Breaking Travel News

Breaking Travel News interview: Stefan Kuehr, general manager, Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow

The Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow is the premier accommodation choice in the city, with its home in the second tallest of the Seven Sisters buildings.

A prime example of the Stalinist Gothic architectural style, the structure rests on the banks of the Moskva River, giving guests prime views and the exciting option for a river cruise.

Following recent recognition by the World Travel Awards, Breaking Travel News here sits down with general manager Stefan Kuehr to discuss what comes next for this illustrious property.

Breaking Travel News: Perhaps we could begin with an overview of the Radisson Royal Moscow? What is on offer at the property that cannot be found elsewhere in the Russian capital?

Stefan Kuehr: First of all this is a hotel with a historical heritage; Radisson Royal Hotel is a part of the group of legendary and notable buildings in Moscow, better known as the “Seven Sisters”.

All the buildings have become the embodiment of Moscow, a vivid landmark in the history of the city and a source of national pride.

The hotel owns a huge collection of art and sculptures from Soviet times.

It is a unique that a historical hotel in the city centre has the largest hotel infrastructure in Moscow and, indeed, the hole of Russia.

It features 25 boutiques, 12 restaurants, a 50 metre Olympic size pool (which is in a Russian book of records as the longest indoor swimming pool), and ten ice breaking yachts with all year round navigation.

Radisson Royal Hotel is the largest five star luxury hotel in Moscow and Russia!

BTN: Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow, was recognised as both Europe’s Leading MICE Hotel and Europe’s Leading Luxury Business Hotel by the voters at the Wold Travel Awards earlier this year. Can you tell us how it feels to have taken these prestigious titles?

SK: This is a great privilege.

However it is also a big responsibility toward our guests, as their expectations are much higher when knowing we have been awarded with this prestigious award.

The award reflects how the recognition of our products and services by the industry and by travellers.

BTN: Do you feel the World Travel Awards titles and trophies will be of benefit to the property when it comes to boosting visitor numbers to the hotel?

SK: Of course it will, otherwise the World Travel Awards wouldn’t have taken place for the 22nd time this year and there wouldn’t be such a media interest in it.

Moreover, as mentioned before, it boosts visitor numbers, but at the same time the expectations of those visitors are much higher towards the product than without being awarded.

BTN: This is not the first time Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow, has been recognised by the World Travel Awards – with a long history developing with the organisation. What improvements to the property do you have lined up over the coming year to ensure you retain your titles in 2016?

SK: Since our re-opening in 2010 we are still developing and improving our services.

We are currently reviewing our technical system when it comes to HSIA (high speed internet access) standards which need to be permanently upgraded to assure strong signal and high speed.

Also we are looking into replacing TV systems, offering HD channels only, as well as introducing a SMART TV system to make sure the customer can mirror his own device (e.g. smartphone) with our TV system and stream his own content

Additional restaurants are also going to open, some restaurants will be re-branded in the upcoming year – for example the Beef Bar Junior will become B.E.G.G.Y.

Even though we are continuous maintaining our product and we are still in a shape like a new-born, however we are also in the process of planning soft renovation works in guest rooms

Also we are currently in the process of rejuvenate our meeting and events products, introducing the ‘eXperience’ meeting concept which better will harmonise the meeting essentials: breakout rooms, food and connectivity with service, satisfaction and sustainability;

BTN: How would you characterise the tourism market in Moscow, and Russian more generally in late 2015? Has the political situation proved detrimental to the hospitality sector?

SK: The leisure market, during the high season from June to September, has improved tremendously, as we have faced a huge increase in arrival from Asia, South America and Middle East & Africa.

This has come despite a slight slowdown from traditional markets such as EU, UK and Americas.

I rather would say the political situation has impacted the hospitality sector as we see a very strong growth in domestic tourism and inbound tourism from the countries mentioned before.

Furthermore lots of travellers from our traditional feeder markets haven’t been undeterred by the political situation the exact opposite happened; many travellers manage to get fantastic deals due to exchange rate by having a weak rouble.

BTN: Which new markets are you exploring internationally to boost visitor numbers to the hotel?

SK: We are still maintaining our relations with travel agents and partners in our traditional feeder markets such as EU, UK & US.

However the main focus today is clearly Asia, Middle East & Africa.

We are one of the finest hotels here in Moscow and Russia and we have put in many years already.

Lots of effort and resources have been put into these ‘emerging’ markets and are very happy to see that our work has started already to bear fruit.