Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Chan Patel's Philosophy — Work Hard and Play By the Rules

Steve Vassallo’s interviews with Oxford leaders
Entrepreneurs are rare — especially those who have committed a lifetime to excellence by working hard every day, staying focused and not letting any obstacles distract him or her. Chan Patel is such an individual. I recently visited with Chan to discuss his goals for Oxford and to explore the hospitality industry here in general. — How is the hotel scene in Oxford presently?
Chan Patel — My position is Managing Partner of Charter Road Hospitality Inc. It’s a family run business with my father actively involved. There is a good amount of supply coming into the  marketplace here presently. As to future growth, it will be dependent to a great extent upon the branding. This is a risk-reward business. — Is there a danger or concern with overbuilding within the hotel sector?
Chan Patel — There is always a risk. This depends more upon market conditions than anything else. The University is continuing to grow at a good pace. Our hospital and housing market are also positive influencing factors. And let’s not forget athletics here and how well the teams are doing has a significant impact to growth. — Let’s talk about Towne Place Suites for a moment. When will this property come on line?
Chan Patel — Let’s say mid July as this is still a moving target. There will be 95 suites all equipped with kitchens and a living room area that will accommodate extended stay guests. We will, however, rent these rooms to individuals just wanting 1 or 2 nights with us. This was part of the strategic plan for the company. Towne Place will have an indoor pool, bar, fitness facility and a very appealing outdoor space for grilling out and relaxing. Extended stay  guests enjoy these types of areas and expect them. —Turning to the conference center as it has received a great deal of attention recently. Is there sufficient hotel business to support a conference center of our size?
Chan Patel — Let me first say that we are most pleased with the direction that the center is headed. Our company has always supported the center and will continue to do so. To answer the question, there is sufficient inventory to support most of the conferences. The future is very bright in this respect. — Most readers who have never met you and even those who have probably know little about your background. Without getting too personal, can you tell us who Chan Patel is?
Chan Patel — I have now lived in Oxford for the past 25 years. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe in southern Africa which was formerly Rhodesia. It was a British colony. At a very early age (let’s say 9) I had a passion for entrepreneurship as I assisted with my family’s business of selling merchandise on street corners. It was more of a ‘roaring blaze’. At age 19 I left there. We came to Oxford due to the opportunity to acquire the Ole Miss Motel, which we did in 1991. We lived on site there for 14 years. I am married and have two children, a daughter and a son. — What do you want your legacy to be?
Chan Patel — I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard and played by the rules. — You are an avid follower and supporter of Ole Miss sports. How did this come to be?
Chan Patel — You are drawn in just by being here because of the atmosphere. I played rugby, field hockey and cricket as a child. Football is my number-one passion in this regard. — Let’s talk about the diversity of individuals who stay at your hotels. Which sectors are driving the economy here presently?
Chan Patel — It is comprised of a cross section, which consists of the medical community, tourism, corporate activity and the events being conducted. — What influences room rentals the most outside of the obvious such as football weekends?
Chan Patel — We have a supply and demand issue in a perishable commodity. What I mean by this is that we cannot sell unused rooms once we miss the opportunity to do so. There is a fundamental that I attempt to instill in my staff that goes like this — Your dates, my rates. My dates, your  rates. This is critically important for success in our business. — Speaking of success, what is your definition?
Chan Patel — Fight the good fight every day. The rest will take care of itself.
Hotty — How would you classify Oxford as a warm and welcoming community to international visitors and new residents?
Chan Patel — Because of the University we have a diverse population base here. It is a mini melting pot. Hospitality starts with the people. Our citizens are as accommodating as humanly possible. The world’s barriers are coming down. The time it takes to fly to Dubai from Boston (13 hours) as an example is making the world smaller and smaller. — Before we conclude, I have to ask you about the Gin Hotel & Spa?
Chan Patel — (At this point Chan could not contain his smile.) This is next on the books for us. The idea came to me in the middle of the night. I want the Gin to be a place for the times. There is so much history associated with this property that I want our guests to be able to walk back down memory lane. The property will be an  upscale boutique hotel (100 rooms) which will feature a rooftop bar, glass-bottom pool and many other amenities that will reflect the components of the original gin through the decor and furnishings. This will be the ‘Crown Jewel’ of our properties. Construction should commence within one year.
Gin Hotel Logo
Steve Vassallo is’s newest contributor. Steve will be writing on Ole Miss athletics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie.