Radisson has ambitious expansion plans in EMEA: Bachir Rajji
Bachir Rajji, Senior Engineering Director at Radisson Hotel Group.
Sustainable design will be at the heart of Radisson’s plans to grow in Africa and the region, says Bachir Rajji, Senior Engineering Director, Radisson Hotel Group.
Radisson, one of the fastest-growing hotel groups in the world, is determined to put sustainable design at the heart of its ambitious expansion plans in emerging markets in Africa and the wider EMEA region.
Over the last 6 years, Bachir Rajji, Senior Engineering Director at Radisson Hotel Group, has been responsible for design and engineering with a special focus on renewable and technological solutions.
During TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Dubai, Rajji spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS about Radisson’s growth plans in Africa, compliance and operational challenges, and their focus on sustainable hotel design.
EMEA region hotel projects back on track
Rajji: The Saudi Arabian market is very promising. There was a time when projects in the region were slow, but now projects are finally back on track. Radisson, for example, has already signed 35 projects and around another 20 in progress in places such as Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Ahsa. So, we can say our pipeline is really growing.
Africa as well is back with new signings and projects. Especially, many French-speaking countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Réunion Island are back on the market with several projects in the pipeline. The region is rising and growing significantly of late.
Why Radisson is focussing on sustainable design
Rajji: Sustainability is the main aspect on which we are focusing and we at Radisson do it especially during the design phase. When it comes to costs, at least 60% of them go towards operating costs to cover up the project lifecycle. Whatever we design — if we truly want it to be profitable, we need to make it sustainable. In this way, we benefit from the rewards in the long run.
There are, for example, some design aspects that you need to focus on in order to minimize the running and energy costs of the hotel. Some of these aspects are, for example, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) solar panel, hot water generation, photovoltaic panels for electricity production, heat recovery systems with chillers that extract the air. All these elements need to be taken into account in order to compete and expand.
Radisson’s plans in Africa
Rajji: Africa is one of the destinations we are looking forward to. Especially in Madagascar, where we are planning to open our first Radisson Blu hotel by the Antananarivo River. It will have 260 keys, F&B outlets and spa facilities.
But as promising as it may look, of course, there are also many challenges in this region. They are very strict in terms of meeting the required standards. Many French-speaking countries apply French standards which differ from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards that Radisson is used to.
So, you can imagine that there are a number of differences compared to our common procedure. Compliance is something Radisson takes seriously.
Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Rajji: It is a wonderful event that gathers different stakeholders of projects such as owners, investors, suppliers, operators and designers. They make professionals come together to share their experiences, ideas and challenges in a constructive discussion.
Bachir Rajji was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Dubai 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.