Rezidor’s main focus is improving profitability both in absolute terms and relative to the industry. In the current macroeconomic situation, we have to concentrate on what we can control ourselves – on ambitious activities that are expected to push our margins by 6 to 8 percentage points, representing MEUR 50-70 in incremental EBITDA. We have called our programme “Route 2015” and included revenue initiatives, cost savings, asset management activities, and plans to further grow our fee-based hotel portfolio.
2008, 2009 and 2010 were three consecutive record years of room openings for Rezidor; amidst the global downturn. Also in 2011 we kept a good momentum in line with our targets; signing 9,600 new rooms, and opening almost 6,000 rooms. We aim to sustain our pace of growth by working asset-light: our expansion will be strategic and profitable – focused on non-committed managed and franchised rooms; and also focused on the emerging markets of Russia/CIS and Africa.
It is equally crucial to open our strong and steady pipeline of 22,000 rooms. Once these rooms will have joined our operating system, they will generate an increase of our EBITDA margins by 2 to 2.5 percentage points. Also a clear shift in our business model will improve the margins – Rezidor will reduce the percentage of lease agreements to 15% in 2015 to hedge against volatility.
A key element of Route 2015 is a stronger emphasis on Revenue Generation. This includes our strategic partnership with Carlson and our joint global target to reach more than MUS$ 400 in additional revenue and a RevPAR Index increase of more than 9 points by 2015. A ramp up of newly opened leased hotels and renovations of existing hotels also support our Revenue Generation goals – as well as our stronger organization, dedicated initiatives for Park Inn by Radisson that comprise property upgrades, advertising campaigns, future growth at key destinations and a refreshed brand profile.
It is of fundamental important for Rezidor to further optimize our portfolio of leased hotels, increase their profit contribution and reduce the leverage of the company. In late 2011, we have therefore established a separate Asset Management function on executive level with the responsibility to handle all contractual related aspects of our lease business. Our Head of Asset Management extends and/or restructures our existing lease contracts for the mutual benefit of both owners and Rezidor. His scope of work also includes termination of unprofitable contracts.
One of our latest and most promising cost saving projects is “Think Planet”, a five year energy-saving initiative, which Rezidor has kicked-off in early 2012. The comprehensive programme involves Operations, Responsible Business, Technical Services, Purchasing and Finance. Its purpose is to formulate ambition energy saving targets for our hotels, to implement them company-wide and to measure them. Other cost saving initiatives include our ambitions to further improve purchasing compliance within the group, and our constant, careful monitoring and adjusting of our central costs.