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John Kidd (Radisson Hospitality): Radisson Hotel Group is planning to double its portfolio in Asia Pacific

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Tue, 08/21/2018 - 11:47
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John Kidd is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Radisson Hospitality, Inc. based in Minnesota. Kidd is responsible for the corporate offices and hotels in the Radisson Hotel Group portfolio throughout the Americas and Asia Pacific.

TravelDailyNews: What is Radisson Hotel Group’s aggressive expansion strategy in Asia and the strategy behind it?

 

John Kidd: Radisson Hotel Group aims to be a top three hospitality company in the world. We will reach this goal by executing a five-year plan that will deliver an aligned brand architecture, creative hospitality innovations, more streamlined operations and an integrated global platform.

We began with the rebranding to Radisson Hotel Group, leveraging Radisson’s powerful equity to drive awareness and increase marketing efficiency across the global portfolio.

Radisson Hotel Group is planning to double the group’s portfolio in Asia Pacific which involves adding 20,000 rooms in the next five years.

Asia Pacific is a key region for us. We have seen a steady growth momentum across our portfolio of brands which include Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson.

We believe that as an agile and dynamic company, we are able to continue to innovate and invest in systems and services, to better cater to our customers and at the same time, deliver greater value to our owners and partners.

TDN: What is Radisson Hotel Group’s focus on China and the Group’s aim to more than triple its portfolio in China in the next 5 years?

J.K.: China is a key region for Radisson Hotel Group as the growth opportunity is significant. According to China National Tourism Administration, the total number of China’s domestic and inbound tourist trips surpassed 5.1 billion in 2017, up by 14.9% from 2016. In addition, the report forecasts that China’s tourism revenue would be more than 6 trillion yuan in 2018, meaning that hotels in the APAC region will witness positive results.

Having been present in China for more than 20 years, we continue to focus our attention on this dominant and fast-growing market. We are benefitting from shifting travel from the luxury segment to the mid and upscale segment. Four of our eight brands, such as Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson and Radisson RED, are suited to this growth. It is worth highlighting that China is of course experiencing an increased level of competition so the need to stay ahead is more important than ever. The team has ambitious plans for this market, particularly as we aim to triple our portfolio in five years.

TDN: What are Radisson Hotel Group’s key growth markets and where are you looking to invest in Asia?

J.K.: We are constantly reviewing our key growth markets in the Asia Pacific region and continue to strengthen our presence in emerging markets and gateway cities such as those in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and Australasia. At the same time, we are also seeking out new markets and analysing their opportunities. We are thrilled with our recent progress of the signing of five hotels in South East Asia. It is interesting to witness strong growth in emerging markets such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan all of which have been experiencing a boom in tourism following government investment and efforts in infrastructure development. While these countries are mostly gaining recognition as leisure destinations, they are also witnessing growing MICE tourism which benefits hoteliers.

TDN: How does the travel industry need to adapt to the changing market needs as it faces more 'disruption'?

J.K.: With the emergence of disruptors, it has changed the way hoteliers think, and how they target millennial guests. Experiential travel and "living like a local" are concepts that shared accommodation providers helped identify. At Radisson Hotel Group, ‘experience the locale’ has become one of our key pillars for our hotels.

Hotels are now satisfying the millennial desire for independent travel with technological solutions like mobile check-in and keyless room entry, and facilities like 24-7 gyms and "grab & go" F&B areas. In this way, one could argue that hotels are now encroaching on the turf of the disruptors, rather than vice versa.

Disruption is a positive force; it keeps us focused and encourages innovation. But whatever new trends emerge in the future, Radisson Hotel Group will always guarantee high quality accommodation and unsurpassed service to all our guests.

Companies like Airbnb have helped transform the hospitality industry in the last decade, encouraging and enabling even more people to travel. This is something that should be admired. But in the end, they are just another option in a long line of accommodation choices, from self-catering villas to B&Bs, homestays, serviced apartments and many more. While they supplement the hospitality sector, they will never replace hotels.

TDN: How will key brands within the industry stay competitive by reimagining themselves in a new landscape?

J.K.: It is crucial that we stay nimble and agile in such a competitive landscape. The hospitality industry is increasingly overcrowded, particularly with the likes of disrupters such as Airbnb. As such, we must be forward thinking and keep up with the ever-evolving digital trends. We have made our first move by launching our new corporate identity as we refresh the brand to boast innovation and modernity.

Technology is also another crucial factor to stay ahead. We have recently launched our new exclusive technology platform that brings to life our motto Every Moment Matters. EMMA is a business transformation platform that is critical to executing our five-year plan and it is enabled by technology which will upgrade our commercial and property systems.

EMMA was introduced to our hotels at the Radisson Hotel Group America’s Business Conference held in Orlando. In today’s competitive landscape, companies require more flexibility and advanced capabilities to meet the demands of their customers. In hospitality, this is especially true as our guests place increasing value on memorable experiences and personalised touches, while at the same time expecting consistency in the quality of the brands they choose. We believe EMMA will allow Radisson Hotel Group to make a technological leap ahead of our competitors as we compete more effectively in our rapidly changing marketplace and meet and hopefully exceed the evolving demands of our owners, hotels and guests.

TDN: The Radisson RED brand was recently presented for the US market. What is the concept about and how are you planning to expand this brand in Asia?

J.K.: Our recently launched Radisson RED is an upscale, select service hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional. Radisson RED hotels inject new life into hospitality through informal services where anything goes, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and bold design that kick-starts the fun. Radisson RED hotels are in vibrant, urban locations where travellers have the unique opportunity to tailor their stay to their style. We plan to expand this brand in Asia, focusing specifically on youthful markets where this brand will be well received and thrive significantly amongst the ageless mindset travellers.

TDN: Technology changes the way travellers perceive the travelling experience. How do you see the hotel of the future and what technologies you expect to be adopted by travel & hospitality industry in the next decade?

J.K.: As more and more people have access to the internet and new technologies, travellers now perceive travelling in a totally different way as they did ten years ago. It’s fascinating to think where the industry will be at in ten years’ time. The likes of virtual reality will give travellers access to more wild and wonderful experiences, and artificial intelligence will no doubt provide a more efficient and personal approach to travel. By developing a comprehensive and step change IT program, this will allow integration between platforms, flexibility and scalability. We now have an approved plan to invest a significant Capex and Opex in new Property Management and Distribution Systems, CRM and Loyalty platforms, campaign management, and overall IT platforms to ensure we are ahead of the competition and provide an advantage when it comes to marketing, sales, operations and development which are key areas to focus on over the next decade.

 

John Kidd is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Radisson Hospitality, Inc. based in Minnesota. Kidd is responsible for the corporate offices and hotels in the Radisson Hotel Group portfolio throughout the Americas and Asia Pacific.

Kidd is a member of the Radisson Hospitality, Inc. Board of Directors and sits on the Global Steering Committee for Radisson Hotel Group, chaired by Federico González, President and Chief Executive Officer of Radisson Hospitality AB, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Kidd has more than 40 years of hospitality industry experience, with significant expertise operating and managing hotels worldwide. He most recently served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of HNA Hospitality Group, where he was responsible for providing daily oversight and contributing to the long-term strategic direction of the company.

Prior tojoining HNA Hospitality Group, Kiddwas with Hilton Worldwide for more than 20 years in Indonesia, Korea, Guam, Thailand, and China. He has also worked for Westin, Southern Suns Hotels, and Holiday Inns in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Kidd holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors in Business Economics from the University of South Africa, and a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Strategic Planning from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh

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Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.