Jay Lallu has a unique path to the hospitality business. He was born and raised in Colon, Panama. Jay could not continue his college education as his father had fallen sick. To provide for his family, he started to work at a retail store in Colon. This opened the doors for him to begin working in wholesale importing and exporting for a few months. The experience of doing time in retail and wholesaling allowed him to open a retail store of his own where he sold cosmetics, perfumes, and other gift items.
Jay saw a new opportunity in traveling to clients in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Colombia to become a wholesaler for factories in India, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Jayesh’s other business ventures included Indian groceries and getting Indian movies in theaters in Panama before he finally decided it was time to move his family to the United States.
Jay, his wife Rina, daughter Hershila, and mother Savitaben landed at a 124 room Best Western in Athens, Texas. With little experience, he worked as the General Manager, while his wife was the Head Housekeeper. After doing his time in Athens, Jayesh and his family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana to operate a Howard Johnson. His many years of service at these two businesses, he was finally able to purchase and operate his first property, Days Inn in Fordyce, Arkansas.
He was not to be intimidated by being a new small business owner in a new town. He immediately became involved in various organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, in Fordyce. After much success with his first property, Jay purchased a second Days Inn in Cabot, 15 miles north of Little Rock.
After spending many years moving in attempts to provide for his family, Jay and his family reside in Cabot, Arkansas, where he enjoys watching movies, spending quality time with family, following politics, and giving back to his local community.
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.