In his position as Pinnacle Hotels USA founder, Bharat Lall guides a wide range of properties in locations throughout Southern California and beyond. A prominent member of his local community, Bharat Lall is active with the San Diego Indian American Society, which was established more than three decades ago and provides scholarships and organizes cultural events.
An eagerly awaited event each year is the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture, which had Dr. Jonas Salk as its first presenter in 1984. The most recent speaker was Nisha Desai Biswal, who has achieved a high profile role in the U.S. State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia.
Previously an administrator with the U.S. Agency for International Development and with American Red Cross experience, Ms. Biswal was appointed to her position by President Barack Obama in 2013. She broke ground as the first person in the role to be of South Asian origin, and currently coordinates bilateral relations with countries ranging from Sri Lanka to Kazakhstan.
As reported in the Times of India, Ms. Biswal’s appointment placed her in the company of well-known politician Bobby Jindal as an Indian-American achieving the assistant secretary level in U.S. government. Speaking with the Telegraph, she noted that her position was one in which reviving talks between India and Pakistan, as well as resolving Indian-Nepalese issues, was a priority.
For nearly two decades, Bharat Lall has served as the president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, where he supervises the operations of nine hotel properties in Southern California and Texas. Apart from his work, Bharat Lall is a committed philanthropist who supports many organizations in the San Diego area, including Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).
Last July, AVID praised the efforts of five San Diego area teachers, recognizing them with the AVID Teacher Advocacy Award. This distinction is given to teachers who stand out for their commitment to preparing students for college. A teacher is nominated by his or her peers, who submit an essay outlining the teacher’s specific accomplishments in helping students get ready for college.
Each Advocacy Award recipient receives $10,000 to help with college-readiness efforts in the classroom. The five winners were honored at the AVID Summer Institute in Sacramento on July 11, 2017.
An Indian American entrepreneur living in San Diego, Bharat Lall leads Pinnacle Hotels USA as president and CEO. Apart from work, Bharat Lall is an active member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS), which seeks to contribute to society through the provision of scholarships and educational symposiums.
In addition to its work in the area of education, SDIAS hosts a variety of cultural events and is preparing for its 10th annual Diwali Festival of Lights celebration. The citywide festival is scheduled to take place on October 14, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. In India, the five-day Hindu holiday of Diwali is the most important celebration of the year. With roots as a harvest festival and a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, it has become a national holiday, observed by all Indians regardless of their religion.
SDIAS organizes the San Diego Festival of Lights celebration in conjunction with a number of partners. Elements of the festival include an exhibit of 3- to 8-foot-tall lamps representative of India’s diverse regions and religions, as well as henna artists, dances from different Indian states, and regional Indian food. The festival ends with a procession of 1,008 lights and a Punjabi dance party.
The event typically draws more than 11,000 attendees throughout the day.
The president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall has worked in the hospitality industry since 1989. One trend affecting hotel investors such as Bharat Lall is the tendency of business travelers to extend work trips for leisure. Referred to as “bleisure” travel, this trend can bolster hotel revenues if the hospitality industry finds ways to encourage and cater to business-plus-leisure travelers. To motivate business travelers to engage in leisure opportunities, hotels may consider the following approaches:
– Extending the corporate rate. Offering business travelers discounted corporate rates can encourage them to stay on after their business obligations have ended.
– Focusing on convenience. Since bleisure travelers typically only stay a few extra days, convenience is important. Hotels can make planning leisure activities easier by offering package deals on off-site activities or, at the very least, including city guides in the rooms. Other convenience incentives include offering late checkouts or extended breakfast hours.
– Marketing incentives early. Most bleisure travelers preplan the leisure portions of their business trips, thus reaching out early is key. One way to do this is to include incentive offers in confirmation emails for business bookings.
A hospitality executive based in San Diego, Bharat Lall works as the president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA. Aside from his professional responsibilities with Pinnacle, Bharat Lall engages with the community as a member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS).
Dedicated to serving those in need and sharing Indian culture, SDIAS organizes a number of cultural events. In March 2017, the society held its 14th annual Unity in Diversity Festival of World Dances at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. Each year, the festival presents a different theme, with the 2017 show celebrating 25 years of diplomatic ties between India and Israel.
Performances included intricately choreographed dances from India and Israel, as well as Egypt, Spain, and Japan, replete with detailed costuming and vibrant music. To honor the India-Israel relationship, the festival welcomed Shanee Zamir, a soprano from Israel, and the TNUA Israeli Dance Troupe, who performed the traditional song “Abba Sipur” (Dad, Tell Me a Story) through music, movement, and sign language. Also performing were members of the Ken Jewish Community, a San Diego-based group of Latin Jewish families.
In addition to Israeli dance and music, the festival showcased flamenco-Bollywood fusion dance, Japanese taiko drums, and Israeli-Moroccan dance. In all, more than 200 performers took part in the event, and among the approximately 700 spectators were diplomats from both India and Israel.
Bharat Lall owns Pinnacle Hotels USA, company he established in 1998 after a decade of strategically purchasing, renovating, and reopening a succession of mid-scale or dilapidated properties. Born in East Africa to parents originally from the state of Gujarat in India, Bharat Lall personifies the Indian American immigrant success story. Pinnacle Hotels now oversees a total of nine hospitality properties, all situated in rapidly developing regions of Texas and Southern California that attract both business and leisure travelers.
Immigrants from Southeast Asia today own tens of thousands of hotel properties in the United States, many having overcome severe obstacles in order to do so. Close to one-half of all American motels are under the ownership of Indian Americans.
The Asian American Hotel Owners Association lists more than 16,000 members, and in fact is the largest hotel owners’ trade group in the world. Its membership supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes a vital contribution to the overall American economy.
Pawan Dhingra, a sociologist at Tufts University, even devoted an entire book to the subject, publishing Life behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream in 2012.
Despite recent economic achievements, Indian Americans have often faced severe patterns of discrimination. For example, the Immigration Act of 1924 was also known as the Asian Exclusion Act for its exclusion of Southeast Asian people, who were largely barred from entering the country. In 1965, the new Immigration and Nationality Act abolished restrictions based on national origin.
Bharat Lall directs the California-based Pinnacle Hotels USA in investing in underperforming hotels in three states. Beyond his responsibilities as president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall supports Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). The nonprofit organization will host the 2017 AVID National Conference in December.
The AVID National Conference brings together educational leaders from across the country to discover the latest innovations and best practices for closing the opportunity gap among students. Discussions will focus on expanding access to rigorous curriculums and promoting career readiness for all students. Designed for AVID members, school faculty, and district personnel, the conference also offers a variety of networking events where educational thought leaders can share their experiences.
Programming will consist of an assortment of concurrent sessions targeting the areas of leadership, culture, systems, and institutions. Topics explored range from digital and technological innovations to schoolwide strategies that support students and increase rigor. In addition, the conference will cover the success of AVID systems such as advanced programs and the AVID College Readiness System (ACRS).
To increase affordability, AVID has introduced a number of special incentives to the 2017 National Conference. Incentives include 50 percent off registration for demo school participants and $100 off registration for teams of three or more from the same school. District superintendents and college and university presidents will receive free registration.
The 2017 AVID National Conference will take place on December 7 through December 9 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.