In 2000, the African hotel landscape welcomed a newcomer.
Then, known as Carlson Rezidor, the global hotel chain, now operating as Radisson Hotel Group, opened the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa; its first hotel in Africa.
Since then, the group has recorded phenomenal growth of several of its brands in more than 30 countries in Africa.
To date, the global hotel chain based in Minnesota, USA, owned by Aplite Holdings AB, a consortium led by China’s Jin Jiang, has 100 hotels open and under development in Africa.
In West Africa, which is one of its main markets on the continent, it has 25 hotels.
Considering that in 14 years of establishment in Africa, the Group now has a hundred hotels, Bert Fol, new regional director for Africa, focused on English-speaking Africa, described the growth as exponential.
“What we’ve seen in recent years is that growth, if not exponential, has accelerated,” he said.
However, the Group has a huge expansion ambition for its African portfolio. It targets around 150 hotels in operation across Africa by 2025, a plan which is underway with the plan’s 2021 sub-target surpassed, while 2022 nearly breaks last year’s record.
“So we are seeing a much faster expansion in Africa over the last five or six years. If there are 100 hotels now, it will be 150 by 2025 and 200 by 2030 across Africa,” Fol said.
In addition, in West Africa and in line with the overall objective of 150 hotels, the Group aims to reach 50 hotels by 2025, i.e. 5 hotels per year in the next three years.
The Group announced last year that 2021 was a record year in Africa for Radisson Hotel Group with 13 hotels and 2,500 rooms signed, translating into one new hotel signed every 20 days. In 2021, after the Covid-19 pandemic, it also opened eight new hotels in Africa, while other brands had one or two openings.
Speaking on the development, Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President, Development, Africa and Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group, noted that the exploits achieved in Africa are part of the group’s ongoing five-year expansion and transformation plan, including the success builds on the success of the group, while being ready for the rebound of travel and remains firmly committed to becoming the brand of choice for owners, partners and guests.
Shedding further light on strategies to achieve the target of 150 hotels by 2025, Rankoussi said, “We aim to further accelerate our presence on the continent through both new builds and conversions, particularly post-pandemic because there is less cash for new developments.” .
“So we are looking to form broader partnerships and strategic ventures with local or regional chains and move forward with our citywide and critical mass strategy. Executing our strategy with clear priorities will also support the achievement of positive economic efficiencies and operational synergies across all of our existing and future hotels, unlocking further value for our owners.
“We have also demonstrated the relevant flexibility to face the current investment climate by not only providing tailor-made solutions to each project, but also by streamlining our relations with our investors to assess the best timings in terms of openings and the good budget allocation in terms of segment, space program and development cost”.
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Moreover, the objective of Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Africa Development for Radisson Hotel Group, is achievable or even exceeded by 2025 as Radisson Hotel Group prides itself on being the best performer in terms of profits, revenue generation revenue and market share.
“Last year, for example, we expanded globally with 250 additional hotels in one year. Of these, in Africa last year we had the largest market share; which means that out of all 111 brands competing in Africa, Radisson is the fastest growing brand in Africa, in terms of pipeline, which is the brand that signs the most new hotels in Africa. Last year in Africa we signed 15 new hotels, while some competitors only signed two hotels,” he said.
Garnier, which is responsible for the strategic growth of the Group in West and Central Africa, sourcing, negotiating and signing more than 20 hotel, resort and serviced apartment projects in 12 countries, while by establishing the Group’s presence in 7 new markets, does not weaken until the objective is achieved. reached or better still, exceeded.
While many group projects have been stalled by the impact of the pandemic, especially new openings and signings, Garnier explained that Radisson Hotel Group has risen to the challenge by being proactive and flexible.
“We have created a brand called Radisson Individual, specifically during covid-19, and specifically for existing hotels and owners who are experiencing a downturn in business and are entering into the engine and business force of Radisson Hotel Group with an investment minimum and it was very successful,” he said.
“Additionally, we have created new growth opportunities with serviced apartments, which was a booming business during covid-19 and we can see traction right now.
“About 20% of the projects I’m currently working on are serviced apartments; hotels for longer stays and it is targeting international businesses and we are seeing across Africa that there is huge traction”.
However, Radisson Hotel Group does not build hotels; it manages them and relies on partners, investors and owners who build and transmit to management.
This therefore means that expansion depends on the partners and the group recognizes this with the utmost importance.
Based on this, Fol explained why the Radisson brand is sought after by partners saying, “We have six very distinct brands that cover all key market segments and that is our strength. So if an investor looks at Radisson, he can choose from the portfolio of brands suitable for his hotel, which he can also do with other hotels.
“But we have a proven track record, a flexibility in working with investors that makes us attractive, and a proven track record in delivering results on key performance indicators; whether it’s hotel profitability, which is driven by efficiency, achieving superior market share in our market, or achieving satisfaction underlying our “Yes I can “. This is what makes Radisson different”.
As expected, the group’s expansion plans remain intact with an adapted strategy, while remaining aggressive, forward-thinking, product positive and humble.
It also recognizes the huge opportunities that exist, but it does things differently, creating a brand that responds to market demand, diversifying further and adapting to current situations and demands.