Post pandemic, the global hospitality fraternity underwent new norms, learning many critical lessons while being progressive toward achieving normalcy. To revive the pre-pandemic levels, Radisson Hotel Group adopts several expansion plans and innovative marketing strategies to cater to the new trends and demands of travelers.
Zubin Saxena, Managing Director & Area Senior Vice President – South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group talks to T3 about what the scene looks like post-pandemic and expectations.
Excerpts from the interview:
What is the current operational profile and the expansion plan?
We have a strong and diverse portfolio in India with brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn & Suites by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and Radisson Individuals with a strong presence of over 150 hotels in operation and pipeline.
To cater to different consumer segments, we have introduced India-focused brands like Park Inn & Suites by Radisson and Radisson Individuals Retreats. Moreover, we have responded to the resurgence of the luxury hotel industry by introducing our luxury lifestyle brand Radisson Collection to India with the first signing in Hyderabad. Our unwavering focus remains on strengthening our presence in key locations such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, as these markets continue to drive our ambitions forward.
We are actively exploring suitable locations and products to meet the requirements of this prestigious brand. With the signing of 11 new hotels across brands between January and April 2023, the signings further solidify the Group’s leading position in South Asia.
How does India fit in your overall scheme of things?
Our strategy involves a deliberate focus on expanding beyond tier-I cities and establishing a strong presence in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. One of the key drivers of our growth in tier 2 to 5 markets has been the introduction of Park Inn & Suites by Radisson, a brand specifically designed to cater to the Indian market.
Currently, we have strategically positioned our hotels across 64+ locations, ensuring that they are conveniently accessible within a drivable distance of every 4 hours. We have a healthy pipeline for the future with the aim to open 10-12 hotels annually, secure 12-15 hotel signings each year, and double our footprint by 2025 with the addition of over 150 hotels and resorts. Our commitment to exceptional experiences and strategic expansion plans, ensures that India holds a central and integral role in our overall strategy.
What are the trends that are seen emerging prominently post-pandemic?
The hospitality industry is in a constant state of evolution, embracing new trends to enhance the hotel experience. The popularity of longer and more memorable staycations continues to rise. Sustainability is another significant trend shaping the industry, and we are at the forefront of environmental-friendly initiatives. Programs like Soap for Hope, Linen for Life, and the Flush Me Not Program highlight RHG’s dedication to providing eco-conscious stays.
What are the overall marketing and promotional strategies for India in 2023?
We recently introduced an enhanced version of our Radisson Rewards program, available to both international and domestic consumers. This program offers exclusive benefits and recognizes guest loyalty, further enhancing the guest experience. Our “Drivable Distance” campaign showcases the convenience of Radisson Hotels, with at least one property located within a four-hour drive from anywhere in the country.
How is the performance of the different segments in the Indian market?
The industry has witnessed a strong recovery, with demand bouncing back for both domestic as well as international travel that is mainly being driven by VFR (Visiting Friends & Relatives) and leisure travel segments. There has also been a gradual increase in demand for corporate travel as MICE is picking up and many organizations have either switched back to working from their offices or adopted hybrid approaches. The positive outlook extends to the domestic hospitality sector as a whole, with demand aligning with pre-pandemic levels and showing promise for the future.
What measures are you taking on the sustainability front?
Our commitment to sustainability is evident in our dedication to the Glasgow Declaration and our ambitious goal of achieving net-zero status by 2050. To accomplish this, we have implemented a range of measures that prioritize energy efficiency, resource conservation, renewable energy adoption, and the elimination of single-use plastics across all our properties.
As part of our sustainability efforts, we have established a partnership with Sunfuel Electric to install captive electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across all our hotels in India. We are also proud supporters of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality and the Hotel Sustainability Fundamentals project.