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.
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.