An Echelon Media Company
Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Kristofer Quadros on Radisson Hotels’ Sri Lanka Gambit

Kristofer Quadros – Cluster General Manager for Radisson Hotels in Sri Lanka

Kristofer Quadros, serving as the Cluster General Manager for Radisson Hotels in Sri Lanka, embarked on his career journey in 1996 with ITC in the remote Andaman Islands. Following this, he played integral roles in two pre-opening projects in Mumbai: The Regent Mumbai and JW Marriott Mumbai. His career then took him beyond India, where he spearheaded the inaugural pilot project for Renaissance at their 921-key property, pioneering the innovative one-stop-shop concept in 2002. This groundbreaking approach centralized guest interactions, setting a new standard in the industry.

Subsequently, Quadros assumed pre-opening responsibilities in Malaysia, India, and Indonesia as an executive committee member with Marriott, culminating with his tenure in Saigon, Vietnam. Transitioning into his first General Manager role in Cebu, Philippines, he continued to excel, later assuming leadership positions in Indonesia. His career trajectory led him to Dubai, where he successfully launched a property just before the onset of the pandemic. Despite challenges, he navigated through adversity, eventually overseeing operations at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.

At each destination, Quadros encountered unique challenges ranging from connectivity issues to oversupply and logistical hurdles. For instance, navigating China’s delayed reopening for outbound tourism until April ’23 required strategic planning and swift adaptation. Leveraging comprehensive strategies both on-ground and digitally, he capitalized on the first-mover advantage upon the market’s reopening.

Optimistic about Sri Lanka’s future, Quadros perceives a promising landscape evidenced by the growth in tourist arrivals. However, he emphasizes the importance of collectively positioning Sri Lanka at a deserving market rate to fully capitalize on its potential. In this alignment, he identifies a significant opportunity for the industry to thrive which he shares in this interview:

Your extensive experience in the industry extends across the globe. How do you see this vast experience benefiting the Radisson Sri Lanka operations? 

We are thankful that the ownership is very passionate about their properties which helps in creating synergy. We have 3 properties in the beautiful destinations of Colombo, Kandy and Galle, and each of them is strategically located. Radisson Hotel Colombo is situated on Marine Drive with endless vistas of the ocean, Radisson Hotel Kandy, is the only Internationally branded hotel in Kandy coupled with the most ideal location overlooking the lake and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. And then there is Radisson Blu Resort Galle where all the well-appointed rooms of the resort face the Indian Ocean. It too is a short drive from the city centre. 

I look forward to bringing my experience to drive a culture of service, ensure that the assets are well looked after, focus on learning & development, and create destinations which are renowned for their food & beverage.  

You have taken over the reins of the Radisson Sri Lanka chain at a time when the industry is showing positive signs of a turnaround. How do you see the Radisson chain leveraging the opportunities? 

These are truly exciting times to be in Sri Lanka and all indicators are positive. Our three properties will be focusing on strengthening our relationship in markets where we are traditionally strong and in addition build new relationships in markets that have not yet been tapped into. We will constantly be challenging ourselves to market our properties through careful research and analysis.  

The industry is looking up and this is evident in the growing number of arrivals into the country. The domestic market is also of great importance and thus it is a must to have highly empowered and motivated teams who in turn would delight the guests and the business and revenues would take care of themselves.

In your opinion, what are some emerging trends or shifts happening within the hospitality industry?

There are many emerging trends and shifts happening and please allow me to elaborate on a couple. Experiential travel: Coming out of the pandemic, the industry has seen a rise in vacationers looking for truly immersive experiences. Guests are looking to really soak in the locale and thoroughly immerse themselves. To varying degrees, all 3 of our properties are working hard to bring this to life. A recent example is during Avurudu New Year a few days ago, 2 of the three properties had traditional dances, and traditional games that involved hotel guests and associates alike, ran a mini local market where locals could come and sell their wares and interact with other locals. We will be looking at building on this by working with a couple of locals with traditional houses and curating a whole dining experience for guests there. 

Another emerging trend is that the industry globally is finding it harder and harder to attract and retain talent. We compete not only with each other but also with other industries. The prospect of working shifts, weekends and public holidays is not viewed favourably amongst the newer entrants into the workforce. Coupled with the attraction to work in places like the Middle East or the Maldives only exacerbates the situation. It is therefore critical to ensure that we have a strong pipeline by working together with Vocational schools and colleges, sharing our experiences with those youth who are yet undecided as well as providing internship opportunities so they get first-hand experience about what it is like to be part of our industry. And that’s only the start, proper onboarding with regular training and development and career planning would help retain skilled talent.