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Radisson Hotel Group renews partnership with SGS and continues global application of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol

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Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce the extension of its partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity, and the continued global roll out of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol to further strengthen Radisson Hotel Group’s existing rigorous sanitation, cleanliness and disinfection program across its portfolio around the world.

In 2020, Radisson Hotel Group worked closely with SGS to conduct a thorough review of all existing health and safety processes and worked with a team of experts to develop and validate the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, a comprehensive series of 20-Step and 10-step protocols for hotels and for Meetings & Events. These enhanced protocols which include comprehensive health and safety procedures such as increased cleaning and disinfection especially in high touch point areas, sanitizing stations, team member personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing measures and hybrid solutions for meetings, improved air circulation, and strict food safety procedures, have all been validated by SGS, building on local requirements and recommendations to ensure guests’ safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. In addition, Radisson Hotel Group has adapted the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol specifically for Resorts, with attention to services like sports, spa facilities and kids’ clubs.

The Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol is an official cleanliness and disinfection label which can be used by hotels only after an in-depth centralized validation process has been conducted by SGS. In addition, selected hotels receive the additional SGS Disinfection monitored & Cleaning Checked label upon completion of a comprehensive local audit including on-site testing using the latest technology.

“At Radisson Hotel Group, the health and safety of our guests, team members and partners continue to be a top priority. The world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, so it is key that we continue innovating and striving to deliver a clean and safe environment to all who walk through our doors, stay in our hotels and conduct meetings in our properties. SGS has been a key partner to ensure our hotels are providing the best and latest health and safety measures, and we are proud to renew our partnership for a second year,” says Federico J. González, CEO, Radisson Hotel Group.

Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS, adds that: “Expert and documented validation by SGS of health, safety and prevention protocols related to COVID-19 has allowed the Tourism industry and Radisson Hotel Group to inspire trust and confidence to travelers around the world.  The goal of our continued partnership is to ensure that the highest hygiene standards are met, and to protect guests as well as Radisson Hotel Group team members and partners.

As part of the Group’s ongoing commitment to the safe return of travel and to allow for a swift return to business, Radisson Hotel Group recently launched its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across their EMEA portfolio. In addition, hotels will be able to direct guests to an easily accessible and affordable PCR testing location. The comprehensive testing program for guests is groundbreaking in its coordinated approach across EMEA to reinstall confidence and peace of mind to travelers as the world returns to business by providing a safe environment and seamless testing facilitation.

Radisson Hotel Group continues play a key role in the development of the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC)’s “Safe Travels” and “Seamless Travel” health and safety protocols, a global framework and stamp for a safe return to business and to create consistency across the Travel and Tourism industry. The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is currently endorsed by over 200 destinations around the world.

 

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Hospitality & Tourism

Nairobi’s hospitality sector is thriving

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Nairobi’s infrastructure has grown significantly, sparking investment not only in the hospitality sector but broadly across all real estate asset classes.

Hospitality has bounced back remarkably after the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging as one of the best-performing asset classes in 2023. This resurgence is particularly notable in Nairobi. The strategic position of Kenya’s capital city serves as an East African hub for various industries, including corporate, government, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions), embassies and tourism, which makes it an attractive destination for hospitality and residence brands. The increasing and diversifying demand for accommodation is creating meaningful opportunities for market expansion and business growth.

This buoyant view reflects the insights of the thought leaders who will explore opportunities in East Africa’s fastest growing and most resurgent sector at the 11th annual East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit Hospitality & Residences Forum on 17 and April 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. The forum will cover key hospitality trends, from greening to financing, development, resorts, safari, and more, creating a crucial platform for stakeholders in the hospitality and residence sectors.

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The event will convene at the landmark Radisson Blu Upperhill, which recently received an EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) rating, showcasing East Africa’s potential for sustainable and efficient hospitality development.

Radisson Hotel Group is the lead sponsor of the EAPI Hospitality Forum, and its Senior Director, Development – Sub-Sahara Africa, Daniel Trappler, is a guest speaker at the gathering. Looking at the hospitality market, Trappler reports that demand drivers are creating the need for accommodation in Nairobi — both short stay and long stay. “As demand continues to grow in all segments, this has balanced the influx of international and regional brands developing over the past decade, sidestepping the potential risk of oversupply. Hotel operators can continue to benefit from good business by operating hotels in the East African hub.”

Trappler highlights that hospitality is a key economic driver, employment creator and focal property type in regions throughout East Africa.

Fiona Craw, JLL’s Vice President Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, reports that JLL is seeing growing interest from investors, especially in markets such as Nairobi and Zanzibar. Craw also notes that private equity funds have been key in driving the transaction market in Nairobi over the past 48 months. “Hotels globally are emerging as a preferred asset class with global revenue per available room (RevPAR) recovering well, driven by strengthening urban performance. While the hospitality sector was the most severely affected by the pandemic, it has been one of the fastest asset classes to recover across Africa and East Africa.”

