Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world's largest and most dynamic hotel companies. It has an expanding portfolio of more than 1,350 hotels in operation and under development, a global footprint covering over 105 countries and territories, and a powerful set of global brands including Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites by CarlsonSM. Carlson Rezidor in the Middle East is a relatively young arm of the business, but has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Today the Middle East has 34 operating properties in the region and has a further 30 properties in the pipeline. 

The latest innovation at Carlson Rezidor was the launch of Radisson Red, which is an upscale brand designed to address the growing demand for a lifestyle select offering. This was in addition to the launch of Quorvus Collection in the luxury segment as a collection of unique, iconic properties. The Middle East region has witnessed an increasing surge in economic growth resulting in the demand for quality accommodation in all segments despite some pockets of instability, which resulted in the company’s desire to diversify its portfolio has meant that growth in this category has been significant. “It has been a very good year for us in terms of growth. We are seeing an awful lot of potential in the region; specifically Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, among others due to a spike in leisure tourism and business travel,” says Elie Milky, Senior Director Business Development.

Company strategy 

Currently, Carlson Rezidor is expanding in both midscale, upscale, upper-upscale and luxury segments to meet growing demand for hotel accommodation across the region. Its service offering is broken down into hotels, resorts, and serviced apartments. 

“In this region we are experiencing a high demand from families and corporate clients who want to stay in a studio, one or two bed apartments for short and long stays,” explains Milky. “Hence the need for the extended stay product.”  

The company also operates a number of mid-market hotels under the Park Inn by Radisson brand within its portfolio, as well as upper-upscale offerings with Radisson Blu properties. “We are in a fortunate position, whereby we can cater for a broad range of clients,” says Milky. 

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Already 2015 is ramping up to be a big year for Carlson Rezidor in the Middle East. “We have a number of serviced apartments opening in Dubai; one in July and another three scheduled for the next three years. In Dubai we have a lot of up and coming serviced apartments. Saudi Arabia is also part of the company expansion plan, which includes serviced apartments under both Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson brands,” he says. Unlike many of its competitors, the company operates serviced apartments under the group’s established brands. 

The key to success, is people

The success of the company however, is not down to process alone; it is also down to recruiting and nurturing the right people. “The need to recruit the right talent to sustain growth is critical to our business success. We have a lot of planned development in the next few years and the most critical element comes from a human perspective.” said Milky.  

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“We believe in growing people already within the Carlson Rezidor family and as such provide our employees with the support and tools they need to grow both personally and professionally. The most important thing for us is strong people and effective people management.” he said. 

A modern supply chain

Carlson Rezidor has a revenue and distribution management team, which is constantly looking into the latest innovations in the fields of e-buying, e-procurement and e-business to drive efficiency. “We have an optimisation team in Brussels and they focus on e-development and e-distribution which are key factors in relation to the business moving forward.” Rankoussi said. That same team also manages suppliers, which translates to direct cost savings due to the buying power of the global company. “We have a regional head in each arm of the business and they all work together to locally source and globally source the right materials and equipment for the business”. 

A unique business model 

Carlson Rezidor is one of the largest companies in the world and one of the fastest growing in the Middle East. “We are very solution driven when it comes to helping owners and investors developing and managing hotels on their behalf. Our response rate is high, we can move quickly when opportunities arise, we have less bureaucracy than other companies and at the same time we are business minded in our approach.

“We have strict standards and specifications – we will live by them so we don’t jeopardise the final product but then again, we look at solutions from a business angle. We can make decisions on the ground, which are business minded and in the best interest of the owner and the end-user. This is a level of flexibility that other companies are sometimes unable to achieve” said Rankoussi. 

Carlson Rezidor takes pride in developing its hotel brands with both the investor and the consumer in mind. “We look at functionality, ROI and the usability for the consumer. When it comes to operations we have some of the highest profit margins in the industry, but it doesn’t stop there. We are acutely aware of the fact that we are a global company and as such need to focus on sustainability, the environment and the world for generations to come. “We have an award winning responsible business program and all our buildings have high sustainability rates – in everything we do, we aim to give back to the community and the environment.” he said. 

Carlson Rezidor is a company build on strong foundations. Its positive, empowering values truly make it stand out from the crowd. Carlson Rezidor is based on a culture of respect - for its employees, its customers, its stakeholders and the environment. That is a winning formula. 

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