The foundation for Rip Patel’s interest in hotel franchise development was laid in his teen years. Patel, appointed in January as G6 Hospitality’s vice president for franchise development, shares that story in this month’s Leadership Series.

When he was almost 16 years old, Patel and his family were developing their first franchise hotel, a Holiday Inn Express. As part of the process, they had to undergo an inspection by the franchise representative.

“I just remember being so nervous and all the family being nervous. This was kind of a make it or break it for us,” Patel said. “He came in and just went through everything while we’re just sweating, and everything worked out. I always remembered and appreciated that particular meeting, and I thought that’s something that I definitely want to do in the future.”

That future is now, and Patel has definite goals for his new position.

A lifetime of experience

Patel is a second-generation whose parents moved to the U.S. and began managing a friend’s hotel in Tennessee when he was 4 years old and his sister was 1.

“They ran the whole thing from housekeeping to front desk to maintenance,” Patel said. “A lot of times, my mom would have my sister in the housekeeping cart on the bottom while she’s making up rooms and I’d be running towels, doing laundry, whatever I could at that time, while my dad was handling the other stuff.”

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Rip Patel said he was inspired to work in franchise development after observing the process when his parents developed their first franchised hotel, a Holiday Inn Express in Texas.

They then moved to California and then Texas where they were able to buy a 15-room hotel. It was a 24-hour operation with the whole family doing housekeeping, running the front desk and doing maintenance.

“While my buddies were out having a good time on weekends, I was cleaning rooms, doing laundry, and everything else you can imagine in a hotel,” Patel said. “That’s when I knew I would always be in this industry.”

Patel also realized at that point that he preferred development over operations. That led his footsteps toward G6.

Working for the brand

After graduating Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, he was hired at Atlanta- based U.S. Franchise Systems under AAHOA co-founder Mike Leven. He joined G6 10 years ago and served as director of franchise development until his recent promotion.

His goal for the new job is simple.

“The same it’s always been is to grow the brand with great ownerships. That’s our focus,” Patel said. “Finding the right markets, working with the right folks and getting hotels open.”

Marketing G6 to franchisees is easy, Patel said. The company sells itself.

“The biggest thing is our business model. It’s a low overhead, more bottom-line profit system,” Patel said. “No breakfast, no rewards program, our rooms are efficiently designed, requiring less labor, less maintenance, overall operations model requires less staffing. We have so many things that really create a bigger bottom line for our owners. And that’s why we’ve been so successful for the last 60 years.”

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Rip Patel started with G6 10 years ago and served as director of franchise development until his recent promotion.

Franchisees’ concerns are generally about topics out of the company’s control, Patel said.

“It’s the economy, its interest rate, its rising costs, labor shortages. And you know, we hear them loud and clear,” Patel said. “G6 has owned and operated thousands of hotels, so it’s not that we don’t know this, we’ve seen it firsthand, and we appreciate these problems.”

Along those lines, the company did see a slowdown in 2023.

“It was a slowdown, but it wasn’t unexpected, and I think our owners were prepared. They were ready for it, and that’s on the retail side,” he said. “But our owners also we’re like, ‘Heck, we know what this brand is, we know what it does.’”

G6 did have a record year for development signings, Patel said. They signed 120 deals.

“That was really fueled by our Studio 6 brands, Studio 6, and Studio 6 Suites. Economy extended stay lodging still continues to be very, very strong and 60 percent of our signings were for that segment, for those brands. And even this year, that trend is continuing.”

Keeping the light on

Patel said the light will definitely stay on for 2024, referencing the Motel 6 motto “We’ll keep the light on for you.”

“We’re going to be visiting several markets throughout the year, having VIP events where the development team will be, in particular markets, very strategic markets, and, we’ll be sending out a lot of notices,” Patel said.

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From left, Rip Patel’s wife Lichi Patel, daughters Emma and Eyva along with Rip.

Patel expectations do not rely on the state of the economy.

“This economy segment that we’re in, it’s obviously recession proof. We’ve seen that just these past few years what it can do for hotel owners and then not only just the brand but the segment,” Patel said. “We’ve been a safe haven for owners to park money during rough times because they know that we’re going to continue to have cashflow, we’re going to continue to appreciate at our assets.”