Q4 2020 Covid development update: Radisson Hotel Group

by | 27 Oct 2020 | Portfolio

We draw on exclusive stats from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database to examine how Radisson Hotel Group’s development pipeline is holding up amid the pandemic – providing fresh insights into how the industry is navigating this unique crisis.

In keeping with all the world’s biggest hospitality companies, Radisson Hotel Group has had to be incredibly nimble in order to respond to the rapid market changes brought about by coronavirus, which has created a seismic shift quite unlike anything its leaders have ever experienced before.

Radisson Hotel Group, the go-to-market name for Radisson Hospitality Inc and Radisson Hospitality AB, traces its roots back to 1960 with the opening of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, quickly followed by another key moment in 1962 when entrepreneur Curtis Carlson acquired the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis. Today, as part of Chinese conglomerate Jin Jiang, it has more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development across 120 countries, with a particularly strong presence in North America, Europe and the Middle East. The company’s select portfolio of high-powered brands includes several household names, such as Radisson Collection in the luxury segment; Radisson Blu and Park Plaza in the upper-upscale bracket; and Radisson and Radisson Red in the upscale category.

This year, however, the ambitious group has faced a difficult balancing act – weighing up its oft-stated desire to grow rapidly with the reality of coping with countries introducing lockdowns, imposing travel bans and closing hospitality venues at exceptionally short notice to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Radisson Hotel Group is still developing new projects

To see how Radisson Hotel Group is managing these competing pressures, we’ve teamed up with TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ in-house research team, looking specifically at what trends can be discerned in the rate at which the company is developing new projects around the world – and we’re able to share them with you now for the first time:

In progress
On hold
Cancelled this month
Radisson Hotel Group
209 23 0
Radisson Hotel Group
208 24 1
Radisson Hotel Group
207 24 1
Radisson Hotel Group
217 25 0
Radisson Hotel Group
212 27 5
Radisson Hotel Group
213 25 1

Remarkably, the stats logged in our independent database – the source of the figures shown above – reveal that Radisson Hotel Group’s development activity has not tailed off as one might have expected given the extraordinary events of the last few months. In numerical terms, the company had 209 projects in progress as of 13 May 2020, at a point when coronavirus-related measures were really starting to bite across many core geographic markets, but this number actually nudged up slightly to 213 as of 2 October. It only works out as a 2% rise across the summer, admittedly, but the very fact that the group’s increasing its construction portfolio feels important in and of itself, and certainly provides reason for optimism amid all the dejection and despair we’ve seen across the hospitality sector of late.

However, the picture’s slightly less clear if we analyse how many schemes have been mothballed during the same timeframe. While 23 Radisson Hotel Group projects were classified as on hold as of 13 May, the same figure had climbed to 25 as of 2 October. This equates to a 9% jump when translating the numbers into percentages, which sounds alarming at first glance, but we should probably refrain from drawing any firm conclusions, since the figures have been fluctuating from month to month with no clearly discernible pattern so far.

The stats around how many hotel projects have been thrown out altogether are smaller still. Our researchers report that no schemes were cancelled in the month leading up to 13 May, while just one qualified for this dubious distinction in the month leading up to 2 October. In the spring, plenty of industry commentators were justifiably concerned that the biggest names in hospitality would ditch a large proportion of their development slate to cut costs and improve liquidity, but our data suggests this certainly isn’t the case where Radisson Hotel Group is concerned.

Indeed, it’s hard to find much evidence that the company has reined in its expansion activity because of the pandemic – as it was always the case in previous years that a few projects would fail to get off the ground owing to contract disputes with local partners, unexpected construction issues and the like. We’re also used to seeing situations where a group put several ambitious schemes on ice for months or even years on end, before resurrecting them and driving them through to completion when conditions on the ground improved, so the number of dormant projects witnessed here isn’t really a cause for concern either.

The Radisson Hotel Group bandwagon rolls on

By focusing on the data rather than anecdotal evidence then, we can clearly see that Radisson Hotel Group is continuing to advance most of its development pipeline, rather than taking fright at all the pessimistic industry talk. This upbeat interpretation of the post-Covid era is perhaps also reflected in our news pages, with the company having recently celebrated the opening of an eye-popping private island retreat in the Maldives, a stylish newbuild near one of the busiest airports in the US, a pair of upmarket hotels in Istanbul, and two sizeable properties in Poland.

Ultimately, we need to bear in mind that this influential group still has more than 200 live projects on its books, which should hopefully give the wider hospitality sector plenty of encouragement going forwards. While our database shows that certain companies are indeed reining in their development activity as the pandemic continues to fuel uncertainty, others are adopting a much more positive approach – rest assured there’ll be lots more hotels proudly waving the flags of Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza and the rest in the months and years ahead.

Click here to read our exclusive Q4 2020 Covid development update series in full: Marriott International | Hilton Worldwide | Accor | IHG | Hyatt Hotels Corporation | Radisson Hotel Group | The Ascott | Wyndham Hotel Group | What the data tells us

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world's largest hotel groups with several distinctive brands and more than 1,400 properties in operation or under development globally.