It’s been a little over a year since Radisson Blu first went operational in Addis Ababa. Now it has its second general manager as of Dec. 2012
The Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa has opened its doors in January 2012 just in time for the AU heads of state and governments summit. In one year’s time, the Hotel has its second general manager who took over the position in mid December 2012.
In an interview with this magazine, Christopher Pike, the new general manager, says he is looking forward to be closely associated with the Hotel’s nearly 300 staff members, known for their pleasing smiles and professionalism. “The first thing that hits you is the Ethiopian smile. The staff has been well trained by the previous management; eager and wanting to learn and hospitable,” says Mr. Pike.
Mr. Pike has been with the hotel for the last 13 years touring from Bahrain to Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East and Russia in Europe. He has been mostly working on sales and marketing departments. But now, as his first stunt as a general manager he brings with him the experience both in marketing and management and says he is already working on adding on more value to the hotel’s increasing popularity for hosting medium-sized conferences (officials from South Sudan and Sudan prefer the hotel for their peace negotiations), social events such as weddings and other cultural activities.
He says he found the Hotel as a place where he knew he would easily be connected to. “Walking into a hotel, the first five minutes say a lot about it, and I felt it in that first five minutes that this was going to be an extremely exciting place to be,” he says.
Radisson Blu is known for its worldwide reputation as a hotel for business and luxury. Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts is part of the Rezidor Hotel Group that is currently operating more than 230 hotels worldwide, with another 40 projects under development in Africa only. It has a partnership with a name as powerful as Carlson, a privately held global hospitality and travel company based in Minneapolis, USA. Carlson is the majority shareholder of The Rezidor Hotel Group and together, “Carlson and Rezidor have 1,070 hotels in operation in more than 90 different countries, and 240 hotels under development,” according to the information obtained from hotel’s website.
Mr. Pike was in Birmingham, the UK, in the last two and half years before coming to Addis. As someone coming to Africa for the first time, he says he was happy to find a city which is “very energetic [and] colorful; you feel the real African culture. Everything is so interesting, there is so much to see, so much to absorb. The culture is so strong.”
Although taking over the old management has been smooth based on the established standards of the Hotel, Mr. Pike knows that given the increasing competition in the hotel industry in Ethiopia, which has continued to boom with a few more exiting hotels to join the market soon, his job will not be an easy one. “The competition is tough,” he says, “every hotel has different challenges; new hotels also create new challenges”. But Radisson Blu has been adding up various exiting events to its menu, such as hosting cultural events in collaboration with different embassies in Addis Ababa and adding on two live Jazz evenings every week.
The Hotel will also be busy adapting to the local environment mostly through the local staff working in the Hotel. “Huge amount of that comes through the people,” Mr. Pike said. He also considers Mesfin Kebede, a prominent Ethiopian chief in the kitchen who makes authentic Ethiopian cuisines and is brilliant in the European ones, as a big plus in helping the Hotel adapt to the local flavor.