Today on the Hotel Design Podcast we a have Mitch Patel, President  & CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, one of the most highly regarded developers and owners in North America. Mitch is a second generation hotelier, starting his company in 1997 with seed capital of just $3000 after cashing in his 401k and divesting his career as a civil engineer. He makes light of his modest startup funding by telling the story of his father who immigrated to the US with just $8 to his name, but eventually bought the family’s first hotel in Stockton, California. Today Vision Hospitality Group owns 33 hotels and has 17 more in development.

Mitch has an innate eye for design and sits on both Hilton and Marriott’s Design Boards. His opinions are well founded and he believes in using key design elements to connect with guests, such as the creation of social media moments. He believes designers need direction from owners, and that it is unwise to be trendy with certain items, but good to go all out with others. He urges particular caution on the building envelope and exteriors. Brand standards are important for conformity but Mitch firmly believes in pushing the boundaries with Art and Food & Beveridge. Vision Hospitality Group is building the USA’s first new construction Moxy Hotel by Marriott in Cherry Creek, Denver, and Mitch explains the lifestyle concept of his boutique properties and soft branded Autograph and Curio collections. Listeners will hear the enthusiasm Mitch has for the boutique segment and the creation of VHG’s first independent property, The Edwin Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mitch reveals his fundamental knowledge that hospitality is unique in the real estate industry. His belief is that people are the real differentiator in his business and he sites company culture will always trump business strategy. Vision Hospitality Group invests heavily in staff development and has their own Vision University, with a 150 curriculum class situated at their HQ.

Mitch wraps up this wonderful conversation by endorsing the opinion of Hilton’s Chris Nassetta – that  the industry is in the golden age of travel and there is sustainable long term growth ahead.

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