Raman “RP” Rama is the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer/Chief Information Officer of JHM Hotels.
Born in Malawi, Africa, RP obtained his education from a few different places. While he was waiting for his U.S. Visa, he taught economics and business administration to students who are still in touch with him. Once he obtained his visa in 1981, he came to the U.S. and began working with his brothers (JP, HP, MP and DP Rama) at the family-owned business, JHM Hotels.
RP RamaFrom July until November of 1981, RP learned the hotel business from the ground up. He started out painting doors, cleaning parking lots, doing laundry and housekeeping. He moved on to engineering work, check-ins and check-outs, and expanded into payroll and money management. That November, JHM Hotels acquired 2 more hotels in Hattiesburg and Jackson (Mississippi), and RP began managing the 123 room Hattiesburg property. As the company acquired more properties in MS, RP’s role expanded to Regional Manager over 4 properties.
In 1988, RP was asked to go to their hotel in San Bernardino, California, to “clean house.” They had purchased the property a few years before, and they realized some changes needed to be made, including hiring a new manager for the hotel.
In June, 1989, RP returned to the corporate offices in Greenville, South Carolina, and began working in the accounting department. RP realized he had to scout for new technology, so he joined HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals) and attended their HITEC conference in Baltimore in 1991.
RP is one of the principal owners, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Information Officer for JHM Hotels. He admits that there is a great deal of information coming in. What he places his best efforts in, is consolidating all that information and creating meaningful reports and insights to the operations of the business. This has enhanced productivity levels and efficiency in the decision making process. Additionally, it ensures accuracy for the time when the information is most needed so adequate action can be taken.
Lodging Econometrics has tracked the hotel industry since 1998. Its global database includes new-hotel pipelines as well as renovations and brand conversions. Hotel franchisers once eager to launch new brands are focused on converting existing hotels because it’s a faster way to recover revenue lost to the COVID-19 pandemic than through new construction. In Episode 346, Lodging Leaders explores the increasing number of conversions in the U.S. hotel industry and what owners and operators need to consider before repositioning an asset.
In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., financiers anticipated a swell of distressed hotel businesses. Some raised rescue funds to respond to what they thought was a pending crisis. Though there are financial rescues taking place, the level of such activity is far below what industry advisers and fund managers expected. Commercial real estate investors positioned to act in the early days of the pandemic held off and are now just beginning to unleash their cash hoards totaling billions of dollars. Episode 345 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the state of capital investment in the hotel industry.