Invest – even when you can’t afford it, says Strawberry

VIDEO | When COVID-19 hit, Strawberry, formerly known as Nordic Choice Hotels saw business take a nosedive almost overnight. Instead of cutting back, however, the hospitality brand made an unconventional choice – expansion. In her keynote at this year’s Treasury 360° Nordic conference, CFO Trine Lise Marsdal shared the strategic value of investing even when the bottom line isn’t looking too good.

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Keeping the company afloat during such a crisis was no walk in the park. Marsdal recalled how the firm decided to lay all its cards on the table in discussions with its bank – “instead of sugarcoating our forecasts, we gave them the worst case scenario”. On her part, she was “counting money every day trying to improve liquidity”.

Engineering the turnaround wasn’t easy, but Marsdal encouraged all who find themselves in the same position to consider doing what Strawberry did, because “when it works, the ROI is massive”.

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“By being the most optimistic, most open, and most opportunistic hospitality company during the pandemic, we grabbed the most market share,” Marsdal said. “We attract employees easier than before because they perceive Strawberry as the company that really wants to keep people at work. We have attracted and keep attracting land developers and landlords so that we can continue to grow – in total, we have signed 16 contracts just based on the way we acted during the pandemic and we have said ‘no, thank you’ to many more.”

Trine Lise Marsdal is CFO at Strawberry

 

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