Page 1


The magazine for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

“Foundational to Transformational”


VOLUME 1 2014

Growing The Global Portfolio

Celebrating Ten Years of RBAM

Launching A New Type of Meeting







Hotline celebrates Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s positive growth in 2013 and prepares for even more success in 2014.

A Look Toward the Future Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is ready for another year of continued momentum and growth. As we say goodbye to 2013, and look forward to 2014, we share in Hotline the strides we have made in the development of all our brands, as well as our ongoing progress with Vision 20/20. For a quick visual snapshot of our performance in 2013, including global metrics, see the article on page 78. In this issue, your president looks ahead to your region’s plans for the upcoming year on page 10. We also offer insight into how hotels can better manage their online marketing in our ever-changing, technology-based world on page 18. An initiative that is generating a great deal of interest is Experience Meetings on page 34. This innovative concept is enticing meeting and event planners with its out-of-thebox thinking. It is just one of many examples of how Carlson Rezidor is working to distinguish our properties from our competitors’ properties. Another area that sets us apart is our people and our partnerships. A fine example of this is found in our

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Freed Photography



Molly Biwer Editor-in-Chief

feature about Country Inns & Suites By Carlson on page 48. We share the story of three partners whose collaboration has resulted in the development of multiple properties. This issue of Hotline also takes a look at the 2013 Asia Pacific General Managers Conference on page 70. Unfortunately the event was cut short by the October earthquake that struck the central Philippines. The dedicated staff, however, were inspiring, handling this crisis with grace and fortitude. They all truly exemplified our caring spirit, our service heart and our lasting legacy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the region, which has since then endured more tragedy and loss of life as the result of Typhoon Haiyan. Speaking of service heart, we also recognize the many contributions Carlsonians made during Responsible Business Action Month on page 82. Hundreds of properties reached out to their local communities to offer aid for those less fortunate. Don’t forget to send your stories and photos of innovation to hotline@ so we can share them in 2014. Happy New Year!

CHANGE YOUR VIEW and expand your horizons

Stylish guestrooms. Award-winning restaurants and bars. Flexible event spaces. Complimentary wi-fi. State-of-the-art business centres. Flawless personal service. With outstanding hotels in prime city-centre locations across Europe, we place our guests at the very heart of the action.

Discover how at

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London 3 VOL U M E ON E | 2 014


34 Experience Meetings from Radisson Blu® offers exciting new ways to collaborate







Park Inn® by Radisson opens in the Philippines

Park Plaza® prepares to grow in Asia Pacific & EMEA

Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM partners’ new hotel




Radisson Blu® offers new amenities

Creative thinking from the front lines entices guests

Radisson Re-Imagined keeps the brand relevant






Kartik Sahoo, Deborah Haines and Sam Wright

Tips for properties on how to evolve their marketing

A Radisson resort promotes staff health

Core Metric highlights from 2013 across brands

FOR OUR 22 GREEN 82 CARING AND GROWING COMMUNITIES Club Carlson for Planners offers carbon offsetting



The Commercial Organization’s 2014 projects


Signings, openings and renovations

Celebrating 10 years of giving back through RBAM


Events, Awards, Bright Spots and more

Q&A 112 HOTLINE STEVE BROWN Four questions on the future of innovation


Behind the scenes at Asia Pacific’s 2013 Conference

VOL U M E ON E | 2 014


The global magazine for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


Publisher Trudy Rautio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson Editor-in-Chief Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Editorial Board Deborah M. Bernstein, Director, Internal Communications, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Renu Snehi, Senior Director, PR, Brand and Marketing Communications, The Rezidor Hotel Group Joanna Ong-Franklin, Director, Public Relations and Communications, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Deborah Peterson, Vice President, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Contributors Marie Barr; Sam Brewster; Brandy Brinson; Judy Colbert; Spencer Collins; Tom Crane; Debaser; Thomas George Epperson; Robo Formacion; Matthew Gilson; Gluekit; Jonathan Hanson; Christie Hailey; Frank Herfort; Erica Katz; Steve Keith; Himanshu Khagta; Carmen Kidd; Seth Lowe; Erika Ludwig; Martin Dyrløv; Zoe Murphy; Dale Edwin Murray; Andy Potts; Shotopop Suggestions and Advertising Please contact Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, and Editor-in-Chief, Hotline +1 (763) 212-2901 Hotline serves as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s magazine. Hotline is distributed to Carlson Rezidor employees, Carlson’s board of directors, hotel owners and developers, general managers, strategic partners, key clients and other stakeholders. Production and the Environment Hotline is printed with a satin UV coating. UV (ultraviolet) coatings do not emit volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. They are compatible with standard de-inking processes for recycling of paper. © 2014 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved. Hotline by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. 701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka, Minnesota, 55305, U.S.A. Copyright Notice | None of the information provided in this publication may be used, reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or the use of any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Disclaimer | The information contained in Hotline is not a franchise sales offering. Part of the information presented in Hotline reflects data and information provided to Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group by hotels operating under Carlson Rezidor brands, which may be independently owned and operated. While Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data may change prior to publication. Carlson Rezidor provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data. For the most up-to-date information on Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, please visit

Over the past 30 years, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has grown to become one of the largest companies in the industry, with nearly 1,100 hotels in its global portfolio. With another big year of signings in 2013, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is well along its journey to grow the portfolio to nearly 1,500 hotels in operation and under development by 2015. In the Americas, 2013 saw a surge in signings in primary and secondary markets, with totals well above the targets set early in the year. Through Q3 2013, The Rezidor Hotel Group, a member of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, signed 24 hotels, reflecting its focus on profitable, asset-light growth in emerging markets and other focus countries. In Asia Pacific, a total of 33 new hotel management agreements were signed, building strong momentum for Carlson Rezidor’s brands in its five focus markets in Asia Pacific: India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. *Prior to 2009, Radisson and Radisson Blu brand properties were tracked together in Carlson Rezidor’s historical data records. 2014 plan figures are based on estimates as of Q3 2013.


After years of steady expansion, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group looks to continue picking up momentum by adding properties across all of its brands.*

VOL U M E ON E | 2 014



Soaring Ambition


GLOBAL MESSAGE TRUDY RAUTIO President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson

As Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group moves from the foundational to the transformational, our success lays the groundwork for Vision 20/20. By Trudy Rautio

It’s hard to believe that 2013, our 75th anniversary year, is already behind us. It was a remarkable year. Among many milestones, 2013 was marked by growth in hotel development, critical acclaim for our people and hotels, and significant contribution to our communities. Looking ahead, 2014 will be even more exciting. This year, we are mapping out our journey to Vision 20/20 for the hotels business as we align our strategies and launch new initiatives that reflect Carlson’s enterprise-wide Vision 20/20.

ROADMAP TO VISION 20/20 As I wrote about in the last edition of Hotline, Vision 20/20 represents an evolution from Carlson’s Ambition 2015 strategy. Through the work of Ambition 2015, we created a foundation for our further success by concentrating on business fundamentals and core competencies. Vision 20/20 builds on this to take us to the next level. It is transformative—it calls for a significant change in the way we conduct our business to add another layer of value to our products and services. For each of our businesses—hotels, restaurants and Carlson Wagonlit

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group



Travel—we are currently developing and implementing our mid-term strategic plans under the umbrella of Vision 20/20. These will apply Vision 20/20’s strategic objectives—developing our talent, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, being the bright spot for our customers and delivering great results—to businessspecific strategies. For our hotels, these plans will provide a clear path as to how we can all contribute toward living out our vision for Carlson Rezidor’s future. You can read more about your theater’s initiatives for the upcoming year— along with more regional highlights of 2013—in the President’s Column on page 10. Our 2014 activities continue our foundational progress, driving us to the goals of Ambition 2015, but they also reflect the shift of our hotel business to the transformative objectives of Carlson’s Vision 20/20.

2013 REFLECTIONS As we close 2013, let’s look back at some of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s accomplishments. A key theme in this issue of Hotline is growth and development, and 2013 saw strong progress in that area. We are well on the way to reaching our

Ambition 2015 goal of having more than 1,500 hotels in operation and under development, thanks to the hard work of our colleagues and partners. In the Americas, we had our first year of net growth in development since 2008, with signings representing more than 5,000 rooms. Among other milestones, we opened the flagship Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, and we welcomed another Blu to the Americas with the rebranded Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia. In Asia Pacific, we signed a total of 33 new hotel management agreements this year, building strong momentum for Carlson Rezidor’s brands in the theater’s five focus markets: India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), The Rezidor Hotel Group, a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, signed 24 hotels with more than 4,200 rooms in EMEA through Q3 2013. The signings continue to reflect Rezidor’s focus on profitable, asset-light growth in the emerging markets of Africa and Russia/ Commonwealth of Independent States as well as in selected focus countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM It was a year of growth for our reputation, too. In Market Matrix’s ranking of the top 10 Asia Pacific hotel brands, Radisson® outranked its competitors to win the top spot for customer satisfaction in Asia Pacific. Ten of our hotels won World Travel Awards (see “World Honors,” page 98). Miroslav Forejtek of Park Inn Hotel Prague was honored as General Manager of the Year at the

Worldwide Hospitality Awards. For the fourth consecutive year, The Rezidor Hotel Group was named one of the world’s most ethical companies. Those are just a few of the many accolades earned by our properties and people. At CarlsonSM, we take pride in recognizing and celebrating the positive accomplishments of others because they reflect positively on all of us as Carlsonians.

COMMUNITY SERVICE 2013 also marked the 10th anniversary of Responsible Business Action Month. Each September across the world, Carlson Rezidor team members are encouraged to take action in their hotels and throughout their local communities by organizing social

employees from other properties donated their time to local food charities such as Second Harvest. The planet is feeling our positive impact, too. To honor the company’s 75th anniversary, employees planted 7,500 trees in the Americas, 7,500 trees in Asia Pacific, and an additional 7,500 trees in EMEA. In addition, on Earth Day in April 2013, Club CarlsonSM announced it had become the first hotel loyalty program to commit to a global meetings and events carbon offsetting initiative. Club Carlson will purchase carbon credits to offset the estimated carbon footprint of 100 percent of Club Carlson for Planners meetings and events globally. We are clearly making a difference.

We are now charting our course to tomorrow, looking ahead as we begin our transformation with Vision 20/20. and environmental service activities. (See “Caring for our Communities,” page 82.) “Whomever you serve, serve with Caring” is more than just a line in the Carlson Credo. It’s part of what gives Carlson our Service Heart, which includes our drive to give back to the communities in which we do business. During this milestone anniversary year, among other activities, Carlson Rezidor Hotels raised contributions of nearly US$200,000 to benefit the World Childhood Foundation, hotels from Barbados to Beijing participated in World Clean Up Day, while

THE ROAD AHEAD We have many other 2013 successes that we could mention here, and these would certainly add to the list of milestones Carlson Rezidor has accomplished since we announced our Ambition 2015 strategy in 2010. With this foundation, we are now charting our course to tomorrow, looking ahead as we begin our transformation with Vision 20/20. I want to offer my thanks to everyone for their 2013 contributions, and I’m looking forward to seeing our continued success in the New Year. Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014!

VOL U M E ON E | 2 014



Creating Our Own Future Carlson Rezidor’s strategy and priorities will gradually lead to step change in the business. By Thorsten Kirschke


e continue to see the strong results of our hard work over the last four years of Ambition 2015. Last year was a turnaround year for the company as we gained significant positive momentum in the industry, among our customers and toward our overall performance. Looking ahead, we need to carry the momentum into 2014. To achieve this, we have developed a clear transitional strategy and priorities that will guide us.

Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

FOUNDATIONAL TO TRANSFORMATIONAL Ambition 2015 enabled us to build a foundation. With Vision 20/20, Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, Carlson, is leading a shift in the company’s vision across all of Carlson’s businesses, laying a path that takes us from foundational work to transformative value creation. The hotels business has also entered a transitional phase of gradually exiting Ambition 2015 and entering Vision 20/20. As such, our strategy, priorities and the focus areas for near-term tactical activities have evolved as well. Our strategy is to leverage our legacy hotel portfolio while we create unique experiences that customers demand and exceed stakeholder expectations. Following this, we have identified six priorities, both foundational and transformational, reflecting key focus areas.




FOUNDATIONAL 1. Drive net growth within an asset-light business model for franchised and managed hotels, providing the business with the necessary liquidity it needs to push forward. 2. Deliver value to hotel owners and operators by growing market share through profitable revenue growth and constantly improving brand services. 3. Align the global organization by integrating and leveraging resources across Carlson’s businesses and regions. TRANSFORMATIONAL 4. Create and launch unique experiences through innovation to truly differentiate our products and services. 5. Develop talent to build world-class leadership and operational excellence. 6. Develop innovation as an organization capability, enabling the company to optimize its current state and create a step change to the future.

Heading toward the post-Ambition 2015 years, we must focus more on leaping ahead with a truly different set of value propositions and support services. By offering smart, pragmatic solutions, we are starting to create a future of our own. In this future, we no longer just compete. We win!

2014 ACTION PLAN In 2014, we will focus on a number of tactical activities under each of our six priorities. PRIORITY ONE: Drive net growth. We will continue to accelerate our success in hotel development. Carlson Rezidor also continues to add world-class talent to its development team; we recently welcomed Chris Ivy, our new chief development officer, who will ensure a keen focus on key strategic development opportunities. PRIORITY TWO: Deliver value to hotel owners and operators. Here, our Commercial Strategy will drive market share through profitable revenue growth. Carlson Rezidor will continue to deploy significant capital to add to our revenue optimization tools, infrastructure and data quality, and distribution capabilities. Equally important are the ongoing operational support, technological development and tactical consulting for franchise partners and managed operations. PRIORITY THREE: Align the global organization. Carlson Rezidor will also continue to leverage its strengths as a global organization in areas such as sales, purchasing and guest loyalty. As the travel industry continues to be increasingly global in nature, this is an absolute imperative. We are well-equipped to take advantage of these opportunities as one of the 10 largest global hotel companies worldwide. PRIORITY FOUR: Create and launch unique experiences. This includes initiatives such as Radisson Re-Imagined and our customer experience research project. I am personally very excited about the customer experience project. We have engaged one of the world’s leading research companies and are conducting large-scale qualitative and quantitative research to analyze customer behavior and trends across all our brands and geographies. PRIORITY FIVE: Develop talent. We will strengthen our talent through the launch of exciting employee programs and the introduction of our Employee Value Proposition. We are building a new mentoring program and launching Business School 2.0 for employees. In addition, our recently introduced Learning Link program gives employees new and easier ways to acquire skills.

PRIORITY SIX: Develop innovation as an organization capability. Our 2014 focus areas also include driving a culture of innovation and collaboration and enhancing organizational capabilities to support innovation. Cross-functional work groups have already started to show this commitment to innovation and collaboration at the very top of our organization.

2013 HIGHLIGHTS Even as we look ahead, we can celebrate some of our milestones in the second half of 2013. Here are just a few: In November, we proudly announced the completion of a US$20 million renovation and conversion of the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia. This flagship hotel marks the third Radisson Blu® hotel in the United States. In addition to the Radisson Re-Imagined pilot project and its initial rollout, Radisson® continued to build on the significant progress achieved in the last three years with Property Improvement Plans approaching 100 percent completion. Building on the successful launch of its new brand identity and hotel prototype earlier this year, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM continued to add strong hotels to its portfolio. Carlson Rezidor announced the addition of the Radisson Hotel Rio de Janeiro and the Radisson Hotel São Paulo Vila Olimpia, both opening in Brazil during the first quarter of 2014. The addition of the two hotels will elevate our status to the largest international upscale operator in the country. Overall, 2013 saw a surge in signings—well above targets set early in the year. For the first time since 2008, the company’s signings exceeded the number of hotels leaving the system as we cleaned our portfolio of low performers.

FOCUS ON + KEY SIX PRIORITIES FOUNDATIONAL PRIORITY ONE: Drive net growth. PRIORITY TWO: Deliver value to hotel owners and operators. PRIORITY THREE: Align the global organization. TRANSFORMATIONAL PRIORITY FOUR: Create and launch unique experiences. PRIORITY FIVE: Develop talent. PRIORITY SIX: Develop innovation as an organization capability.

A NEW YEAR I’m extremely enthusiastic about the year ahead. At our Business Conferences in February and March we’ll have much more to share with you on some exciting programs in the works. Equally, I am excited to work with David Berg, the new chief operating officer of Carlson, who will be working closely with us in the hotels business in the pursuit of our ambitions. In the coming years, we must keep this in mind: While there is still a need to improve further a number of fundamental capabilities, we need to accelerate the overall development toward an experience-based hotel business as one of our key differentiators. As we continue our transition from the foundational to the transformational, we can look forward to the positive changes that will bring us to the next level in creating our future!

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 14



Kartik Sahoo Human resources is an ideal fit for Sahoo, whose focus is always on the well-being of the staff.



making his

MARK Kartik Sahoo Nagpur INDIA

Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Himanshu Khagta


ince 2011, Kartik Sahoo, human resources executive, Radisson Blu Hotel Nagpur, India, has exemplified a caring spirit. Not only does he know everyone at the property, he also was instrumental in establishing a human resources department at the location. Sahoo started as an assistant in human resources in 2007 and says the reason he chose hospitality as a career is because it’s “the only industry where it’s all about people—whether it’s the guests or employees.” He finds the field offers entertaining, creative work that is also challenging. “It is a constantly evolving industry and calls for continuous training to stay current and competitive,” he says. “As the industry is very demanding, one needs to be passionate about people to make it big here.” A silent achiever who never seeks recognition for his efforts, Sahoo often goes above and beyond what is necessary to ensure the well-being of his fellow employees. “I always see him putting the employees’ wellbeing as the first thing,” says Arun Arora, the hotel’s general manager. “People think of only one name if they need any kind of help professionally or personally. We are all proud to have him as a part of the team.” He has paid contract hotel employees from his own pocket when their checks were delayed prior to the Diwali holiday, allowing them to enjoy the festivities with their families. The hotel’s management team only came to know about this when the employees thanked the company for making this alternative arrangement. Sahoo also came to the aid of a team member living in the hotel’s staff compound when she was found unconscious. He rushed her to the hospital, stayed with the team member at the hospital until she was declared out of danger and kept her family and the hotel informed. In addition, he handled all of the necessary paperwork for her at the hospital. As a result, Sahoo has received numerous accolades, including the Certificate of Appreciation as Pre-Opening Star, the General Manager’s Commendation and Hotel Employee of the Year 2012–2013. In addition, he has received one of Asia Pacific’s biggest honors, Make Your Mark Employee of the Year–Managed Hotel for 2013. His commitment to the Carlson Credo is equally impressive. “For me, the Carlson Credo is a pledge, a promise to the company to maintain my integrity towards my job performance, which directly results into making us unique from our competitors. The Credo’s values always boost my morale and make me think out of the box.”

