IN­SIGHT: RADIS­SON

The lead­ing hos­pi­tal­ity chain has big am­bi­tions for the fu­ture

CEO Middle East - - CON­TENTS -

Radis­son works with prop­erty own­ers for leas­ing, fran­chis­ing and so on and your busi­ness mod­els are ad­justed for dif­fer­ent mar­kets. Is be­ing nim­ble a qual­ity that you think has be­come more im­por­tant for busi­nesses as a whole in re­cent years?

Our fo­cus over­time has al­ways been to re­main rel­e­vant to our part­ners. As the macro-eco­nomic cli­mate evolves, we ad­just our strat­egy in a way that is com­pat­i­ble with our busi­ness land­scape. We shift from as­set­light to as­set-right.

Ge­o­graph­i­cally, Mid­dle East and Africa have al­ways been a fee based busi­ness model and we be­lieve this will still con­tinue as we ben­e­fit now from crit­i­cal mass in most mar­kets, al­low­ing us to cre­ate value through ef­fi­cien­cies, economies of scale and other com­mer­cial syn­er­gies which then fur­ther trans­late value cre­ation to our part­ners as we grow to­gether. Our in­vestors in the re­gion usu­ally bring the ex­per­tise in build­ing the ho­tels while we op­er­ate them.

More and more rel­e­vant to our in­vest­ment part­ners is our brand of­fer­ing. We have re­viewed and cre­ated a clean and sim­ple brand ar­chi­tec­ture from econ­omy to lux­ury, and from re­sorts to busi­ness ho­tels while also of­fer­ing ser­viced apart­ments so­lu­tions.

Our tech­ni­cal team has pro­duced com­pre­hen­sive brand guide­lines al­low­ing us to fur­ther ac­cel­er­ate the speed of constructi­on, min­imise over­all time to build but we have also con­sid­er­ably re­duced the cost of de­vel­op­ment of each brand, mak­ing us one of the most com­pet­i­tive com­pa­nies with rel­e­vant re­sources adding value to our in­vestors.

We fore­see the big­gest op­por­tu­ni­ties to be conversion­s and takeovers across the re­gion. His­tor­i­cally, our group has been known for repo­si­tion­ing ex­ist­ing ho­tels un­der one of our brands and we be­lieve we can con­tinue to repli­cate the same suc­cess as ex­ist­ing ho­tel own­ers look at ways of im­prov­ing their re­turns and Radis­son has al­ways es­tab­lished it­self as a solid part­ner.

The group has un­der­gone a process of re­brand­ing and repo­si­tion­ing; in to­day’s mar­ket what are the key chal­lenges in chang­ing per­cep­tions about a brand, both in­ter­nally and to cus­tomers?

The re­brand­ing ex­er­cise was a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of the com­pany but also the re­sult of lever­ag­ing on our core name “Radis­son”. Nam­ing our com­pany “Radis­son Ho­tel

Group” be­came a sim­pler ap­proach to cre­ate an um­brella brand which ev­ery­body could recog­nise due to the es­tab­lished aware­ness but also re­flected the change of own­er­ship the com­pany went through and the new vi­sion we had adopted as a group in our pur­suit in be­com­ing one of the top three ho­tel com­pa­nies in the world.

All our guests have al­ways re­ferred us to Radis­son, they have now ac­cess to all the Radis­son brands, can gain loy­alty through Radis­son Re­wards but can also dis­cover a newly launched web­site radis­son­ho­tels. com uni­fy­ing all our ho­tels and de­tails into one plat­form, fur­ther lever­ag­ing our core iden­tity.

On the de­vel­op­ment side, we have had record year on year since the trans­for­ma­tion, de­mon­strat­ing the recog­ni­tion the com­pany has had in the mar­ket but also show­ing that our part­ners had them­selves recog­nised the ef­forts and pos­i­tive evo­lu­tion our group had em­barked on and which they wanted to be part of.

How did Radis­son ap­proach its re­brand­ing in terms of de­cid­ing what to fo­cus on – what fac­tors come into play when look­ing at re­brand­ing a global busi­ness with di­verse brands?

