A London, England, native, Bhavesh Patel moved with his family to the United States in 1976. After graduating from York College of Pennsylvania with a BS in business management and finance, he followed his father into hospitality.
Today Bhavesh is a principal of ADM Hotels, a family owned, full‑service real estate company specializing in hospitality management, development and investments. The portfolio features several multi‑brand and independent properties concentrated in the northeastern United States, with more to come.
In addition to his tireless service as a business and hospitality‑industry leader, Bhavesh is active member of his community and of various Indian associations. He is a past president of Charotaria Leuva Patidar Seva Samaj and now serves on its Board of Trustees. He has also been president of the Runnemede, Bellmawr, Glendora Rotary Club, where he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
A member of AAHOA since 1994 and current Lifetime Member, Bhavesh is also the 2016‑2017 Vice Chairman of AAHOA. He has served on various AAHOA committees, including Government Affairs, Franchise and Industry Relations, and Finance and Audit, and received an AAHOA Chairman’s Award in both 2011 and 2012. Bhavesh will become the 26th AAHOA chairman in April 2017 at the AAHOA national convention and trade show in San Antonio, Texas.
Bhavesh currently resides in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, with his wife, Amita (Ami), and their two sons, Nikhil (Nick) and Milan.
Tell us about how you got started in the hospitality industry.
My parents started in the hotel business in 1976 with a small property. I did everything from front desk to housekeeping, maintenance to renovations, even being a lifeguard at one of my parents properties for a few years.
In 1990, my last year in college, my father got very ill, and so I came close to dropping out of school to take care of the three properties we had. My mother told me to finish college. Once I did, I started taking care of all the properties. It was a lot of running around and many sleepless nights, but I did what I had to do to help my family. I naturally got used the hospitality industry.
Later I moved to St. Louis with my wife, Ami. There I got to learn how to run, manage and develop franchise properties that my father invested in with his childhood friend. From there, I had an opportunity to buy a large property back in New Jersey, so my wife and I moved. I really wanted to work in New York on Wall Street and had a job lined up, but I guess hospitality was in my blood.
What makes a great leader?
Someone who listens, who is not afraid to get down and dirty. In the hospitality business, one has to lead by example and has to be ready to do what it takes to get the job done. Also, a great leader is someone who plays well with others (who they consider just as important themselves), is fair and doesn’t ignore criticism, but rather learns from it.
What book has influenced you most?
Many books have, but the one that has helped the most is The 4 Disciplines of Execution. It helped me establish my priorities, which are 1) focusing on the important, 2) acting on lead measures, 3) keeping score and 4) creating accountability.
What do you think is most important for the next generation of hoteliers to learn?
To start from the bottom and learn your way up, you will gain greater respect. Also find a mentor or role model, and learn all you can. Never do anything half-measure, put your whole heart into it, what you give is what you get.
Who is your role model and why?
My father. I am who I am because of him. He came to this country with nothing and worked hard for his family. His values, his hard work and caring has made me into the person I am today.
Tell me about an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Two things, really, one is being the president of CLPSS (Charotaria Leuva Patidar Seva Samaj) and the second was being elected as secretary of AAHOA, which, in turn, has lead me to be Chairman next year.
How to you give back to the industry and/or your community?
For the industry, giving my time to the state hotel associations as well as to AAHOA – protecting our industry and members. When it comes to the community, I assist with our Samaj and local Indian associations as much as possible.
What’s the number‑one asset a skilled hotelier should possess?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?
Warren Buffet. I really want to know how he got from delivering newspapers to being a billionaire, including what struggles he went through.
Where do you see AAHOA as an organization in 10 years?
As the largest voice in the hospitality industry with a greater presence nationwide, as well as more educational tools for members, Congressional members in Washington, D.C., Wall Street, etc.