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


rising from

WITHIN Deborah Haines Moscow Russia

Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Frank Herfort


iving employees a chance to rise within the ranks is something that Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group prides itself on. Deborah Haines, general manager, Radisson Blu Belorusskaya Hotel, Moscow, is just one of the many examples of this commitment. Haines began with the company in 2000 as an executive housekeeper at the Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom, eventually moving to a Park Inn® by Radisson hotel in London for her first general manager role. Through it all, Haines has been guided by a desire to make a difference. “Hospitality is about people, from the employee to the customer to the shareholder,” she says. She finds inspiration in the ever-changing environment and opportunities her position offers—each day is different, full of different people and the challenges of managing and leading a business. Plus, Haines says, she enjoys the ability to deliver service and to coach and lead people to meet their aspirations and dreams. Part of that ability involves facing the challenges each new day offers. “The challenges can lift us to levels of success we never imagine,” she says. “We are in control; it is how we use the tools which we are given. Carlson Rezidor gives us the platform to grow and reach our potential, but you have to lead the process.” Tom Flanagan, area vice president, Eastern Europe and Russia, The Rezidor Hotel Group, feels that Haines showcases her exemplary work ethic in a multitude of ways. “Deborah exudes professionalism, making it difficult for the team around her not to be affected and influenced by her approach in a very positive manner,” he says. Haines attributes her success to one simple element: She loves what she does. “The Carlson Credo sits in harmony with my values and the values of Carlson Rezidor.” She cites the company’s recognition as an ethical company, but is particularly drawn to the leadership aspect of the Credo. Haines feels that Carlson Rezidor nurtured and coached her, allowing her to evolve into the manager she is today while still helping her to develop and strive for improvement. “As a LOTS® leadership training coach and a mentor, this is my passion,” she says. Haines sums up her feelings about her job and Carlson Rezidor by explaining, “Hospitality is about meeting the needs of our guests when they’re away from home and building partnerships for now and the future. Guests want to be safe, welcome and valued.” She feels that the same is true of employees. “As a general manager, I can make this happen through my actions and the way I lead the business and the team.”



Deborah Haines Haines sets an example and serves as an inspiration to others with her own career trajectory.

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Sam Wright Although relatively new to the company, Wright has quickly adopted the Carlson Credo as a personal standard.



celebrating the

CREDO Sam Wright

California, Maryland USA Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Jonathan Hanson


he winner of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s 75th Anniversary Global T-shirt Contest, Sam Wright, also just happens to be one of the newest members of the Carlson family. Although this guest service agent at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Lexington Park, Maryland, U.S., just joined the hotel in June 2013, he has also become a key team member at the property due to his solid work ethic. And he’s already become a bit of a company celebrity through his winning T-shirt design recognizing the Carlson Credo, chosen from hundreds of submissions from employees all over the world. The Lexington Park hotel—located in the small town of California, Maryland, near a major U.S. naval air station—seemed a natural fit for Wright, who has previous hotel experience. “Hospitality is an interesting field to work in,” he says. “You meet people from all walks of life, and I find that fascinating.” He particularly loves meeting people who genuinely care. “They’re the ones who come up to the front desk on their way through the lobby just to talk to you, the ones who help you do your job well, the ones who make you happy you work at a hotel,” Wright explains. Even though guests like that may never have heard of the Carlson Credo, for Wright they epitomize it. He feels that when the employee and the guest are on an equal level, it helps the employee provide the best service possible. “If both are embodying the Credo, it makes the job and the experience much smoother,” he says. Wright says the Carlson Credo is a powerful standard that he strives to follow on the clock and in his personal life. “If you don’t throw yourself 100 percent into whatever it is you’re doing, you aren’t going to get the maximum reward out of it. To me, the Carlson Credo embodies that 100 percent effort,” he says. Wright’s appreciation of the Credo shows. General Manager Antonio Walker describes Sam as “a warm, inviting and personable young man who instantly fit right in with our team.” He adds, “And because of his inviting spirit, Sam has become a guest favorite because they see the Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM brand’s caring, consistent and comfortable characteristics each and every time they are greeted by him.” Wright’s T-shirt design celebrates both the CarlsonSM anniversary logo and the Carlson Credo. The front side pairs the logo with a paint splatter, while the back features the Credo with even more splashes of color. Wright entered the contest after the owner of the hotel mentioned it to him. “She had complete faith in me that I could create a winning design. So I took that faith and used it as fuel to create something special,” he says.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




SUCCESS Marketing in the digital age requires collaboration between brands and hotels. By Spencer Collins

H Opposite Page, Left to Right: Pierre-Marie Raboulin, manager, E-Commerce and Online Marketing, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Gigi DesLauriersKnop, senior director, Online Strategy and Optimization, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; and Rémy Merckx, senior director, E-Business Development, The Rezidor Hotel Group.

otel online marketing is the art of selling a hotel room to digital customers through whatever online networks or devices the customers are using. The goal? Providing rich content to millions of viewers to persuade them to book one of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s thousands of rooms. “Online marketing is critical for our hotels,” says Gigi DesLauriers-Knop, senior director, Online Strategy and Optimization, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “In short: because that’s where our customers are today.” Not only does online marketing generate traffic on websites through multiple devices—such as PCs, mobile phones and tablets—but it also creates those views through multiple channels—such as Web, social media and email. “Then, once the customer is on one of our channels, we have to make sure they will convert from ‘lookers’ to ‘bookers,’” says Rémy Merckx, senior director, E-Business Development, The Rezidor Hotel Group. Because of the dynamic and complex nature of this kind of marketing, successfully reaching customers online can be a challenge. Fortunately, Carlson Rezidor is there to help.




ONLINE ASSIST “Carlson Rezidor invests a significant amount of resources in online marketing on behalf of hotels, so hotels don’t have to manage all of these initiatives individually,” says DesLauriers-Knop. For example, Carlson Rezidor purchases and maintains more than 100,000 branded and non-branded keywords, and hotels have the opportunity to supplement these initiatives with customized campaigns. Retargeting capabilities focus on customers who shop but don’t complete a booking, driving potential guests back to hotel and brand websites. Another example would be the company’s development of robust websites in multiple languages for different devices, including mobile apps, notes Merckx. “We also have a strong traffic acquisition strategy in all theaters to drive more online customers to branded sites.” Carlson Rezidor also partners with the world’s biggest Internet companies to develop initiatives and marketing programs to benefit hotels. Merckx cites the company’s recent global partnership with review site TripAdvisor, which explores opportunities

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



in business listings, cost-per-click (CPC) and online reviews. On each TripAdvisor property site, Carlson Rezidor now has the ability to feature a direct link to individual hotel pages, as well as the hotel phone number or Carlson Rezidor Call Center number, according to theater policy. In addition, the brand websites will now be featured in the price display area of TripAdvisor alongside ads of online travel agencies. These CPC ads give an extra opportunity for TripAdvisor customers to directly access Carlson Rezidor’s websites.

IT IS KEY THAT OUR HOTELS PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THEIR ONLINE CONTENT. Carlson Rezidor is also running a pilot test where hotel Web pages will feature TripAdvisor reviews in a widget directly on the page. “More than 93 percent of global travelers say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews,” says Merckx. “This will significantly increase the conversion of site visitors into paying customers.” Pierre-Marie Raboulin, manager, E-Commerce and Online Marketing, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, explains one of the resources offered in Asia Pacific: “We successfully rolled out a Google CPC program, which generated more than US$5 million in revenue yearly.” This resource allows hotels to present a consolidated regional effort that provides a bigger share of voice in the digital space.



SEARCH MADE EASY Carlson Rezidor also recently began working with Internet search giant Google on a number of programs, says DesLauriers-Knop. She notes a pilot program with Rezidor to include all Radisson Blu® and Park Inn® by Radisson properties in Google Hotel Finder, a growing travel search product that allows potential customers to compare hotel prices and guest reviews. The pilot was recently expanded to include additional Radisson® and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels. Upon successful pilot completion, Carlson Rezidor plans to expand to all brands and properties, making it easier for guests to find and book Carlson Rezidor properties directly through the Hotel Finder search engine. DesLauriers-Knop also cites upcoming enhancements, such as the addition of Google Wallet, to facilitate fast and easy booking experiences for guests. Carlson Rezidor is launching this program in the U.S., giving guests the option of signing in and booking rooms on mobile devices with fewer clicks. Carlson Rezidor also uses Google’s Click to Call functionality in mobile advertising, which allows customers to call for reservations with one touch in mobile ads, driving same-day bookings for the best available rates. In addition, Carlson Rezidor manages all hotel business listings on sites such as Google+ Local. In other brand contributions, Merckx highlights a state-of-the-art Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program in development, which will allow for greater personalization when

it comes to e-marketing activities such as email campaigns.

HOTEl MARKETING METHODS At the hotel level, properties enjoy a number of options when deciding how to supplement brand efforts. An effective online marketing campaign is measured through metrics including unique visitors, conversion, bounce rates and source of traffic, but for hotels, the most important one is return on investment (ROI), advises Merckx. In other words, how much does a hotel pay to acquire a customer, and what is the revenue generated by this customer? Rich content is king in the online marketing world. For hotels, this means photos and videos are the key elements to drive online reach through every aspect of online marketing, from search and affiliates to advertisements and emailing. Raboulin says, “We consider WebExtra as the ‘front shop’ to showcase hotels and what they have to offer. It is key that our hotels pay special attention to their online content, ensuring that it is up to date and has the best possible quality photos, virtual tours and information about nearby attractions or hotel services.” “YouTube is now the secondbiggest search engine in the world after Google,” says Merckx. “Photos and videos are fully part of the online purchase customer journey and are a major conversion opportunity.” Online marketing evolves every day. “Search engines are changing at a high-speed pace,” says Merckx. “Everybody is sharing everything online. We have to build marketing strategies that are digitally driven.”

going further

Radisson速 is a brand that is modern in outlook, strong on social responsibility and confident in itself. We go out of our way to alleviate the stresses of modern day travel. Our hotels are traditional yet young at heart, with a team of people dedicated to providing our guests with an unforgettable experience. Radisson continues to innovate and move forward. The Radisson Re-Imagined program was designed and developed to enhance our guest experience through 10 new brand elements. Guest will be able to check-in via the Web Check-In kiosk, as well as request hotel services directly from the Radisson iConcierge mobile application. As part of the program, our Yes I Can!SM service culture and Meeting Success programs have also been completely Re-Imagined. Going further with the new World of Radisson.


Rachael Marret, senior vice president, Customer Engagement, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Green and Growing Carlson Rezidor targets planners with rewards and an industryleading carbon-offsetting program. By Zoe Murphy


lub CarlsonSM has come a long way in the last two years, says Rachael Marret, senior vice president, Customer Engagement, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “We have received numerous awards and have surpassed 11 million in global membership.” As part of that momentum, Club Carlson for Planners, the portion of the loyalty program for meeting and event planners, continues gaining popularity as a selling tool for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties. The planners program now offers a carbon-offsetting initiative that is the first of its kind for hotel loyalty programs. Club Carlson for Planners is a critical part of Carlson Rezidor’s push to make its loyalty program an industry leader, says Marret. “A competitive planners program is an essential tool to assist our hotels in attracting more events and, by extension, more travelers for leisure and business.”

PERKS FOR PLANNERS Club Carlson for Planners allows meeting and event planners the ability to accrue Gold Points® for rewards like those in the Club Carlson program for regular guests. Valerie Lockwood, sales coordinator, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Minneapolis West, Minnesota, U.S., finds that planners who are familiar with the program ask about it. “But for those we introduce to the program, we find that the offer of earning Gold Points can encourage their decision between our hotel and our competition,” she says.

Event planners earn rewards for booking meetings with Club CarlsonSM for Planners. The program is available through Carlson Rezidor’s extensive network of participating hotels.




Jill Hogan, who plans events for MyHealth for Teens and Young Adults in Minneapolis, says of the program, “While the most important considerations when planning an event are the location, the price and the hotel itself, the loyalty program plays a crucial role. Club Carlson has become a major player, and I place high value in receiving Gold Points.”

CARBON OFFSETTING On Earth Day (April 22) 2013, Club Carlson introduced “Meetings Minus Carbon,” a unique, global carbon-creditpurchase initiative. Derek Robertson, manager, Business to Business Loyalty, Club Carlson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, explains, “Club Carlson members can now book meetings and events globally, knowing that carbon credits will be automatically purchased to offset the estimated carbon footprint for every Club Carlson for Planners meeting booked at participating hotels. And this is done at no cost to the planner or client.”

Today, being sustainable is more than just being green. Trust us to take you to the next level— true sustainability from a true partner. Diversey cleaning solutions and programs are built around hospitality and go beyond the product. They help you leverage broad sustainability practices and processes , helping to deliver a better environmental profile while helping to improve your bottom line across People, Planet and Profit. From ISO certifications and eco-labeling to innovative packaging and dispensing systems, workforce training and beyond, Diversey has the integrated solutions your operation demands. That’s true sustainability. That’s Diversey. Learn more today at Diversey™ is a Sealed Air brand. ©2013 Sealed Air Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


C The Commercial Organization sets its sights on key 2014 projects. By Spencer Collins

Plan in Motion ILLUSTRATION BY: Shotopop



arlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Commercial Organization is proving adept at quickly translating strategy into action. “Over the last few years, we have been fixing specific competitive gaps and building core competencies,” says Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Now moving to stake out a competitive advantage, Riesterer says the commercial organization has added capabilities, attracted top talent and built partnerships to implement its Commercial Strategy across four main initiatives—the customer experience,

ensuring that Carlson Rezidor hotels are easy to find and easy to book, leveraging existing resources, and promoting a cost-effective, agile business. In the summer of 2013, more than 75 of the company’s employees involved in revenue-generation activities gathered at the company’s Commercial World Forum to discuss the recently introduced strategy and develop plans for 2014 and beyond. (See Hotline V22013, page 56, for an overview of the strategy and its focus areas.) Now, those plans are well under way. “We are focusing on a number of projects across these

initiatives that balance long-term plans for success and continue to deliver new, improved programs and services,” Riesterer says. Here’s a look at a few of the projects in each of the focus areas.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE In the company’s strategic area of customer experience, Carlson Rezidor has launched a program to add customer reviews to hotel Web pages. The initiative will place a TripAdvisor widget on hotel pages that display the site’s “Traveler Rating” for the hotel. Other 2014 projects include enhancing Club CarlsonSM benefits to create deeper customer engagement. “We are looking at ways that will make us really stand out from other points programs,” Riesterer says. The Guest Experience Project is just one of many exciting initiatives on the horizon, says Riesterer. Together with teams from Branding and Operations, the Commercial Organization is creating a differentiated customer experience that will promote a deeper kind of guest loyalty. Carlson Rezidor is completing the project in phases, with an early goal of mapping the customer journey and identifying the points in the guest experience where Carlson Rezidor can differentiate itself. The Commercial Organization has already begun extensive market and customer research.

EASY TO FIND, EASY TO BOOK Other projects are ensuring that Carlson Rezidor hotels are easy to find and easy to book by enhancing the company’s brand and mobile websites.

“It is absolutely mandatory that customers be able to easily find and book hotels,” Riesterer says. “Carlson Rezidor properties need to be available in the channels and on social media where guests are planning travel.” For the brand websites, the goals include a redesign of Groups and Meetings pages as well as adding e-certificate offers and additional up-sell options. Carlson Rezidor will be adding the ability to filter and sort properties by amenities and rates. On the mobile side, one key goal is tablet optimization—improving the usability of features such as express booking and up-sell options. Tablets only hit the consumer market in significant numbers in early 2010, but they already comprise almost 30 percent of mobile traffic for Carlson Rezidor. The company also has launched programs in partnership with Google. Carlson Rezidor began a pilot to include many of the company’s hotels in Google Hotel Finder and is also working with Google Wallet, which will allow guests to book Carlson Rezidor rooms on mobile devices with just two clicks. In addition, a “Click to Call” button in advertisements will provide an easy way for guests to call in reservations on mobile phones. (For more on the Google partnership, see “Online Success, page 18.)

LEVERAGING EXISTING RESOURCES Another focus area is enhancing existing revenuegeneration tools and programs. Carlson Rezidor is undertaking the Global Sales Project to boost the sales organization’s ability to work collaboratively across theaters. “We want to

make it easy for our clients to do business with us globally and leverage the investment each theater has made in its sales organization,” Riesterer says. In addition, the Commercial Organization is working on a number of initiatives in this area, including additional resources to help hotels market themselves on social media, enhancements to the company’s Salesforce and Lanyon sales tools, and expanded uses for the company’s Tableau data visualization tool.

COST-EFFECTIVE, AGILE BUSINESS Also on tap for 2014: The Commercial Organization is assessing the current infrastructure as part of the strategy’s focus on promoting a costeffective, agile business. This will be followed by the creation of a long-term plan for the evolution of the company’s platforms, processes and tools. The infrastructure analysis project aims to improve the company’s ability to deliver new products and services to customers quickly, enhance access to information across the company and make both corporate and hotel systems easier to use. Data analysis and information sharing will continue to become more critical to business success. The company is also working on simplifying its systems to give its hotels more time to spend with their guests. Overall, 2014 looks to be a significant year as the Commercial Organization’s strategy gains momentum. “We are continuing to invest and deliver enhanced revenue-generation tools to use now,” Riesterer says. “We are also building experiences and capabilities that will set us apart.”


