Rezidor president and CEO Kurt Ritter tells CLARK KELLY that the hotel group will manage super-luxury brands and mid-market products with equal aplomb in the Middle East.
Excerpts from an interview:
How many new Rezidor hotels can we expect in the next few years?
Between 2007 and 2009, Rezidor will add 20,000 rooms to its portfolio.
How is Rezidor’s strategy different in the Middle East and in Africa?
Each market has a different approach. As an example, Africa has 52 different countries all with different marketing dynamics as opposed to the Middle East where we can effectively speak of a general economic drive and a more versatile market, with the UAE as one of the leading destinations closely followed by Oman, Qatar and Kuwait and the rest of the region.
What new areas are you looking at regionally? And what segments of the market?
Currently we are present in eight countries within the region with our upscale Radisson brand. We are planning to expand that footprint to other countries and are penetrating into existing markets, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE with our core brand or by introducing our multi-brand portfolio as we have announced the opening of an Hotel Missoni in Kuwait and the mid-market Park Inn shortly will be introduced in Saudi Arabia and Oman.
How do you see the Middle East as an outbound source market? What growth do you expect from this market?
Traditionally the main outbound travel from the Middle East was in the past focused purely on the summer months from June to August, this has now expanded and covers potentially all months. The main destinations remain the European feeder cities in the UK, France,and German speaking countries. Asia and south east Asia are also very popular destinations, and with the recent increased air capacity, we see a large increase in outbound travel to these markets.
How much will finding the right manpower be a problem?
The culture of our recruitment policy within Rezidor is to promote from within, as well as hiring attitude and talent but not necessary skills. That is the key focus of our new programme ‘Development Path’ which we are launching in the region to develop our internal staff and to track talented potential locally and internationally. In addition, we have a ‘Mentor Mentee’ programme in place that seeks to develop department heads to take the role of general managers, and the ‘Centres of Excellence’, another part of our training and development programmes that allows staff at all levels to enhance their skills and knowledge for a period varying from one day to a year.
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