Radisson Hotel Group is adding to its portfolio in Africa, with a new property in each of Mali, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia, and two in South Africa. 

Ramsay Rankoussi, vice president, development, Africa and Turkey, at Radisson Hotel Group, says Africa has always been at the centre of the company’s growth strategy. “We’re now accelerating our presence across the continent and across all our brands as the region evolves and diversifies.”

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South Africa is one of the company’s key focus countries, he adds. “With over 15 hotels in our current portfolio across the country – either in operation or under development – we are seeking to double our presence here in the coming years.

“Similarly, Nigeria represents another focus market for us. We’re seeking to diversify our portfolio beyond Lagos to Abuja and other economically important cities across the country. Most of those properties are driven by business demand, either from corporates or government.”

Scaling up

Mr Rankoussi says Radisson has established a strategy that aims to create scale in four locations – Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa – as well as in neighbouring countries. The company aims to accelerate this growth both through new builds and by taking over existing hotels. 

Radisson has has revisited its brand architecture to enable existing hotels to quickly integrate into its network. “This strategy will be reinforced as our brands continue to demonstrate a better value proposition to our owners. Following our revised strategy, we believe we are now geared up to providing solutions to the investment community for every type of asset, every segment and at every stage – from funding, to construction and repositioning.” 

Radisson’s expansion announcement comes as many companies are re-evaluating their property portfolios. 

“For us, the priority will now be on conversion opportunities, especially as liquidity remains a critical challenge and the global economy recovers further strength due to the pandemic impact,” says Mr Rankoussi. “Many independent hotels that are currently self-managed will require access to a wider network and to the cost-savings benefits of a wider chain.

“We have also taken a strategic decision, against the trend, to reinforce our development team dedicated to Africa. For Africa, our goal is to reach 150 hotels within the next five years and it’s this objective that now drives our focus across the continent.”

Post-Covid recovery

Mr Rankoussi says the company expects there to be a 24-month post-Covid recovery period before it can reach its 2019 performance levels again. “This will be determined by issues such as infrastructure and the ease of movement from airlines to other means of transportation.” 

He adds: “We will certainly continue to develop new hotels in key markets, but these could be delayed until the market recovers its liquidity levels, and we certainly expect leisure and domestic demand to be the first element of recovery.”

Mr Rankoussi is upbeat about prospects for the region. “The objective we have set is to have more than 150 hotels in operation and under development within the next five years. Today we have almost reached our first milestone of 100 hotels, so we then need to add 10 additional hotels per year. This represents an adequate target, given the size of the region.”

This article first appeared in the August - September edition of fDi Magazine. View a digital edition of the magazine here.