Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Patel

Shreyas "JR" Patel

President & Chief Operating Officer, Helix Hospitality

Shreyas "JR" Patel, is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Helix Hospitality, a multi-faceted hospitality company. Its primary services include hotel investment, ownership, management, and construction / renovation, and represents many of the top hotel brands in the country.

Founded by Mr. Patel in 2012, the Chicago-based company has seen impressive growth under his leadership with extensive plans for further expansion and acquisitions. In less than 10 years the investment portfolio has grown from $1M to over $100M and the property portfolio has grown from 1 property to 11 total with over 300 employees.

Mr. Patel began operating and managing a single property in Montgomery, Alabama after graduating from DePaul University with a dual degree in Finance and Management. Still on shaky ground after 2008's economic crash, the hospitality industry was ripe with properties under high risk. Where others saw troubled deals, he spotted opportunity. With an urge to innovate, he set up this small, agile company - Helix Hospitality - to revive properties through large-scale renovation vs. new construction.

Mr. Patel removed geographic restraints by pursuing properties nationwide, strategically positioning Helix for optimal growth. His intentional focus-renovation vs. rebuilds; national vs. local-both stop-gapped an unnecessary trend for wasteful new construction and offered Helix the competitive edge of access to exclusive, existing properties already familiar to loyal consumers.

Mr. Patel serves as a board member for the DePaul University School of Hospitality Leadership and co-chairs the Academic Program sub-committee to grow DePaul's Hospitality program and empower the next generation of hospitality professionals.

Additionally, Mr. Patel is a regular contributor to trade publications and a member of AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association).

Please visit http://www.helixhotels.com/ for more information.

Mr. Patel can be contacted at +1 630-519-3025 or jr@helixhotels.com

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.