As a young man growing up in Gujarat, Hiten Timbawala learned to admire the great business, political and industrial leaders who had risen from his province of India.
His was the land of Mohandas Gandhi, and the industrial tycoon’s Ambani and Ratan Tata. Men who through hard work and perseverance built their dreams into personal and financial success. These were heroes to be admired.
But there were others less known, but every bit as important to a young man yearning for success, family, and future. Men like his Grandfather and Uncle. Men like his own Father. Each of them as Hiten says, “are low profile men who found not only business success, but more importantly found their personal success in the satisfaction of life.” Men who led with dignity, character, integrity and personal self-discipline.
These men taught Hiten that time and the control of time, is the most imperative part of life. “Never squander time”. Hiten learned that there is an urgency to business, and an urgency to success.
It was with these beliefs, and with this drive, that Hiten came to the United States in 1991. He began working in the diamond and jewelry trade, a family legacy, in the Los Angeles area, learning sales the ins and outs of business. He also worked part time as a hotel Night Auditor during this time. It was the Night Auditor job, the smaller job, the less conspicuous job, that would lead Hiten to his life’s career. This was his first taste of hotels, of “Hospitality”.
He carried this experience with him when his family moved to Kentucky in 1995 for business opportunities with another form of customer business, restaurants. Specifically, Subway Restaurants. And it was there, making sandwiches on a Sunday during one of those endless 12 hour shifts, that Hiten saw an ad in the local newspaper that read, “Business Opportunity… Motel for Sale… Radcliff KY.”
Not squandering time, remembering what he had learned in that small hotel and pounding the streets of LA, Hiten knew what he wanted to do. Hiten bought his first hotel. A “Choice Hotels” brand “Econo Lodge”. He was on his way. It was 1998.
That same year, he leased a parcel of land for construction of a “Ramada” at the Airport/ Fairgrounds corridor of Louisville. A property he managed, worked as a front desk clerk and as a housekeeper for, until one day came the realization, “If you keep working every job in a hotel, you will never have time to develop a hotel.”
Remember? “Never squander time.”
This was the beginning of HRS Hotels Group, and what “Louisville Business First” magazine has labeled the “fastest growing hotel company in the Louisville region”.
Over a decade later, and after many more hotels have been developed, constructed, or renovated, Hiten still believes in the words of Mukesh Ambani, the creative genius of Reliance Industries, “I think that our fundamental belief is that growth is a way of life and we have to grow at all times.” In my father’s words, “To create something out of nothing; Possibility exists everywhere; Really do a job and do it well; Relationships and trust, this is the bedrock of life.”
It is with grit and determination that HRS continues to grow. It is a measured and defined process with Hiten insisting for his group, “We want quality over quantity.” It is this growth, each new birth of a hotel that drives Hiten Timbawala. The quest to “never squander time”, and to live as his Father taught him- “The Satisfied Life”.