We are about to embark together on what I truly believe will be one of the most exciting phases of our company’s history - and I am honored to join The Rezidor Hotel Group as the new President and CEO at this particular time.
Having long been familiar with Rezidor’s unique values and outstanding reputation in the market, I know what a privilege it is to join this exceptional team. The dynamic China-based HNA Tourism Group, our majority shareholder since 2016 has powerful ambitions to become a global leader in the travel and tourism industry. And we are now well on the way to making this vision a reality with our brilliant, strongly defined brands, our passionate Yes I Can! people and our crucial Every Moment Matters mantra.
Despite the tough global market conditions, international travel & tourism has maintained its strong position as one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. And Rezidor is now in a very strong competitive position.
We have passed the exciting milestone of 80,000+ rooms in operation across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and our pipeline is strong - more than 25,000 rooms under development. We continue to lead with our pioneering focus on the emerging markets, where Rezidor is renowned for our successful global brands, personalized service to owners, experienced technical and openings teams, our attractive commercial strategy and our operational excellence.
This skillset has served us well – along with our owners and other stakeholders. We continue to strengthen our leading position in the core growth region of Africa. Radisson Blu has the largest organic room pipeline on the continent, while Quorvus Collection, Radisson RED and Park Inn by Radisson also continue to grow as increased demand is driven by natural resources, infrastructure developments and a shortage of international branded supply.
In Africa - and throughout our whole operation - Safety & Security is a core element of our award-winning Responsible Business program that aims to make a real difference. Rezidor has been proudly named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies - since 2010.
In 2016, we celebrated the opening of the world’s very first Radisson RED in our home town of Brussels. RED is our new lifestyle select offer - curated for the ageless millennial mindset, inspired by fashion, music and art. It proved an instant winner. And now, together with our strategic partner Carlson, we now have 14 Radisson RED hotels under development worldwide.
Our entry into the economy segment with a 49% stake in prizeotel, the creative, entrepreneurial German-based start-up, designed by Karim Rashid, is proving successful with three new additions in Bern, Munich, Erfurt and Hamburg. The economy segment is constantly expanding, and we see real potential for accelerated growth in other key markets.
As we’ve continued to expand our portfolio of brands, we’ve also made further progress in creating a sustainable foundation for improved profitability. We’ve launched a €10m cost containment plan purely focused on overhead costs - while protecting the guest experience in our hotels. Asset management to optimise our portfolio is key: over the past five years, our initiatives have yielded ca €17m EBITDA contribution and ca 1.8 percent uplift in EBITDA margin.
And now, to make even greater progress on our exciting journey, we must fully focus on working together - for our hotels, for our employees and for our guests. We must strive to create truly memorable moments for everyone involved on our path to Destination 2022: Rezidor’s five-year plan capitalizes on our relationship and partnership with Carlson for the benefit of our people, guests and shareholders. And it is driven by an energized strategy of strong brands, information technology, inspired talent development and management.
Moving forwards, we will develop - under the leadership of Eric de Neef - a global branding and worldwide Marketing & RevGen activities with an emphasis on customer engagement, global Sales & Distribution and Revenue Optimization.
Global alignment is a clear priority. And so, together with the Carlson and Rezidor Board of Directors, we have created a new Global Steering Committee, chaired by myself. The Committee - with an equal number of representatives from Carlson and Rezidor - will provide guidance and strategic counsel to the respective management teams of both groups. Carlson and Rezidor will continue to operate as independent entities and will continue to be governed and led by each company’s own Boards of Directors and key executives.
The creation of this new dynamic Global Steering Committee has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. It will foster deeper and more effective collaboration between us to improve our decision-making processes and productivity; ensure greater strategic alignment and leverage the formidable talent of both organizations. As part of its mandate, the Committee will also:
- Provide overall strategic guidance and counsel to each company’s management teams
- Deliver insight on key global functions within Carlson and Rezidor, including branding, marketing & sales, IT and other global resources
- Refine partner and franchisee alignment to better reflect the needs of both companies and their customers.
Rezidor’s relationship with Carlson creates an amazing range of ripe, growth and success opportunities. The establishment of a Global Steering Committee will ensure that both businesses are in lock-step and able to make more informed decisions that will benefit each company and the Carlson-Rezidor family as a whole. As CEO of Rezidor, working in close collaboration with the Steering Committee, I believe that we can realize tremendous value for Rezidor’s shareholders and for both companies’ customers and employees.
We live in a challenging - yet exciting age - of the unexpected. But Rezidor has always embraced change as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle. And all of our successes are due to our exceptional people: our 43,700+ team members excel at being true hosts in every circumstance. Every one of our employees is empowered to offer intuitively personalized and innovative service - making every stay a special and memorable experience guests will want to repeat. Again and again...
So I am very excited about the future of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. I am pleased to be able to leverage my own experience – along with the collective strengths of the Carlson Rezidor organization - for the benefit of Rezidor shareholders. I look forward to working together to create the next dynamic chapter in our history.
Everyone in our company knows the vital importance of working to ensure that Every Moment Matters. We now are on a mission to prove – with all of our talent, energy, drive and our powerful focus on working together – that Rezidor’s most memorable moments are still to come…