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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.