Hospitality Recovery Hero: Vijay Dandapani

As part of the 2021 Adrian Awards program, HSMAI Hospitality Recovery Heroes is honoring hospitality professionals working toward recovery at the local and front-line levels, supporting hotels, destinations, safety measures, and charitable programs that have helped make a difference for their companies and in their communities. HSMAI has three final hospitality professionals to honor as part of the 2021 class of Hospitality Recovery Heroes.

HOSPITALITY RECOVERY HERO: Vijay Dandapani, President & CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City

CONTRIBUTION: Vijay Dandapani’s efforts to understand and the address the pandemic and subsequent rapidly mandated shutdowns were crucial to the 300 hotels looking for guidance in March of 2020.

He was instrumental in helping to facilitate the quick transfer of homeless shelter residents to hotels. The City of New York requested HANYC to administer a FEMA contract on an emergency basis for moving homeless individuals from shelters to hotels. At his direction, after completing the considerable legal hurdles as well as setting up a system to receive and administer the funds to reimburse hotels in a record two weeks, HANYC onboarded 63 hotels.

RESULTS: Dandapani worked with the city to help less fortunate residents, who felt the effects of the pandemic most. HANYC’s Foundation donated much-needed PPE to three hospitals.

Dandapani has attended countless meetings as a member of both the Mayor’s COVID Advisory Board and NYC & Company’s New York Forward Advisory Board. He has left no stone unturned in his efforts to highlight the plight of the hotel industry and the need for remedial measures, resulting in over a hundred articles and several hours of TV exposure.

NOMINATED BY:  Consuela Hooblal, “During the height of the pandemic, when all of NYC was dealing with a strict lock-down, Vijay made the time to be the sole presenter on the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter’s weekly ZOOM program. It was then that I realized, in addition to his skill and expertise, he has a great love of this city and puts so much effort into helping it remain vital and flourish.”

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