Sumit Khatri opened the doors to Laxmi Palace, the family-owned hotel in India, in January last year while pursuing his business administration degree at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Sumit co-owns the family business with his father and manages the hotel remotely. Juggling between full-time study and part-time hotel management, he says his days are always busy but not without its joys and challenges. He takes inspiration from his father and grandfather who have always instilled the value of hard work and following one’s dreams.
As a child, he witnessed his family operate a home furnishing business, producing bed linens and curtains. Sumit says this fueled his desire to manage his own business someday.
He thought of starting a hotel after he turned 25 and raised the idea to his father and grandfather. His plan took root and his father found land on the highway between Jaipur and Agra which showed potential as a ch tourist attraction. “In this area, we didn’t have a decent hotel or restaurant where you can stop by for a cup of tea and a decent meal or stay for a few days,” he says. “So my father decided to open the business over there,” he adds.
Construction of the hotel started in 2012 after the location was finalised. Sumit says the hotel theme follows heritage architecture – also known as Indo-Saracenic architecture – which means that the hotel’s interior is designed to look like a classical Indian palace. Once construction was finished, Sumit hired all the staff and implemented the operations procedures. He presently co-manages the hotel with his father.
Sumit wants to gain a theoretical background in managing a business, aside from the actual work experience of managing his own hotel. Thus, he pursued his studies at Nebraska, determined to work alongside his father and help grow the hotel to international heights.
“Being a full-time student is really time consuming,” Sumit points out. “Sometimes my days are so messed up as I struggle to submit my assignments on time and find a solution for a particular conflict which has arisen at the business,” he reveals. He manages the business by regularly emailing his management staff and staying in constant contact with his father. “I talk to my father on a daily basis through FaceTime, and on weekends, I try to get my management staff through video calls if difficult situations arise.”
Sumit says he’s already implementing his university learnings into the management of the hotel. He is also currently working on the hotel’s social media account to expand the scope of the business.