Power List 2018: Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson Hotel Group hopes to reach the top by executing a 5-year operating plan that will deliver an aligned brand architecture, creative hospitality innovations, more streamlined operations and an integrated global platform. And Raj Rana, who leads these initiatives, is helping the company realise this dream.
Talking about the company’s growth plan and his role, he says, “We have been on a strong growth path for several years and have explored emerging markets with much success. My focus is squarely on improving the performance of our operating portfolio and growing the business for greater market share. In terms of operations, we have done very well. The health of our business is also positively reflected in our growth story, where we have 140 hotels in operation and under development. We have signed 11 new hotels and are on track for three more; we have opened four hotels this year and are looking forward to four more openings, maintaining our average run rate of signings and openings in a year, and our goal of 200 hotels in operation and under development by 2022.”
Modest about his contribution to the industry, Rana adds, “I feel privileged to have a voice in the industry and have helped in shaping opinions in matters that are important — GST, liquor ban, responsible business, need of the industry to invest in skills program and talent.”
Realistic about the changes in the industry and consequently, varying manpower needs, Rana feels, “While job knowledge and core skill-set remain largely the same, we need more leaders with a healthy entrepreneurial mindset and financial savviness to adapt swiftly with time. I believe one should hire for attitude, train for skill and promote for leadership.”
Known for adopting a collaborative style at work and delegating to his teams, Rana explains, “It is all about creating brand ambassadors and people as your truest assets. A leader must never forget the power of teamwork which is manifested in the famous and powerful saying — ‘you alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.”
Taking calculated risks, according to him, is a part of business and unavoidable. “It is the only way to survive in the game. At Radisson Hotel Group, we took the risk of being the first entrant in many emerging markets where even sourcing talent was a challenge. We introduced new brands — Park Inn by Radisson and Radisson RED to the market in a timely fashion, sensing a strong fitment for these. We have recently announced the launch of Radisson Collection, a premium lifestyle brand in India which will further elevate our brand presence.”
Always one with a positive outlook and an optimist, Rana says, ”I have been fortunate to start my career journey in India and come full circle to the market, to lead Radisson Hotel Group’s India operations.”