SUZY RIESTERER chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

“We will continue to introduce additional enhancements to fill out remaining competitive gaps, but we’re also moving beyond that, developing programs that will stake out competitive advantages in targeted areas.”

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Global Signings, Openings & Renovations



Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait Kuwait City, Kuwait

In September 2013, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group unveiled a complete transformation of the 191-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait following a three-year, KD15 million (US$52.9 million) renovation. The property holds particular significance as the first Radisson Blu® hotel outside of Scandinavia and as an iconic meeting place for the capital city. “The re-opening of the hotel signifies the launch of a new chapter of history for the property, which opened in 1980 with my predecessor, Kurt Ritter, as general manager,” says Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group. “From this property, Kurt grew Radisson Blu across the Middle East, Europe and Africa.” The hotel now offers a five-star modernized interior that, among other enhancements, includes the new Sky Lounge: a glass-encased rooftop facility with panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf. The décor of the guest rooms alternates among three distinctive styles: Naturally Cool, And Relax and NY Mansion House. Of particular note, the expanded Presidential Suite now features floor-to-ceiling windows to allow guests to enjoy the stunning views of the ocean. The hotel’s food and beverage options also saw improvements. Finally, the new Dasman Ballroom adds to the hotel’s meetings and events space, accommodating up to 200 guests.

LIO VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



August through November 15, 2013





Bozeman, Montana, U.S. | Opens Q3 2014

Jackson, Tennessee, U.S. | Opens Q2 2014


Metairie, Louisiana, U.S. | Opens Q4 2014



Rochester, New York, U.S. | Opens Q1 2014


Bogotรก, Colombia | Opens Q1 2014


Dubai, United Arab Emirates I Opens Q2 2014

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia I Opens Q2 2016


Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | Opens Q3 2014


Lahore, Pakistan | Opens Q4 2013


Salem, India | Opens Q4 2013


RADISSON CONGRESS HOTEL, MOSCOW Moscow, Russia | Opens Q1 2016

Colombo, Sri Lanka | Opens Q3 2019

PARK INN BY RADISSON CLARK, PAMPANGA Clark, Philippines | Opens Q1 2017

PARK INN BY RADISSON HOTEL, MOSCOW Moscow, Russia | Opens Q1 2016


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | Opens Q4 2014


St. Petersburg, Russia | Opens Q1 2014



Hotel Signings

Radisson Blu Hotel, Algiers Hydra Scheduled to open in 2015, the hotel will feature 138 guest rooms in the Algerian capital near many foreign embassies, ministries and universities.


Foshan, China | Opens Q2 2019


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Opens Q1 2014

RADISSON HOTEL Sテグ PAULO VILA OLIMPIA Sテ」o Paulo, Brazil | Opens Q4 2013


Jammu, India | Opens Q1 2017


Kandy, Sri Lanka | Opens Q2 2017


Algiers, Algeria | Opens Q4 2015


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia I Opens Q2 2015


Cape Town, South Africa | Opens Q2 2014

RADISSON BLU PALACE HOTEL NOORDWIJK AAN ZEE Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands | Opens Q1 2014


Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia I Opens Q4 2015

RADISSON BLU RESORT JIZAN Jizan, Saudi Arabia I Opens Q4 2014 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Radisson Blu Hotel, Algiers Hydra; employees at the Park Inn By Radisson Astana Hotel; Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso, Hammamet; Park Inn By Radisson Astana Hotel; Park Inn By Radisson Riyadh

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia The renovated grand lobby reflects the signature contemporary style of Radisson Blu as well as the heritage of the landmark hotel.

Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

In November, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group completed a US$20 million renovation and conversion of the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia. The hotel marks the third Radisson Blu hotel in the United States, joining Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and the Radisson Blu Mall of America. The renovation of the 301-room historic hotel, situated in the prestigious Rittenhouse Square district, included a redesign of all guestrooms and corridors, a new Business Class floor with a private lounge and a redesign of the hotel’s grand lobby in the contemporary style of Radisson Blu. The design speaks to the history and culture of the city while keeping in mind the brand’s upper-upscale characteristics. “The expansion of the Radisson Blu brand in Philadelphia, a key East Coast gateway city and an international business and cultural center, is a key step in the expansion of the brand in the U.S.,” says Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “For more than 86 years, The Warwick has been a symbol of distinctive hospitality, and we are excited to continue its legacy as a Radisson Blu.”



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



August through November 15, 2013

RADISSON BLU RESORT & THALASSO, HAMMAMET Hammamet, Tunisia Open Date September 2, 2013

In North Africa’s smallest country, the Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso, Hammamet provides an indulgent paradise. Each of the property’s rooms include a balcony overlooking views of the gardens, pool or Mediterranean, and all showcase a modern design.

RADISSON HOTEL ATLANTA NORTHWEST Marietta, Georgia, U.S. Open Date August 12, 2013

The Radisson Hotel Atlanta Northwest is a welcome addition to the metro area. The newly renovated property boasts 218 rooms—and more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space.

RADISSON HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER CALGARY AIRPORT EAST East Calgary, Alberta, Canada Open Date September 12, 2013

The new Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Calgary Airport East offers close proximity to some of the city’s favorite attractions. Amenities include complimentary airport shuttle service; urban, chic guest rooms; and on-site dining at the Wine Bar and Ric’s Grill.

RADISSON HOTEL JFK AIRPORT Jamaica, New York, U.S. Open Date October 10, 2013

Guests have front-row access to the Big Apple when they stay at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport. The 385 renovated rooms feature flat-screen TVs and plush linens. Amenities include the Liberty Lounge and Café 140.



RADISSON HOTEL PORTO ALEGRE Porto Alegre, Brazil Open Date October 31, 2013

The Radisson Hotel Porto Alegre encompasses the charm and style of the capital of the Rio Grande do Sul. The hotel is located in Porto Alegre’s exciting Bela Vista district, and its modern style reflects the district’s vibe. Spacious rooms, an on-site art gallery and an Italian restaurant await guests.

PARK INN BY RADISSON ASTANA HOTEL Astana, Kazakhstan Open Date September 6, 2013

With panoramic views of Kazakhstan’s Ishim River and capital city, the Park Inn by Radisson Astana Hotel features bright, contemporary design, plush bedding and free high-speed Internet. Eastern Europe is one of The Rezidor Hotel Group’s key regions for future business development.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait; Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso, Hammamet; Radisson Blu SkyCity Hotel, Arlanda Airport; Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait

Hotel Openings

Hotel Renovations


August through November 15, 2013


Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso, Hammamet Amenities abound at the resort, with three chic bars, 300 meters of beachfront, swimming pools, tennis courts and spas.

PARK INN BY RADISSON, GÖTTINGEN Göttingen, Germany Open Date October 28, 2013

Historic Göttingen, in lower Saxony, is home to the new Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Göttingen. The property offers 114 modern, colorful and stylish guest rooms with features like free Wi-Fi and a wide selection of regional and seasonal dishes. In addition, there is 600 square meters (1,968 square feet) of flexible event space with an indoor garage and ample parking.

COUNTRY INN & SUITES BY CARLSON, DEARBORN Dearborn, Michigan, U.S. Open Date September 17, 2013

Just eight miles from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Dearborn recently

rolled out its welcome mat. The 100room property offers free high-speed Internet, a fitness center and a flexible meeting space.

COUNTRY INN & SUITES BY CARLSON, MONROEVILLE Monroeville, Alabama, U.S. Open Date August 31, 2013

In the center of Alabama’s historic literary capital, the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Monroeville offers guests a choice of king and queen rooms and suites. “We are thrilled to begin a relationship with the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its family of brands,” says owner Rajesh Leva.

COUNTRY INN & SUITES BY CARLSON, WICHITA NORTHEAST Wichita, Kansas, U.S. Open Date October 1, 2013

Travelers can now relax in the ease of the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Wichita Northeast. “The addition of the fourth Country Inns & Suites in Kansas intensifies our foothold in the market,” says Scott Meyer, senior vice president, Midscale Brands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas.

Following a KD15 million (US$52.9 million) renovation, the seaside Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait unveiled a lavish new lobby and remodeled rooms. The lobby’s marble floors and glass walls showcase a neutral, contemporary design with rich, Arabic-style accents. “To keep up with Kuwait’s rapid development, we decided to give our hotel a modern and sophisticated look,” says Philippe Pellaud, general manager. (For more, see page 26.)


Recent renovations at the Radisson Blu SkyCity Hotel, Arlanda Airport, located between terminals at the Stockholm-Arlanda airport, only add to its convenience. Each of the hotel’s new 36 meeting rooms can accommodate up to 80 guests, who have access to state-of-the-art equipment and world-class cuisine. The SkyCity Hotel also added 30 new soundproof guest rooms.


The Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia made its debut following a US$20 million renovation. “With the addition of a Radisson Blu on the East Coast, the upper-upscale brand’s visibility continues to grow,” says Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. (For more, see page 30.)

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




Welcome to the latest in creative collaboration with the new world of meetings.



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Seven Core Elements With the seven key components that make up Experience Meetings, guests around the globe can rely on a consistent product wherever their meeting needs may take them. Developed as a means to improve the effectiveness of meetings, the program places a strong emphasis on innovations in food and beverage, changes to the spatial environment, and advancements in meeting technology.

eveloped by experts and honed by years of hosting every kind of event, the Experience Meetings program for Radisson Blu® hotels is bringing together the best in world-class services and products for meetings. Innovations abound, from nutritionally focused food options to collaborative brainstorming spaces, all designed to ensure guest productivity is always at its peak. Many of the program’s concepts originated with Radisson Blu hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Based on their success, the brand is rolling out Experience Meetings globally this year, says Rose Kutzli, vice president, Branding, Radisson Blu, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The global rollout will bring all of Experience Meetings’ elements to Radisson Blu hotels in EMEA and launch the program in Radisson Blu hotels in the Americas and Asia Pacific. Experience Meetings has seven core components: Brain Food, a catering program that increases concentration and reduces fatigue through food; Brain Box, breakout rooms that boost creativity and inspire active engagement; free Internet for all participants; Club CarlsonSM for Planners, Carlson Rezidor’s enhanced loyalty program for meeting and event planners; Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) recognition, ensuring a sustainable approach to all meetings; adherence to the Radisson Blu brand’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee; and Yes I Can!SM service. Food For thought Anyone who’s ever spent a day in meetings can attest to the importance of light food for increased alertness, says Rezidor Hotel Group Corporate Chef Urban Denk. Denk led a team of expert nutritionists, chefs and some of the



Breakout rooms that boost creativity and inspire active engagement

Free, fast and reliable Internet service provides delegates with the luxury of connectivity

brand’s key suppliers to create and implement the concept of Brain Food. “Brain Food gives meetings a different edge,” Denk says. “It helps delegates achieve and maintain a stable blood sugar level. The selected food at the right time helps to improve people’s ability to concentrate and reduce stress.” Brain Food makes use of seasonal, local and nonindustrial manufactured products. Chefs have the freedom to create a menu adapted to their markets, but based on six principles: lots of fish, whole-grain products, fruit and vegetables; fresh, locally sourced ingredients; ingredients with minimal industrial processing; less meat and lower fat content; natural sweeteners and low levels of added sugar; and a focus on taste that satisfies the senses.

The culinary component that increases concentration and reduces fatigue through food

Ensures a green approach to all meetings and a dedication to reducing carbon footprint

“Depending on the location, we can offer inventive combinations with a balance of fresh fruits, nuts and dried fruits for breaks. For an afternoon snack, we might have a vegetable smoothie, dark chocolate for energy or pineapples with chili,” Denk says. Setting the scene Kutzli, who is leading the program’s global rollout, says the Experience Meetings program provides a consistent but still customizable product for meeting and event planners. For example, when choosing their Brain Box setup, clients can select a style of furniture to fit the approach for their meeting. Instead of desks and chairs, they may have high tables and stools or casual-style seating. The goal of the Brain Box is to create an engaging and fun environment that plays

Carlson Rezidor’s enhanced loyalty program for meeting and event planners

The brand’s positive service philosophy and commitment to memorable experiences

on one’s senses. In many Brain Box rooms, attendees can write on the walls, and there’s a focus on leveraging technology to enhance interaction among the participants. People have different learning styles—visual or auditory, while some are inspired through a kinesthetic approach or physical movement. The environment aims to appeal to these styles. Kutzli’s team is even working to develop a selection of soundtracks for meeting planners who want to set the mood with music as participants enter the room or change sessions. “These playlists all have the goal of boosting creativity. Some are relaxed; others are upbeat.” tech savvy In addition to Brain Box and Brain Food, all Experience Meetings attendees will have

At Radisson Blu®, the staff’s goal is 100% Satisfaction, which the brand guarantees

PREVIOUS PAGE Part of the team at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus meets to plan an upcoming event. THIS PAGE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Chefs have freedom to create dishes based on the six Brain Food principles; Brain Food focuses on satisfying the senses; Free Internet gives guests connectivity.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Experience Meetings World Premiere Competitive Edge Experience Meetings gives guests another reason to choose Radisson Blu® in the competitive markets of Asia Pacific, where Carlson Rezidor has 40 Radisson Blu hotels and a pipeline of 25. “With a well-defined meetings product, our hotels are positioned to capture more MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) business,” says Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.


access to free Internet service, in what’s sure to be a major selling point for event planners. In addition, Experience Meetings will be interactive in nature, with a dedicated One Touch application for smartphones, giving meeting planners access to hotel information and the ability to post conference highlights and messages to participants. Some of Experience Meetings’ core components—Brain Box, Brain Food and free Internet—are the program’s hardware. But equally important is the software. From that perspective, Radisson Blu has its Yes I Can! service philosophy, which is integrated into every step of the program, as well as its 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Global Experience Experience Meetings has gained industry interest and partnerships likely to propel the concept, such as the program’s endorsement from the GMIC, an industry leader in promoting sustainable meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business. At October’s 2013 IMEX—one of the hotel industry’s largest global exhibitions for the


MICE segment—Carlson Rezidor announced its global rollout plan. “We could see the buzz that this program creates,” Kutzli says. “The PR exposure attained was a great success.” A significant portion of the brand’s business comes from the MICE segment, Kutzli says. “So it’s important that we provide solutions that are relevant to the industry.” brand support Minimum standards are set to ensure consistency as the program rolls out worldwide. Brain Food is customized by region, so the Brain Food in Scandinavia will be very different from the Brain Food in the Middle East or Asia Pacific. “The Experience Meetings program is about the qualities we deliver in our standards, but even more important is the customer experience that the teams create within each hotel,” FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Brain Food dishes, such as these offered by the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus in Denmark, emphasize lighter fare; the Brain Box breakout room at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus; Experience Meetings’ Brain Box rooms are designed to inspire creativity and active engagement among meeting participants.

says Ole Sorang, regional director, Marketing, Nordics, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Sorang, who was instrumental in developing the Experience Meetings concepts, says that while 70 percent of Experience Meetings is implementing the program’s standard operating procedures, 30 percent is about how meeting and event staff use their skills to create a great experience for customers. In turn, that positive experience creates up to 60 to 70 percent of the emotional attributes that influence customer purchasing behavior. Properties receive extensive tools, guidelines and best practices to ensure Experience Meetings is a success. The brand will also launch online communities later this year so hotels can share thoughts and practices. The Experience Meetings’ focus on innovation and sustainability aligns well with the Radisson Blu brand. “We want to be at the forefront of industry leaders in developing concepts that differentiate ourselves and position ourselves strongly in the marketplace,” Kutzli says. “This is the next generation of meetings and events.”


Team Approach


he first Brain Box was invented and designed by Rikke Brøbecher, conference and booking manager, and Casper Bock, director of sales, at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus in Denmark. The Brain Food concept originated with the Radisson Blu hotels in Copenhagen and Aarhus. They have quickly morphed into a bestpractice story for other hotels in the brand. “We wanted to create an informal and relaxed setting where people can brainstorm,” says Aarhus General Manager Peter Laursen of the Brain Box idea. One wall of the hotel’s Brain Box is a giant whiteboard that attendees can write on, and another wall is a blackboard. If people want to take notes, they can use their Mind Map, a pad of paper for attendees that is unique to the Aarhus property, says Laursen. The Aarhus is already known as one of the brand’s top-performing event-hosting hotels. What are Laursen’s tips for meeting and event success? “It comes down to pure hospitality combined with our unique Yes I Can! SM spirit,” he says. “Every single employee needs to pay attention to every detail and make sure all of the elements are in the right order.” It’s also important to remember that there is an entire team of employees working together to make an outstanding event, he adds. “The people working behind the scenes are as critical to run Experience Meetings smoothly as the people in the frontline positions.”

ABOVE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Part of the team at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus in Denmark, who ensure all events held at the hotel are a success; Peter Laursen, general manager, Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus; Rikke Brøbecher, conference and booking manager, and Casper Bock, director of sales, at the Aarhus hotel.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4






he first Park Inn® by Radisson hotel to be established in the Philippines, the Park Inn by Radisson Davao has been a success since its opening in March 2013. The hotel is the first newly designed Park Inn by Radisson to be established in Asia Pacific and serves as a model for the brand in the theater. Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, says, “The successful opening is a testament to the effective collaboration between the regional Revenue Generation team and the hotel team to launch the brand in the Philippines and in Asia Pacific.”



