On the role of the Middle East market to the Radisson Group’s overall expansion.
“Overall, I think the Radisson group has been expanding all across the world in a very meaningful way in the last year. I think in the Middle East and Africa in particular, we have been one of the most growing (sic) companies in the last [few] years. We are the number one company in Africa in terms of pipeline, and I think the Middle East we took the decision many years ago to invest heavily and to have the right partners to open the hotels, because all the hotels either manage their contracts or franchise agreements. Even if the territory has gone through some weaker periods, now we are seeing that tourism is coming back, development is coming back and actually we are happy now with the presence we have being one of the two of the key operators in the region.”
On how Radisson aims to stand out in Dubai’s hotel market.
“I think across the different brands we have, we always, as you say, stand out and give what we call ‘memorable moments’ depending on the signature. I think in the Radisson Collection hotels, it's very important to always live in a true way what is the selling line of the brand which is: “Welcome to the Exceptional”. Or in the case of the other brands, Radisson Blu or Radisson RED, it's always to be very honest with the service you promise. Being very reasonably priced to the segment you're trying to market and at the same time always give a very consistent experience. One of the key things that the consumer and the traveller is looking [for] is a few surprises: ‘Surprise me in a good sense of the word - don't give me bad surprises.’ I think we try to leave the consumer experience in a consistent way. So, you always know what you're going to get and if possible, if you get any surprises, it's always a good surprise.”
On how Radisson are tailoring their experience to millennials and competing with Airbnb.
“Millennials are not only a demographic, it’s much more an attitude that is increasingly happening not only in millennials themselves, but also across all the [other] different demographics. If you look at the mindsets, it's a more demanding mindset. It's a mindset that wants to share very quickly what the feedback is. If they are happy, they will say. If they're not happy they will say - and they want to communicate much more. I think that's something we try to do across all the brands of the company. Regarding Airbnb, in our case, it serves many different purposes. In the segments where we operate that is more the four star or luxury hotels, [they are] very focused in business travel. We have consumers who are looking for security, for safety, for an experience that has a host and a host that you can trust and always has a company behind the name of a brand. In that sense it serves different purposes than Airbnb does.”
Interview courtesy CNN's The Express live broadcast.