HOTELS AND HOSPITALITY: A FAMILY TRADITION

Barry R Patel

Perspective Hospitality LLC

Making people feel welcome, comfortable, and content is the name of the game for Perspective Hospitality, LLC president Barry R. Patel, and his team. Honing his customer service skills has truly been a life long endeavor.

Growing up with his family in Zambia, where his father owned retail stores, Patel, at 16, and his five siblings, were sent to the United Kingdom for their education. He chose to become a pharmacist, and received his degree from the University of Bradford in Yorkshire.

“I actually wanted to become a physician but, as a foreign exchange student, competition to get into medical schools in England was hard,” Patel said. “I did love pharmacy, however.”

Since the U.S. did not recognize degrees from abroad, Patel obtained a second degree in pharmacy in Oklahoma when they moved to the states, then worked with the Revco Drug Store in Greenville, Texas, establishing a deep love for our magnificent state. Then opportunity came a knocking.

“My brother-in-law, who lived in New York, kept bugging me to go there. The next thing I knew I moved my wife and two young children, and opened three stores – one in Brooklyn and two in the Bronx. We lived there about 10 years and I loved it,” he said.

Meanwhile, his family’s business in hotels was developing, and Patel had a partnership in the family business, even opening a hotel in New Hampshire during his stay in New York. But Texas was in his heart and he yearned to return. Deciding to raise their children in Texas and leave his successful pharmacies behind, the Patel’s relocated to South Padre Island after building a Ramada Inn there with his brother while still in New York. 

Patel wanted to retire to spend more time with his family, so he bought a big custom van and a boat, ready for the “good life.” After a year, Patel was bored, so he and his wife returned to the family business.

Establishing their presence with hotels across the Valley, they built and sold hotels, continually moving to the next challenge, next hotel –  sometimes using name brands, sometimes building independents. He even became mayor of South Padre Island. When the Patels saw the RFP (Request for Proposal) for the site by the McAllen Convention Center they decided to move on it.

“I talked to my kids and told them what we wanted to do in McAllen to see if they were interested,” Patel continued. “They were out of college by then and I knew we had a good team, a good bench. When you play basketball you can have a good team, but you’ve got to have a good bench, too.”

With enthusiastic support, Patel and his whole team, and bench, moved forward with the elegant, modern Embassy Suites McAllen Convention Center, which now serves as host hotel for many conventions and meetings.

“I think McAllen is dynamic,” Patel said. “We like the city government and its very pro-business attitude. That helps a new business when the city is also working hard to make sure all businesses succeed. From the sales and marketing perspective with the McAllen Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and McAllen Chamber of Commerce, to running a good operation at the McAllen Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, all these are important factors in the city’s and businesses successes. We’re happy with mayor Darling, his leadership and the work of the city commission.”

Lately, Patel has seen the commercial Mexican traffic begin to pick up again, and looks for the shoppers to return also.

“We have to find a way to help the Mexican travelers come here safely, have a good time like they used to, shop, stay in nice hotels, spend their money and return home safely. Once we can do that I think McAllen, and the Valley, will see about a 20 percent increase in hotel occupancy from Mexico and even Canada.”

Meanwhile, Perspective Hospitality Management Systems continues to grow. With the 150 rooms at Embassy Suites, the 99 rooms at Home 2 Suites, approximately 400 employees, plans to convert the Embassy Suites restaurant to a Bar Louie franchise, the five other hotels elsewhere and more in the planning, Patel isn’t bored anymore. 

Giving back to the community is important to Patel, who is Chair of the Cameron County Beach and Dune Task Force and served on the Cameron County Appraisal District and Shoreline Task Force, among others. Inducted into the 2018 RGV Walk of Fame at State Farm Arena, partly for the $400 million economic impact his company has made in the Valley, Patel was honored to have been selected for this distinguished award. 

Patel is encouraged by Perspective Hospitality Management Systems’ ability to manage its employment needs with Valley talent.

“I would say that 99 percent of the people who work for us are from the Rio Grande Valley,” he said. “They grew up here, went to school here. They come to us with raw talent. We mold them through training and have not been disappointed. We cannot do anything or grow in any way without the people of the Rio Grande Valley.”

From acquiring loans to hiring local contractors and staff, the Valley is providing the means to success for Perspective Hospitality, LLC.