GET TO KNOW: Dale Simpson, curator, Radisson Red Hotel V&A Waterfront
Dale has been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years and with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group since 2009. With Carlson Rezidor, he was involved in opening the first Hotel Missoni in 2009 before moving to their Radisson Blu brand in 2013 as an Operations Manager. He’s first GM role was with the 5* G&V Royal Mile Hotel in Edinburgh and in 2016 he joined the Head Office as the Corporate Director of Food & Drink based in Brussels. It was here that he was tasked with assisting in opening the world’s first Radisson RED in Brussels. In January 2017, he moved to Cape Town after receiving the opportunity to open the first Radisson RED in Africa.
He is a panelist at The Hospitality Leadership Forum 2018, Day 2, the afternoon session titled Harnessing the power of change – Where does today’s GM sit? It has been said that “30% of your efficiency is lost because the GM is in the wrong place”. Few roles in the hotel have changed so significantly over the past decade and the General Manager’s position in your establishment is pivotal to its success. This session looks at why GM’s need to know the industry and business inside out, where to sit for the best results and what challenges it brings.
H&R Magazine: What do you believe has been the key change in the hospitality sector over the past five years?
DS: Well, it’s really an ever-changing landscape and in hospitality that means embracing change and actually leading the trend curve where you can, becomes imperative. People are keen on the experiential travel experience now more than ever and for brands that can mean inconsistency or appearance and action and constant change is your new standard. We need to be experience orientated whether that be visually, through our senses, interactions, IT or our people but it must be a priority.
H&R Magazine: Where do you see the three key challenges in the industry over the next five years?
DS: The ever-increasing global landscape. The destination piece and attracting first and foremost a continually increasing number of visitors to our little part of the world. The world continues to catch up and the hard to reach spots are becoming easier to get to! Being quick, willing and able to adapt our business norms to our new customers. We need to be open minded and think differently. Talent- The competition to attract and retain the best people. This will be key to ensure our industry meets all of its challenges. And this may be our biggest challenge. And this isn’t above youth. We must remember, the talent of today often have two or three career journeys and we need to embrace all avenues.
H&R Magazine: You are a panelist at this year’s Hospitality Leadership Forum, what are you most looking forward to discussing?
DS: Well I can’t wait for the buzz and personally to hear and learn from all the other speakers. But in terms of topic, I look forward to discussing the changing environment and challenges we face as General Managers (or Curators).
H&R Magazine: The hospitality sector is undergoing huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years.
DS: Create environments that inspire from design, feel, delivery, whatever. People want to photograph it, share it, they are content-enthusiasts. Focus on the guest experience, this is not about design, it’s about feel, it’s vibe, it’s sensual. Collaborate, don’t try and be a master of all things, work with great partners and talented people.
H&R Magazine: Are there any specific areas in the (sub-Saharan) African hospitality market that you believe are unique?
DS: I think there are lots of unique areas but the couple that would stand out most for me is the multi-faceted cultural encounters available, the incredible history. And secondly, the wonderful diversity to include safari experiences, with vineyard and outdoor activity.
H&R Magazine: Which type of people do you believe would gain the most form attending your session this year?
DS: People on their career journeys, they will find their own way but it’s always useful to listen to different theories and perspectives. And for those with innovation, creativity and courage, come join and collaborate!
The Hospitality Leadership Forum runs from June 24-26 2018 at The Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
15.00pm Day 2 Harnessing the power of change – Where does today’s GM sit? Few roles in the hotel have changed so significantly over the past decade and the General Manager’s position in your establishment is pivotal to its success. This session looks at why GM’s need to know the industry and business inside out, where to sit for the best results and what challenges it brings.