By Ranju Warrier
Tim Cordon area vice president for Middle East and Africa at Radisson Hotel Group says that remainder of 2020 will be 'heavily impacted' by Covid-19 crisis
Radisson Hotel Group is taking “baby steps" as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19, according to Tim Cordon, area vice president for the Middle East and Africa, who believes that the business will eventually return to pre-Covid levels by 2022.
As hotel operators in Dubai breathed a sigh of relief when the emirate opened its borders for international tourism on July 7, Radisson Hotel Group reported an immediate 10% uptick in bookings.
Cordon told Arabian Business that the hotel giant is hopeful of recording “a definitive improvement over the last couple of months” of this year, despite the obvious impact of Covid-19.
“We have been quite cautious. We expect a deviation from what we have had in Q4 2019. Similarly in Q1 2021, we expect the business to continue to grow,” said Cordon.
STR’s preliminary June data for Dubai hotels revealed that the emirate’s hotel industry reported slight improvement, but recorded relatively low performance.
According to the report, occupancy dropped by 60.8 percent to 26.3 percent compared to June 2019. Average daily rate (ADR) also plummeted by 28.9 percent to AED275.75. Meanwhile, revenue per available room (RevPAR) saw the steepest drop, falling by 72.2 percent to AED72.65.
Although the ADR and RevPAR levels were up from May 2020, the occupancy level was faintly lower, the report revealed.
Cordon explained that despite having a lower level of business during the height of pandemic, the hotel group was in a better position than others.
According to Cordon, this was mainly because the group had spent the last couple of years shifting its hotel operating a more efficient model than the traditional one adopted in the Middle East.
Additionally, Cordon said that the new operating model includes adopting new technology and using automation.
“When this pandemic started, one of the first things we did was to look at the impact of previous pandemics and the impact of previous recessions. Covid-19 is a pandemic that has caused a recession. Our model is based on hybrid short and quick recovery during the pandemic than an extended recovery in a recession period,” added Cordon.
According to Cordon, massive economic activity related to Vision 2030 will stimulate the recovery in Saudi Arabia. While in Dubai, Expo 2020 - scheduled to be held in Q4 2021 - will encourage a faster recovery.
“Recovery also differs massively by market and is impacted by the location. Some markets in the middle east are much more resilient than the others,” said Cordon.