Rezidor is not simply growing: we are growing in an organic way. Tracing our roots back to Scandinavia, we have gradually extended our network across Europe, the Middle East and Africa – we were pioneers in many emerging markets and have become a leading international player. Our current field of activity stretches from Scandinavia to South Africa. And we have properties in operation and under development in over 60 countries.
The Nordics are our homeland, where our story began back in 1960 with the world's first designer hotel - the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The market is mature and is characterised by a high proportion of branded hotels and huge domestic demand. All over the region, Radisson Blu enjoys a substantial RevPAR premium and an excellent reputation: for several years in a row our core brand has been recognised as the most preferred hotel chain in the Nordics*. We aim to maintain this leading position, to further strengthen Radisson Blu in primary and secondary markets and to focus on effective asset management. Our existing properties are constantly being upgraded and improved and we will be renegotiating the extension of any contracts due to come to an end in the next few years. Early 2011 saw the opening of a new flagship in the Nordics: the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel in Stockholm — one of the Swedish capital's most spectacular new buildings and the largest congress centre in Scandinavia. The Nordics are also a region where we are aiming to expand our dynamic, Park Inn by Radisson mid-market brand: prominent recent launches, such as the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo; Park Inn by Radisson, Oslo Airport and Park Inn by Radisson Stockholm Hammarby Sjostad are boosting our brand awareness and paving the way for many more.
*Source: BDRC, Business Development Research Consultants
Rest of Western Europe
The Rest of Western Europe is a mature and often crowded market. However, a number of primary and secondary destinations still offer opportunities for further growth for Radisson Blu — in Central Europe and, more especially, in Southern Europe, where our presence is comparatively weak. In 2010, we added two Italian Radisson Blu hotels to our operating portfolio, in Milan and Galzignano, and we signed a new resort on the French island of Corsica. Mainland France saw another outstanding opening in early 2011, when the Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes, joined our family. For Park Inn by Radisson, the Rest of Western Europe offers scope for further clustered growth — Germany has been a pioneer market for large scale Park Inn by Radisson growth, in co-operation with experienced, multi-unit franchise owners. We are pursuing a deliberate, clustered growth strategy focusing on the German-speaking region, as well as on the UK, where a dedicated Park Inn by Radisson team was established in 2010.
In Eastern Europe, we have found one of the world's most exciting and largely untapped emerging markets, with a huge potential for profitable growth through management contracts in Russia and the other CIS countries. We were a pioneer when we first entered the region in the early 1990's. With Radisson, we brought one of the first international hotel brands to both Russia and the Ukraine, and we were the first international hotel operator to open our own fully fledged branch office in Moscow. Today, we are the largest international hotel operator in Russia/CIS, with a room count twice the size of our nearest competitor. And we are continuing to strengthen our portfolio under the leadership of our award-winning team. Our development targets an expansion of Radisson to all primary and key secondary markets and a strong development of Park Inn by Radisson in major cities with a population of 500,000+ and with a lack of internationally branded hotels. In 2010, Rezidor took over the management of 10 former Reval Hotels in the Baltics and Russia. We also signed a strategic agreement with the Regional Hotel Chain (RHC) for the development of 10-20 Park Inn by Radisson hotels across Russia.
Outside of Russia/CIS, we are working on further growth in Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey — countries where Radisson Blu has an excellent reputation, with Park Inn by Radisson poised to follow.
The Middle East and Africa
Our presence in the Middle East dates back to 1980 — an historic date when we opened the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait - our first hotel outside Scandinavia. Having already established a strong and successful presence with Radisson Blu, we are continuing to bring the brand to primary and key secondary markets across the region. Along with the strong, and often saturated, upscale markets, we are increasingly active in the mid-scale segment — in 2010, we opened our first Park Inn by Radisson hotels in Muscat, Oman; Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. In the niche market of lifestyle hotels, early 2011 saw the opening of Hotel Missoni Kuwait and we have identified the Middle East as a future key development area for this uniquely fashionable brand.
The emerging countries of Africa, with their imbalance of supply and demand, are a focus of our development. Since our arrival on the continent in 1999, we have become one of the leading international hotel operators — our pipeline of rooms under development in Sub-Saharan Africa is the largest in the market. Out of a regional office in Cape Town, which we extended in 2010, we enter new primary locations with Radisson Blu - and follow with Park Inn by Radisson. We are also active in other African countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia - as well as on Indian Ocean islands, where we aim to expand our stylish resort portfolio.