Monday, April 8, 2024

Featuring Homi Vazifdar, Founder and Chairman of The Canyon Group

When I met Homi Vazifdar, I was immediately struck by his infectious smile and how much fun he seemed to be having. He instantly puts you at ease and makes you feel like he's playing a different game than others in hospitality today.

Homi Vazifdar // Credit: Josiah Mackenzie - Hospitality Daily

And it’s a game that is working - he and his teams at The Canyon Group have created the best resorts in the world, including Amangiri.

Amangiri // Credit: Aman

I left our conversation feeling motivated and inspired by what's possible, both personally and professionally, by leaning into the power of hospitality - and I think you will as well. Read on for some of my top takeaways…

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Contrarian Thinking with Homi Vazifdar

Homi Vazifdar // Credit: Josiah Mackenzie - Hospitality Daily

Homi Vazifdar is the Founder and Chairman of The Canyon Group, a vertically integrated investment company focused on the acquisition or development of ultra-luxury and best-in-class resorts in unique destinations around the world, including Amangiri, the #1 resort in the United States.

Here are a few takeaways I had from our conversation:

Embrace Contrarian Thinking

When we started this company 20 years ago, 90% of the people that I came across said, Homi, you're a frigging idiot. You are going to blow your investors' money. You're going to blow your money. Small ultra-luxury resorts do not make money. Well, we proved them all wrong. We proved them completely wrong.

The takeaway: Don't be afraid to challenge industry norms. If you believe in a unique vision for your hospitality business, pursue it, even if it's unconventional.

Focus on Operations

One of those contrarian approaches I heard from Homi was a focus on operations first, instead of the finance-first approach many hospitality companies take.

We operate with a operations-first mindset, and it resulted in a perfect blend of passion and profit.

The takeaway: A strong operational foundation is key to success. Ensure that your business’s day-to-day operations are efficient and guest-focused to drive profitability.

Think Bigger and Innovate

According to Homi, the key to doing this:

You have to constantly re-invent yourself.

The takeaway: Always look for ways to reinvent your hospitality offerings.

Reinventing Yourself Requires Pushing Through Mental Barriers

Reinventing sounds good in practice, but it can be hard. Homi told me you need to push through mental barriers to do this.

You have to have doubts. If you don't have doubts, you're cocky. If you're cocky, that's a recipe for disaster. But you have to always have doubts. It keeps you honest, in a way.

In our conversation, he talked about the next thing he’s focused on - a spin on a hot trend that may surprise you - and also:

  • Building and managing ultra-luxury resorts

  • The significance of friendships and relationship building in business

  • The concept of residential products alongside hospitality services

  • The evolution of experiential luxury in the hospitality industry

  • The influence of investment banking on the hospitality industry

  • The psychology of financing ultra-luxury hospitality ventures

  • The value of mentorship and personal development in hospitality careers

  • Building and maintaining long-term professional relationships

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