For Keshav Suri, hospitality was in his DNA. His father, Lalit Suri had built Bharat Hotels and he was sure as a teenager that one day he would be joining the family business under the guidance of his father.
But as destiny had it, Keshav lost his father when he was 21-years-old. Remembering how as a young man he coped with the situation, he says, “It was difficult to get to terms with the reality. The best way was to immerse myself in my studies and learn the ropes of the trade so that I could help my mother. I studied law and business to broaden my horizon.”
Talking about his mother, who has been his constant mentor and pillar of support, he says, “One of the biggest challenges that my mother took was carving a new identity for the group. In 2008, all the hotels, resorts and palaces were re-branded in the name of our Founder Chairman – Lalit Suri. It also involved defining its core values, his mission, and vision. I worked very closely with my mother on this.”
The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group has rapidly expanded under the guidance and stewardship of Keshav’s mother, the group’s CMD, Dr. Jyotsna Suri. Thanks to the massive boom in the travel industry worldwide that the group doubled its portfolio in the past 10 years and has plans to expand further.
A music and fashion aficionado, Keshav went on to achieve various milestones for the group. Be it the launch of Kitty Su almost six years ago that changed the way the city partied or starting The Lalit Food Truck Company. Lalit group became a pioneer as a hotel chain to launch food trucks across the nation. And the most recent one has been launching The Lalit London.
Talking about the global expansion, he says, “It was my father’s dream to own a hotel in London and we are the first Indian hospitality group, to both own and run a hotel on the English soil.”
Sharing the nuances of a family business set up, he says, “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with my family as they understand my vision and thoughts up to the hilt. Both my sisters and I handle portfolios as per our interests and forte. We are a young team, open to changes and new methods. There has been no challenge, rather easy for all of us being a family.”
His next aim now is to open The Lalit Ahmedabad in 2018 and focus on consolidating the group further. When asked when we can see the group going public, Keshav concludes, “We will like to take the company public, but it depends on the right time and environment.” As of now, the youngest on the company’s board is thinking of foraying into other international markets.
(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)