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 March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.