JS Anand, Founder, LEVA Hotels
Innovation is crucial for businesses to achieve success in today’s competitive environment. As customers are becoming more demanding, business leaders are forced to adapt and evolve accordingly. Innovation provides the edge for such entrepreneurs to stay ahead of the crowd. Entrepreneurs who couple innovation with skills like creative thinking, problem-solving, strategic planning, leadership, and team management undoubtedly steers an endeavor to prosperity. JS Anand, a hotelier from Dubai and the founder of LEVA Hotels is an ideal example of these skillsets and an exemplar for innovative entrepreneurs.
Anand is a business person who has always nurtured a passion for a true sense of hospitality and service. He has over 20 years of experience in hospitality and has worked across Asia, the Middle East, and the U.S. Having such an extensive experience in this landscape helped him spot a huge opportunity for a brand that focuses on midscale hospitality segments. “It was an idea that would redesign the current hospitality landscape providing more comfortable, uncomplicated service and user-friendly facilities,” proudly says Anand. This impelled the inception and building of the brand – LEVA. Derived from the Latin word “Levatio”, LEVA means comfort and solace.
LEVA is a dynamic lifestyle hotel brand uniquely positioned in the upscale and midscale segments offering a fresh perspective on hospitality. This multiple award-winning brand attracts travelers who want to be immersed in vibrant spaces while enjoying world-class comfort and engaging service at affordable price points.
According to Anand, there are several aspects he considers to be the USP of LEVA Hotels. First and foremost, their unique brand identity. The company adopts a business approach that is different from the norm that doesn’t disrupt the status quo. They solely focus on creating experiences, adding more value and innovation, trying to stand out from the crowd, and providing tailor-made memories for their guests. Secondly, he mentions their distinctive brand concepts. LEVA Hotels comes with three main brand concepts which are LEVA for 4 stars and above, Ekono by Leva for 3 stars, and LEVA Hotel Residences for extended stay/serviced residences. Thirdly, Anand specifies their profitable business model. They offer a competitive fee structure, conversion expertise, and a solid value proposition for hotel owners and developers. Lastly, LEVA Hotels is innovative and inclusive. They provide flexible management solutions for hotel owners with superior ROI, best value, and memorable guest experiences. No two properties of LEVA’s are alike. Every property is uniquely designed with soft modifications that suit the owner’s budget with the brand’s elements.
“It is our brand philosophy that every guest must leave fully satisfied with their stay. This is reflected in our TripAdvisor ranking – number 1 of 894 hotels in Dubai in the month of April 2022,” claims Anand. Furthermore, LEVA Hotels stands out as an investor-friendly company with a super focus on superlative service and retention. They have adopted a lean staffing strategy which enables them to move forward with a centered approach of 52 employees to service around 184 rooms. They have also strategically set their tone with marketing, distribution, revenue management, reputation management, and branding. Their senior leaders, who have been with the company from its inception, and with extensive experience in international brands takes care of this aspect of business.
“My philosophy has always emphasized the importance of taking care of our employees, with a positive culture built on our brand values,” states Anand. LEVA Hotels is a people-oriented company and is committed to being an employer of choice. They hire people with the intention of being a part of their success and growth and the company makes sure to put their credo into practice. Anand states LEVA Hotels is a ‘people first and future focused’ company. The leadership team understands that the success and growth of their team members depend on the guidance and direction they procure. Therefore, the entire focus is on finding the solutions rather than fixating on mistakes or challenges. He adds that the growth of any member of the team has to be strategic and should be understood deeply in order to hone their skills and talents. This approach specifically helps in positioning the right members in the right areas. Thus, a team can be built with a culture of debate, logic, and disagreement with the right approach and solution.
As a business leader, Anand makes sure his employees are motivated and supported in their roles by assigning them challenging tasks from time to time. This approach helps in creating an environment and opportunities to excel. It also opens up a space for the employees to display their skills and talents and provides them a stage to perform independently. In addition, LEVA Hotels also offers funded training courses for their employees. The company has partnered with a New York-based quality assurance firm, NextGen to handle the learning and development plan for their employees that provides intensive training to ensure consistency of LEVA Hotels’ core values as a brand.
Another factor for LEVA Hotels’ success lies in their commitment to serving their stakeholders. Their expertise in creating cost-effective hospitality projects helps in maximizing the returns for their stakeholders. They also carefully tailor their business approach to ensure they meet the budget and the timeline objectives in order to deliver outstanding investment opportunities. The company is results-oriented and particularly focuses on flexible management solutions for stakeholders and building a portfolio of properties whilst optimizing operating models.
Anand’s ideology about good leadership is to be strategic, innovative, and people-oriented and at the same time, have a sense of reality and a sense of purpose. He reminds that leaders should be resilient in the face of adversity and should bear a commitment to improving the lives of others. He also adds that a virtuous leader should be more humane and should have an open mind to accept ideas and feedback for the significant growth of the organization as well as the team members. “In terms of leadership style, I’m more hands-on,” implies Anand. He focuses on building the brand and considers their people as sub-brands. He concludes by reminding a person can reach great heights with the right tools, guidance, and the stage to perform on.
Anand looks forward to a future where he will be building a brand known for its integrity and quality. He is equally excited to see the direction of the brand’s evolution. His plans include growing the brand further, developing talents, and making a positive impact on people in need and animal welfare. He also points out the importance of genuinely giving to communities that are in need rather than just doing it for public relations purposes. “And the most important thing is to create a product or service that makes sense not only financially but also in a true sense that the market requires,” concludes Anand. Furthermore, LEVA Hotels is looking forward to its expansion goals which are primarily focused on areas including Egypt, KSA, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Besides, by the end of 2022, the brand will be launching their first 5-star property, named Emin Pasha LEVA, which is located in Kampala, Uganda.