The Middle Seat

January 26, 2019


It really gets my goat that a passenger on a middle seat can’t sit as comfortably as the people on the aisle or window.

I was traveling with my wife to Dubai – she had the window seat , I was sitting in the middle and another passenger in the aisle seat, to my right.

I’ve always believed, and have practiced, that the poor sod in the middle seat (in this case, that was me!) should be given arms space for both arms and elbows, just as the window person has the space at the window side and the aisle person has the aisle side to lean on.

My wife gave me space to put my left elbow on our common armrest; but my aisle seatmate not only made his left arm comfortable on the common armrest BUT nicely leaned his body to the left towards me. Then through the flight, instead of leaning towards the aisle, he conveniently used both armrests, favoring the one towards me more!

What gives the right to the side seaters to lean into the middle seat person?

Shouldn’t the middle seater have the space to be comfortable by getting priority for his/her arms majority of the time; or do you feel that because all passengers have paid for the seat, they have just as much right to the armrests?

Family Business

January 18, 2019

My brother and I have only worked in our family business for almost 30 years now.

In 2014, my sister in law invited me to be a guest speaker on “Family Business” at her College.

What surprised me was the negative perception family businesses seemed to have with the students.

There is some merit in their perception (but at the corporate level of such businesses) – possible lack of advancement and growth opportunities; leadership development; HR stagnation; staff try to influence owners against operations; succession planning.

However, what I’ve come to realize – among other things – is the FLEXIBILITY & SPEED of decision making is a powerful overcoming factor.

All organizations have rules and regulations, policies & procedures.  However, in our family business there is a certain level of subjectivity with which we apply the “rules”.  My grandfather taught my father and us (he had a lot of “sayings” which he lived by) –

               Rules are made for fools

               And donkeys and mules

               And children in schools.


               Who makes the rules-                    you and I

               Who can amend the rules –         you and I

Rules are a guideline.  They are to help the organization to stay a certain path as envisaged by the Patriarch and founders.  However, there are times when we need to bend these rules- and we do this for humanitarian reasons.  For example, a heart operation isn’t part of the scope of our medical policy for family members- however, out of compassion and humanitarian reasons, we’ve bent over to help out the family and bear the expenses.

We’ll talk about more examples in future posts…till then, I hope I’ve whet your appetite on family businesses?


Our People

January 9, 2019

Our Core Values revolve around our people, our team members – Associates, Supervisors, Officers, Assistant Department heads, Department Heads and the General Manager – who work with us.  (More on our Core Values in another post however).

A while back, a team member asked why I was requesting our hotels to post our monthly “Employee of the Month” [competition] on social media (incidentally we need to change this title to “Team Member of the Month”).  That surprised me as I realized our own teams don’t know the purpose of this competition …

…and, at it’s very bare level, it’s to publicly RECOGNIZE the services and contribution of our people in our hotels on a monthly basis.

The “prize” is not going to make them millionaires!  It’s however the quest for recognition of an outstanding job done in the previous month – either towards guest satisfaction; or honesty; or towards her/his peer; and so on.  Two people are chosen monthly- one from our Associates & Supervisors; and another from our Officers category.

So, when I started practicing Social Media, as a test case on our Beach Luxury Hotel five years ago, I started posting these results on a monthly basis- their photo; a brief write; their background in the hotel; years of service; and something special about him/her.

I will therefore incorporate this in my blog too– and will post the two people on a monthly basis.

…at the end of the day, our hotels are OUR PEOPLE!


My First Post

So, this is my very very very 1st post.

My Instagram profile mentions … “Pretend, yet wanna-be, blogger”. I’ve been wanting to blog for a long time and yes, eventually I do want to be a good blogger – for now, I’ll just PRETEND that I’m a blogger, let alone “good”. 😇

My family started in the hotel industry in the 1940s with my grandfather (who I’ve been named after) and grandmother (Khorshed) acquiring the Bristol Hotel in Karachi, which was still part of India then. The Weismann family were leaving Karachi and it seemed like an opportunity to my grandfather then…little knowing what was to lie in store for him. More on this later.

My grandfather had a great saying by William Shakespeare which he lived by –

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures” – William Shakespeare.

The Bristol hotel was just such a “tide” and opportunity.