“However, the biggest challenge in my opinion is the infrastructure development, in particular the roads to and from the airport which is, for most, the first impression they get upon arrival.”
Having amassed a wealth of experience from working in hotels in different countries all over the world, General Manager of Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View, Geir Sikko now brings his managerial expertise to the hospitality industry in Chittagong. Geir has held his current position since April 2014 prior to which he served as the General Manager in Radisson’s Park Inn in Philippines, Hotel Britania in Norway, Radisson Royale Hotel and Park Inn Nevsky in Russia, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ireland and so on. Regardless of his busy schedule Geir was kind enough to take our questions on matters regarding the hospitality industry and its current condition in Bangladesh.
What is your opinion about the current hospitality industry in Chittagong?
Based on airport information, I recognize that there is a slow increase in arrivals to Chittagong. These are mainly international and domestic business travelers and some increase from mainly domestic tourism. Even though any increase must be seen as a positive sign, the outlook for the hospitality sector is moderate. Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View is the first upper upscale hotel in Chittagong. We came here in the country’s premier port city Chittagong to tap the rising demands for comfortable accommodation, first and foremost for business travelers, but our facilities are excellent also for leisure. We do see various new projects in the city and this is of course a good sign.
Who are your target markets? What are your challenges right now?
Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View is designed for business travelers, events and for both small and large scale conferences. Being the first five star hotel in the city it is a challenge to convince the market that there is now a higher category hotel here, who promise to deliver a five star product and service. We have to remember that Chittagong market has been used to mostly three/four star hotels for decades, so you might say that it is a challenge to change the mindset. However, the biggest challenge in my opinion is the infrastructure development, in particular the roads to and from the airport which is, for most, the first impression they get upon arrival, whether they are here for business or pleasure.
Having such a long and shining history of working at different international hotels, how do you think consumer behavior has changed over the time? Do you observe the same here in Bangladesh?
In recent years consumer behavior in the hospitality industry has been changing rapidly in Bangladesh and all over the world. Today’s consumers are technologically savvy and are very socially connected. Wi-Fi is a necessity at a hotel. In addition, the way a hotel is represented in the virtual world has also become increasingly important. A great number of bookings come through the online channels and this means that we need to be creative in marketing our hotel online. The same I see elsewhere as well as in Bangladesh.
As we are working on the topic, unlocking the Potential of Chittagong, how do you think Chittagong Radisson Blu can harness the unlocked potentials of the port city which is aiming to become a global twin city by 2030?
Recently Chittagong, as a major coastal seaport city and financial center in southeastern Bangladesh, has been forecasted as an emerging financial powerhouse of the future world.This opens a vast opportunities for business and leisure’s travelers. Bangladesh government has already taken many steps in the right direction. Again I am mentioning infrastructure as a challenge, it is a must that his areas is being prioritized in order for business to grow. Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View will give all the comfort of a five star property to support the growth accordingly.
Nowadays, luxury hotels tend to rely more on promotions like festivals and parties than on their room occupancy. To what extent, do you agree with that?
Our main focus is to ensure 100% guest satisfaction, whether you stay with us or you dine with us. However, since we are a hotel company, rooms remain our primary focus. We also recognize that special promotions such as food festivals can add to the overall guest experience and also attract patronage from locals in our community. Moreover, we are always advertising on our own web various promos and packages, all which are tailor made for individual needs.