Rezidor bullish on growth plans

Following positive 2008 half-year results, with growth in revenue, EBITDA and EBITDA margin, The Rezidor Hotel Group will continue to follow an ambitious and strategic business development plan. 2008 will be another record year in terms of contracting new rooms: “In between January and the end of July we have contracted 38 hotels with 9,300 rooms, more than in 2007’s full year (53 properties with 8,937 rooms). We are clearly setting new standards”, says Puneet Chhatwal, Chief Development Officer (CDO) of Rezidor.


The group currently has a pipeline of over 100 hotels with more than 23,000 rooms under development, and is focusing on high potential markets like Russia and the Middle East. At the same time Rezidor is further developing a shift in its business model, concentrating on managed and franchised contracts and less financial commitments.


Among the 15 hotels, totaling 2,700 rooms, which were opened during the first seven months of 2008 are flagship properties such as; Park Inn hotels in Moscow and London, the Radisson SAS Resort Tala Bay in Aqaba/Jordan and the Radisson SAS Hotel Bucharest/Romania. Upcoming key properties including Radisson SAS Hotel Zurich Airport, the Radisson SAS Dokhan Hotel Paris Trocadéro and the Radisson SAS Hotel Sandton Johannesburg/South Africa are scheduled to join the portfolio at the end of the year.


“Our pipeline is now stronger than ever before”, says Puneet Chhatwal, “seeking opportunities, especially in dynamic markets, which are less affected by the uncertainties surrounding the global economy”.


In Russia & CIS, where Rezidor was the first international hotel company to open a full technical, development, marketing and operations branch office in Moscow, the group currently has 16 hotels with more than 4,400 rooms in operation, and 19 further properties with approximately 5,000 rooms under development.

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p>Besides having three new Radisson projects in Moscow alone - Radisson Hotel Belorusskaya, 264 rooms; Radisson Olympisky Hotel, 364 rooms and Radisson Riverside Hotel, 200 rooms - Rezidor is active in other major cities all over Russia & CIS, “where the demand for mid and upmarket hotels is high and the presence of international brands low”, explains Puneet Chhatwal. Upcoming projects for both the Radisson SAS and Park Inn brands include locations such as Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

 

The Middle East and Africa also play a strong role in Rezidor’s pipeline, featuring more than 50 hotels with almost 13,000 rooms in operation and under development. This emerging region represents 11% of the group’s operational hotels and will grow to 17% by the end of 2009.

 

New properties comprise the booming emirate Dubai, Kuwait (where the first Hotel MISSONI will open in early 2009), and the African continent, where Rezidor is focusing on industrial hubs such as South Africa, with three new hotels under development. In addition, Rezidor is also expanding into developing countries like Senegal (Dakar), Nigeria (Lagos), Kenya (Nairobi) and Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) and the 73-room Radisson SAS Hotel, Bamako has already open

“With any development in emerging markets, we - like any of our competitors - may experience delayed openings”, comments Puneet Chhatwal. “In order to compensate and to balance our risk we are also growing in the Nordics and the rest of Western Europe, selecting experienced business partners with a solid background.”


The concept works. Rezidor’s upcoming openings include flagships like the Radisson SAS Hotel Zurich Airport, the only hotel with a direct link to the terminals and offering 330 rooms designed by the Italian architect Matteo Thun. Other unique features include a signature Italian restaurant “Filini” and a spectacular winetower.

 

In Paris, Rezidor will add two more Radisson SAS boutique hotels to its portfolio. The properties located in the exclusive 16th arrondissement comprise 45 and 50 rooms and will welcome the first guests by the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009.

 

Next year will also see Rezidor’s arrival in the Spanish capital. The Radisson SAS Hotel Madrid Prado, located directly in front of the famous museum, offers 54 rooms designed by Sandra Tarruella and Isabel Lopez.


Looking at Scandinavia, the company is developing key Park Inn properties like the Stockholm Waterfront which will feature a conference centre for up to 3,000 delegates and a hotel with 420 rooms in the heart of Stockholm. The Park Inn Oslo Gardermoen Airport is also connected to a conference centre and features 300 rooms. Both properties are scheduled to open in 2010.


Besides these primary locations, Rezidor looks at secondary and tertiary markets in Europe, where the Park Inn brand, ideal for conversions and franchise contracts, grows fast. Today, 26% of all Rezidor hotels operate under the Park Inn brand and by the end of 2009 this number will increase to one third.


Rezidor is one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide. “Our success is based on an organic business development”, summarises Puneet Chhatwal. “Starting in Scandinavia and coming via Europe to emerging markets like the Middle East and Africa, we have always followed a solid strategy and never left it to chance.”

 

A pioneering spirit, combined with close and long term relationships with owners and developers is the main driver behind Rezidor’s leading position. “We complement this by being asset-light (as one of the first hotel companies worldwide to have adopted this business model) and also by managing only a few but clearly defined brands”, ends Puneet Chhatwal.
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