ATLANTA — Hotel owner Vimal Patel has traced a familiar path to success in the U.S. hospitality industry.
Patel is part of the Indian diaspora, which owns a sizeable share of the hotels and motels in the country. Like others in the community, his start in the business was humble. He worked the front desk of a hotel owned by relatives, building his knowledge before eventually investing with them in multiple franchises.
Now he’s spearheading a legal fight that reflects the growing clout and confidence of Indian Americans in the hospitality sector — and the toll of the coronavirus pandemic on their businesses.
Patel and scores of other Indian owners have filed lawsuits in federal court accusing two of the biggest hotel chains in the world of gouging them with fees, penalties and overpriced products. The excesses by Choice Hotels International, the company behind the Comfort Inn brand, and Holiday Inn franchiser Intercontinental Hotels Group reached a tipping point during the…
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