Interview with Helene Hallre

General Manager of Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Aarhus and the Aarhus Congress Center


Helene Hallre is the General Manager of both Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Aarhus, Denmark and the Aarhus Congress Center. Helene has worked for the Radisson Hotel Group in both Norway and Denmark for 14 years and holds a bachelor's degree in Hotel Management and a Master’s Certificate in International Management and Global Leadership. Helene is one of the Nordic hotel industry’s most award-winning talents and recognised as one of the best Norwegian young leaders. She was awarded the ‘Young Leader of the Year’ 2012 at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Oslo, and in 2015, ‘Young Leader of the Year’ at HSMAI Chapter Norway Awards. In November 2016, she was ranked as the third best leader talent in Norway by E24, the most prestigious talent award in Norway.



One of the first things that people will notice about your hotel from the exterior is its impressive size and innovative contemporary design. Can you tell us a bit about the building design?


We are proud that Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel and Aarhus Congress Center is situated in the wonderful ‘Scandinavian Center’ building, located in the city centre in Aarhus, Denmark. The building, with its magnificent architecture, is well-known in the city and was designed by the architects Friis & Moltke. The building was opened in 1995 and the hotel opened in the same year, meaning we have now been warmly welcoming our guests for 24 years.


Can you please tell us about Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel's approach to sustainability and how sustainability is incorporated into your hotel’s daily operations?


At Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Aarhus and Aarhus Congress Center, we are committed to caring for our people, our communities and the planet.


We believe this is essential to running a thriving business and part of our responsibility as global citizens. We work with sustainability based on 3 pillars of our Responsible Business program:


  • Think People – Caring about people in our hotels and value chain

  • Think Community – Meaningful contributions to communities around the world

  • Think Planet – A better planet for all. Reducing our carbon footprint, energy use, water and waste


In our daily operations, this means that we have a set of actions designed to reduce and control our waste and our use of energy and water. The continuous focus on energy actions has led to an energy reduction year to date in 2019 of 10,8% vs same time last year. Another great initiative we have done at the hotel is an installation to liquify and reduce organic waste. We have these focus areas in mind as we see this as a key responsibility for us as a hotel being a large player in the local market. Our sustainability activities are supported by an exciting training and development program for all of our employees, which is held several times each year. The hotel proudly holds a ‘Green Key Certification’ granted by ‘Green Key International’ back in 2015 and this certification is audited every year checking our hotel on close to a 100 criteria’s related to all areas of sustainability.


Once a year, we host our annual ‘Responsible Business Action Month’ where guests and employees are invited to join in on activities where we raise money for our global collaboration partner, ‘SOS Children’s Villages’. Throughout the year, our guests and visitors can choose to take an active part in reducing their carbon footprint when visiting the hotel. All meetings at our Congress Center or hotel are automatically green, at no cost to the meeting planner. Our company has a target of worldwide plastic free Meetings & Events by 2020, and at Radisson Blu Aarhus we are already ahead of the game. As a guest at the hotel one can use the Hotel Bikes instead of a car or a taxi when getting around Aarhus or exploring the city via our walking and jogging ‘BluRoutes’. Our overnight guests are also encouraged to reuse their towels to reduce water usage and through this they participate in our ‘Just A Drop’ programme where donations from our entire company have ensured that a total of 24,000 children are provided with Safe Drinking Water for life. When planning our food servings and menus we focus on local, seasonal and sustainable food offerings and our ‘Super Breakfast’ is designed with this in mind.


Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Aarhus is also the only Safe Hotels Certified Hotel in Jutland and proud to be among over 240 Radisson Hotel Group Hotels to have received this important certification.


As members of VisitAarhus' Conference Cluster, what options for large-scale events such as conferences or trade-shows do you offer?


At Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, we have 33 meeting rooms in various sizes that can be used flexibly to match almost any need, hosting everything from day meetings to gala dinners.


In Aarhus Congress Center, size and flexibility are the key words. Here, you will find events as diverse as conferences for 1,600 delegates, concerts for 4,100 music lovers and banquets or gala dinners for 1,400 guests, as well as trade fairs and exhibitions.


Aarhus Congress Center offers more than 2,000 sqm of fully-equipped meeting, conference and event facilities. Due to its unique flexibility, the facilities can easily be adapted to individual events and capacity needs. Our versatile centre is open for any kind of event, including meetings, conferences, fairs and exhibitions, banquets, concerts, product launches to name a few.


We pride ourselves in a professional and welcoming environment and our ability to fulfil whatever event-related needs our guests may have. As a signature service, we appoint a personal event coordinator for each and every event. The event coordinator works closely with event organisers, right through the planning process, the holding of the event itself and the event evaluation.


Our dedicated experts are ready to assist organisers with lots of creative ideas and suggestions, based on their experience of hosting more than 2,000 successful meetings, conferences and events at Aarhus Congress Center and the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus every year. They coordinate everything from audio-visual equipment to catering and service, as well as making hotel reservations and setting up social programs outside of the congress centre for delegates.


What would be your advice to meeting planners and event organisers looking to brand their event as sustainable?


Setting targets and working with transparent and honest partners.


I believe tangible targets are key in order to be able to move the needle in regard to planning, hosting and executing successful sustainable events. By having clear targets, we can implement good initiatives, including and engaging employees, guests and collaborating partners so that we can make changes together.


In the Radisson Hotel Group, we take pride in our sustainable way of thinking and working. We have been target setting for sustainability for many years and this has been key in progressing and making a difference in this area. Taking responsibility for the environment and local community has been an important part of Radisson Hotel Group's broader commitment to sustainable development since we launched our first environmental policy back in 1989.


Our award-winning Responsible Business program is fully aligned with the company's core business objectives. It effectively increases our awareness and readiness to handle risks – and it works to reduce costs. It is also designed to help us capture every available opportunity as we work towards our goal of being an industry leader with solid, long-term profitability.


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