We have two cus­tomers: our guests and our ho­tel own­ers. The pri­or­ity was for us to trans­late and cre­ate val­ues for both and en­sure that those who stay at our ho­tel ben­e­fit of all our changes and ef­forts but equally that those who in­vest and build ho­tels with us ben­e­fit of stronger re­turns and last­ing re­la­tion­ships.

The cus­tomer jour­ney was sim­pli­fied from the booking process, to the ar­rival, to the ex­pe­ri­ence, the brand sig­na­ture elements, the mem­o­ries with a state­ment ap­pli­ca­ble to the com­pany and all the brands: “ev­ery mo­ment mat­ters”. This phi­los­o­phy had en­sured that ev­ery touch point from the cus­tomer jour­ney is re­sponded with a pos­i­tive im­pact so that we con­vert all our guests into loyal mem­bers.

For the own­ers, as ex­pressed be­fore, rel­e­vance is key and our pri­or­ity was to en­sure not only a clean brand ar­chi­tec­ture with the in­tro­duc­tion of new brands or new ho­tel de­vel­op­ment so­lu­tions but also in cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary tools to op­ti­mise our per­for­mance, max­imise re­turns and grow the value of their as­sets over time.

This re­gion is par­tic­u­larly di­verse, with con­sumers from a va­ri­ety of ma­ture and emerg­ing mar­kets. How can a global brand hope to be all things to all peo­ple – what lessons are there to be learned in ef­fec­tively con­nect­ing with a broad cus­tomer base?

We pro­vide our own­ers with the right busi­ness model for the right project in the right lo­ca­tion. Our clear and com­ple­ment­ing brand ar­chi­tec­ture pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to our in­vestors in all seg­ments. We have also launched our ser­viced apart­ment of­fer­ing which gen­er­ates ad­di­tional in­vest­ment op­tions to our part­ners.

We are com­mit­ted to be­com­ing in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant and we will con­tinue to trans­form the be­hav­iour of our or­gan­i­sa­tion so that ev­ery­thing that we do cre­ates a com­pelling value propo­si­tion to our own­ers. From brand­ing, rev­enue, cost, en­gage­ment and trans­ac­tion sim­plic­ity – we will con­tinue to make a dif­fer­ence. Speed, agility, re­spon­sive­ness and a prag­matic mind­set con­tinue to make us stand out from the crowd.

How is Radis­son en­cour­ag­ing more women into se­nior lead­er­ship roles?

We have es­tab­lished a pro­gramme, “Women in Lead­er­ship” launched few years back ahead of the global ini­tia­tive as we had al­ways com­mit­ted in gen­der equal­ity but also in grow­ing our tal­ents.

We have not only suc­cess­fully ap­pointed fe­male gen­eral man­agers across the re­gion, but we were of­ten the first ones to do so. Equally, we have many women in se­nior roles in our of­fice sup­port func­tions glob­ally de­mon­strat­ing a bal­anced man­age­ment but also an open or­gan­i­sa­tion with op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one based on merit and with­out dif­fer­ences.

What de­fines a suc­cess­ful ho­tel busi­ness? I think it comes from dif­fer­ent elements which once com­bined can cre­ate a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. Like any real estate in­vest­ment, a ho­tel ven­ture has three main phases: 1) de­vel­op­ment 2) oper­a­tion and 3) exit/ re­cy­cling cap­i­tal. Radis­son Ho­tel Group is here to sup­port our own­ers ev­ery step of the way, from con­cept plan­ning un­til the open­ing/oper­a­tion and even through­out the exit phase (if any). We aim to be the best part­ner during each phase of the in­vest­ment and that comes from best tech­ni­cal and de­vel­op­ment so­lu­tions, rel­e­vant brands, lower cost of de­vel­op­ment, ded­i­cated man­age­ment teams, daily sup­port, strong com­mer­cial plat­forms and a ro­bust network within the in­vest­ment com­mu­nity.

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