By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Radisson Hotel Group said the Philippines is a significant component in its transformational five-year plan “Destination 2022”, which sees to triple its footprint across Asia Pacific as it consolidates its position as one of the world’s top three hotel companies.
Andre de Jong, Radisson Hotel vice president for operations Southeast Asia & Pacific, said at a media roundtable that the Philippines is third largest presence in the region after China and India. The group operates 231 hotels in the region.
At present, Radisson Group operates five hotels in the Philippines under two brands out of its 7 total hotel brands.
These include the stylish upper upscale Radisson Blu Cebu and the contemporary, upper midscale Park Inn by Radisson hotels, located in Clark, Pampanga and Davao City. The recent openings of Park Inn by Radisson Iloilo and Park Inn by Radisson North EDSA added 446 guestrooms to the Group’s inventory. With a total of five hotels in operation, the Philippines now operates over 1,100 rooms nationwide.
Looking ahead, Radisson Hotel Group will open the Park Inn by Radisson in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental in 2020 and the Radisson RED Cebu Mandaue in 2022. This will add over 290 additional rooms to the Group’s inventory. Cebu and Bacolod are two of the most populous cities in the Visayas. In recent years, both of these economic hubs have seen increased investment and infrastructure buildup in key sectors, including tourism, real estate, and information communication technology (ICT).
The expansion of Radisson Hotel Group in the Philippines aligns with the government’s thrust to promote tourism as a key driver of growth. In addition to boosting domestic tourism, the country’s Department of Tourism aims to attract 8.2 million foreign visitors in 2019, representing a 15.5 percent increase from the prior year’s 7.1 million tourist arrivals.
De Jong, a member of the Radisson Hotel Group Asia Pacific Executive Committee, did not say how many more hotels are planned for the Philippines, but noted that there is an array of secondary locations in different territories in the country like Baguio and other areas with increased connectivity and demand for hotel international accommodations is growing.
He said that its 5 hotels have provided 700 jobs to Filipino workers on top of the suppliers of these hotels. With the opening of two more properties between 2020 and 2022, this means the creation of additional 300 jobs.
Although he did not divulge the occupancy rate of Radisson hotels in the Philippines, De Jong said they hold a fair market share among hotels here.
“The good news is that the Philippines is one of the few markets in the Pacific with the robust growth while others are experiencing duress while the Philippines has risen to the occasion,” he said citing the robust hospitality sector with the influx of tourists.
With new entrants in the hotel accommodation sector, De Jong vowed that Radisson hotels will continue to reinvest in their assets here.
At present, the Radisson Group, which is majority owned by Shanghai’s Jin Jiang Group, has partnered with the SM Group in the Philippines for the branding of some properties. He, however, said they are open to other partners in the future.
On competition, he said “We have been able to grow year on year despite competition coming in. We are reinvesting to keep products up to date and fresh.”
“Markets are developing very quickly but the Philippines is on top of that list,” he added.
Among its seven brands, De Jong said that they are more focused on the Radisson Blu, Red and Park Inn in the Asia Pacific region. For its top of the line brand Radisson Collection, De Jong said the first hotel will rise in Sydney in the next two years.
When asked on the prospect of the Radisson Collection brand to be brought in the Philippines, De Jong explained that Collection is its top of the line brand that requires not only the best services but also uniqueness of the property, which could be more of experiential, unique design and overall facilities including room size.
“These opportunities are up for grabs so Radisson Collection is a bit selective,” said De Jong, who is based at its regional headquarters in Singapore.