Bashar Wali, Founder and CEO, Practice Hospitality; This Hospitality
Bashar Wali is a hospitality expert. He is the founder and CEO of Practice Hospitality and This Hospitality. Bashar founded these startups during the pandemic.
‘If a stranger shows up at your door, before you ask him who is he, where he is from and where he is going to, feed him for three days, because by then he’ll either be strong enough to tell you or you’ll be such good friends that it won’t matter’
-A simple yet powerful Middle Eastern saying that pushed a man into the world of hospitality.
The personality we are talking about and our guest for this episode of The Brand Called You, Bashar Wali is a hospitality expert. He is the founder and CEO of Practice Hospitality and This Hospitality.
Bashar founded these startups during the pandemic. Practice Hospitality is a hotel management company. They work for different hotels and help them manage them and serve hospitality there the right way. They manage the hotel keeping the human at the center of experience.
This Hospitality is a multi-functional organisation.
Bashar values hospitality a lot. People often believe that Bashar is in the service industry as he works for hotels, but Bashar tells us that he is not in the service, but the hospitality industry. The difference between both according to Bashar is that service is something one delivers, whereas hospitality is how one makes people feel.
Impact of COVID pandemic on Hotel industry
We are never taught to be vulnerable as vulnerability brings weakness, but Bashar believes that vulnerability gives an opportunity to sit with everyone and look for the solutions to the problems together. He tells us that although the pandemic has affected the hotel industry really badly, he is positive that this would not last long. He believes that humans are wanderers and can’t stay in one place. People are anyway going to travel. Travelling is not going to end so everything will be back to normal in sometime.
How are the millennials and Gen Zs changing the hospitality and travel business?
Bashar says that today people are focusing more on experience rather than comfort. Travel has now become a new social currency. Whenever people travel to some place they prefer living like locals rather than living like tourists. People don’t want to waste their time in a fancy restaurant, they need good quality food and a fun and engaging atmosphere. The millennials and Gen Zs want to feel like they are experiencing something and taking something out of their trip.
According to Bashar, the big brands have started to realise that the path to growth and survival is by attending to the new customers the way they like. He mentions the Marriott hotel chain is one of the biggest and traditional hotel chains in the world. A month ago they minted their own NFT, so a lot of big brands have now started to do softer brands.
How is technology changing hotels?
In Bashar’s words, “Hospitality at the heart of it, is about humanity”.
Bashar says that he has stayed at hotels with high class technology where there are robots to serve you for your needs. However, he wishes that hotels use technology to remove the friction of the transaction, but not ever use it to remove interactions with humans. He feels so because he believes that hospitality means someone welcoming you at a place and we can’t teach robots to be empathetic and have emotional intelligence. He says that we can’t expect hospitality from robots.
More about Bashar Wali:
Later in the conversation, Bashar tells us about how he considers moving to the US from the Middle East as a turning point in his life. He also tells us that choosing Hotel Management as his career was another big monumental moment for him. Lastly, he tells us that realising that people are individuals, they have their own set of dreams and aspirations and everyone is different and unique was the third milestone he achieved in his life.
Through this interview, we also get to know that Bashar values integrity and honesty more than his reputation.
He advises the new generation who are starting their career in hotel business to be humble, hungry, self-driven and volunteering.
A born leader and a bit of a rebel. Bashar can speak to the ins and outs of the Hospitality Industry because he’s done it all. Most at home on the road, he eats, sleeps and breathes this calling that we call hospitality. Some might say he’s obsessed with hotels. But, it’s really the humans behind them that drive him. Well, that and a vintage Land Rover Defender.