The New Generation of Asian-American Hotel Owners May Surprise You
By Nitin Shah Chairman & CEO, Embassy National Bank | April 15, 2012
The popular view of today's up-and-coming "second generation" Asian-American hoteliers is that they are very well educated, with strong communications skills and with a solid foundation of financial resources that has been established by their first generation immigrant parents. They are poised to reach unprecedented levels of achievement.
However, some observers offer a less favorable, more cautionary opinion: that precisely this combination of qualities – being both highly educated and financially secure – could make young American-born Indian hoteliers too complacent, too cautious, and too comfortable to work hard and to act quickly plus boldly as their parents did and as is needed for major business success in our fast-paced, ever-changing global economy.
So what does the future hold for second generation Asian Indian hoteliers? Are they going to build on the foundation created by the first generation and take our industry to a whole new level of accomplishment – or will they miss the opportunity?
As with many things in life, there is no absolute truth – no "either/or." The reality lies somewhere in the middle, but the subject is certainly worth examining because it provides useful perspective and valuable insight for all of us in the hospitality industry as we move ahead to rebound and rebuild our companies from the economic recession of recent years.
First, some background...
Statistics from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) underscore the significant role that Asian-American hoteliers play in our industry and our economy. AAHOA's almost 11,000 members own more than 20,000 hotels with almost two million combined rooms and a combined property value of almost $130 billion. That represents more than 40% of all hotels -- and almost 50% of limited service hotels – in the United States. These hotels employ almost half a million full-time employees, plus many additional part-time employees, and they spend more than $31 billion annually on operating costs that include salaries, utilities, property taxes, supplies, food and beverage, credit card commissions, and royalty payments. Another $900 million is spent annually on capital improvements such as furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E).