Even so, Craw points out that access to capital for hotel developments will remain challenging in the short term. The resultant significantly lower pipeline of new developments across the region has created a strong performance narrative for existing hotels. “This was evident in 2023 with the Nairobi hotel market achieving higher occupancies and average daily rates than in 2019 pre-pandemic,” says Craw, adding, “A key change driving demand is accessibility.”

Nairobi’s infrastructure has grown significantly, sparking investment not only in the hospitality sector but broadly across all real estate asset classes. A game changer for the Nairobi hotel market was the opening of the Express Way in 2022, creating ease of access between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Westlands, the key commercial hub. “As a result, hospitality brands have been increasing their presence over the years, with all the key operators and brands actively looking at expanding their portfolio not only in Nairobi but across secondary cities in Kenya,” reveals Craw.

This expansion is opening doors for development-focused regions to construct hotels designed and operated for high efficiency, resulting in utilities cost savings for owners, lower future regulatory capex requirements and better access to green funding. “Moreover, embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into hotel management agreements aligns the goals of the property owners and operators since investors and stakeholders are paying more attention to these aspects in the hospitality sector.” Africa is rapidly advancing in sustainable hotel practices.

Focusing on the short-term rental and residence sectors in Nairobi, Eleni Georgopoulou, Founder and CEO of YourHost Ltd, says demand is growing significantly, driven by factors such as economic growth, improved transport connectivity, the burgeoning middle class, and online booking platforms. “The likes of Airbnb, and VRBO have revolutionised the hospitality industry. People now have access to a wide range of accommodation options, including short-term rentals, making it more convenient and accessible to both domestic and international travellers.”

While demand is being met with adequate supply, and there are concerted efforts to continually improve the experiences at these properties, Georgopoulou notes that there is still room to do more. “It is crucial to ensure that there are enough properties to cater to a wide range of budgets and preferences to ensure customer satisfaction. Developers are actively constructing new properties and refurbishing existing ones to meet travellers’ changing preferences. They are introducing fresh, modern designs, prioritising and expanding their guest services, instilling guest confidence with robust security measures, embracing sustainability practices and green principles, and integrating smart technology to make stays seamless.”

Commenting on Radisson Hotel Group’s sponsorship of the event, Trappler says, “Radisson Hotel Group is proud to sponsor this year’s EAPI Hospitality Forum, which is a strong platform to display the growth of the market and further understand how its players are performing and evolving. As our group pushes more to enter both the Tanzania/Zanzibar and Ugandan markets, meeting players from these regions is hugely valuable, and not just those from the hospitality space, but also the larger real estate sector in general.”

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Hospitality & Tourism

JW Marriott Unveils Second Property, JW Marriott Hotel In Kenya

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JW Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of over 30 extraordinary hotel brands, today unveils its second property in Kenya with the opening of JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi. Standing as the tallest hotel in the country with 35 stories in the Westlands commercial district, JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi captures the essence of Kenya’s natural beauty and heritage, offering travellers a peaceful escape for the mind, body, and soul.

“As JW Marriott expands its presence in Africa, the brand enriches the region with a legacy of luxurious hospitality, seamlessly weaving together its dedication to holistic well-being and fostering meaningful connections throughout the continent,” said Helen Leighton, Vice President, Luxury Brands & Communications, Marriott International, Europe, Middle East & Africa. “JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi perfectly embodies the city’s contemporary yet mindful urban lifestyle. The property combines the warmth of African hospitality with serene spaces where guests can disconnect from distraction, focus on the present moment, and reconnect with what matters most to them.”

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The hotel features 315 sophisticated guestrooms, five internationally-inspired dining destinations, a luxury Spa by JW, swimming pool, fitness center, and eight exceptional event spaces for gatherings and celebrations. An additional 51 spacious serviced apartments and a sky bar & lounge are slated to open later in the year.

An Urban Sanctuary – Bringing the Outdoors In

The hotel’s interior design is largely inspired by the beauty, heritage, and palette of Kenya’s great outdoors. Designed by George Wong, the property is inspired by the spirit and story of an African adventure, with an earth-toned colour palette of savannah browns, Maasai reds, cultural terracotta, and safari green incorporated throughout its spaces.

These aesthetic choices introduce a new echelon of luxury to the city, featuring intentional spaces that allow guests to connect with the essence of Africa, while enjoying the comforts of a modern urban hotel. Throughout the property a collection of unique works of art – from sculptures and handmade ceramics to wall murals and regional textiles – tell the story of the breathtaking Kenyan landscape.

The guest rooms and suites – including one Presidential Suite – offer guests a contemporary retreat to recharge and reset with breathtaking views of the city. Situated on the nine top-most floors of the high-rise tower, spacious serviced apartments will offer luxurious, exclusive experiences for long-stay guests and family groups in one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.

Mindful moments can be found at Spa by JW, which offers bespoke wellness experiences for guests during their stay, including customisable massages and beauty treatments to refresh and invigorate the body. Guests can maintain their daily routines at the state-of-the-art Fitness Center on the fifth floor, featuring a yoga studio, steam room, and an outdoor pool and terrace, offering an ideal space for ultimate relaxation.

