Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Shah

Nitin Shah

Chairman & CEO, Embassy National Bank

Nitin Shah has the unique distinction of simultaneously being a successful hotelier and a successful banker. Mr. Shah serves as president of Imperial Investments Group Inc., a Georgia-based hospitality company he founded in 1984 which currently has assets approaching $100 million, including 15 hotels plus a variety of commercial real estate projects. Mr. Shah is also chairman and CEO of Embassy National Bank, an Atlanta-based community bank he helped establish in 2007 which has grown to $70 million in assets and is a leading lender to small businesses in the southeastern United States. In 1999, Mr. Shah demonstrated his ability as an entrepreneur who can translate a good idea into a great bottom line when he collaborated with a colleague to develop the URL “www.hotels.com” into a solid business venture which was eventually sold to the Hotel Reservations Network (HRN). In 1989, he was a founder of and in 1993 has served as chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), one of the world’s most influential and respected hospitality groups which has 10,000 members who together own more than 20,000 hotels with a combined market value of almost $130 billion. Mr. Shah continues to be actively involved in a leadership role with AAHOA, serving for the past four years as co-chair of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee. Currently, he serves as a member of two prestigious advisory boards – for the College of Business at Georgia College, as well as for Asian Studies at Kennesaw State University. Other civic activities include the Rotary Club of Emory-Druid Hills, where he is president-elect, and the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), where he is a member of the advisory board. He is also a frequent guest speaker at various hospitality, banking, and cross-cultural management conferences in both the United States and India. Born in Mumbai, Mr. Shah earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Bombay and his master’s degree in business administration at Georgia College and State University.

Mr. Shah can be contacted at 770-822-9111 or nitinshah@embassynationalbank.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.