Hospitality on the rise

Radisson Blu Addis
Radisson Blu Addis

Wolfgang M. Neumann has been President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rezidor Group of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group since 2013. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of The Rezidor Hotel Group from May 9, 2011.

Apart from that, Neumann also worked with other giants in the global hospitality world for over twenty years. His company Carlson Rezidor owns Radisson Blu Addis Ababa located in the kazanchis area in partnership with a local company, Emerald Addis Hotels PLC. This week, Neumann was in town for the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2015, and according to the CEO, the Radisson Blu in Addis Ababa might not be the only Radisson to operate in Ethiopia in the future. In fact, he pointed out that two brands from the Carlson Rezidor might grace the local hospitality market soon. Asrat Seyoum of The Reporter sat down with him for an exclusive interview. Excerpts:

Wolfgang Neumann (credit: The Reporter)
Wolfgang Neumann (credit: The Reporter)

The Reporter: Carlson Rezidor Group is a strategic partnership between a US-based Carlson and the Scandinavian Rezidor group. Can you elaborate on how this partnership works and functions in the market? 

Wolfgang M. Neumann: Rezidor Hotel Group is a listed public company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. We run hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. That is our territory. We have 340 hotels in operation and under development. That company is owned 51 percent by Carlson in America. So, they own 51 percent of our shares. Carlson is a private company in Minneapolis. They own Carlson Wagonlit, the world’s biggest business travel agent. The two companies [Rezidor and Carlson] have a strategic partnership and globally that gives us 1,300 hotels. Carlson runs the hotels in the Americas and Asia Pacific. Rezidor runs hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Hence, it is called the Carlson Rezidor Group.

When you look at my business card it says Carlson Rezidor but I am the president and CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group. Rezidor operates four hotel brands – Quorvus Collection & Luxury, Radisson Blu, [Radisson] Red and Park Inn. Carlson has the Park Plaza and Country Inn brands.

Of these different hotel brands, on what basis do you choose a specific hotel brand to a specific market? For example, in Ethiopia you have the Radisson Blu.

Our two core brands are the Radisson Blu and Park Inn. Radisson Blu is for the above scale and Park Inn is in the mid-market segment. In Africa, we have a clear strategy to establish Radisson Blu as the leading above-scale brand and we want to be in all capital cities and key financial cities. For Park Inn we want to have scaled and focused growth in key countries. Radisson Red, which is a new brand, is more for the younger generation. We hope to see some five to ten hotels in Africa. We have just signed in Cape Town our first Radisson Red. And Quorvus Collection & Luxury is only for big capital cities where the opportunity exists for a luxury hotel.

Read more at: The Reporter