Carlson Rezidor wins Best Hotelier award for world’s first female Saudi general manager


AT the 18th edition of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards ceremony in Paris, Carlson Rezidor claimed yet another victory – picking up the award in the Best hotelier category as well as being finalist in two other categories. The highlight of the ceremony was the win of Maram Kokandi who has been awarded Best Hotelier for her pioneering achievement in becoming the first-ever Saudi female general manager. This recognized her appointment as general manager for the Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road in Saudi Arabia, earlier this year – a feat that has been seen as a game changer for women in the hospitality industry.

Having Maram win this award was a special honor for everyone at Carlson Rezidor, following its push to bring balanced leadership to its hotels across the world – an initiative that saw it increase the number of female employees in Saudi Arabia from six in 2014 to 102 in 2017, including 21 women in leadership positions.

“I am so proud of Maram Kokandi on her once-in-a-lifetime achievement. I want to salute and recognize everyone who has helped made this global movement a reality,” said Federico J. Gonzaléz, President & CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group. “The outstanding success that she (and all fellow Saudi women) enjoy tonight shows just how important gender equality and balanced leadership is to the success of a global corporation like ours. We want to continue being the champion of change in developing talent and purposeful brands.”

As a showcase for the diversity of the worldwide hospitality industry, the awards represent the best and most successful developments and concepts from across the industry each year. The 2017 edition was no different, demonstrating Carlson Rezidor’s talent for innovation across its four main hotel brands.

One of the finalists was the Park Inn by Radisson brand. The midscale hotel brand was finalist for the Best Brand Marketing Operation for INNovation Room, its ground-breaking co-creation program that unlocks and nurtures creativity and innovation among students at the world’s leading hotel management schools. The nomination represents a well-deserved recognition of Park Inn’s drive to improve the global guest experience through innovation while developing emerging talent in the hospitality industry.

The other finalist for Carlson Rezidor was Radisson Blu, for the’ Best Initiative in Sustainable Development & Social Responsibility’ category. This recognition came for the luxury hotel brand’s impressive Blu Planet water scarcity initiative – in particular its program to provide water-stressed communities around the world with the resources they need to thrive. Through this initiative, Radisson Blu hotels have cut their water consumption by more than a quarter in the last decade, and brought clean drinking water to more than 15,000 children in impoverished regions around the world. — SG