E-MBA graduate uses her business skills to successfully launch a new hotel concept
CBS Executive MBA graduate develops new hotel concept
Karen Nedergaard, General Manager at Absalon Hotel Group, graduated from the CBS Executive MBA in 2010. During the programme’s final months, she worked on her final thesis, a strategy project in collaboration with another participant, resulting in a business plan for a new hotel which she presented to the board.
“By getting to know the market and knowing what to look for, I could accurately map out our competitors, identify the most successful hotels in Copenhagen and define what kind of tourists are coming in to the city and what they are looking for when choosing accommodation. During my classes in innovation, I came up with CONCEPT24, which lets the guest keep the room for 24 hours regardless of the check-in time. I then used the strategy project to put into practice all the skills I had picked up throughout my CBS Executive MBA.”
Her final strategy project resulted in a proposition for the board to upgrade one of Absalon’s hotels from a two-star hotel to a three-star boutique hotel focusing on excellent service, design and ambiance. This involved remodeling and refurbishing as well as training employees and involving them in the new service-focused concept, a decision which turned out to be right on time as the Danish service sector has been heavily critiqued lately for not giving its incoming tourists the level of service that they seek.
“The CBS Executive MBA gave me the skills I needed to perform the calculations behind our business development plan and implement it afterwards. It was particularly helpful to work alongside one of the other participants who possessed very strong numerical and strategic skills. Our experiences complemented eachother and we very much benefitted from collaborating across our different industries and skillsets.”
After six months of refurbishment work, Absalon’s Andersen Boutique Hotel opened for business a year ago; is already turning a profit and has been awarded the “Best Service 2013” accolade on TripAdvisor. Furthermore, Nedergaard and her service-minded colleagues have managed to secure a top five ranking out of all TripAdvisor’s Copenhagen hotels; second in the business category.
“As a boutique hotel we aim towards creating a lively lobby lounge with features for example design and art exhibitions, DJ events, fashion shows and pop-up restaurants. We are also on social media platforms and collaborate actively with international bloggers and the press. Based on our results so far, the boutique hotel is judged a success. We obviously met the market head on in our analysis of what incoming tourists are looking for.”
Karen Nedergaard is third generation hotelier. Photo: Simone Astrid Pedersen