2021, The Year That Was: Tim Cordon, Area Vice President for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Radisson Hotel Group
"The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and it is essential to respond to consumers' changing behaviors, which is necessary for the recovery of the hospitality sector."
While 2021 did see the hospitality industry inching out of what has been a rather crippling period owing to the COVID-19 crisis, Tim Cordon, Area Vice President for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Radisson Hotel Group, says that the year was still quite a challenging one, but an eye toward the long term is what helped his enterprise get past all of the hurdles in its way.
“I am proud that we never lost track of our goals and stayed committed to our ambitious five-year development plan, which includes the mission to be recognized as one of the top three hotel groups in the world,” Cordon says. “Our strategy and ambitions ensure we are top of mind to our guests, team members, owners, and partners, especially as we expand across the MEA region. For me, it has been wonderful to see the teamwork and dedication in all our hotels in the region, and remind me that the hospitality industry is all about people, from our teams to our guests.”
Global trends reshaping the hospitality industry are thus what rank highly on Radisson Hotel Group’s radar right now, with one example being its recent Hybrid Solutions offering. While its Hybrid Rooms concept combine the facilities of a state-of-the-art office with the comforts of a superior hotel room, Hybrid Meetings and Events are aimed at merging the best of virtual and in-person gatherings.
Image courtesy: Radisson Hotel Group
“In addition, in 2022, I believe there will be a greater focus on sustainability than ever before as the world looks into a greener future,” Cordon adds. “At Radisson Hotel Group, we recently launched, as the first hotel group in the world, Carbon Negative meetings. This means that we will automatically off-set the carbon footprint for every single meeting and event worldwide, at no cost to delegates or organizers, the carbon footprint to ensure that every meeting has a positive impact on the environment.”
Here in the MEA region, Radisson Hotel Group has been steadily growing its presence here through the last couple of years, and it’s a pace that Cordon believes will be characteristic of the business for the foreseeable future as well. The UAE remains a key market for the company, with its immediate pipeline including the first Radisson beach resort, Radisson Resort, located at Marjan Island in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, and its first property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.
“The tourism sector in Dubai continues to grow and flourish as a result of the Emirates’ remarkable vision of creating a world-class destination for entertainment and culture,” Cordon notes. “We are excited to contribute to this growth, with the UAE remaining a key market for us, with a robust pipeline of hotels scheduled to open within the next 24 months.”
Image courtesy: Radisson Hotel Group
Reflections 2021: Tim Cordon, Area Vice President for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Radisson Hotel Group
Always look ahead– there are always new opportunities that will arise. “The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and it is essential to respond to consumers' changing behaviors, which is necessary for the recovery of the hospitality sector. Organizations will need to reimagine the customer experience, and re-engage with customers to build and maintain their trust. At Radisson Hotel Group, we launched a new brand as a result of the pandemic: Radisson Individuals, an affiliation brand, allowing independent hotels and small chains to become part of the global Radisson Hotel Group platform and benefit from international exposure, with the freedom to maintain their unique style and identity.”
Always keep tabs on customer needs in our current circumstances. “Safety is a priority for everyone, and we can all accept that travelers worldwide will continue to be much more aware and careful. We've implemented the highest possible safety and hygiene protocols across all our hotels in partnership with SGS, one of the world's leading auditing and commissioning companies, who have assured us that the protocols we have in place can ensure a safe stay for all of our guests.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.