She credits the teams’ ability to work seamlessly and tap into their collective expertise to come up with innovative solutions to promote the brand and hotel while driving revenue. The launch plan maximized a host of local and regional revenue-generation platforms, from sales and public relations to promotions, advertising and social media. BUILDING BUZZ “As a new brand in the Philippines, we focused our efforts aggressively on strategies to build brand awareness and made sure that we had a strong presence in the local scene to drive engagement in the Philippines itself,” says Semark. Ann Olalo, director, Sales and Marketing, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, led the local team to introduce the brand into the market. She says being part of a pre-opening team is a challenge, but teamwork helps overcome any obstacle. “It was important to be an enthusiastic brand ambassador. Customers become excited and will try the product because of your conviction.” Jeffrey Fronda, director, Revenue, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, was one of the stakeholders in creating the hotel’s business plan. “In Davao, it is challenging to gather market intelligence,” he says. “We were able to come up with a sensible plan by surrounding ourselves with the right people.” The regional and hotel teams were particularly successful in using social media to engage Gen Y travelers, one of the brand’s core customer groups. Much of the Davao hotel’s success can be traced to the use of social media. To generate online buzz around the launch of



the Park Inn by Radisson Davao, as well as the brand in the country, Carlson Rezidor launched the “How the Philippines Add Color to Your Life” photo contest on Facebook. The campaign was aimed at gathering colorful pictures of the Philippines—in line with the brand promise of “Adding Color to Life.” The campaign resulted in a 3.25 million increase in Fan Reach Potential, as well as 25,900 press release/news posts of the hotel launch in Google. Meghann Sta. Ines, public relations manager, Park Inn by Radisson Davao, supervised the hotel’s publicity and advertising campaigns, hotel events, social media accounts and website content. “Facebook is one medium that helped us a lot,” she says. “It personalized our communications with customers, who are always thirsty for firsthand news and updates.” Other activities the hotel undertook included placing banners near the airport and highways, as well as at the next-door SM Supermall, leveraging the strong relationship between the hotel and its owner—SM Hotels and Conventions. Various public relations activities reached more than 7 million potential customers. “It was a fantastic effort that delivered more than what we expected,” says Joanna Ong-Franklin,

PREVIOUS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Brandon L. Borras, manager, Reservations, Park Inn by Radisson Davao; Davao’s pool; Davao’s entrance; Meghann Sta. Ines, public relations manager, Park Inn by Radisson Davao; ocean view; Jeffrey Fronda, director, Revenue, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu LEFT TO RIGHT Davao’s lobby; Ann Olalo, director, Sales and Marketing, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu; guest room; Andres Hipolito, assistant director, Sales, Park Inn by Radisson Davao

director, Public Relations and Communications, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “We actively engaged the media in Davao and Manila to speak about the brand and the opening. We also invited lifestyle, business and travel writers to stay in the hotel, and they in turn came up with good stories of their experiences.” At the same time, the sales team reached out to corporate accounts to drive business to the hotel and was successful in securing business from competitors, taking advantage of the hotel’s proximity to SMX Convention Center and corporate offices and factories in the area. “We had to fully understand the market for our hotel,” says Andres Hipolito, assistant director, Sales, Park Inn by Radisson Davao. The hotel’s arrival on the scene also benefited from good timing, as the soft opening coincided with a large meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) travel convention in the adjacent SMX Convention Center. “As a result, we had a great share of that delegation, given our accessibility,” says Andre de Jong, director, Park Inn by Radisson, Asia Pacific. Carlson Rezidor and the hotel also created a number of special promotions—such as opening specials and weekend escape and shopping packages—designed to appeal to locals. “We tried to drive business early by offering attractive pre-opening rates,” says Brandon L. Borras, manager, Reservations, Park Inn by Radisson Davao. “Guests who stay can distinguish our unique features from the competition.” All of these marketing efforts serve as a great

example of how hotels can leverage regional promotions to drive more revenue to their hotels, notes Semark. The key to success is localizing the message and being creative, she advises. DRIVING RESULTS Just three months into operation, the hotel was already exceeding expected targets in occupancy and market share. Within weeks of opening, the hotel achieved remarkable high occupancy rates of above 75 percent. “This is quite impressive for a new hotel with a lot of strong competitors in the market,” says de Jong. “And the sustained success is also due to the dedication and exceptional effort of the hotel staff.” The success of the Park Inn by Radisson Davao has helped pave the way for additional signings in Asia Pacific. The Park Inn by Radisson Davao owner, SM Hotels and Conventions, has signed an agreement for the 150-room Park Inn by Radisson Clark in Pampanga. That agreement also includes five additional locations to be developed in the next five to eight years. In total, there are eight new Park Inn by Radisson hotels scheduled to open in Asia Pacific by 2016, and the Park Inn by Radisson Davao is serving as a model for potential owners. “The Park Inn by Radisson Davao is more than just a hotel—it’s a successful showcase for the brand in Asia Pacific, targeted at the emerging Gen Y business and leisure travelers,” says Semark. “The hotel and regional teams worked hard to ensure brand standards were in place to deliver a great guest experience and ensured a seamless opening and launch in Asia Pacific.”

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


ON THE MOVE Park Plaza速 looks to the future with its plans for dynamic growth, personalized for each location. Written by Spencer Collins



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



ark Plaza is on a mission to grow the brand in key cities within the regions of Asia Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) over the next two years. Currently, there are 15 hotels in operation in Asia Pacific and 21 in EMEA. Park Plaza aims to significantly enhance that portfolio. building a presence “We see the potential to further develop an upscale brand like Park Plaza in India to cater to domestic business and leisure travelers,” says Mika Koponen, vice president, Technical Services, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The company is developing 10 new properties. Five of the new properties will be in India, including the Park Plaza

PREVIOUS PAGE Rendering of the possible Park Plaza Hercules House project in London; CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Park Plaza Udaipur; Park Plaza Udaipur exterior; Park Plaza Belvedere Medulin lobby; Park Plaza Karjat; proposed Hercules House redesign.



Zirakpur, Park Plaza Jalandhar and Park Plaza Udaipur. Three more are slated to open in 2014. The remaining new locations will be in China. The new properties will add more than 1,800 Park Plaza rooms in the country. “We are continuously seeking opportunities to grow the brand across Asia Pacific as we believe the brand will resonate well with Gen Y travelers who are becoming increasingly discerning in their travel choices,” Koponen says. Robert Henke, vice president of Marketing and Branding at PPHE Hotel Group, Park Plaza’s exclusive partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, explains, “Our focus is primarily on continuing to grow the brand’s footprint in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, as well as establishing new hotels in cosmopolitan cities such as Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Vienna, Rome and Madrid.” “As a company, creating unique, stand-alone destination restaurants are also key to PPHE Hotel Group’s development strategy. This includes TOZI, which specializes in Venetian cicchetti (small plates) and classic Italian cocktails, next to Park Plaza Victoria London, as well as 5&33, a new dining and cultural venue housing a kitchen, bar, library, lounge and gallery near the Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam.” Unique chic Like the EMEA properties, Asia

Pacific is interested in creating stylish locations. “For example, in our hotels in India, we have locally sourced art placed in the public spaces of the hotel and used ethnic design in the furbishing of the rooms,” Koponen says. Other openings show Park Plaza’s focus on hotels in vibrant destinations, from the Park Plaza Nuremberg, which is expected to open in 2015, to the Park Plaza Riverbank London, which has applied to add 98 rooms. Henke notes another project that could be on the way. The company has applied to convert the Hercules House office, in London’s Waterloo district. If approved, Hercules House would have its own distinctive character and feel, while being recognized as a Park Plaza. savvy travelers Another hallmark of the Park Plaza brand is the connectivity the hotels offer, from free Internet to well-equipped business centers. The brand is also aware of guests traveling for leisure. Henke cites the renovation of the Hotel Belvedere Medulin in Croatia. The hotel is expected to be unveiled as the Park Plaza Belvedere Medulin in June 2014. As Park Plaza grows, the key to success is delivering an exceptional guest experience. Koponen says, “It’s a brand which has great opportunity given its return potential.”

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4













FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Partners Leo Sand, Mike Wendel and Dave Swift have collaborated on multiple Country Inns & Suites By Carlson locations.




his November, the first newly redesigned Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotel officially opened in the U.S., thanks to a collaboration of three of the brand’s longtime partners. The hotel owners, who already had plans in place to build the new Country Inns & Suites, Springfield, Illinois, U.S., heard about the newest design concept just in time to upgrade their plans. The trio, Leo Sand, Dave Swift and Mike Wendel, saw a good opportunity to embrace the new design. The three have found great synergy working together as a team. “This is somewhat of a marriage of the Sand Companies, Mike Wendel’s portfolio and Swift Hospitality Group’s portfolio. There’s a thread there that runs through those,” says Swift. They have embraced the new look and are excited about the upgrade. “The Carlson Rezidor hotel brands are a great investment for us, and the new design is an exciting update to the Country Inns & Suites brand,” says Sand. Long friendship Over the years, Swift, Sand and Wendel became closely acquainted due to their affiliation with CarlsonSM, and as time progressed, they began working together on certain projects. “It is partnerships like these that have allowed our brand to be so successful,” says Greg Schindler, regional vice president, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Americas. “It is impressive what they have been able to accomplish because of their collaboration.” He adds,



“It’s exciting as we see the new designs come to life. I can’t wait to hear what our guests think.” Over the last decade, Swift has been involved in 26 hotel projects, some of which were acquisitions and many of which were built from the ground up. Today, Swift has ownership in and manages 14 hotels, eight of which are Country Inns & Suites properties. Sand is the founder and chairman of Sand Companies Inc. and Wendel is the president of the company. Sand Companies is a vertically integrated real estate development, construction, procurement, architectural, property management and hospitality management company, with each division operating under a separate LLC. Sand is also the founder and chief executive officer of Sand Lodging Inc., a hotel investment company that owns 22 Country Inns & Suites hotels—making the company the largest owner of Country Inns & Suites properties in the Carlson Rezidor system. Sand has been involved with Country Inns & Suites for more than 20 years.

FROM TOP Dave Swift and Leo Sand survey the work in progress on the Springfield, Illinois, property; Dave Swift on the work site of the new design.

Wendel has collaborated with Carlson since 1989, first with the Radisson® brand and then, in 1996, with the Country Inns & Suites brand. He developed and operated eight Country Inns & Suites hotels before merging his company with Sand Companies Inc. in 2007. It was in 2003 that Sand Companies and Swift Hospitality Group began formally working together: Sand was asked by one of Swift’s investors if he was interested in buying into the existing Country Inn & Suites, Freeport, Illinois, U.S property. “This hotel had been up and running for about eight years, and I saw how Swift Hospitality’s hotels were very well managed. It was a great investment opportunity for me,” Sand recalls. “As this investment continued to do well, I was given more opportunity to invest with Dave’s group. Even though our own hotel developments were doing well, it was a way to diversify my hotel portfolio into new markets. I believe in partnering with good, quality people such as Dave and his team.” The First LAUNCH Swift first came across the opportunity in Springfield. It was a prime position for a hotel, right on the off-ramp of a heavily traveled highway. The property was being redeveloped with a convenience store, restaurants and a new hotel location. This was slightly prior to the brand introducing the new design prototype. “We actually bought a license for this thinking we were going

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


to build a Gen 3.5. When the design rollout happened, we talked about the value for us to build the latest, greatest model and be up-to-date,” says Swift. The decision did necessitate some planning changes to accommodate the updated design and construction differences between the original 3.5 plan and the newer design. Swift found the cooperation of Carlson Rezidor with Sand Companies and Swift Hospitality Group invaluable in addressing any issues as they arose. Sand Construction LLC, a subsidiary of Sand Companies, Inc., built the 78-unit hotel, which opened in November 2013. A ribbon-cutting and grand opening were held in January in conjunction with a Chamber of Commerce event. The team for the Springfield Country Inn & Suites included Swift Hospitality as the developer and property manager, with Sand Construction as the general contractor, Sand Architects LLC as the architect and Sand Procurement by Design LLC as the provider of the furniture, fixtures and equipment. THe New Look The trio says switching to the new design was the right move. “I think we will perform very well against our competition. It’s a greatlooking building,” says Swift. He says it’s quite a change from the previous Country Inns & Suites, but in a good way. “Times change and the market demographics change, and our customers change, along with their wants and desires. As good hoteliers, I think we have to be flexible and embrace the new things that come along.” Sand concurs, saying “The new design creates an updated look while remaining true to our guests. The thoughtful finishes and new color palette will update the Country Inns & Suites identity by creating a cozy, home-like place to stay, with new modern touches incorporated.”



THIS PAGE FROM TOP The three partners review hotel plans for the new property; Sand and Swift have built a solid working relationship with Carlson over time, culminating in many successful hotel projects.

He adds, “The most exciting part of the new design is the integrated spaces created for our guests both inside and outside the hotel. These will give our guests great experiences as they relax and converse around amenities such as the indoor fireplace, the outdoor fire pit on the veranda and the family-style breakfast bar.” Working with Carlson Both Swift and Sand say they have a great working relationship with Carlson Rezidor and respect for the company. “We chose Carlson Rezidor brands because they are a family-owned company with solid values that mirror our company,” Sand says. “We have had the opportunity to build a solid relationship and friendship with many Carlson associates. This brand gives us a great opportunity to build our hotel portfolio, and you never feel like you’re just another number. The Carlson folks really care about us and listen to our feedback.” Swift agrees. “We’ve found them to be extremely easy to work with—fair and under-

standing—and in today’s world, that’s a rarity,” says Swift. “Carlson seems to have a great interest in what their franchisees believe and think, and they try to use that information to help create a better internal culture for their franchisees. They’re just good people to work with, and that’s of great importance to me.” creating a legacy For others looking to upgrade, Swift says it’s important to create a timeline and a budget to achieve their goals, and they have to understand the expectations of the brand for their particular property. He would encourage any franchisee to work with the brand to create the timeline and the cost to achieve the goals of both the hotel and the brand. As the head of a busy company, Swift says, “I don’t need a franchise company that creates roadblocks for me. I need a franchise company that breaks those roadblocks down and allows me the flexibility to achieve my goals. Carlson is always willing to take my call, they’re always willing to make a meeting, they’re always willing to sit and listen to good logic, and that is invaluable.” Sand says he and his partners are very invested in the future of the Country Inns & Suites brand. “Hopefully by participating individually and collaboratively, we have advocated for all those who have invested time and money in the brand. We are all very passionate about the brand and know that all of the decisions made today will be part of the legacy of Country tomorrow.”

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Naturally Chic with Radisson Blu

In partnership with award-winning beauty company This Works, Carlson Rezidor’s upper-upscale brand introduces an amenities line designed for the modern traveler. Written By Deborah M. Bernstein



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Photography (opposite page) courtesy of This Works速; (this page) Getty Images

A BELOW The Radisson Blu amenities line from This Works features a signature green mandarin and rosemary fragrance. Standard amenities include shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.


lways a trendsetter, Radisson Blu® is continuing its drive to differentiate the customer experience and has forged an alliance to give its guests natural-based bath amenities. The brand has penned a partnership agreement with British-based This Works® that will offer guests a full range of luxurious products from the beauty company’s In Transit line. A PERFECT MATCH This Works and Radisson Blu are ideal partners. Both embrace social responsibility and are committed to eco-friendly business practices. “Radisson Blu continually strives to provide its guests with an upscale international hotel experience, and guest amenities are an important part of it,” says Rose Kutzli, vice president, Branding, Radisson Blu, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Created exclusively for Radisson Blu hotels, the new products will solidify the brand’s holistic and earth-conscious approach to travel. This Works founder Kathy Phillips describes her line as a group of multi-


tasking essentials that are versatile, hardworking, reliable, luxurious and natural. “This was also inspired in some way by today’s mad, fast-paced lifestyle and my desire for practicality and simplicity in everything,” Phillips says. “Every product is designed to help ease the demands of modern life, with its early starts, pressures and irregular sleep patterns.” With This Works, each product will offer a natural indulgence free of harsh chemicals and packaged with recyclable materials. The product mirrors the commitment from Radisson Blu to reduce the carbon footprint. The products pay homage to the lifestyle of the modern traveler and will be available in Radisson Blu hotels around the world beginning this year. The newly launched amenities line features an uplifting signature fragrance containing the revitalizing effects of green mandarin and rosemary. Standard amenities include shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Some hotels will also add amenities such as bath salts and hand cream. LEADING EDGE Sleek in design and socially responsible, the new In Transit products are sure to capture the hearts of Blu world travelers. In Transit is an up-and-coming brand, and its high-end products with a private label will elevate Radisson Blu bath products, differentiating the brand’s hospitality experience. It’s a move that makes good business sense for a variety of reasons. The demand for natural products has been skyrocketing as consumers become more concerned about the ingredients in the products they use. In fact, according to a report published by Transparency Market Research, the global demand for organic personal care products is expected to reach US$13.2 billion by 2018, nearly a 10 percent jump from 2012. “Our customers want more natural products, and, after an extensive review process that included of a wide variety of products on the market, the clear frontrunner was

Photography (opposite page) courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; (this page) courtesy of This Works®

This Works,” says Kutzli. “A lot of brands were considered and tested, and This Works came out well ahead of the others.” Leveraging the power of the two quality brands, both Radisson Blu and This Works will collaborate on public relations initiatives, gaining global exposure for both companies. For Radisson Blu, This Works offers a strong environmental story, extremely high product quality, exclusivity with the brand, a retail offering for customers, and a chance to further develop the relationship for other unique projects. What does the new partnership say about Radisson Blu? It demonstrates that the brand is willing to innovate, says Kutzli. “It’s a partnership many people wouldn’t expect. It confirms that Blu is different from competitors—edgy, fashion- and design-conscious, and pioneering.” TOP QUALITY This Works formulators have more than a decade of experience in blending essential oils and natural ingredients. Because of this wealth of experience and knowledge, their blenders know which oils and extracts work well together and at which percentage, which ensures the synergy needed for therapeutic effect. Ingredients are extensively sourced from around the world to ensure topmost quality and effectiveness. They use the pick of the crop, which has been harvested using the best means of extraction to limit contamination and to maintain purity. There are no compromises in ingredients or in the choice or cost of raw materials. With Radisson Blu and This Works sharing many of the same attributes, the partnership is a natural fit, says Kutzli. “As a product that is designed to work harder for our guests, those who find themselves with ample traveling opportunity will be rewarded with an amenity that supports our eco-friendly mission that also allows them to memorably indulge at each Radisson Blu hotel near or far.”


