ATLANTA? AmeriHost CEO Mike Holtz made some new friends at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association conference by agreeing to adopt the organization?s 12 Points of Fair Franchising and signing on as a founding sponsor. With 75 corporate hotels in the company portfolio, AmeriHost recently entered the franchise arena and is selling flags in all 50 states. For Holtz, developing a relationship with AAHOA was a logical step in fortifying his growth strategy through franchising hotels. He reported strong interest in the AmeriHost flag from AAHOA members on the vendor floor. The door to opportunity was left wide open for AmeriHost by the abrupt departure of Cendant Corp. which opted to end its sponsor relationship with AAHOA just days before the conference. Holtz, who attended a breakout session at the conference dedicated to negotiating a fair franchising agreement, volunteered his experience in dealing with franchisors to panelists and attendees. He explained how, as a franchisee, he could empathize with others who have had difficult negotiations with national hotel chains. However, as a new franchisor, he has developed a deeper understanding of the often tenuous relationship between hotel chain and licensee. Panelists and AAHOA members Jay Patel and Buggsi Patel focused on Holtz? experiences for the benefit of the session?s attendees. The consensus afterward was that his input was valuable. Cendant Hotel Division President Eric Pfeffer attended a panel discussion on franchising as an observer. The standing-room-only crowd of attendees aired a variety of complaints about franchise companies, including what they felt were unfair practices built into franchise agreements. Pfeffer disputed several assertions made by the AAHOA members. AAHOA member and franchisor Jay Patel, to the surprise of some audience members, supported Pfeffer on several points. Patel, who is CEO of Pensacola, FL-based Lodging Hospitality Systems which franchises Ashbury Suites & Inns, explained how, like Holtz, he has been on both sides of the franchise issue. ?There?s this perception that there?s a lot of franchisor-bashing going on at AAHOA and it just isn?t true,? Patel said. ?All of us at AAHOA are just looking to be fair. When the franchisee is in the right, we say so, but when the franchisor is in the right, we point that out also. This is a business and everybody is looking to make a profit, that?s the name of the game. We?re all partners in this and we better learn to get along.?