The COVID-19 crisis has practically paralyzed the engines that drive the U.S. economy, including the lodging industry. One of the cogs that turn the wheel is the hotel franchising system. While many hotel franchisees have long been dissatisfied with the power franchisers exert over their businesses, the coronavirus crisis has exposed even greater levels of frustration. Hotel companies are waiving or reducing fees and suspending brand standard reviews for months, but many owners say it’s not enough as they face a true financial meltdown. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s series on the state of hotel franchising. It is also part of a special report on the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hotel industry.
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.