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 February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.