Modern Beauty


his Works® was founded in 2003 by Kathy Phillips, an international journalist, beauty expert and yoga instructor who was inspired by her knowledge of the health and beauty industry and her desire to create natural products. With research, development and manufacturing based in the United Kingdom, the company prides itself on drawing upon nature’s laboratory responsibly and delivering products that are modern and natural and deliver on their promise. Created by leading designers, This Works offers high-performance, targeted solutions for modern beauty needs with a contemporary style. The company works with British farmers to source its natural ingredients and uses only the finest, highly concentrated and naturally active ingredients. All of its skin care, bath and body formulations are free from synthetic colors and fragrance, genetically modified organisms, mineral oils, petrolatum and propylene glycol. All boxes are recyclable and materials come from Forest Stewardship Council approved sources; all tubes and bottles are recyclable. None of its raw materials are tested on animals. This Works believes that beauty requires balance, and the title ‘This Works’ will only be awarded to exceptional products that deliver on their promise, without compromising well-being or the environment.

ABOVE This Works’ deep sleep pillow spray, part of the company’s retail line, is a best-selling, natural sleep aid designed to calm the nerves and promote a good night’s sleep. With a signature fragrance, the spray is infused with essential oils of lavender, vetivert and wild camomile to soothe the body and mind.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


rgys Dizdari, the bartender at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, and the master distiller for Few Spirits created more than just a cocktail when they discovered they could house-age bourbon and sweet vermouth in an oak barrel.

The resulting unique drink has since become a signature refreshment that the hotel is quickly becoming well-known for—it’s a popular favorite among locals and travelers alike. While the inspiration for this particular libation came from one hotel, it’s just one example of the many ways that Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group chefs and team members around the world are creating unique food and drink concepts that boost business and, at the same time, surprise and delight guests. Hotline recently had the chance to sit down with Christer Larsson, vice president, Food and Beverage, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Philip Mahoney, vice president, Food and Drink Operations, The Rezidor Hotel Group; and just a few of the company’s many star chefs. The result? A globe-trotting tour of some of the innovation occurring in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. The americas According to Larsson, some of the most important innovations in the company’s restaurants are coming from the front lines. “Those things are what I look for in a place, when you can come back and someone has something new to show you.” Larsson finds that often, the key for properties is taking an element that is already there and improving on it. “I’ve seen that many times, how our employees and chefs refine something that is a brand standard and make it better,” he says. “That’s a creative way to work.” This level of personal ownership entices guests to become repeat customers. “I think that once you put your heart into something—say you create a new dish or drink—then you are more



motivated to sell that product,” Larsson says. All of this is possible within Carlson Rezidor’s brand standards. “The current brand standards are meant to lift the quality of all our food,” says Paul Lynch, executive chef, Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S. “They unchain the chef by allowing us to tap into fresh, regional and sustainable ingredients.” Lynch also stresses how important it is to offer unexpected experiences through special events and catering functions. Allen Plante, director of banquet services at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, explains that the goal is to bring the restaurant experience into the special event. “We train our staff to introduce the menu and talk about the culinary delights of that evening,” he says. “We want guests to move around, so we do lots of action stations, where the server or chef is behind the table.” Lynch continues, “Groups are making a tremendous investment, and we want to help facilitate the success of their conferences. It is about visual appeal, providing movement in the space and healthy options that delight and that make sense with the season.” Creativity and Innovation Chef Christian Gaborit at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago finds that for him and his staff, creativity springs from paying attention to the needs of guests. He says, “For example, we’ve noticed that business lunches are getting

PREVIOUS PAGE Ergys Dizdari, creator of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago’s signature bourbon cocktail CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Oak barrel for bourbon; preparation of fresh ingredients, like rosemary, reflects healthier dining trends; Ergys Dizdari; pan-seared diver scallops with cantaloupe and honeydew melons; Philip Mahoney, vice president, Food and Drink Operations, The Rezidor Hotel Group; Chef Christian Gaborit; chefs use regional ingredients.

The “Essence” is a simple outline of aspirations for food and drink.

Photography by Matthew Gilson, Illustration by Debaser

— Philip Mahoney

shorter, and our guests are looking for something fast and easy. That’s why we started offering our rapido (quick) lunch options at Filini.” Gaborit says a group effort behind everything regarding food and beverage helps uncover the best ideas. “I consult with my team, and we come up with practices that are aligned with the branding of the Radisson Blu Aqua. We’re incorporating innovation into our F&B practices while lifting profits,” he says, crediting smart decisions with portioning that helps minimize waste. “Good-quality food is my priority, so I don’t cut costs by using cheaper ingredients. We are able to keep the food affordable and profitable by making sure we don’t over-portion and waste.” When it comes to innovation in dining, new dishes must also incorporate local tastes and stay on top of wider trends. According to Larsson, the trend of healthier eating is here to stay. In

addition, guests appreciate local ingredients because of the freshness they offer. Larsson finds that “it is a nice thing when you put something on the menu that the traveler sees for the first time, and there’s a story the employee can tell him about where that piece of fish came from or that glass of wine in that region. It’s something I feel is very positive.” Europe, the middle east and africa In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, The Rezidor Hotel Group has distilled its vision into what the company is calling “the Essence,” says Mahoney. “It’s a simple outline of aspirations for food and drink service in the hotels, aiming to be a little less ‘hotelly’ and a bit more deli.” Mahoney explains the philosophy: “We’re encouraging everyone to aspire to this. Our people know it’s a business, but, equally, they understand the best way to make money is to be nice to people and to deliver great food and

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


“Our employees and chefs refine something that is a brand standard and make it better,.” — Christer Larsson

drink with consistency. It is easy, really—it’s just hospitality.” Mahoney says Rezidor has been keeping abreast of food trends such as “extended vegetarianism,” where more and more carnivores abstain from meat for a few days a month. “We take some of our inspirations on food trends from our friends at Food Inspiration [] and encourage hotel food and drink specialists to subscribe to its international newsletter.” In addition—in response to demand for fresh, local ingredients—some Carlson Rezidor properties have begun to focus on their own bit of urban farming. For instance, Mahoney cites the rooftop beehives at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg in Germany. “It’s early days, but we’ve had an impressive honey yield from their very high rooftop hives,” he says. “Another hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel, St. Gallen in Switzerland,



has set up its own Herb Garden Club, and many hotels are tip-toeing into kitchen gardens.” Mahoney says Rezidor is even considering experiments in partnership with PlantLab, a Dutch company that develops high-tech indoor plant-growing production units. Rezidor also communicates with its food and drink professionals in its monthly newsletter, Love Food, to help inspire creativity. The newsletter includes shared ideas, promotion ideas and other useful information, says Mahoney. “We’ll be taking it interactive and introducing video soon but, in the meantime,

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Niman Ranch flat iron steak over grilled polenta with an arugula salad dressed in balsamic vinegar; a nod to the urban farming trend with rooftop beehives; honey; meticulous preparation enhances the dining experience; one of the many choices at The Great Kabob Factory; seasonal ingredients, such as mushrooms, inspire dishes; Christer Larsson, vice president, Food and Beverage, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

we hope it prompts inspiration.” Who are some of the region’s outstanding performers? “They’re all stars!” says Mahoney. “If I have to single some out, I’d say Erwin van Marle, who did a great job launching the first live-in room at Park Inn Amsterdam Airport; Jeppe Foldager and Daniel Ditman, who have become the darlings of seemingly every restaurant critic for their work at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Copenhagen; and Roman Paulus, who’s retained his Michelin star this year at Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, Prague.” Cutting-edge practices “In addition, we’ve jumped on the supermarket bandwagon and adopted the New Pricing methodology with its Cognitive Pricing program. With a predicted average check uplift of 5 to 10 percent, it makes sense,” says Mahoney. “We are also looking at the world of neuroscientific experience perception—it sounds grand but it’s just about choosing the right kit to enhance perception in the dining environment; simple things like pointed knives for cheese, heavy cutlery, stoneware plates and, of course, lighting and color, which all have a big influence on the brain. Naturally, we need expert advice and research here, and the Experimental Psychology department at Oxford University is lending a helping hand. “We’re also turning the everything-foreveryone homogeneous approach to all-day dining on its head with our new Finna+Før Larder & Lounge concept,” Mahoney adds. “It draws on New Nordicism—cuisine that relies on simplicity, purity and freshness, and that changes with the seasons—for its food inspiration. Its ‘refined nature’ mantra means it’ll travel well and could be applied pretty much anywhere. It goes beyond hotel traditions of guest convenience and accessibility delivered with ‘international vanilla.’ It uses local foodstuffs, color palette and artisan tableware and design elements, along with an overarching sensitivity for and celebration of locality.” Asia Pacific Carlson Rezidor is distinguishing itself with

unique food concepts in Asia Pacific as well. Take, for instance, the Sunday Brunch at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills in Hyderabad, India. It’s a one-of-a-kind extravaganza that integrates all five of that property’s food and beverage outlets to offer a wide range of Indian and international cuisines. The buffet includes signature dishes from the hotel’s chef as well as Indian specialties such as pathar ka gosht, murgh sikanja and tale hue jhinge. Nishan Silva, the hotel’s general manager, explains that the concept has proved so popular for the property that it won Best Sunday Brunch at the Times Food Awards 2013 and Best Sunday Brunch by Zomato Restaurant Guide. “The city of Hyderabad is fond of experimenting with new concepts, and guests appreciate any new initiative, especially in the field of food and beverage,” Silva notes, adding that the concept of Sunday brunch had never been seen before in Hyderabad. “It’s a fresh approach that pulled people in to try different cuisines and more than 300 dishes.” Another concept that has debuted at multiple Asia Pacific properties is The Great Kabab Factory. The concept was born with the creation of the first restaurant at the Radisson Hotel Delhi in 1998. The restaurant’s success paved the way for franchising the brand, and it now has multiple locations in five countries, making it one of the largest Indian restaurant chains in its category. The winner of multiple awards—including TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the location at the Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi for the past two years—this restaurant concept offers kababs prepared in seven different styles, including roasted in the tandoor, the traditional Indian earthenware oven; on a sighri, a traditional Indian coal-fired brazier; shallow-fried in a tawa; deep-fried in a kadhai; steamed in pots; or even grilled on a stone. Due to the world’s wide variety of regional tastes, delighting customers all over the globe is no small challenge. But regardless of where guests are located, Carlson Rezidor’s approach to encouraging creativity ensures that diners will find consistently excellent experiences for years to come.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




Written By Zoe Murphy Photography By Erika Ludwig



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


oday’s world is one of constant evolution, and it is only by staying abreast of changing trends that a brand can evolve to stay relevant for guests. Radisson® understands this reality. Building upon the brand’s rich history and recent renovations, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has spent the last two years designing and planning the implementation of the Radisson Re-Imagined project to explore how it could enhance the guest experience. Led by the Radisson Re-Imagined Team, the project involved extensive research to develop and test new or enhanced elements in areas including training, guest-facing technology, meetings, charitable giving, employee uniforms and amenities. Now, as Radisson rolls out 10 new brand promoters to hotels across the Americas, Radisson Re-Imagined is propelling the brand’s evolution to keep it relevant for today and tomorrow. BUILDING ON HERITAGE When it came time to update the brand’s personality, Gordon McKinnon, executive vice president and chief branding officer, Carlson, offered the vision for the path ahead. “The brand’s core essence can be summed up in three simple words: Caring. Sharing. Daring. Those words set the agenda for how Radisson is refining its DNA.” The key for a brand with a heritage like Radisson was how to move forward without alienating the people who already know it. To see where the brand needed to go, McKinnon— along with Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Radisson, and executive vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; and Richard Flores, vice president, Branding, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group—first needed to assess where Radisson had been.



This process started with a brand assessment that took a deep look at where the brand needed to evolve to keep it relevant for today’s guests. “We wanted to understand how guests have changed, and the ways that service delivery has changed,” says Flores. “We learned more about how our guests want to be valued as customers.” The assessment provided more insight into how guests interact with and perceive the brand and how the brand could best meet guest needs. For example, hotels and employees should be sensitive to the fact that traveling is not easy—missed flights, late nights and long days often negatively impact travelers’ moods. The assessment also gave insight on how to best train and engage younger, millennial-generation staff members. “This research led to us creating the framework for Radisson Re-Imagined and its elements in areas where we saw opportunity,” says Flores. LAUNCHING THE PILOT As the Radisson Re-Imagined project continued to build momentum, additional colleagues joined the team, including Jeffrey Freund, vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Susan Mason, vice president, Franchise Operations, Radisson, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; and Alissa Bolke, marketing coordinator, Marketing, Radisson, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

PREVIOUS PAGE LEFT TO RIGHT Some of the Radisson Re-Imagined project team members—Susan Mason, vice president, Franchise Operations, Radisson, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Richard Flores, vice president, Branding, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Alissa Bolke, marketing coordinator, Marketing, Radisson, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; and Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Radisson, and executive vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. OPPOSITE PAGE Rosenberg with the new Radisson room amenities.

Asia Pacific Launch Plan Radisson Re-Imagined to make Asian debut in 2014. In addition to the Americas, many of Radisson Re-Imagined’s program elements will be progressively rolled out to the Asia Pacific’s growing network of Radisson® hotels this year. As part of the program’s global implementation plans, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group began evaluating the needs of guests staying at Radisson hotels in Asia Pacific in mid-2013 with a pilot program at Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne, Radisson Hotel Kandla in India and Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam. The performance indices at these pilot hotels showed strong growth along with increases in guest loyalty measures. With the diversity of markets in Asia Pacific, balancing convenience, the need for personalized service and cultural differences is critical for any brand initiative. Carlson Rezidor ensured the program elements could be localized to meet guest needs in the region’s various countries.

“There were many people involved in making Radisson Re-Imagined a success, from the many people on the Radisson Re-Imagined Team to our Franchise Advisory Council,” says Rosenberg. “Many of our general managers also provided great feedback, and in a way, they are the unsung heroes of the project.” Starting in March 2013 and extending through the summer of that year, Radisson launched a national pilot program across four hotels in the U.S.: La Crosse, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Washington.

Peter Boese, general manager, Radisson Hotel La Crosse, participated in the pilot program and found it to be a very positive experience for both guests and staff. “The staff was very engaged throughout the process and was proud to be part of the beta testing and give input on how to adjust some of the elements and make changes to the implementation to ensure this program rolls out successfully,” he says. Across all four of the test hotels, the results were positive. The Radisson Re-Imagined project team analyzed more than 2,400 Medallia guest

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Official Launch Plan Rituals Amenities Launch: 1.2.14 Compliance: 6.1.14 iConcierge Mobile App Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 6.1.14 Spread The Love Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 3.31.14 Visual Identity Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 6.1.14 Employee Uniforms Launch: 1.2.14 Compliance: 12.1.14 Web Extra Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 6.1.14 Mobile Check-in/Kiosk Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 12.31.14 Window/Door Signage Launch: 10.1.13 Compliance: 12.31.14 Yes I Can!SM Program Launch: 2.19.14 Compliance: 12.1.14 Meetings Success Launch: 2.19.14 Compliance: 12.1.14


satisfaction survey reports from pilot hotels, which showed significant spikes in guest satisfaction, service performance and loyalty performance. “We also did onsite questionnaires, interviewing guests and team members, asking what they thought,” Flores says. RE-IMAGINED ROLLOUT With learnings from the pilot, the Radisson Re-Imagined Team confirmed and further refined the 10 elements that could add the most value for guests, hotels, employees and the brand overall. Currently, the brand is rolling out these 10 elements to hotels in the Americas. (See sidebar, this page for an overview of the elements and launch dates.) Starting in late 2013, properties were able to order many of the new materials. Other areas, such as the updated Yes I Can!SM and Meeting Success programs, will not be officially rolled out until the 2014 Radisson Americas Conference. “The rollout of new brand promoters associated with Radisson Re-Imagined was designed to make the process flexible for hotels,” says Rosenberg. “In addition, a major focus at our upcoming conference will be how hotels can make the most of the program.” TECH SAVVY A big part of the Radisson Re-Imagined project involved addressing technological advances to make guests’ interactions with the hotel more appealing and easier. First, this meant a new, more modern look and feel for the brand’s online experience and its websites. While the process is still under way, ultimately every hotel will have a new redesigned website, too. Next came a new way for guests to choose how they want to check in. The team developed Mobile Check-In and a kiosk that lets guests check-in online up to 24 hours before their stay. Guests receive a confirmation email with a bar code that they can scan at the check-in kiosk in each hotel lobby. The kiosk then provides them with their requested number of room keys. The Radisson iConcierge app is another new element. The modern answer to a guest service directory, iConcierge lets guests order room


service, request services including housekeeping, find out local area information and access the hotel’s directory, all from their smartphones. Far from removing the critical human touch in guest services, the new technological elements speed up processes, allow employees to be more responsive and free up time for more meaningful guest interactions. FINER POINTS The changes also extended to charitable giving, employee uniforms and amenities. As part of Radisson Re-Imagined, when guests now check in they will be given the option of making a US$1 minimum donation to either World Childhood Foundation or a local charity selected by the hotel. “This shows how Radisson cares about our global and local communities,” Flores says. “The response from guests has been phenomenal, too.” Also up for refinement were uniforms, which employees will start seeing as hotels order them through 2014. The new choices for the staff are smart and attractive but offer a more modern look, according to Flores. “We wanted the uniforms to be comfortable and support the brand’s new direction.” The final touch involved a change to the room amenities. Radisson paired up with Rituals, a luxury home and cosmetics company that uses renewable and organic ingredients. Part of the amenity offering is a plantable seed card, which guests are invited to take home and plant. CARING. SHARING. DARING. During the pilot project at his hotel, Boese saw firsthand how Radisson Re-Imagined will differentiate the brand from its competitors. “As the hotel business keeps getting more creative, this program catapults our company to the forefront of technology and customer

OPPOSITE PAGE LEFT TO RIGHT The new check-in kiosk will be available in hotel lobbies and provides an option for guests to check in using their mobile devices; Richard Flores, vice president, Branding, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, with a prototype of one of the new employee uniforms, which the Radisson Re-Imagined team designed to be comfortable and offer a more modern look.

