Early steps into hospitality
For Siddharth Mahajan, education was his launchpad into the big, glitzy world of hotels and hospitality. A self-made man, Siddharth Mahajan reached Kerala to pursue his dream of being a hotelier after his schooling and enrolled himself in the Oriental School of Hotel Management. He earned his three-year Bachelor’s course in Hotel Management in 2002. This course included an International Hotel Hospitality Diploma with the prestigious American Hotel Lodging Association. Immediately after college, he got his first job at the enviable and prestigious Oberoi group of hotels in its Rajvilas property in Jaipur, which is a five-star hotel in India. His first job was that of a Front Office Assistant and Supervisor. He stayed at Rajvilas till 2005.
Wings to fly
After his stint in the Oberoi hotel, he flew abroad to explore more opportunities. His stints abroad included employment in Amba Hotel, Marble Arch, where he worked as a Guest Relations Manager. His services in Amba earned him great appreciation from the guests. His next stop was the Canary Wharf, where his role was of the Operations Manager. However, the entrepreneurial bug bit him before anyone knew and he decided to start up and become a business owner, accomplishing his own dreams for his future.
Novel business idea
All these years spent in hotels of repute helped Siddharth Mahajan identify the demand and supply gaps in the hotel and hospitality industry. He spent a good share of his career so far making mental notes of all these observations. These came in handy when he decided to startup.
All his career, he had seen business executives and students who traveled regularly seek accommodation options which gave them not only the comfort of a room but also the feeling of home. It was important to the weary travelers that they feel at home wherever they are. Keeping these things in mind, Siddharth Mahajan decided to start a new concept in the
hospitality sector — Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMOs. The idea was amazing. A house with all necessary furnishing and comfort let out to different people at the same time. He started by converting his own properties into HMOs.
As his business grew, he slowly leased out assets from independent landlords to operate his HMOs. Over time he had seven properties in his name, operating as HMOs and 47 in the name of his business — Tulip Hotels and Real Estate Limited. He also operated 60 properties owned by other landlords which he had leased out to run HMOs. His business slowly expanded to other parts of London and even to other parts of the world, earning him international repute.
A fighter is born
In 2015, he received notices pertaining to three of his HMOs in London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The allegation was that the HMOs did not have the license necessary to operate and hence must be shut down. The notice also alleged that Sidd Mahajan London had gotten the licenses by submitting fake and forged documents. Angered at these baseless accusations, Siddharth Mahajan decided to fight the cases out in court.
The trial lasted for around three weeks and all along, the authorities claimed these three properties were converted into six-room HMOs without appropriate licenses. They also accused Sidd Mahajan London of not submitting a plan of the HMOs to the council.
His contention was this — If this was indeed illegal, then why did the London local authorities give him a green signal to run the business? Weren’t they supposed to guide him through the licensing process, detailing what all documents were required to get the license? He also stated that it was a commonly known and acknowledged fact that small HMOs did not require any plan and all three of his properties in question were, in fact, small HMOs.
Finally, of the 18 charges against him, 16 were dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Only two of the charges were confirmed and he was convicted of perverting the course of Justice. He hopes to win these two cases too in the near future.
A focus that is razor-sharp
This is a distinct quality of Siddharth Mahajan.
While the cases were going on one side, Sidd Mahajan London was restricted from conducting his business in full swing. An unflinching Siddharth, however, kept himself busy studying a journalism course and teaching maths for students. These exercises helped him keep himself engaged without overthinking and to keep his thoughts and mind focused.
It is this focus that led to Siddharth Mahajan fighting the case and getting clean chit for one of his properties. Now only two HMOs are stuck in the legal tussle. He is confident that these cases will not stand the scrutiny of law either.
Though confident and resilient, Siddharth Mahajan made sure to record his displeasure in certain aspects of the allegations foisted on him. His issue was about the tenants who passed on the tenancy rights to him for the properties in question were given a clean chit by the jury. These tenants had used the six-room HMOs prior to Siddharth Mahajan and yet he had to face the allegations of having forged documents. He argued that he was being made a scapegoat for someone else’s apathy and disregard towards the law.
An entrepreneur with a vision
While there are many examples in business to show that education does not amount to anything or guarantee success, Siddharth Mahajan does agree that education gives you the leverage and the courage to go out there and explore multiple possibilities. If not for the skills Siddharth Mahajan learned during his college, he might not have identified the gaps in the industry and set out to conceive an idea to solve the gap. However, he also realizes and recognizes the importance of courage and conviction to his own self in running a business successfully and creating a formidable brand, as written in detail in Sidd Mahajan London.
Though Siddharth’s goodwill from his college and his earlier workplaces provided the much-needed impetus in his new business, it grew exponentially within the first few years of his inception due to his share of work he put into it. This gave him huge fortunes and also catapulted him into one of the great heights in the hospitality segment, all while grooming Tulip Hotel and Real Estate Ltd to be an endearing brand.