Power List 2018: Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Group

Confident about The Park Hotels growth pattern, Paul adds, “We wish to continue growing our brands by maintaining their unique identities. I see the brand going international in the next few years.”

Celebrating 50 successful years of THE Park Hotels in 2018, Priya Paul, the lady at the helm from the early 1990s, is ecstatic and optimistic. Says Paul, “After I took over, we have walked the path towards creating a unique collection of luxury boutique hotels. Tapping into the ever-shifting pulse of society, our edgy design and imaginative spaces have brought together the coolest thinkers and the pioneers of creativity to engage with each other and the hotels. When I started, we were three hotels under one brand and now we have 16 hotels under three brands: The Park, The Park Collection and Zone by The Park. We will have 20 new properties by 2022.”

Not one to sit back after having tasted success, Paul reiterates, “Both our brands — The Park Hotels and Zone by The Park are on an aggressive expansion drive. A healthy portfolio of owned hotels and management contracts is the key to growth. Both the brands have taken the managed route. The Park Hotels will hold on to the luxury boutique segment, whereas Zone by The Park will tap the upscale segment. Our vision is to have a slice of The Park in every city people travel to.”

Paul prefers to be the pioneer in the Industry when it comes to creativity and innovation. She recalls, “As the pioneers of design hotels in India, we have always created spaces and services that reflect contemporary India and are ‘Anything But Ordinary’. The Park Hotels have always been ahead of the curve of the industry standards.”

Voicing her concerns about the challenges in the hospitality industry, she avers, “India is losing score on Global Environment Performance Index and Inclusive Development Index, which affects tourism in the country. While the industry revenues are increasing, we face major challenges due to lack of safety and security, and on issues such as protecting the environment that has a lasting effect on business.”

This dynamic leader draws inspiration from everything around her. “There is a lot to see in our own city and country — but it’s important to travel and to be exposed. One has to experience and feel things and then you carry a bit of it from here and there and it all comes together. That’s the magic,” she quips.

Paul says modestly about being awarded the Padma Shri in 2012, “It was a recognition of not only my vision, but what our whole team has achieved.”

‘Leadership through Differentiation’, is her guiding mantra and she believes it will continue to drive their success. “The advice I would give to all, regardless of gender or sector, is to believe in their ideas and keep working to make their venture a success. It is about taking risks and sometimes failing. And those lessons are important.”

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