Gutsy Genius Thinker

“Let’s admit it. The hotel industry is slow to adapt.

MITCH PATEL – President & CEO, Vision Hospitality

Mitch Patel

Chattanooga, USA

It’s been a tough year for Mitch and his family-owned business, founded in 1997. Vision owns and manages over 45 Hotels, with a further 9 under construction with multiple brand flags. Like most hoteliers, the start of the year looked like it was going to be another banner year, and then C-19 hit. He has had to lay off or furlough hundreds of their 1,600 employees. Based on his empathy for his team, this was obviously hard on so many levels. When we caught up with him, he was calm, positive, and optimistic that they could weather the tsunami that is COVID. Again, another common trait of a GGT: stay calm, think, and Adapt.

Culturally, they are clear on their Vision Values of Integrity, Respect, Excellence, Community, Teamwork, and Spirit. They are some of the few that make it clear publicly where they stand. We wish more companies would be that clear.

His company is branching out in other brands, such as ACE Hotels, to diversify, and is also developing an in-house brand (although these projects are on hold until they see a clear pathway forward). Even during these times, Mitch looks for inspiration. He admires the Chick-fil-A brand for building a loyal following. They treat their people and customers consistently well. He is an active voice in the Franchisee community to encourage the major Hotel Brands as a Franchisor to aim for simplicity. Simplicity, just like Chick-fil-A. “We have got to look outside the space for inspiration.”

We have listened to Mitch on various industry panels, and he is a very polite thought agitator, promoting a dialogue to inspire others to be more entrepreneurial to drive evolution and adaption. 

Mitch’s Adapters Tips

  • Look outside your comfort zone for inspiration
  • Culture matters – we wrote a book about our Culture (Vision)
  • Number one is ensuring the team knows that they are appreciated and respected
  • It’s not easy to be consistent; that is why it’s worth doing
  • Meetings need to be short. We’re all busy; get to the point; offer solutions and outcomes, and be optimistic
  • Simplify process—We have 18 different apps to make our business work; far too many