Faith in the future

Two decision makers from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group talk about their latest property developments in Asia, as well as other business event-ready hotels elsewhere in APAC. By Rachel AJ Lee

Andreas Flaig (left) and Andre de Jong

Carlson Rezidor is going to open up two properties in Vietnam. Why was the country chosen?
Andreas Flaig, executive vice president, development: As Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group expands across Asia Pacific, the growth opportunities in Vietnam are immense and we are proud to be a part of the country’s economic growth story.

The Vietnam government has made travel and tourism a national growth and development priority, resulting in significant capital being invested into infrastructure and accelerating growth. In the last few years, the potential of Phu Quoc has been backed by the favourable investment offers and improved infrastructure including the presence of an international airport now. Today, Phu Quoc sees a healthy urban population, with increased domestic and international arrivals indicating an optimistic outlook for the hospitality industry.

Radisson Blu Resort Phu Quoc will open in 4Q2017 as part of an IR and as near a convention centre. What is the hotel’s projected business mix?
AF: The hotel will be the only upper-upscale (five-star) hotel property within the integrated resort with a convention centre within. With strong domestic demand and international arrivals from intra-Asia and Europe, we are projecting estimates of about 76 per cent leisure and 20 per cent MICE comprising.

Where else in Asia is the company looking to grow into?
AF: The group is also focused on expanding our current portfolio to key markets such as China, India, Malaysia, the Maldives and Philippines. With excellent growth opportunities in the Indo-China region, the strong lead pipeline is set to see fruition in the short to mid-term period.

Let’s talk about Radisson Golf & Convention Centre Batam. Why Batam when it’s not known as a business events destination?
Andre de Jong, vice president, operations, South-east Asia & Pacific: As Indonesia seeks to double tourist numbers by 2020, the Indonesian government is turning its focus on islands near Singapore to further enhance these getaway destinations, rather than developing remote spots in the world’s largest archipelago.

In fact, the government’s marketing budget increased four fold to one trillion rupiah (S$100 million) in 2015 which was spent promoting islands such as Batam. Radisson, a key international upscale brand under Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, is capitalising on this growth by identifying Batam as a strategic investment in this region.

The hotel’s current business mix is driven by strong demand on weekdays from both international and local corporates, and local and international leisure over the weekends. Local MICE business is currently very strong. The hotel continues to see a growing MICE business demand from Singapore as the hotel and destination gains greater awareness, popularity and reputation as an alternative MICE destination.

As a whole, how is Carlson Rezidor planning to capture more business travellers?
AJ: Asia-Pacific’s heterogeneous markets see varying needs of business travellers. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group leverages our portfolio of brands to meet the needs, lifestyle and travel budgets of these business travellers, from the fast-emerging millennial travellers to the road warriors and those who enjoy the business luxury.

As hotel operators, it is integral that levels of service and convenience are consistent with the brand. Today’s hospitality landscape sees the need for us to streamline processes, create unique experiences and enhance loyalty programmes.

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