The entirety of Radisson Re-Imagined goes back to the brand’s core essence: Caring. Sharing. Daring. service,” he says. “Now, for example, we can take text messages for room service orders from a guest who is 20 minutes away and wants to have their dinner at arrival time. Traveling is stressful, and these modern advances in technology help simplify the guest experience.” Flores notes that the entirety of Radisson Re-Imagined and its elements goes back to Radisson’s core essence: Caring. Sharing. Daring. “For me, these three pieces support each of the Radisson Re-Imagined elements—Caring because we are caring for the community, each other

and our guests; Sharing because we are sharing ourselves through our service and knowledge; and Daring because we are innovating and challenging ourselves.” “We spent the last three and a half years doing a lot of great groundwork with things like hotel renovations and strengthening our standards,” adds Rosenberg. “All of this work was foundational, and we are starting to see more and more momentum. Now, we are moving from the foundational to the transformational—we’re taking things to the next level.”


WE MaDe our Mark M

ore than 180 attendees of the 2013 Asia Pacific General Managers Conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu in the Philippines came together in an unexpected way. Planned for Sunday, October 13 through Wednesday, October 16, 2013, the conference had to be cut short when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck a nearby island. Fortunately, there were no injuries among conference attendees and hotel guests and staff, said Simon Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “In fact, hotel staffers— led by Lyle Lewis, the hotel’s general manager and Carlson Rezidor’s vice president of Japan and the Philip-



pines—showed remarkable resiliency as they calmly executed the hotel’s crisis management plan, even as aftershocks kept shaking the ground.” The hotel staff’s determination showed how having a true service heart can have a heroic impact. Not only did the staff ensure guests were safe, but also their determination to make guests comfortable steadied nerves after the event.

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS Prior to the quake, the Asia Pacific team had plenty to celebrate, as well as updates on initiatives and best practices to share. On Sunday, Barlow and Lewis officially opened the event with a welcome

Not even an earthquake could shake the spirit of positive momentum during the 2013 Asia Pacific General Managers Conference in Cebu. By Spencer Collins Photography By Robo Formacion

Lewis and Andre De Jong, senior director, Operations, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, co-hosted a session that shared success stories in the areas of profit, quality, customers and people. In the popular session, the audience had many thoughtful questions for general managers Gerard Knight, Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island; Nishan Silva, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills; Peter Feran, Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam; and Arne Heuwekemeijer, Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai Hong Quan. Following that, Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, took the stage with Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, and Rose Kutzli, vice president, Branding, Radisson Blu, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. They provided an update on Carlson Rezidor’s Global Revenue Generation Council activities, including the Commercial Organization’s strategy and 2014 projects. ABOVE Simon Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, shares highlights of the theater’s biggest milestones in 2013. LEFT 2013 Asia Pacific General Managers Conference participants gather at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu.

to attendees and sponsors, followed by a ribbon-cutting alongside representatives of Carlson Rezidor’s partners in the theater and a ceremony celebrating the planting of 7,500 trees to celebrate Carlson’s 75th Anniversary. The next day, plenary sessions opened with Barlow introducing the conference theme of Make Your Mark, coinciding with the theater’s launch of its Make Your Mark employee value proposition (EVP). Afterward, owner representatives from the region, along with Kurt Ritter, senior advisor to the president and chief executive officer, Carlson, participated in a roundtable sharing their thoughts on the state of the industry.

RECOGNIZING SUCCESS The sessions concluded with a gala awards presentation emceed by Barlow and Deborah Peterson, vice president, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. (See page 72 for award winners.) Despite the shortened event, the conference, overall, was a success. Attendees had plenty of chances to network, discuss opportunities and visit with vendor partners. As Barlow noted, attendees left the event a bit shaken, but most importantly without injury. “Out of adversity I believe something positive happened, and we are looking forward to another year of growth together.”

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



2013 asia pacific honors





3. F&B LEADER OF THE YEAR Sharon Chen, food and beverage director, Radisson Blu Plaza, Xing Guo Hotel Shanghai
 Chen has initiated a number of F&B concepts and promotional activities to great results, recording more than US$4.3 million of F&B profit in the past year, half a million more than budgeted.

2 1. aSIA PACIFIC GOLDEN ROSE Michael Lorrigan, senior manager, hotel systems & support services, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific
 Lorrigan made his mark through his commitment to work and supporting his colleagues. He never, ever gives up until he finds a solution. 2. EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR (FRANCHISED HOTELS) Sarayu Shayana, sales & marketing, Radisson Blu Hotel Chennai Despite severe competition in her city, Shayana’s sales performance actually improved greatly from the past year.




4. PRESIDENT’S AWARD K.B. Kachru, chairman, South Asia Credited as the engine behind growth in Asia Pacific, Kachru is a pioneer who has opened new frontiers.

7 5. ROOM DIVISION LEADER OF THE YEAR Paul Halford, hotel manager, Radisson Blu Fiji Denarau Island Thanks to Halford, the hotel’s RevPAR ranking has gone up from third place to first. 6. HR LEADER OF THE YEAR Mamta Sharma, human resources manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Nagpur
 Sharma spends a lot of time aligning the capability of her team to the service standards and retaining good talent. 7. employee of the year (Managed Hotels) Kartik Sahoo, human resources executive, Radisson Blu Hotel Nagpur
 Sahoo earned his recognition due to his willingness to go beyond the call of duty to ensure the well-being of team members.







11. HOTEL OF THE YEAR (MANAGED HOTELS) Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Tianjin Under the leadership of Clive Murray, the hotel has turned its financial performance around.

10 8. SALES & MARKETING LEADER OF THE YEAR Saeed Ahmed, director of sales & marketing, Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel Dhaka Ahmed’s dedication has yielded remarkable results. The hotel exceeded room revenue and total revenue in the past year. 9. finance leader of the year Jeffrey Wong, financial controller, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney Wong is known as a man with the ability to form strong relationships with hotel owners. 10. RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS HOTEL OF THE YEAR Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island
 The hotel helped Children at Risk in its local community, utilizing creative fundraising ideas to sponsor two local schools.

12. RISING STAR OF THE YEAR Park Inn by Radisson Davao Through well-crafted publicity and marketing programs, the property ranked as the seventh best hotel in the city on TripAdvisor within a few weeks of opening and was running at 75 percent occupancy in its first month of operation.

15 13. hotel of the year (franchised hotels) Radisson Blu Hotel Noida By focusing on guest satisfaction, the hotel earned a Medallia score of 8.92 and had RevPAR that consistently exceeded budget. 14. COUNTRY INNS & SUITES HOTEL OF THE YEAR Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Jaipur Shifting to the corporate market has resulted in 4 percent growth in occupancy, as well as an increase in RevPAR and revenue. 15. RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS HOTEL OF THE YEAR—SPECIAL COMMENDATION Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills The hotel’s programs included cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



HAPPY healthy By promoting health across the hotel, the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa is creating a more satisfied staff. By Deborah M. Bernstein

A Mark LyttletonFrances, (opposite) general manager, Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa

ruba! The name alone conjures up idyllic images of sun-swept beaches and tropical paradise. The island, located in the Netherlands Lesser Antilles off the coast of Venezuela, is known as “One Happy Island,” and it’s home to one of Radisson’s biggest success stories: the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa. The hotel is the poster child for doing things right, as seen by the resort’s impressive scores. In addition to a current Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) score of 8.85 and Service Performance Index score of 8.95, the hotel’s Loyalty Performance Index (LPI) is the highest among Radisson’s owned and managed hotels in the Americas. Much of the resort’s success can be attributed to the hotel’s general manager, Mark Lyttleton-Frances, who has instituted a four-pillar business model that is making the Radisson in Aruba one happy hotel. The pillars are rest and relaxation, rejuvenation, nutrition and fitness. “We found that every aspect of what we deliver to our guests every day feeds back into one of those pillars,” explains the high-energy general manager. But guests aren’t the only ones benefiting from the philosophy. So are colleagues—and happy, healthy colleagues are good for business.




HEALTHIER FOCUS It’s true. Happiness is big business. According to the Harvard Business Review, emerging research from neuroscience, psychology and economics shows that a thriving workforce equates to better business performance. “Happiness makes it all work,” says Lyttleton-Frances. “What I’ve tried to create here is an environment where you are genuinely able to leave your troubles at the door.” Recently, the hotel sponsored a health day that offered advice on how to become healthier and provided checks on blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. The results were surprising and frightening. According to Human Resources Director Glenn Farro, “Seventy-five percent had problems with high cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.” But that is beginning to change. Today, staff are eating better, exercising more and feeling better. In fact, those participating in an employee fitness program collectively lost more than 1,000 pounds last year. Lyttleton-Frances, who battled weight problems years ago, has dedicated himself to providing a great working environment that is safe, nurturing and focused on colleague wellbeing. From an energizing activities program to a revamped employee cafeteria menu, it’s all about happiness.

VOL U M E o n e 2 0 1 4



CHANGING HABITS “Everything we do is centered around rest and relaxation, rejuvenation, nutrition and fitness,” LyttletonFrances says. The cafeteria meals have been changed to have healthier options. “We’ve moved away from big, thick, heavy stews and rice. Now, we have a salad bar.” In the rest and relaxation category, staff changing rooms have been upgraded and are “absolutely stunning.” “The ladies are so proud of theirs that they keep fresh-cut flowers in the changing room,” he says. “They all have fancy showerheads, proper seating space, a lounge area and brand-new lockers.” Fitness, too, has taken off, with Lyttleton-Frances leading the charge. He challenged his colleagues to train for a 5K charity run in December. “Everyone’s out there training and getting fit and doing their mileage on the road,” he says. Employees taking part in the charity run or the health program gain access to the resort’s gym in off-peak hours. “We’re finding colleagues more willing to work a few extra hours here and there because they are feeling fitter,” says Lyttleton-Frances. “They’re feeling healthier. They’re not feeling tired at the end of the day. We have more than 500 people working here, but comfortably half or more are starting to live this new lifestyle.”

Victor Hernandez shares his love for all things avian at the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa, where guests can take photos of themselves with an array of brightly hued tropical birds.

MEASURABLE RESULTS Luis Manuel Reyes and Rufino Ruiz (left to right) both enjoy providing guests with opportunities to explore Aruba’s many outdoor activities, from paddleboarding to bike tours of the island.

CREATING BRIGHT SPOTS The team is also getting rejuvenated and energized by having opportunities to pursue personal passions, which for Rufino Ruiz and Luis Manuel Reyes means staying active. The pair, who joined Carlson Rezidor in December



2012, credit the hotel with changing their lives for the better. They light up when they talk about teaching guests how to paddleboard or leading bicycle tours to the California lighthouse. Passion is a key factor in employee engagement, explains Victor Hernandez, who offers interactions and photo opportunities with colorful parrots and tropical birds each morning. “You’ve got to have passion for what you do and my passion is this,” he says with a huge smile. For Melania Wolff, a soft-spoken housekeeper whose passion is keeping scrapbooks of her guest interactions, it’s all about service. When the 10-year veteran learns of a birthday or special occasion, she purchases cards or small gifts for guests. Her goal is to make a guest’s stay memorable and extra special. It’s one of the things that gives the hotel its competitive edge. It’s no surprise that she is a perennial favorite for employee of the month or quarter.

Melania Wolff shows how much she cares with the special service she gives guests. One way she spreads joy is by leaving cards or small gifts for guests celebrating a special occasion at the hotel.

How can other hotels drive the same kind of passion and results? Farro says it’s also about giving employees respect. “If you trust them, they will trust you. They will make it happen.” Turnover and employee absenteeism have dropped dramatically since the changes have been instituted. Absenteeism fell from 9 percent in 2012 to 3.1 percent in 2013. Lyttleton-Frances said some hotels make the mistake of obsessing over scores. “Don’t fixate on the GSI and Medallia numbers in isolation,” he explains. “Focus on the human beings in your operation that drive those scores.”

because it echoes a feeling of home. With a new look and new ad campaign, we will now appeal to the next generation of travelers, ensuring our success. Our commitment to delivering caring, consistent and comfortable hospitality keeps our guests happy whether they stay in Canada, Costa Rica, India, Panama or the U.S. We’re entering a new phase for the brand, and as someone who has loved this Country for a long time, I couldn’t be more proud. Scott Meyer, Senior Vice President, Midscale Brands, Americas

New look. New reason to say:

“i love this country.”

VOL U M E o n e 2 0 1 4



Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s global metrics show strong momentum in 2013. By Spencer Collins


s the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group continues to increase its collaboration across theaters, leveraging the company’s collective strength is already making tangible improvements to the company’s performance metrics. Here’s a look at just a few of the latest figures.

DEVELOPMENT AND OPENINGS Carlson Rezidor continues to see positive momentum in signings, especially in the Americas, where signings




surged to produce the company’s first net growth since 2008. As of October 2013, Carlson Rezidor had 252 properties, representing 45,121 rooms, in its global pipeline—signed hotels that are not yet open but in some stage of development. This represents an increase from 42,059 rooms in the pipeline as of October 2012. Carlson Rezidor’s hotel openings also continued positive growth.

From 2010 to October 2013















% Increase


26% + 13%




6.3MM 11.7MM




$570 $1.1B $260 2010










Through September 2013, the company had already opened 30 new hotels.

CLUB CARLSON The Club CarlsonSM loyalty program continues its growth surge. At an estimated year-end 2013 membership level of more than 11.7 million, membership has doubled in the past three years. Based on 2012 global figures, Club Carlson members contributed more than US$1.1 billion to hotels. The average annual revenue from each member is US$570 per year, compared with US$260 per year for nonmembers.

GLOBAL SALES For the Global Sales organization, the Preferred Corporate Rate (PCR) program is just one area where efforts are paying off. By focusing on the needs of global corporate clients, Carlson Rezidor successfully launched its global PCR program in 2012—the sales results from this segment speak for themselves. From 2012 to 2013, corporate sales jumped from US$352 million to an estimated US$375 million.

SOURCING Across the enterprise, the Global Sourcing Council has found much success stemming from its work to reduce costs through collaboration and leveraging global purchasing power. The team’s original 2013 target was a savings of US$5 million, but as of October 2013, the group had already achieved a savings of US$5.7 million. Some of the notable projects that make up the bulk of this number and the business units

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


COREMETRICS October 2013 YTD ^As of October 2013


GLOBAL WEB As Carlson continues to invest in new website and mobile enhancements, the company’s key Web metrics are soaring. From 2010 through forecasted 2013, global Web revenue is up 26 percent. Web conversion—in other words, turning “lookers” into “bookers”—is up 7 percent. In addition, global Web share of revenue is up 13 percent.

SNAP Carlson Rezidor’s key revenueoptimization tool, SNAP, or Stay Night Automated Pricing, is gaining in popularity as hotels rely on the software to help them make pricing decisions. The company estimates global compliance at 50 percent, compared with 43 percent compliance in 2012. Usage in Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw the biggest jump—the theater was at 27 percent compliance in 2012 and at 40 percent compliance in 2013.















that benefited from the work include the following: • Amenities: US$2.3 million (Hotels) • IT services and hardware: US$1.5 million (Hotels, Restaurants, Carlson Wagonlit Travel [CWT], Carlson) • Small-parcel freight: US$318,000 (Hotels, Restaurants, Carlson) • Office supplies: US$495,000 (Hotels, Restaurants, CWT, Carlson) • Training and survey systems: US$336,000 (Hotels, Restaurants, Carlson) • Fitness equipment: US$316,000 (Hotels)












E X T R AOR D I N A RY Experience Meetings available at, and offerings vary by, participating hotel. ©2013 Radisson Blu. All rights reserved.

VOL U M E o n e | 2 0 1 4



caring for our

communities Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group celebrates 10 years of giving back. By Zoe Murphy


arlson Rezidor was proud to celebrate 10 years of Responsible Business Action Month (RBAM) in 2013. What started with 80 hotels has grown to 1,100 properties worldwide pitching in to help others. In addition, through Club CarlsonSM, loyalty members donated 2 million Gold Points® to World Childhood Foundation, a donation matched by the Carlson Family Foundation. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Inge Huijbrechts, vice president, Responsible Business, The Rezidor Hotel Group, says, “Especially for the 10th RBAM anniversary, we defined 10 activities that all hotels could easily implement. With 690 activities in total, our hotels really made a difference in their local communities. A number of activities have had a truly global impact, like the eBay auction for World Childhood Foundation that collected €9,000 [US$12,078].” Huijbrechts reports that Radisson Blu®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Hotel Missoni® hotels in 70 countries raised €107,000 (US$147,371) to support World Childhood Foundation. Employees also collected €133,000 (US$183,180) for local causes, many related to protecting children. In the Americas, hotels donated time and raised money for local charities. “It is always inspiring to see hotels join in RBAM activities, but this year, they have shown that Responsible Business has become a part of their culture by adding




activities throughout the year,” said Brenda Schultz, director, Responsible Business, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The Carlson Rezidor headquarters in Minneapolis also committed to ongoing Responsible Business activities with the implementation of the new Bright Green program, designed to raise the environmental awareness of employees. In its third year of observing RBAM, Asia Pacific achieved 100 percent participation, while introducing some significant environmental initiatives and a new Children at Risk initiative. The theater set a target of a 10 percent reduction in key environmental indicators by 2015. Hotels have had their effort monitored through the EarthCheck program. To date, 25 hotels have earned Silver certification, and the regional office in Singapore has earned Gold certification. Andrew Spain, senior manager, Responsible Business and Procurement, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, says that some areas are experiencing high rates of child mortality. The hope is that the company can help reduce those numbers. “By working with organizations that focus on the root causes of child mortality, such as access to proper health care, immunization and education on hygiene and nutrition, we aim to make a longer-lasting impact,” he adds. Among the hundreds of activities that support local needs in each theater, here are just a few highlights.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4





India—Shashikant Maurya, IT executive, Park Plaza, Noida, India, needed financial assistance for his 2-year-old son, Raunak, to undergo a complex surgery to repair a congenital hearing loss. As a result of his deafness, Raunak also had a total speech impairment. Doctors strongly believed that Raunak would be able to hear if he had the procedure. Coming from a very humble background, Maurya could not afford the

the Park Plaza Sukhumvit raised $4,000 for water filtration units.



