Deepak Ohri’s childhood home was modest-a one-room flat in a lower middle-class area of New Delhi-but it was filled with love and life lessons. Small luxuries were scarce and savored-a toy car, a cold soda-and awakened Ohri to the possibility of a future filled with abundance.
Now the CEO of lebua Hotels and Resorts, a global collection of five-star hotels and fine restaurants in Thailand, New Zealand, and India, Ohri has launched dozens of successful restaurants and bars and is credited with elevating luxury hospitality in the Asian Pacific. Iebua has been named the World’s Leading All-Suite Hotel by World Travel Awards, and is rated within the top 1 percent of companies in the world for customer satisfaction.
A Bridge Not Too Far: Where Creativity Meets Innovation explores how Ohri’s humble beginnings have fueled his innovative entrepreneurial spirit and have informed his deeply human-centered approach to business and to life.
In an industry where profit is often placed over people, Ohri is committed to compassion, care, and creating powerful emotional connections that can last a lifetime.
UNDERSTANDING THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION OF LUXURY BRANDING, THROUGH FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE.
As Sabaa Tovar toured the hallways of the exclusive Montage Laguna Beach resort in California, she became aware of a unique scent emanating through the air. When she peeked inside one of the ultra-luxurious suites and felt the bedding, she swooned.
“The luxury was something I never saw before in my life!” Tovar said. ““It was incredible to see the service, discipline and organization. This kind of experience really shows a business student what it takes to manage a luxury brand and be at the top of your game.”
As one of 18 FIU MBA students to take part in the inaugural Luxury Incubator MBA Project and its 7-day field trip to New York and California, Tovar got a first-hand look into iconic luxury brands and the people and thinking behind them. The program, believed to be the first of its kind, is the brainchild of Deepak Ohri, CEO of lebua Hotels and Resorts and executive in residence at FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, and Anna Pietraszek, director of global operations and assistant teaching professor of marketing and logistics.
“The impact on the students is huge,” Pietraszek said. “One of the students had tears in his eyes and said he saw things he didn’t know existed. They learned it’s not about expense, but about how you are able to see and experience what is around you.”
Luxury, they learned, is about creating emotional connections.
“If you can’t create emotional expression between you and your client, you’re not going to be successful,” said MBA student Kareem Ghraoui. “It’s all about how you can emotionally please and attract customers to continue coming back. The way luxury retailers and exclusive hotel brands go above and beyond to maintain a relationship with the client is incredible!”
They learned from the Eight Inc executive who designed Apple’s first flagship store in 2001. At Dior, amid the backdrop of diamonds and purses in a private room, they discussed how the brand connects with clients and maintains relevancy.
Deepak Ohri co-created and co-designed Luxury Incubator Project for the MBA Program at Florida International University. The Luxury Incubator Project was co-designed with Dr.Anna Pietraszek, Director of Global Operations, Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Marketing Faculty at FIU. The project is first of its kind offered by the university.
In May 2022, Deepak Ohri joined the World Happiness Foundation as an Advisory Board Member and created a Happiness Office at lebua assuming additional responsibilities as a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO)
In July 2022, Deepak Ohri was recognized as a global leader in luxury and International Hospitality Institute named Ohri as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Global Hospitality.
Deepak Ohri is an author of a book: A Bridge Not Too Far, Where Creativity Meets Innovation. His book is adopted as case-study teaching material for the executive education courses and was selected as the Top 25 Best Global Marketing books.The Father of Modern Marketing, Prof. Philip Kotler selected A Bridge Not Too Far as one of the four marketing books that he recommends.
Deepak Ohri is an inventor of Ohri Luxury Index, a tool that measures emotional experience in luxury and how such knowledge can elevate a value of a luxury brand.He is the president of Luxury Atelier Maison Happiness (LAMH ), a luxury consulting company that prepares and delivers executive-level training courses in luxury marketing and management, one-on-one well-being sessions, and executive retreats for the global business leaders, companies, and students.
The business case study: lebua: A Thai Luxury Hotel’s Post-Pandemic Dilemmas, published by Ivey Publishing (July 2022) and offered by Harvard Business Publishing (November 2022) demonstrates Ohri’s approach to management, strategy and marketing of the luxury market and properties, and his vision in a time of crisis.
The Experiential Immersion by Deepak Ohri, a brand new education opportunity based on experiential learning techniques developed by Ohri, it was designed for the Faculty Professional Development Program in International Business in collaboration with the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research) at FIU.Ohri directed a group of 15 faculty from several U.S. higher institutions who learned about Thai culture and business principles in Asia. It is a second experiential learning program co-created with Dr.Anna Pietraszek, Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at FIU. Their third experiential learning program is designed for business faculty to discover, experience and learn management principals in Antarctica.
Koktail Magazine and Thailand’s Favorite Restaurants Guide 2022 recognized Deepak Ohri for his contribution to Thailand’s Hospitality Industry with the Thailand’s Best award.
In October 2022, Deepak Ohri and the father of modern marketing Prof.Philip Kotler discussed the new approach to “De-marketing and Happiness in the Post Covid19 Era” ,in the live webinar moderated by the president of the Happiness Foundation. The webinar was part of the Faculty Professional Development Program: Experiential Immersion by Deepak Ohri,in collaboration with the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and Center for International Business and Research at Florida International University. Deepak Ohri defined the concept of happiness as an expression of management and an achievement to obtain a perfect balance between the right and left sides of the brain.
Deepak Ohri presented his vision on happiness and tourism at the Tourism Innovation Summit 2022 in Seville, Spain. He highlighted the importance of finding happiness within.
In November 2022, Deepak Ohri was named the World’s Leading Happiness Ambassador by the World Travel Awards.
“Deepak is an inspirational leader. A Bridge Not Too Far will inspire many around the world to challenge the boundaries of success in business and life.”—Graham Cooke ― President and Founder, World Travel Awards
“Great hotels and restaurants often anchor the evolution of the world’s greatest cities. Deepak’s story tells of the journey behind iconic venues.”—Robert Rosenstein ― Chairman and CEO, Founder, Agoda Company Limited
“Deepak Ohri provides an inspirational story and a clear framework for achieving success through creativity, hard work, and self-belief.”—Vikram Oberoi ― MD and CEO, Oberoi Group of Hotels
“No one becomes successful on their own. Deepak Ohri’s narrative highlights how influential his parents were in providing him guidance, mentorship, support, and values. In A Bridge Not Too Far, Deepak shows us that we must be willing to seek out challenges and recognize opportunities.”—William G. Hardin III, PhD, FRICS ― Dean, Florida International University College of Business
“Deepak’s story puts it all in perspective. His drive to succeed is unstoppable, and his affection for life is contagious. He finds the best in people and converts each challenge into an incredible opportunity. His love for education is exceptional. A Bridge Not Too Far is a perfect guide for anyone who wants to do something extraordinary in life. It shows that with the right mindset, everything is possible.”—Anna Pietraszek, PhD ― Faculty Florida International University College of Business
“Nothing is too far or too high for Deepak Ohri. Where many others would relax or slow down, he shifts into a higher gear and takes off to new heights. A Bridge Not Too Far will inspire others to follow in his footsteps and make the world a better place.”—Peter Foster ― Deputy Executive Vice President, Genting Bhd
“A joyous and uplifting book which follows Deepak’s continent-hopping, a multi-decade career in hospitality but even more so speaks of the tender love between a father and son.”—Aradhana Khowala ― CEO and Founder, Aptamind Partners