Lyons HR: Kana Hotel Group

Prepped for Opportunity, Driven by Success

By Alpesh Patel of Kana Hotel Group

Building a Brand

My career in hospitality began in New York, where I attended Cornell and worked as a hospitality consultant at Ernst & Young. During my time with E&Y, I was involved in a wide range of activities that included conducting feasibility studies for new hotel developments, structuring debt and equity financing for portfolios or single assets, and assisting owners with public/private hospitality projects.

In 2003, I decided to relocate back to Knoxville to take over the family business, Kana Hotel Group, which, at the time, was a small operation managing five lodging establishments. Today, Kana operates more than 70 premium properties in 18 states, all of which are exclusively Hilton, Marriott, and IHG brands.

From 2003 to around 2019, we were opening about four to five hotels a year across the United States, and it was probably around 2013, when we were operating 10 properties, that we were introduced to Lyons HR. 

Calling in the Experts

At the time, all of our payroll and human resource functions were being managed in house, and it became apparent that this was far from the best use of our talents or resources. We want our general managers and department heads to focus on taking care of our guests and our team members. And we knew that we needed to connect with experts to help us work through the rest.  

Wes Brown, Director of Sales Operations at Lyons HR, sees us much the same way as we see him. As business partners. The beauty of our relationship with Lyons is that they continue to prove their worth to our company time and time again. They keep us abreast of challenges and opportunities in the marketplace and continually bring us new solutions to match. 

Wes Brown of Lyons HR with a team member of Kana Hotel Group | Photo by Nathan Sparks

Solutions that Matter

Back office technology is a good example. With the speed of change in the tech field, we couldn’t possibly keep up with beneficial solutions on our own. Lyons has consulted us on utilizing the best technologies that propel our team forward, freeing up time for our people to focus in on our guests. 

State regulations are another area where their partnership has been a game changer. Opening properties is made that much more challenging when faced with the rules and regulations that are, frankly, constantly changing and unique to each state.  Here again, our partnership with Lyons has been hugely beneficial in helping us navigate that changing landscape.

Lyons has even built an exceptional survey program for our employees. “The surveys help you see how things are going, how happy your people are with certain products you’ve offered, and how to move forward,” Wes told me when he first spoke to me about the feedback program. “Especially in today’s market, you need this to retain employees and attract the best talent.” We rolled it out just this year, and it has already changed the way we understand how our offerings impact our people.

A Partnership Worth Growing

All of this and more is why we’ve been partners with Lyons HR for more than a decade. A ten-year old business relationship is rare, indeed. However, with Wes and Lyons HR, it’s felt effortless, not just for our leadership team, but for all of our people at Kana Hotel Group. Everyday, this partnership proves that it’s worth growing.   

424 Ebenezer Rd | Knoxville, TN 37923 | (888) 212-3687 

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