and his mentor to this day.
In the spring of 2007, Pratik was elected to the Days Inn Franchise Advisory Committee (FAC). That year, AAHOA also launched the Ambassador program and Pratik was part of the inaugural ambassador class. He would continue his roles with the Days Inn FAC and the AAHOA ambassador program for the next four years.
Pratik is passionate about fairness in the lodging industry. Whether at the local, state, or federal level regarding politics or franchising, he is a big advocate of hoteliers. He feels fairness is a right, and hotel owners need to continue to be vigilant in preserving that right. Pratik was elected to the AAHOA Board in 2012, so he is currently in the fourth year of his 2nd term. He has served on various AAHOA committees including membership, franchise & industry, bylaws-governance, & strategic planning.
He currently resides in Asheville, N.C. with his mother, his wife, Yamini, their daughter, Saajana, and son, Aashiq.
Pratik is one of three candidates running for the AAHOA Secretary position in the upcoming Board of Directors election. I’m featuring interviews with all three candidates, asking each the same questions, to give the Lodging Leader listeners a sneak peak into where they stand on key issues facing our industry, and an opportunity to see a side of them you might not see elsewhere.
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.