CHLA 2021 Priorities: Hotel Employees, Travel Recovery

New board members elected; to be advocates for hospitality rebound

SACRAMENTO, CA – Dec. 10, 2020 – The California Hotel and Lodging Association and its newly named board of directors announced today they are prioritizing the economic recovery of California’s more than 6,000 hotels and the well-being of the state’s 235,000 hotel employees in 2021.

“Our focus in 2021 will be ensuring our employees can return to work safely, our hotels provide healthy places to stay and California’s leisure, meeting and convention economy resumes,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, President and CEO of CHLA. “We have a long road to full recovery – one that will take years – but with the support of California’s state and local leaders, we can get there much sooner than expected.”

The global COVID-19 outbreak that struck California in March is forcing the permanent or partial closure of hotels across the state. The majority of hotel employees were without sustained work during 2020 and most forecasts predict they won’t resume ongoing work until the middle of 2021 at the earliest.

“Our hotels, our employees and our guests have been safe throughout 2020 because we worked quickly and closely with health experts and state leadership,” said Bijal Patel, returning chair of CHLA’s board. “We can lead California’s economic recovery and meet the world’s pent-up demand for regular travel in the coming years through our continued vigilance of health safety and delivery of outstanding hospitality.”

CHLA elected its 2021 Officers and Board of Directors during its annual meeting Thursday, held virtually this year.

“Our board has been instrumental in providing guidance that ensures CHLA is representing our members to the best of our ability,” Mohrfeld said. “Their stewardship in 2021 will be critical as our hotels begin the slow path to recovery.”

The 2021 CHLA officers and board members include:

Officers (One-year term)

  • Chair: Bijal Patel, Coast Redwood Hospitality
  • Vice Chair: Tom Patton, Ramada Santa Barbara
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Hee-Won Lim, Pacific Palms Hotel and Conference Center
  • Past Chair: Michael Pace, InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

New Board Members (Three-year term)

  • Jeff Durham, Redwood Riverwalk Hotel
  • Niles Harris, InterContinental LA Downtown
  • Wendy Heineke, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
  • Joe Piantedosi, Park Hotels and Resorts
  • Bobby Walia, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Returning Board Members

  • Bhupen Amin, Lotus Hotels and Investments
  • Javier Cano, JW Marriott at LA Live
  • Vipul Dayal, Hotel 1550 San Francisco Airport
  • Laurenne Douglas, Pacific Plaza Hotels
  • Paul Gibbs, Sonesta Los Angeles Airport
  • Ross Gimpel, PSAV
  • Terri Haack, Terranea Resort
  • Jon Handlery, Handlery Hotels, Inc.
  • Todd Hersperger, Sunstone Hotel Investors
  • Nic Hockman, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
  • Daniel Kuperschmid, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
  • Elvin Lai, Ocean Park Inn
  • Mark LeBlanc, Aimbridge Hospitality
  • RJ Mayer Jr., The Robert Mayer Corp.
  • Michelle Millar, University of San Francisco
  • Bimal Patel, Concept Hotels
  • Dhruv Patel, Ridgemont Hospitality
  • Pragna Patel-Mueller, Samata Management, Inc.
  • Pam Ryan, The Inn at the Mission
  • John Spear, Hotel Drisco
  • Wes Tyler, Chancellor Hotel on Union Square
  • Scott VandenBerg, Hyatt Regency Sacramento