China—Properties in Shanghai recently offered a great example of collaboration. Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Gou Hotel Shanghai, Radisson Blu Pudong Century Park, Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World, Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai Hong Quan and Radisson Blu Resort Wetland Park Wuxi all came together to focus on helping the children from Shanghai QiXing Special School. The school takes care of 167 disabled children between the ages of 7 and 15. The properties worked together and managed to raise more than CNY34,990 (US$5,700) for the school.




required INR850,000 (US$13,800) for the operation and treatment. Carlsonians from more than 20 properties and the regional office in India sprung into action and contributed INR750,000 (US$12,000) to help make a difference in the life of Maurya and his son. Raunak’s preoperative tests have been completed, and he will soon undergo surgery to restore his hearing and, ultimately, his speech.

Philippines—As part of Carlson’s 75th anniversary celebration, a ceremonial tree planting was held during the Asia Pacific region’s General Managers’ Conference at Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu last October. In partnership with Plant-It 2020, Carlson Rezidor Asia Pacific planted 7,500 trees in areas in the Philippines and India currently faced with extensive deforestation issues




Thailand—Hotels have taken it upon themselves to be more responsible when conducting their activities. A great example of this has been Park Plaza Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok where staff created awareness around environmental issues by selling 800 reusable shopping bags. They raised more than US$4,000 to buy three water filtration units for a local school and 450 sanitation kits for the kids as part of their Children at Risk contributions.



Australia—Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney raised more than US$32,000 for World Childhood Foundation and Autism Australia. The hotel staff came together to plan and coordinate multiple events to raise funds to improve people’s lives.



India—At the Park Plaza Gurgaon in India, a group of employees visited the Janta Institution for the Blind. The facility is home to 50 residents who were born blind or lost their sight due to an accident or illness. The hotel arranged for Dr. Hitendra Ahooja, a pioneer in eye transplants, and R.S. Jain, head of Niramaya Charitable Trust, to ask hotel employees about eye donations. Seventeen of the hotel’s employees signed the donor cards and pledged their eyes. Additionally, 20 employees from India’s Radisson Hotel Varanasi also committed to donating their eyes to the Varanasi Eye Bank Society, which works toward improving the sight of more than 1,500 blind patients currently awaiting donors.


ANDREW SPAIN senior manager, Responsible Business & Procurement, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group “I’m proud of the fact that our hotels have a never-give-up spirit as we continue to ask for more and more and they continue to deliver. It speaks to the character of the region that against all odds we will come together and Make our Mark.”

7 ADOPT A SCHOOL Fiji—The Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island contributed to its Adopt a School program by donating more than US$35,000 in cash and in-kind donations to local schools. The program focuses on making the biggest possible impact with raised funds. Donations range from computers and school supplies to commercial kitchen utensils and Internet access. The money and donations will go a long way toward improving the lives of more than 3,000 schoolchildren.

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4





Guatemala—Staff from the Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City enjoyed a full day of activities with 71 children at the Hospice St. Joseph. The children at the facility all suffer from terminal diseases such as AIDS, cancer and hepatitis and have been abandoned by their parents. Staff shared a meal with the kids and enjoyed a clown and magician show. In addition to donations of basic goods, each child received a wooden name badge and a handmade doll created by hotel employees.



United States—At Carlson’s world headquarters in Minneapolis, corporate center employees joined colleagues from Carlson corporate, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to participate in their fourth annual Habitat for Humanity project. Collectively, the group worked on their fourth home, having donated more than 2,500 hours per house. Corporate center employees also donated more than 300 backpacks to one of their North Minneapolis partner schools, KIPP: Stand Academy, a public charter school offering free, open enrollment with a college preparatory curriculum.


Costa Rica’s solar panels. 86


United States—The Radisson Hotel La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin, U.S., held a food drive that yielded 2,505 pounds of product and US$1,054 in donations for the Wafer Food Pantry. Twenty-five employees participated in the drive and many more contributed.




Costa Rica—Costa Rica is known for sustainable tourism, and the Park Inn by Radisson San José is supporting that as the nation’s first LEED Gold Certified Building in the new construction category. At the new property, the sustainable building practices include a reduction of 54 percent of the total fresh water consumption, a reduction of 100 percent for potable water on toilets and the installation of 52 solar panels, which provide 36 percent of the building’s energy.

BRENDA SCHULTZ director, Responsible Business, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group “It is truly amazing to see how much can be


accomplished when all of Carlson Rezidor hotels from

United States—The Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis hosted its fourth annual Childhood Fun Run on September 21, during which 60 participants raised a total of US$4,373 to benefit World Childhood Foundation. Among the runners were Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, his wife, Petra, and their faithful canine running companions, Paul and Toni.


around the world join together as a group to support both their local communities as well as larger global causes.”

SCHOOL SUPPLIES United States—Carlson Rezidor Business School participants at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, in Minneapolis, filled 230 backpacks with school supplies for local schoolchildren and for the children of clients at Breaking Free (a group that helps women and girls escape prostitution and sex trafficking). The Omaha Reservation Center held a backpack drive to benefit the Open Door Mission, volunteered at the Omaha Food Bank filling backpacks with food for kids and hosted a blood drive for the American Red Cross.

› VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4





Poland­—Three years ago, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow and UBS Poland initiated the first Poland Business Run—the first-ever charitable run to fund prostheses for local handicapped children. It has grown into a hugely successful run in three cities: Krakow, Poznan and Katowice. The run raised more than €90,000 (almost US$124,000) and included more than 4,600 runners this year. The money raised from the event will buy artificial limbs for five people. Wojciech Liszka, director of sales and marketing, Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow, and Tony Roberts-York, chief executive officer, UBS Poland Service Centre, developed the idea. In Krakow alone, 2,200 people took part in the event, including 35 employees of Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow, Park Inn By Radisson Hotel Krakow and the Radisson Blu Hotel Wroclaw. The Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow team also volunteered time to run the event’s marketing campaign. “I can’t believe that so many people get involved in this wonderful action,” says one of the beneficiaries of the event, 25-year-old Agnieszka, who was born without legs. “I am very touched. This is the best day in my entire life—I will be able to walk.”



Baltic states—A Radisson Blu team cycled 750 kms (466 miles) of the Baltic Way and collected €10,000 (US$13,594) for Care Mobile, a clinic that brings healthcare to children in remote Latvian villages. The Baltic Way runs through three Baltic states where a human chain peacefully started the independence process in 1989. Andrejs Gavars, regional Responsible Business coordinator and front office manager, Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel in Riga, was the driving force behind the event.

Middle East—The Middle East’s popular charity drive “The Box Appeal” returned for its sixth consecutive year. The program was the bright idea of two creative employees: Biya Levy and Nicholas Fernandez of the Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Media City. Fifteen Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson hotels in seven countries distributed 15,000 boxes filled with everyday necessities for people in need. This equals an in-kind donation of about €300,000 (US$407,820). As a result of the campaign’s charitable efforts over the past 12 months, The Box Appeal received a prestigious World Travel Market Global Award.



during the 6th box appeal, 15,000 boxes were filled.



Belgium—Seventyeight team members of the Rezidor Head Office and the three Carlson Rezidor hotels in Brussels volunteered each day in September in Brussels with Serve The City. A team of five spent the afternoon helping out in two childrens’ shelters, a home for the elderly, a kitchen for the homeless and giving language classes to asylum seekers. Among the volunteers were Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group.



The Netherlands—Three Carlson Rezidor hotels in Amsterdam organized an 18-hole Street Golf event in the business park around the Schiphol Airport hotels. To top it off, golfers could try to land a golf ball in a convertible car parked 100 m (1/2 a mile) away. The event raised €11,000 (US$14,953) for KIKA, a Dutch fund supporting kids with cancer. The three organiziers were Peter-Paul van Eijck, René Zweers and Wouter Maas.


INGE HUIJBRECHTS vice president, Responsible Business, The Rezidor Hotel Group

“The enthusiasm of our hotels in this anniversary action

Poland Business Run.


month exceeded all our expectations. In the close to 700 activities of our hotel teams, you really see the caring heart spirit attending to local social needs and working to protect children globally. In the 10 years we have run RBAM, this was the largest positive impact ever.”

BLISTERS FOR BREAD South Africa—More than 50 employees of the Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson Hotels In Cape Town, South Africa, walked the Blisters for Bread charity walk in support of the Peninsula School Feeding Association because “You can’t teach a hungry child.”

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4






Global Travelers Three bloggers accept Carlson Rezidor’s Gold Points® challenge. ow far can you travel on Gold Points? That question inspired the official launch of Club CarlsonSM Global Travelers, a contest to show how far someone can travel around the world using Gold Points. Three travel bloggers, James Clark, Nora Dunn and Sherry Ott, were approached to take on the challenge, each trekking across different regions of the world in three weeks. The prize: 2 million Gold Points—1 million to keep and


James Clark

Sherry Ott

Nomadic Notes lark focused on a selection of destinations around Asia, visiting seven cities: Davao, Philippines; Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand; Mamallapuram and Jaipur, India; and Chongqing and Shanghai, China. Clark had previously visited all of the stops and liked the idea of going back to places that he had loved, Shanghai in particular. “This was an interesting trip for me as I am based in Asia and have been to the destinations before,” Clark says. “It was great to revisit places and see how my perspective on each has changed and also get a second chance to see things I missed the first time around.” He adds that visiting the temples of Mamallapuram and the forts of Jaipur in India were a highlight for him. “In addition to the sights, part of what makes a destination great is the food, so I enjoyed sampling the various dishes­—Thai and Indian food are favorites.”

Illustration by Andy Potts


1 million to give away. One million Club Carlson points equal about 20 nights at a Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group hotel. The contest resulted in 20,900 new Facebook fans and 1,400 uses of the Global Traveler hashtag on Twitter for Club Carlson. During their journeys, the Global Travelers created exclusive blog posts and videos showcasing each destination. Nora Dunn won the contest with more than 42,000 social credits due to people who liked, tweeted or shared her blog posts.

Nora Dunn

Otts World

tt journeyed through the Americas and found one of the highlights of her journey to be New Orleans. “I had only been there once before, and it is such a welcoming place for a solo traveler,” she explains. Her travels included stops in Vancouver, Canada; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; Savannah, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and Aruba. “It always comes down to the personal interactions you make with people—that is the rewarding part of travel to me,” Ott says. “I loved getting behind-the-scenes access to things—being able to be back in the kitchen watching the chefs prepare such amazing works of art was a super experience.” Ott also praised Carlson Rezidor staff, saying “the lovely hotel personnel were so key to my enjoyment of the trip. They went above and beyond what they needed to do.”


Professional Hobo unn’s travels took her throughout Europe: London, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine; and Corsica. One of her favorite moments came when she saw the view from her top-floor room at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen. “It was so breathtaking I truly did a happy dance when I saw it.” Dunn found the experience to be extremely fastpaced, unlike most of her journeys, but it presented a challenge she was happy to take on. “This trip couldn’t have come at a better time in my life,” she says. “I’ve been a full-time traveler since 2007; however, in early 2013, I was in a nearfatal accident. For a while, I didn’t know how—or if—I could keep on traveling. The Global Travelers trip challenged me on many levels, and I feel so alive.”


VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




Honoring Veterans Celebrating those who served in the U.S. military.

or the second year, the Country Suites By Carlson, Burlington, North Carolina, U.S., honored veterans by offering them a free night’s stay. Michael Garner, general manager, was inspired to do the event after flying on Veteran’s Day several years ago. For the second year, the property was already halfbooked by the end of the first day of reservations. In addition to the free night, guests received dinner donated by local restaurants and a gift bag with items donated from area businesses. About 200 people took part in the event. The feedback the hotel received was great—a 100 percent response on Medallia. “It was all 10s across the board,” Garner says. “It was an amazing sight to see. People were happy and provided a lot of good feedback about our hotel and the brand in general.”




Super Singers mployees at the Radisson Blu Plaza Chongqing in China held a singing competition to boost employee satisfaction. The Voice of Radisson Team Member karaoke contest gave team members a chance to flex their creativity. Twenty-six contestants participated in the auditions, and 10 team members were selected for the final round. The three team members who took the top prizes performed at the Responsible Business Action Month and hotel’s anniversary celebration.

Photography (opposite page) courtesy of Christie Hailey; (this page) courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Michael Garner, general manager, Country Suites By Carlson, Burlington, North Carolina (back row, third from left), is pictured with a few of the local service people who enjoyed a free night’s stay at the property in honor of Veteran’s Day; one of the Voice of Radisson Team Members who won the karaoke contest at the Radisson Blu Plaza Chongqing in China; Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group, and staff of the new Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi, which hosted the 2013 Russia & CIS Investment Conference.

russia Conference host Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group hosted the 2013 Russia & CIS Investment Conference, the most important industry event in the region. More than 350 owners and investors, operators, developers and media met for two days at the brand-new Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi under the direction of District Director and General Manager Thomas Hagemann. VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Bavarian Bash Oktoberfest comes to St. Petersburg.

or the 11th year, the Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya hosted an Oktoberfest celebration in its Paulaner Restaurant and Brewery. Hotel staff dressed in national Bavarian costumes welcomed more than 500 invited guests. Four tons of special festival beer were brewed for the event, which started with the uncorking of a keg by General Manager Atakan Turhan. The Bavarian menu included Munich, Thuringian and Nuremberg sausages, meat bread (Leberkäse), crispy pork knuckle and Bavarian desserts.


canada Backyard Bbq Hope’s Home Howl wasn’t your typical backyard cookout. The crowd of about 125 attendees enjoyed the emcee efforts of Saskatchewan’s premier Brad Wall, the songs of Blue Rodeo singer/guitarist Jim Cuddy and the food of Gold Medal Plates-winning Chef Milton Rebello of the Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina. Hope’s Home is Canada’s first medically integrated early learning center, which provides daytime and extended respite services, along with fun and educational programs, to medically fragile children, their siblings and typically healthy children from the community. Proceeds from the event will kick off a capital campaign for a new, larger building. Dorothy Hill, director of sales, Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina, also participated in the Second Annual Eberle & Friends Golf

Classic. Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers, National Hockey League, hosted the tournament, which raised US$303,628 for the Hospitals of Regina Foundation. The money will support the purchase of a gamma camera that will benefit approximately 1,000 children each year.

global VALUES WEEK Celebrating the theme of innovation, Carlson Rezidor’s 2013 Values Week was a time to focus on ways for Carlson Rezidor to move forward while adhering to a philosophy of customer care. Staff participated in experiences that incorporate the Vision 20/20 objectives of fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, being the bright spot for our customers and delivering great results. “[Curt Carlson] fervently believed the best way to motivate people was through specific, measurable and reasonable goals tied to a definite timeframe,” says Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, Carlson. “It was a philosophy he followed himself.”

CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM LEFT Atakan Turhan (back row, 4th from right) and Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya staff; Milton Rebello; Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island housekeeping staff; Stephan Reichelt, Ruth Levy, Mariely Usera, Dionisio Peláez, Felipao and Sonsoles Flórez (left to right); Javier del Castillo at DecoMer



Art Scene adisson Blu Hotel, Madrid Prado took part in the DecorAcción Festival. The colorful, annual design event pairs artists, architects and interior designers with shops, restaurants, bars or hotels to decorate them for a weekend. Four Spanish designers used their creativity to temporarily transform the hotel entrance, the hall/reception and the bar area with their unique style. The event was sponsored by Nuevo Estilo magazine, a bestselling interior design magazine, and the Madrid Town Hall. The hotel also hosted Julio Adán as a special guest star in the Up Gallery, located in the old elevator shaft of the hotel. The smallest art gallery in Madrid, this was the space’s third exhibition. During the festival, a new culinary event, Gastro Décor, was held. There were seven micro restaurants, including DecoMer (below).


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

fiji Housekeeping Week For three years, the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island has participated in a fun week of activities to honor the housekeeping staff. Executive Housekeeper Veniana Turagarua describes the festivities as a time to recognize the entire team and the hard work they do. During the week, staff participated in a bedmaking competition, a brand standard competition and best maids station competition. Participants also had the chance to enjoy other activities, including Zumba, swimming and volleyball. The executive team judged the competitions and gave out prizes at the end of the week. Gerard Knight, general manager, expressed pride in the housekeeping team’s efforts, saying, “The balance of hard work and fun is the secret to a successful team.” VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Connecting learners and instructors in a whole new way. arlson Rezidor has unveiled Learning Link, the next-generation training and development system, which made its debut in January. Learning Link is built on the Cornerstone OnDemand platform and replaces the existing Carlson Learning Network (CLN) system. The program is mobileenabled, allowing employees to access learning anywhere, anytime, from their mobile phones or tablets. Aligned with the company’s Vision 20/20 strategy, the goal of Learning Link is to make online learning not just a place to take compliance training, but also an active place of learning and sharing. Learning Link is designed to be an employee’s online space to learn and chart personal growth. It allows managers greater visibility into their employee’s learning activities, development activities and action items. Managers can delegate functionality to others on their team and access reports and dashboards to monitor employee progress. Additionally, employees can link with colleagues to share best practices and connect with mentors, so that everyone can learn from one other. By linking more than 25,000 Carlson, Carlson Holdings Inc. and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group employees across all theaters and all brands on one, common training platform, Learning Link provides a more consistent, engaging and collaborative learning environment.


asia pacific signature drink Radisson Blu® hotels in Asia Pacific launched 2013 Blu Day celebrations by asking bartenders to get creative with cocktails reflective of the brand’s iconic style. All were vying for the chance to see their creations added to the Blu Signature Drinks menu at every Radisson



Blu in Asia Pacific. Judges selected two drinks by Ashmeet Grover, captain of the Savannah Bar, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi: the BOLD Blu Sapphire cocktail and BREEZY Blu Topaz mocktail. Unfortunately, Mr. Grover passed away in the latter half of 2013. He is fondly remembered by colleagues and the entire Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Asia Pacific.

united states


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Illustration by Dale Edwin Murray

The Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown is the first property in the area to sponsor a GREENbike station. GREENbike is a nonprofit bicycle sharing program that debuted in Salt Lake City in April 2013. General Manager James Courtney expects the program to be popular. “This amenity, plus our proximity to the airport light rail line, allows our guests to skip the environmental costs of vehicle emissions and enjoy fresher air as they get a little exercise.”


