Naman Patel grew up in the hospitality business. From helping with the day-to-day minutiae of running a property as a child to running the family business as an adult, Patel has always enjoyed the customer service aspect of the business. Today, Patel is the GM of the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites in Ontario, Calif., and still a part of his family-run business.
Why did your family choose to franchise with Vantage Hospitality? There were multiple factors. The cost was obviously something that we took into consideration. We also wanted to be with the brand that provided us with support and provided us with marketing, but we didn’t necessarily want to lose as big a chunk of the pie to a franchisor for providing those services. In addition, their PIP was a big factor, because Vantage changes the program based on owner input, which gives us a voice in the process. And the final factor was just the relationship we developed with them. As we were interviewing different franchisors, we developed a good rapport with Vantage’s member development personnel, and we knew were getting into a relationship that was personal and that they as a company cared about our success. So that really made a big difference.
You are a member of the Americas Best Value Inn Advertising Council. What is the benefit of being involved with Vantage in this way? We’ve been part of the ABVI council for 14 years now, so we’ve experienced first-hand how things have changed over time. What’s exciting now is the brand is really starting to grow, adding on new flags and bringing them into the family.
What I’m really hoping to add is making sure that ABVI and its members are still at the forefront of all marketing endeavors. We want to put our dollars to the best use and get the most out of our advertising, continue to get more exposure, and grow. [Vantage] does a really good job taking advantage of every penny and making it go far.
What advice do you have for someone entering the hospitality industry? Take your time and do your due diligence. It’s a big decision and investment, so ask a lot of questions. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the people you’re working with. And make sure that you think long-term about whether or not the company you’re partnering with is a company you want to be connected to down the line.
What do you see in the future for your property? Well, certainly continued growth, an increase in revenue, and hopefully we’ll be expanding the family business to include more properties. I’m also looking forward to seeing our ADR, RevPAR, and occupancy increase because of the economy. But, in the same vein, I’m starting to prepare for when the economy closes this cycle, so also making sure that we are smart with our financial planning to ensure we can remain in the hotel business for the long run.
What in the lodging industry has you most excited right now? The new technology on the market, like smart TVs and mobile-controlled door locks, is incredible. It does take a little time for these technologies to trickle down to the properties that operate at our level, and I’m very curious to see how fast things move and what’s going to come down to us where it’s affordable. All of the things new technology is going to change on both the in-room and operations side are going to be beneficial to us and will improve the guest experience, so that’s the part I’m most excited about.