Panelist

Geoff Ballotti has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and a member of its Board of Directors since June 2018. Prior to that, he was CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group for four years, which spun off from the former Wyndham Worldwide in 2018 to become a pure-play, publicly-traded hotel company. From March 2008 to March 2014, Geoff served as Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Destination Network. From October 2003 to March 2008, Geoff was President of the North America Division of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. From 1989 to 2003, Geoff held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, including President of Starwood North America; Executive Vice President, Operations; Senior Vice President, Southern Europe; and Managing Director, Ciga Spa, Italy.  Geoff serves as Immediate Past Chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Board. He previously served as Chairman of the U.S. Travel Association and on the Executive Committee of the American Resort & Development Association. He also served on the board of directors for Christel House International, a not-for-profit organization that supports impoverished children throughout the world.
 

Panelist

As HVS President of the Americas, Rod Clough oversees strategy execution for the firm throughout its 35+ Americas locations. Rod’s tenure with HVS spans 25 years and has played an important role growing the company from a few locations across the Americas to almost 40 offices. He fosters an extraordinary corporate culture built on a foundation of excellence, service, and appreciation. His consulting experience encompasses all hotel property types and brand segments, including convention headquarters hotels, resorts, limited- and full-service hotels, as well as extended-stay hotels. In 2007, Rod coordinated the appraisals of nearly 200 properties associated with the $26-billion sale of Hilton Hotels to The Blackstone Group, an unprecedented transaction in the history of the international lodging industry and, to date, the largest assignment undertaken by the firm. Rod holds a degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and is a Designated Member of the Appraisal Institute (MAI) and a state-certified general appraiser.
 
 
Panelist

Dave Johnson oversees the management of Ambridge Hospitality’s entire portfolio consisting of approximately $12 billion in annual revenue and over 60,000 employees. Through his dedication and leadership, Aimbridge is recognized as the premier hotel management company in the world, with an impressive portfolio of assets under ownership and management from Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Choice and Wyndham. Aimbridge manages hotels in 49 states and 20 countries. Prior to joining Aimbridge Hospitality, Johnson spent 17 years at Wyndham International, where he helped add over 400 hotels to the Wyndham portfolio. Additionally, he served as President of Wyndham Hotels, overseeing approximately 15,000 employees and $3 billion in annual revenue. Johnson currently serves as a Director on the Hilton Grand Vacations Board (HGV-NYSE) as a member of The Audit & Compensation Committees and serves on the board of The Dallas Stars Ownership Advisory Group, and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Previously, he served on the Strategic Hotels Board (NYSE: BEE) as a member of the Audit Committee and Corporate Governance Committee from 2012 to 2016, and served as a Director of Gaylord Entertainment (GET-NYSE) from 2009 to 2012. Johnson was recognized as a finalist for the Ernst & Young 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year. Johnson is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics.
 
 
Panelist

Justin Knight is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. Apple Hospitality REIT is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns one of the largest portfolios of upscale, rooms-focused hotels in the United States. Justin has led the various Apple REIT Companies for almost twenty years. Within the industry, he currently serves on the Marriott Owners Advisory Council, the Residence Inn Association Board, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Board of Directors as Secretary/Treasurer and a member of its Executive Committee. He is also very active in supporting the community, serving as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Marriott School at Brigham Young University (BYU), the Board of Trustees for The Valentine Museum, and the Board of Directors for Venture Richmond. Justin holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Marriott School at BYU and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, from BYU
 
 
Panelist

Heather McCrory is Chief Executive Officer, North & Central America, Accor Hotels, responsible for the strategic direction of the group in the region, with oversight of more than 100 hotels, 10 brands in 10 countries, 28,000 employees, and over $3 billion in revenue. Her focus is on building long-term growth and profitability in one of the largest and most influential consumer markets in the world. Beginning her career in the laundry department at Fairmont Banff Springs, Heather ascended the ranks over 30 years, ultimately developing expertise in both senior corporate and hotel based executive roles. Heather’s previous role as Executive Vice President of Operations, North & Central America Region for Accor gave her wide-ranging oversight of hotel operations, technology, design and technical services, spa, retail, rooms, food & beverage, and integrations & openings, with a strong focus on driving operational excellence in key areas of employee and guest engagement, service culture, revenue, GOP margins, and owner relations. Heather holds an MBA from Queen’s University.
 

Panelist

Biran Patel is the Chairman of AAHOA. He has been an active member of the association since 2003. He first served as an Ambassador and then was elected to the Board of Directors as the Regional Director for North Texas. He was elected as AAHOA Secretary in 2017. Biran is a native of Birmingham, England, and a second-generation hotelier. His family moved to Austin, Texas, in 1980 and purchased a small independent property before settling in Dallas. They owned and operated the 8th Street Motel, which served as both a place of business and a home for his family as the business grew. Biran’s education in the hospitality industry began as a youth helping out at his family’s hotel after school and on weekends. From checking in guests and doing laundry to sweeping the parking lot and refilling vending machines, he learned the industry from the ground up. Today, Biran owns and operates multiple branded and independent hotel properties and is also a partner in BHP Investments Company. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds a B.S. in finance. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Poonam, and their two children.
 

 Moderator

Chip Rogers serves as president & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). The Association serves as the unified voice of the lodging industry with more than 27,000 members. He previously served as the president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the largest U.S. hotel owners association. Chip also serves as a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, the California Hotel and Lodging Association Board of Directors, and the Community Leaders of America Board of Directors.  Prior to joining AAHOA, Chip had a long career as a public servant. He was elected to the Georgia General Assembly six times and was unanimously elected to serve two terms as the Senate Majority Leader. He was elected the first national chairman of the Majority Leaders conference and served on the national boards of directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Community Leaders of America.  Chip earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State University.
 

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