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.
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the lodging industry to rethink health and wellness. Designers such as Blanche Garcia of B. Garcia Designs see this as an opportunity for hotels to revise their messaging beyond clean and safe by introducing wellness products and programs they can market and attract guests who want to feel good during their stay and return home feeling better than when they left. Those who promote healthy buildings as well as safe travel are exploring how implementing elements of wellness can be a cure for hotel businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hotel industry.
She Has a Deal, a program that promotes women as hotel owners, last month minted several new investors through its inaugural pitch competition. Long Live Lodging examines what it took for the three women who comprise the team called Datcher to win the top prize of $50,000 in equity in a fund that would include their $27.4 million project proposed for downtown Detroit. Two additional projects proposed during the competition were selected to benefit from She Has a Deal’s first investment fund. Datcher’s winning formula as well as the other project proposals can be emulated as hotel developers and investors search for ways to fund upcoming projects that reduce investors’ risk while delivering a healthy return as the lodging industry navigates its way through the business downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.