Sawan Patel, Unity Hotels Group

Sawan Patel, managing partner, Unity Hotels Group, Houston

As managing partner at Unity Hotels Group, Patel oversees the operations of four family-owned properties in the Houston area. “I manage the day to day operations of a Howard Johnson, America's Best Value, Best Western Plus, and Sleep Inn & Suites totaling 150 plus rooms and [more than] 35 employees. I also assist in overseeing the development of four other properties that are currently in the beginning stages.”

What is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry, and how would you propose addressing it?

The biggest threat we are facing today is unregulated home-rental companies who are being allowed to steal hotel guests without having to pay their fair share in taxes, and without having to abide by local, state and federal regulations. An example of this is Airbnb. I believe the hotel industry needs to work to tackle this issue now, rather than later. Otherwise we will be left behind like the taxi industry when Uber and Lyft came into play. My work with [the Asian American Hotel Owners Association] and local organizations, such as the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association and the Small Independent Motel Association of Houston include visiting Capitol Hill in D.C. biannually and the Texas State Capitol annually to meet and speak with our elected officials to fight for these types of issues that affect our industry. 

Sawan Patel, Unity Hotels Group

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