The term “unprecedented change” has been used a lot through the pandemic. Today, as the world enters into recovery, National Post turned to Top 40 alumni to learn how they navigated the pandemic and what it takes to adapt.*
Reetu Gupta, ambassadress & principal, The Gupta Group, 2017 Top 40 honouree
Through the pandemic, Reetu Gupta was CEO of The Easton’s Hotel Group, the hospitality arm of The Gupta Group. The industry was one of the hardest-hit during the pandemic, but while many hotels decided to close their doors, Gupta kept 80 per cent of the Group’s hotels open.
Bring all of your stars together
I’m a big fan of President Obama. In an interview, he spoke about his Situation Room and how he would sit with all the higher-ups to deal with emergencies. As soon as we knew there was going to be a state of emergency, I wanted to make sure my executive team was empowered and it wasn’t one person calling the shots. We came together every day over Zoom because things were changing so quickly. No one person has every solution but when you have all of your all-stars in one room, it’s amazing the magic that can happen.
Stay true to your values
When I was thinking about how to adapt, I wasn’t thinking about maximizing revenues. I was thinking about maximizing the safety and happiness of our team and guests. When travel stopped and hotel occupancies dropped from 70 per cent to six per cent, we decided to do everything we could to keep our hotels open. We refocused our strategy to find domestic business. I also started Project Kindness. We donated all the food the hotels could no longer use to Second Harvest, which donated it to shelters and people in need in the GTA.
We also helped procure masks for the University Health Network, seniors homes and retirement communities. It gave people hope.
When the provinces listed all the industries deemed essential, we used it to figure out which would need hotels. Construction was deemed essential; maybe some of the workers can’t return home, how can we help? We partnered with embassies that wanted to fly their people back home and needed hotels until they could. We were able to find business, which allowed us to keep our doors open. Everyone’s mind is open to the fact there is not just one way to do business.
CANADA’S TOP 40 THIS SECTION WAS PRODUCED BY CONTENT WORKS, POSTMEDIA’S COMMERCIAL CONTENT DIVISION, ON BEHALF OF PwC AND CALDWELL.