Photo courtesy of Reetu Gupta.
Reetu Gupta wears several hats professionally. She’s the president and co-chair of The Gupta Family Foundation, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Rogue Insight Capital, as well as the chairwoman and ambassadress of The Gupta Group and Easton’s Group of Hotels.
Gupta says she was “born into hotels” and realized at a young age that it was where she wanted to be. Her inspiration was her father — renowned entrepreneur, Dr. Steve Gupta. She worked a variety of positions and rose through the ranks of her father’s company before stepping into her latest role.
Last year, you took on the role of ambassadress and principal of The Gupta Group, which focuses on philanthropic work, mentorship, and female empowerment. What are some of the ways you achieve that, and why is that important to you?
Every year, we partner with various charities, and we have all the hotels engage in a friendly competition where they have to raise as much as they can for the campaign. People go all-out just to get donations, and it’s a really fun way to give back.
When COVID-19 hit, that calling became very loud, and I thought, “I need to be doing more.” So, I launched the Kindness Project, which allows our companies to work together to spread kindness around the GTA and other cities where our hotels are located.
Can you tell me about how The Gupta Group has benefitted from diversification over the course of the pandemic?
I founded The Gupta Group in 2012 — that’s when we started to diversify into condos. I let my dad know that we don’t need to get out of the hotel business, but we need to make sure we’re not too heavily invested in only one business.
When COVID-19 hit, we were in a better position because tourism, hotels, and hospitality as a whole took a gigantic hit. Thankfully, real estate was still doing well, and we had a couple of projects under construction. The government allowed construction to continue, which saved a lot of jobs.
What are some of the challenges you and the Gupta Group have faced during the pandemic?
As much as we were in a better position, we were not — in the sense that the majority of our business was now making zero. It would be difficult for me to make the decision that most hoteliers made: closing the doors, sending everybody home, and waiting for things to pick up again. I couldn’t do that to our team. I didn’t want our team members to be at home thinking, “I might not have a job to come back to when COVID-19 is over.” I wanted to make sure that our team members felt okay and knew that they might not be working full-time, but at least they know we’re here for the long run.
In January, I felt that COVID-19 was going to impact the entire world. I gathered our team and said, “It looks like we’re going to lose all of our business from overseas, so right now, we have to only focus on domestic business and see whatever business we can get.” We pushed all our hotels to do that. Thankfully, we had quite a bit of business on the books that stayed on the books.
What are some predictions you have for the next five years in the real estate industry?
I think companies are going to start to offer hybrid models. For example, in our company, historically, we didn’t have the option to work from home. We had to figure out a way to make sure that everybody’s safe, and you have the option to work from home, and hotels are still running. I do think that, on the real estate side, you’re going to see a lot more homes being built in the suburbs. The demand is shifting from downtown, which is also a great thing.
I also think that people are itching to travel. I think hospitality is going to take a huge jump, which will be amazing and a blessing after the couple of years that we’ve had.
This interview originally appeared in the summer 2022 issue.
Marcus Medford | Contributing Writer