Worldly Culinary Destinations

JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi is home to a host of rich culinary experiences that elevate the city’s hospitality scene to new standards of sophistication, with the goal of creating special moments and  fostering a deeper connection between guests and locals. All-day MIDI Café & Patisserie creates the ideal spot for quick breakfasts, light lunches, or afternoon coffee and cake, while Myna Restaurant showcases international cuisine with an African flair, serving sumptuous buffet-style breakfasts and family Sunday brunches, as well as lunches and dinner from its indoor and outdoor terrace setting.    

Hudson Tavern Bar & Grill offers the ideal setting to relax while watching live sports, featuring an authentic grill house serving tapas, mezze, and classic American burgers. Fine dining in the capital city is enhanced with the arrival of Mughal, celebrating the esteemed cuisine and culture of the Mughal Empire. Guests can embark on a unique culinary journey immersed in sumptuous décor and stories reminiscent of a gracious, bygone era. The cocktail bar is a highlight, serving signature drinks and mocktails infused with Mughal ingredients and spices.

Slated to open later this year, Mr. Pang Sky Bar & Lounge, situated on the 31st floor of the hotel, is set to become the city’s evening hotspot, offering modern Pan-Asian cuisine and upscale mixology offerings across its indoor bar and lounge, outdoor terrace, and two private dining spaces, including a premium whiskey library.

Fostering Connections

JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi offers over 1,700 square metres of exceptional meeting and event spaces equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, catering to all occasions from corporate events and meetings to family gatherings and celebrations. The pillar-less Grand Ballroom, hosting up to 800 guests, is an inspirational venue for the city and can be adapted for a range of events including luxury weddings. The hotel also has a sustainable meeting program, which includes strategies for reducing waste, ensuring responsible waste management, and maintaining energy efficiency to reduce the carbon footprint of events. 

“JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi takes pride in ushering in a new chapter of refinement to our capital city,” added Eben Nel, General Manager, JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi. “The property is perfectly situated for restful overnight stays for those visitors adventuring into the country’s magnificent game reserves. For those visiting the city for longer and needing to revitalize their souls by immersing themselves in nature, the tranquility of Nairobi National Park, the world’s only national park within a capital city, is just a short drive out of the Central Business District. We are thrilled to open our doors and offer a warm Kenyan welcome, world-class service, and generous hospitality to our guests.”

Westlands is a social and entertainment hotspot within close proximity to Nairobi’s Central Business District and a number of top local attractions, including Nairobi National Museum, Karen Blixen Museum, Maasai Market, Bomas of Kenya, and Karura Forest, an urban upland forest on the outskirts of Nairobi. The Nairobi expressway links the area to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive away.

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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Hotel Group accelerates expansion in Morocco, targets of 25 hotels by 2030

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Radisson Hotel Group has set a goal of expanding its current portfolio of 11 hotels in operation and under development in Morocco to 25 hotels by 2030. As Morocco continues to be a crucial market for development, the Group is accelerating its expansion in the country and has therefore extended the portfolio of Erwan Garnier, Senior Director for Development, to include Morocco.

Defining Radisson Hotel Group’s expansion strategy for Morocco, Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Development, Africa at Radisson Hotel Group said, “I am delighted to lead our expansion efforts in Morocco and take them to new heights. Leveraging our success in the country thus far, our expansion strategy will concentrate on targeting the major cities in Morocco.”

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“Our focus will be on strengthening our presence in Casablanca and Marrakech, where we currently operate the conveniently located Radisson Blu Hotel, Casablanca City Center and the highly acclaimed Radisson Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carré Eden. Additionally, we plan to establish our presence in the key cities of Rabat, Tangier, Agadir, and Fez. In light of Radisson Hotel Group’s strategic 5-year plan and the 2030 FIFA World Cup in Morocco, we have identified significant potential within these cities to establish a diverse portfolio consisting of ideally located business hotels, efficient serviced apartments, premium mixed-use projects, and expanding our portfolio of exceptional resorts. The introduction of the Radisson brand with the imminent opening of the Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle in the vibrant Gauthier district of Casablanca, marks a notable development. This new establishment will be the flagship of the Radisson brand in Morocco, marking the entry of a new brand for the group in the country and underlining our commitment to quality and diversified expansion.”

Erwan has been an integral part of Radisson Hotel Group since joining nine years ago, achieving numerous development milestones. He has played an active role in expanding the Group’s African portfolio, particularly in Francophone and Lusophone countries, Indian Ocean islands, and more recently in West and Central Africa.

In 2023, the Radisson Hotel Group maintained its expansion momentum in Africa with eight new hotel signings, adding more than 1,600 rooms to its already robust portfolio on the continent. With this progress, the Group is well on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in Africa over the next five years, up from its current count of 100 hotels.

Furthermore, over the past three years, Radisson Hotel Group has emerged as the fastest-growing hotel group in Africa, with 20 hotel openings across the continent. This remarkable achievement has set a record for the Group in terms of the realization of its pipeline into openings and has resulted in an impressive 15 percent annual growth on its African portfolio.

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