Radisson to double Mena capacity
“We are going to double our portfolio in the coming 3 to 4 years, with the goal of 160 properties and 35,000 keys in the MENA region by 2025,” Eric De Neef, Executive Vice President & Global Chief Commercial Officer at Radisson Hotel Group, tells TTN in an interview.
“The idea is to leverage market trends that we see coming our way. In the Middle East particularly, we see a strong leisure trend, which is very resort focused, with some lifestyle thrown in the mix and an element of luxury.”
“The end users are the ones ultimately deciding how they want to experience a property and how they want to engage with technology. We are just here to provide the choice”
– Eric De Neef
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains a key development area for the group, and part of its five-year transformation plan, which includes the aim to double its presence in the Kingdom. The group’s robust growth in Jeddah remains vigorous with the addition of over 600 rooms in 2022, alongside the launch of the Radisson Individuals brand in the region. Additionally, the recent opening of Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport, with upcoming openings that include the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center as well as the unveiling of the second Radisson Collection Hotel to Riyadh with Mansard Riyadh, have been truly remarkable breakthroughs for the group. The group’s Saudi Arabia portfolio now makes up around 50 per cent of its presence in the Middle East.
“We are very agile in the way we develop our brands. We didn’t create a resort brand; we have added the resort component to all our brands instead. We need to be flexible and fluid - this is the way we want to manage our brands going further. Similarly, we don’t have a specific long-stay brand, we leverage this across our existing brands.
“We are also seeing a demand for longer stays - this was something that was already prevalent pre-Covid, but it was accelerated during Covid.
“We have nine distinct brands today but at the end of the day, it’s not the number of brands that counts. It’s the relevancy of your brands towards the marketplace, towards the consumer.”
Radisson Hotel Group is also growing its Moroccan footprint with five properties in the pipeline as well as the recent opening of four hotels in beloved tourist destinations like Al Hoceima, Taghazout Bay and Saïdia. Located in Morocco’s south, north and northeast, the four hotels consist of three inviting resorts and a comfortable seaside residence.
Radisson Hotel Group has revamped its innovative, technology-centric hybrid meeting and hybrid rooms across the region. The offerings cater to the fast-paced lifestyle changes of today’s jet-setters and their evolving expectations when they stay, work, and meet at Radisson Hotels. Understanding the importance of real-time interaction over integrated and online meetings, the high-complex meeting solutions include the latest digital innovation and state-of-the-art equipment, allowing guests to boost their remote working and meeting experiences.
“Technology will never replace human contact,” says De Neef. “Personally, I don’t believe in robots bringing you room service.
“You need to have technology to help deliver guest experience. We’ve invested a lot in the last two years in our digital platforms, but also in our own ecosystem - in the property management system, the reservation system, the content management system and so on, to get a 360-view of the customer. This is critical because then you can have a guest experience is totally aligned with the needs of end users.
“Technology is great to facilitate online check-ins, check-outs, digital keys and the like. But the end users are the ones ultimately deciding how they want to experience a property and how they want to engage with technology. We are just here to provide the choice,” he says.