Hospitality Trendz

By ASHLEY ATKINS Comfortable not comfortable Ohm Patel of The Witness Group on balancing conservative strategy with taking risks and staying just a little on edge EXPERT VIEW COV STORY T he Witness Group is the product of a merger between Alliance Hospitality and KB Hotel Group. When the companies came together, they not only merged their portfolios but their pipelines as well. Then, as The Witness Group, they inked a few more deals for good measure. “We are a company that has grown by leaps and bounds overnight,” CEO Ohm Patel says. “It’s a very exciting time for us.” Both Alliance Hospitality and KB Hotel Group were regionally run management and development companies with close ties and strong family relationships. “We saw an opportunity to scale and to merge our portfolios and really bring some role clarity to the executive team and ownership by combining both companies,” Patel says. “In our first year we are very excited about our brand and our growth and strategic plan.” The Witness Group currently has 29 hotels under management and operation, which were collectively developed by both the companies, and a total of 10 hotels in their pipeline. They do it all: with in-house management and in-house development, The Witness Group recently launched an internal investment arm to “attract savvy investors that are looking to get involved in hotel real estate.” And they have what they consider to be a very conservative approach to their investment model. “It has worked for us internally for this many years,” Patel says, “and so as a part of our growth strategy we wanted to now bring in outside investment as a part of the three- solution set.” When he says “three-solution set,” he means that all projects are turn-key when it comes to new development. They already do all their own site selection and construction and then hand things over to their management arm. Adding the investment piece is a final step. “Not a lot of companies offer all three solutions,” Patel says. “We are able to do Ohm Patel is CEO of The Witness Group. 28 \ HOSPITALITY TRENDZ \ NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2017

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