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 March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.