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Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 12 : 02 PM [IST]

Building on a Legacy - Dr Jyotsna Suri

Dr. Jyotsna Suri took over the reigns of the Group after the sudden demise of her husband. However, people were apprehensive about the future of the company. But she proved everybody wrong by taking some path-breaking decisions and subsequently put the brand to new heights. The year 2008 perhaps is the most remarkable time for Dr. Suri when she successfully effected a brand transition from The Grand Hotels to The Lalit Hotels. She also materialised a long-cherished dream by inaugurating The Lalit London.

Dr. Jyotsna Suri started her career as Joint Managing Director with Bharat Hotels in 1987. After her husband’s sudden death in 2006, she took on the mantle of Chairperson and Managing Director and since has been the driving force of the Group’s operations across India. In 2008, she charted a highly successful brand change for the company. All luxury hotels now fly ‘THE LALIT’ flag under The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, as a tribute to the company’s Founder Chairman Lalit Suri. But it was not a cake walk. For someone, who has been part of the business since its inception and largely assisted her life partner, to suddenly taking up the challenge of handling the reins of the company, Dr Suri’s life has been a journey of transformation. While dealing with the adversity that life had dawned on her, she gathered all her strength to stand tall and prove herself, not only to her employees but to the industry as well.

In 2006, the company had 6 hotels under operation with over 1,600 rooms. Today, Bharat Hotels operates 13 properties with an inventory of 3,600 rooms in India, more than double the capacity in just 12 years of Dr Suri being at the helm. To achieve this feat, some of the risks undertaken by Dr Suri seemed to have paid off. She undertook a massive exercise of rebranding and repositioning the company from the earlier model of franchise agreements with international hotel chains. This was one of her decisions that many in the industry were apprehensive about.

All hotels within the group back then operated under the brand The Grand – Hotels, Palaces & Resorts. On November 19, 2008, Dr Suri re-branded them to ‘The LaLiT’ as a tribute to her husband and this risk has clearly paid off in growing the company to its present state.

When the travel industry worldwide facing rough weather, The Lalit brand under the stewardship of Dr. Suri continued its expansion and product development unhindered. One of her most commendable achievements is restoring and renovating the Great Eastern in Kolkata which is regarded as Asia’s first luxury property and is a 176-year old establishment. In order to fulfil a dream of founder chairman she acquired a heritage property in London and converted it into a 70 room luxury boutique hotel. The founder chairman always dream to have a hospitality foot print in London.

Jyotsna Suri has received ‘World Travel Market Global Award’ in recognition of her leadership of the Group and promoting tourism in 2011. She has been awarded ‘ADTOI Award 2011’ for her contribution to Domestic Tourism. She has been named among the ‘25 Most Powerful Women in Business 2011’ awarded by Business Today. In 2010, she has been awarded ‘Leading Hotelier’. In 2009, she has been entitled among the ‘20 Most Powerful Women in India’ awarded by Business Today. In 2007, for her valuable contribution and support to the sector she has received ‘XXIII IATO’ award during the 25th celebration year of IATO.

Besides creating a name for the Lalit brand, Dr Suri has managed to create a distinct identity for herself as an industry leader. She was Chairperson of FICCI for a term and has been heading the Tourism Committee of the Federation. It was during her tenure FICCI had inked MoUs with states like Rajasthan for most successful B2B travel shows like The Great India Travel Bazaar, for promotion of Rajasthan and its tourism products. She has been instrumental in creating trade shows for investment and promotion of India as a lucrative tourism destination.

Dr. Suri strongly believes that there is no replacement of hard work. If anybody is consistent and meticulous in their efforts success will be with that person irrespective to the industry the person belongs.

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