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Radisson Hotel Group sees accelerated adoption of technology

  • Radisson Hotel Group sees accelerated adoption of technology.

    Tim Cordon, area senior vice president, Middle East & Africa at Radisson Hotel Group, discusses hybrid solutions in hospitality and corporate trips

    What’s the general market situation like in the Middle East?

    The past months have been difficult for everyone, with life as we know it completely altering over such a short period. While we have all been greatly affected, we need to remember that adversity makes us stronger and it is also an opportunity to learn to adapt and discover different kinds of business practices.

    As a leader, you need to not only take care of your business continuity but also understand what is required to meet the expectations of stakeholders such as business partners, employees and communities. From travel restrictions to the growth of working from home and wild swings in equity and commodity markets, the last year has changed our region.

    While Covid-19 vaccine rollouts are underway, it will be important for Middle Eastern governments to remain proactive and continue supporting their economies with pro-growth initiatives to bounce back quickly. The UAE’s vaccination programme has been a major source of hope and optimism among the general population but also for the leaders across every industry. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has continued to attract investors across the kingdom and is strongly working towards Vision 2030.

    Can you tell us about the Radisson Group’s hybrid/online meeting offerings?


    In recent months, we have seen the accelerated adoption of technology within businesses. There will always be a need for physical meetings and interactions, but business meetings have moved to a more hybrid set-up, with smaller teams getting together in one location and connecting with others via videoconference – a huge opportunity for the hospitality industry. This is why we pushed forward the launch of our hybrid solutions, which offer the perfect solution for meetings, seminars, conferences and launch events.

    Whilst the future of meetings is yet to be written, the past year has forced many companies to explore work-from-home options, relying heavily on Wi-Fi, streaming and increased demand for hybrid meetings. By curating intimate events in local areas with hybrid function that not only require less to no travel but are actually safer for attendees, companies also reduce their carbon footprint.

    Looking towards the future of events, recent studies predict that small domestic meetings are expected to come back earliest, whereas large conferences will see a much later recovery beyond 2021 or will become hybrid in the future. According to the Post Covid-19 Event Outlook Report, 93 percent of organisers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward, while 76 percent executed a virtual event in 2020.

    How has corporate travel changed?

    From a global perspective, there is a huge split in opinions when it comes to business travel rebound. Prior to the pandemic, it was common for millions of businesspeople around the globe to get into the plane each day to meet clients, investors and new potential customers. While business travel will return at scale and global economic growth will generate new demand, future analyst forecasts predict business travel will likely never return to pre-coronavirus levels. I believe it will also depend on the country and its business culture.

    For the Middle East, where business is largely done face-to-face, I believe the trend of business travel will resume again. While we all seem to be turning into digital natives, it has become clear that the changes do not only affect organisations but also business travellers are impacted in different ways.


    For some the pandemic qualifies as an annoying interruption, and they are keen to return to their old routines while others appreciate the new era of remote work and less travel. With that in mind, it is yet to see where and how corporate travel will rebound.

    Is travel still seen as a necessity?

    Of course, certain industries might ramp their travel back up more quickly than others and there will be many factors to consider throughout the recovery phase.

    On the other hand, many companies have learned that the outcomes of meetings held on Zoom vs those held in person are not that much different, but the costs are night and day. Businesses will also re-evaluate whether travel is fundamentally required and corporations are most likely going to have to factor the costs of new health policies into their travel budgets and planning.

    Organisations will study the necessity and pros and cons much closer in the future but at the same time there will always be a need for some to travel. After all, human beings are social animals and even in the digital era and communication revolution, we still require some physical connection to be emotionally able to connect and work together.

    How can my business take advantage in the new norm?

    Whilst the recovery from the pandemic would not mean we will all return to the old ‘normal’, we believe there is an opportunity to define a new future that includes sustainability, digital and trust. One of my core beliefs is that regardless of the negative effects that came into being, there are always new opportunities that arise as a result.

    Those who understand the new normal adapt and respond, will be able to benefit from these new opportunities. Businesses will need to find ways to re-orientate their products, services and communications to fit the Covid-19 landscape.

    Many businesses have rapidly adapted and implemented various options such as contactless payments and double-bagged food delivery, QR code access or remote classes.




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