HIGH FLYER About 25,000 people came out to watch homemade, human-powered flying machines take to the air in the first Redbull Flugtag in Qatar. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha in Qatar team participated with a Luminator, or giant Lumi, to put the spotlight on Radisson Blu’s Think Planet activities. The Luminator was built of 100% recycled material, including plastic bottles, old bed linens and plastic pipes from a recent renovation in the hotel.

global Game on Combining the hotel experience with the latest technology, Radisson has launched a new mobile game, Rad Hotel by Radisson. The interactive app challenges players to operate simulated hotels using the brand’s Yes I Can!SM service culture. Players manage

Training Talent wo years ago, six young people walked into the Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to learn how to become hoteliers. After a 24-week training course that included exposure to all aspects of the business, all six have graduated. The training, which was conducted in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia and Youth Career Initiative (YCI), was targeted at young citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. To date the YCI program has benefited about 2,400 students in 12 countries. Two of the graduates are now employed in the hotel.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT GREENbike station in Salt Lake City; trainees at Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; Radisson’s Rad Hotel app; Blu Day winning cocktail, the BOLD Blu Sapphire; Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha team and their giant Lumi.

the operations of a hotel by providing guests with an exceptional guest experience. “Today’s consumers are interacting with brands on multiple levels,” says Richard Flores, vice president, Branding, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “Our venture into the mobile gaming world allows guests to connect with the brand in a new way.” VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



united states PANAMA CITY WINNER The Panama City Beach Award Program has chosen Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., for the 2013 Panama City Beach Awards in the Hotels classification. The award is in recognition of the hotel’s dedication and efforts to help build the property’s business. Each year, the Panama City Beach Award Program chooses the best local businesses that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times.

puerto rico LEADING LADY Miriam Velez Crespo, director, Operations, Radisson Ambassador Plaza Hotel & Casino San Juan in Puerto Rico, won recognition in the Caribbean Business “2013 Women Who Lead” feature, which highlights the movers and shakers in the region. Crespo follows the Carlson Credo attribute of “wherever you go, go as a leader,” and describes herself as “engaged, involved and



enthusiastic about my job.” She adds, “My mantra is: Engaged employees are the backbone of our hotel. We, as a team, make things happen.”

china DEDICATED DOORMAN “Every guest is my old friend,” says Andy An, the 65-year-old doorman at the Radisson Blu Hotel Beijing. That attitude is part of the reason he won Best Individual Award at the 14th Capital Tourism Forbidden City Cup during the Mid-Autumn Festival. An has been with the property for 13 years and has been nominated six times as Employee of the Month for the hotel. In 2010, he won the Employee of the Year Award for The Rezidor Hotel Group. Guests recognize his dedication, warmth and helpfulness. One guest wrote, “I stay in this hotel because Andy is here.”

World Honors he World Travel Awards acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Ten Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties received recognition during the 2013 World Travel Awards, the 20th anniversary of the honors. They are the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik (Leading Hotel, Iceland); Radisson Blu Balmoral Hotel, Spa (Leading Spa Resort, Belgium); Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi (Leading Hotel, Georgia); Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin (Leading Business Hotel, Germany); Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki (Leading Business Hotel, Finland); Radisson Blu Resort, Sharjah–United Arab Emirates (Leading Hotel, Sharjah); Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort, Aqaba (Leading Beach Resort, Jordan); Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina (Leading Hotel, Belize); Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow (World’s Leading Luxury Business Hotel/ Leading Luxury Business Hotel, Europe/Leading MICE Hotel, Europe/Leading Hotel Residences, Russia); Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Jersey (Leading Hotel, Jersey).


Top Spot Renovated Radisson Blu Hotel Nantes honored.

he Radisson Blu Hotel, Nantes in France was recognized as the Opening of the Year 2013 (Renovation or Conversion) at the European Hospitality Awards 2013. The hotel beat out strong competition from some of the world’s best new hotels to take the top spot in one of the most contested categories. “I’m so proud to see the Radisson Blu Nantes recognized,” says Cyril Casabo, general manager. “It is truly an honor to accept this award on behalf of the hotel and my team.” Architect Jacques Cholet and interior designer JeanPhilippe Nuel were behind the conversion of the hotel, the former Palais de Justice, an elegant building that was constructed in 1851. Behind the classic facade, the 142 modern guest rooms feature brown tones and white furniture exclusively designed for the hotel. Additionally, the property’s main restaurant, L’Assise, located in the former court room, was a finalist in the Restaurant of the Year category Now in its fourth year, the European Hospitality Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the hotel industry across a number of key elements of the business.



plaza praise Which? magazine recently named Park Plaza® amongst the best hotel chains in the U.K. Park Plaza County Hall London was recently awarded Best Food & Beverage strategy at the Springboard Awards for Excellence for its L’Italiano restaurant. It opened in November 2012, as a concept developed to entice the family market, and since then its year-to-date food revenue has increased by 86 percent. TOZI Restaurant & Bar, adjacent to Park Plaza Victoria London, just opened in March 2013 but has already been ranked as the second best restaurant in London out of more than 12,000 establishments.


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

UP AND COMING The Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur has been named the Best Upcoming Business Hotel in Gurgaon Bilaspur by the publishers of Today’s Traveller magazine. Today’s Traveller Awards were instituted in 2007, and they acknowledge and celebrate excellence across all sectors of tourism, corporate and entertainment industries.

LEFT TO RIGHT Andy An, Radisson Blu Hotel Beijing I Regina Apakina, PR manager, Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow; Graham Cooke, president and founder, World Travel Awards; and Nona Davitashvili, executive assistant manager, Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow during the 2013 World’s Leading Luxury Business Hotel presentation I Exterior of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nantes in France, which was recognized at the European Hospitality Awards 2013 I Staff from the Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Best Dish entral One Restaurant, located in the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandton Johannesburg in South Africa, was the winner of Best Dish in the first official Restaurant Week South Africa. The winning entrée was Chef Stuart Cason’s filleted baby chicken with butternut puree, braised lentils, tomato, and shimeji mushrooms.


Big Win Honoring Asia Pacific’s hospitality leaders.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Best Dish at Central One; Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island staff, including Gerard Knight, general manager (2nd row, 3rd from left), and Simon Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (2nd row, 4th from left); Angels’ Wine Tower Bar, Radisson Blu Zurich Airport; David Bayly, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney (right).



erard Knight, Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, won the HM Award for Best General Manager in the South Pacific. Knight commented on the award, “I felt very humbled to be accepting an award as the


switzerland airport haven Food Republic named Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport one of the World’s Six Best Airport Hotels for Food-Minded Travelers. The hotel’s Angels’ Wine Tower Bar, with its 50-foot-tall tower of wine, was one of the reasons the hotel received the honor.


best general manager in the South Pacific, which was clearly only made possible by the 320 fantastic Fijian individuals that make up our team.” At the same event, Simon Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, was highly commended as Asia Pacific Hotelier of The Year, while the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island received commendations under the Fijian Property category. The HM Awards are hosted annually by the industry-leading magazine Hotel Management. This event is an important awards night for the hospitality industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Australian ASSETS The 16th annual Tourism Accommodation Australia Awards for Excellence honored Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney’s David Bayly and Wayne Arthur with Employee of the Year awards. Peter Tudehope, general manager, says, “Both are invaluable assets to our team.”

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Rainbow Bright Celebrating openness and diversity in Iceland.

eykjavik Pride Weekend has grown to be one of the largest per capita pride festivals in the world since it started 15 years ago. The colorful event brings tens of thousands of people into the city center every year to show solidarity with the gay community in Reykjavik. The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel wanted to find a creative way to support the festival. They decided to change the entire exterior of the hotel with rainbowcolored lights to be a colorful focal point during the event.


united arab emirates OFF-DUTY AID When the front desk at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek received a request for three cars and a big van to take some guests to the airport, Rafiudheen Kariadath, valet parker, volunteered to help. Even though Kariadath was off duty, he went to help and stayed an additional three hours to help transport the guests and their luggage to the airport. His willingness to help showed that he is a true team player.

united states GIFT OF TIME Anro and Eileen Erickson spent their wedding night at a Radisson in Minneapolis in 1948. Eileen Erickson was planning a surprise 65th anniversary dinner at the Radisson Suites Tucson, in Arizona, U.S., where they now lived, when Anro Erickson passed away less than a month before the milestone. When the hotel con-

tacted the family to finalize the dinner, the Ericksons’ daughter Terri McKeown explained the situation. The hotel offered to have Mrs. Erickson and her three children enjoy a complimentary dinner. After considering the offer, Eileen Erickson decided that her husband would want the family to be able to have this time together. Anro Erickson did not want a funeral service, so the night gave the family an opportunity to share their remembrances. Terri McKeown says, “We have posted this story on Facebook and told it to many friends and family. Many people are seeing Radisson Hotels in a new light because of the generosity offered to our family.”

england Best in Britain In a new survey of more than 8,000 readers of Which?, an online travel magazine, Radisson Blu Edwardian was ranked as the second best hotel chain in Britain. Radisson Blu Edwardian earned a score of 77 percent for its customer service, just one point shy of the winning hotel.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik; Rafiudheen Kariadath, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek; Komsan Bumfapatan, Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit; Olga Chernova, Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv; Ravinder Sheoran, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka



Lost & Found hen guests at the Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit in Thailand contacted the front desk for assistance in finding an iPhone they left in a tuktuk (a traditional taxi in Thailand), Security Officer Komsan Bumfapatan offered to help. He accompanied the guests back to the tuktuk terminal near Baiyoke Tower, but the odds of finding the driver at the popular tourist attraction were slim. Fortunately, the guests spotted the driver, who was caught in a traffic jam. This allowed Bumfapatan to reach him before he tried to drive away. The driver initially denied having found the phone, but Bumfapatan convinced him that it was better for him to return it than have the case reported to the police. The tuktuk driver eventually agreed and returned the phone to the guests, who were ecstatic and praised Bumfapatan for his willingness to help.


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Care and Concern One employee goes above and beyond in a crisis.

avinder Sheoran, security officer, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka, showed commitment to his work in ensuring guest safety by helping to administer first aid to an infant boy during a banquet event. The baby’s mother was holding him when she slipped and dropped the baby. The infant began bleeding profusely from the lips after the fall. Sheoran sprang into action when the baby continued to cry in pain. Understanding that time was of the essence, he tried to help the parents hail a taxi at the hotel entrance so the baby


Fast Thinking ousekeeping Supervisor Olga Chernova, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv, had finished her duties, but wanted to help a colleague and lead others with her Yes I Can!SM attitude. She realized that four passports had been left in a room’s safety box. The front office received a call from the guests, who were at the train station, leaving in 10 minutes. Chernova knew every second counted, so she immediately took a hotel car and delivered the passports in five minutes.


could be seen by a doctor. When no taxi was immediately available, Sheoran opted to rush the baby and his parents in his own car to the nearest hospital. Speaking with the hospital staff, Sheoran ensured that his guests were well taken care of and stayed with the family until the baby could be seen by a doctor. Typically, Sheoran is responsible for valet parking and traffic management during evening banquet events. When asked about what moved him to take such extraordinary action, he responded, “I have one daughter who was two years old when this incident happened. When I saw the baby fall, all I could see was my daughter’s face on the injured baby and what I myself as a father would do in that situation.” VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Crisis Averted

Two stories show how quick thinking protected guests. eneral Manager John Losasso, Radisson Royal Hotel, St. Petersburg, noticed a man behaving suspiciously in the hotel bar near guests’ luggage. Losasso secretly asked one of the employees, Julia Anisimova, to come to the bar in casual clothes, as if she were a guest, carrying a bag with her. Anisimova sat next to the suspicious man and left her bag out of her sight. Losasso’s suspicions were correct. The man made an attempt to grab the bag, but when he did so, the chief of security stopped him. Lossaso says, “Unfortunately, crimes happen everywhere in the world, but a little more attention and caution can protect our guests.” Another member of the staff, Natalia Prigara, director of sales, offered her own aid to a visiting tourist group. The group checked out of the hotel and was about to leave the city from the seaport when they discovered that they had forgotten several boxes with very important documents at the hotel. It was late, but Prigara was still at work. Aware that the ship was scheduled to depart in an hour, Prigara drove the boxes to the guests in her own car and, with the help of a bellboy, delivered the heavy boxes to the tour group before the ship left the dock.




Helping Hand hen Ada Wimerly and her two children lost their home due to a fire in their apartment building, the Red Cross and other community charities made it possible for them to stay in the Country Inn & Suites, Frackville (Pottsville), Pennsylvania, U.S. Wimerly found one employee, Kelly Barnes, front office supervisor, to be extremely thoughtful. “Each and every time my family and I walked through the doors when Kelly was working, we were greeted with sincere concern about if we had found a place to live and how everyone was coping. Wimerly soon secured a new living situation. Unfortunately she wouldn’t be able to move in for four days, and she had only two more paid nights at the hotel. That is when Barnes stepped in to help. Barnes learned that Wimerly and her children would be homeless for two nights, so she decided to use her own accrued Gold Points® to pay for the additional nights. “She prevented my children and I from being homeless,” Wimerly says. “I will be forever grateful for the day I walked through the doors of the Country Inn & Suites, and met this real-life angel by the name of Kelly Barnes.”


Pen Pals A random connection results in a surprise gift.

arel Vojta, a breakfast cook at Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, Prague, showed a great example of customer service and astonished a U.S. guest in the process. Vojta, a university student, struck up a conversation with the guest and discovered that the guest’s friend had studied at the same university. The guest showed an interest in having a T-shirt from the university. Vojta wrote down the guest’s mailing address, bought the T-shirt and sent it to the guest.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Natalia Prigara, Radisson Royal Hotel, St. Petersburg; Ada Wimerly (center), with her children Chastity and Adam, and Kelly Barnes (second from right) and Courtney Hossler (far right), general manager, Country Inn & Suites, Frackville (Pottsville), PA; Karel Vojta, Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, Prague; Ceyhun Kanbirog˘lu, Lale Saniyeog˘lu and Müge Ag˘ciog˘lu, Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel, Istanbul; Virgaudas Kaukenas, Modestas Jokštas, Kristina Zadarackienê, Josifas Dzedziukievicˇ ius and Mantas Akulionis, Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, Vilnius.

Extra Effort For All

The Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel, Istanbul gave three guests something to smile about. Lale Saniyeog˘lu, who works at the front desk, aided a guest who left his passport in his room upon checkout and was at the airport 25km (15 miles) away. Saniyeog˘lu arranged for a hotel taxi to take the passport to the guest, who was then able to catch his

lithuania Above and beyond Staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, Vilnius, displayed their stellar customer service in multiple ways and delighted numerous guests in the process. First Headwaitress Kristina Zadarackienê and Waiter Mantas Akulionis said Yes We Can!SM when a guest requested a four-person à la carte dinner served on his room balcony. Next, Virgaudas Kaukenas, who was working in the open kitchen at that time, overheard an elderly guest asking for the breakfast buffet late one evening. Without being asked, he made an omelette for the gentleman and asked the waiter to deliver it to the guest’s room. After assisting a guest with directions to another hotel, Receptionist Modestas Jokštas was alerted by housekeeping that the very same guest had left her glasses. Jokštas contacted the taxi company to return the guest to the Radisson. The guest was very impressed by the prompt action taken by the staff. Finally, a corporate event was planned in the hotel’s Sky Bar that incorporated a 3-meter-high (9.8 foot) photo wall. When it was discovered the photo wall would not fit in the elevator, Josifas Dzedziukievicius, technician, carried the large item up to the 22nd floor and helped place the photos.

flight. Guest Services Representative Müge Ag˘ciog˘lu helped a visiting couple find a local musical instrument shop. The grateful travelers were very touched by her efforts and gave Ag˘ciog˘lu a drawing as thanks. Ceyhun Kanbirog˘lu, bell captain, won praise for his care of an injured guest. He called an ambulance and took her to the hospital, staying to help translate. VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Smart Meetings The latest innovation in meetings and events is unveiled.

he global premiere of Smart Meetings & Events, a new innovative concept, took place at the biggest congress hotel in St. Petersburg, the Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya Hotel. The event gathered representatives of 36 Radisson Blu® and Park Inn® by Radisson hotels from Russia, CIS countries, Baltics, Sweden, Denmark, U.K. and Poland. “We are delighted to launch the brilliant Smart Meetings & Events concept in Russia, as it is one of the most important markets for Carlson Rezidor,” says Tom Flanagan, area vice president for Eastern Europe, The Rezidor Hotel Group. The event included a creative video presentation outlining the ideology of the concept and describing its key components. After the presentation, guests had an opportunity to get acquainted with the details of the Smart Meetings & Events concept in a specially constructed Smart Box, an innovative booth featuring two interactive platforms dedicated to Club CarlsonSM and Think Planet.


united states Heart of the House Housekeeping Appreciation Week is a great time to show the housekeeping staff how much they are appreciated. Chevin Gladden, general manager, Country Inn and Suites By Carlson, San Antonio Airport, Texas, U.S., celebrated her staff with a luncheon, as well as special prizes, games and gifts. “Our Heart of House staff works incredibly hard all year long but don’t get the recognition,



praise and other accolades our front-of-house staff do,” Gladden says. She and Executive Housekeeper Lucy Ramos worked hard to ensure they created a great week for their team.

england POWER LIST Jasminder Singh, chairman and chief executive officer of the Edwardian Group Limited, has been named to The Power List. Now in its third year, the list honors Asians from all walks of life, including politicians, philanthropists, musicians and others, who are making a difference in the U.K.


Nordic swan The Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport, Gardermoen Hotel achieved one of the strictest environmental labels for hotels, the Nordic Swan. The designation focuses on four main areas: energy, water, waste and chemicals. The property secured points for smart environmental initiatives ranging from the selection of organic food to waste sorting. Thorbjørn Andersen, chief engineer, Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport, Gardermoen Hotel, says, “It has been a long but exciting process with many challenges. Everyone contributed in some way to achieving this. This is a new hotel with the latest equipment in heating and ventilation; this has made the job a bit easier to achieve the requirements in terms of energy. The largest investments to reduce water consumption have been changing all shower heads and replacing several chemicals.”


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

diamond pins Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi celebrated its first anniversary by rewarding staff with new Yes I Can!SM pins. Five received three-diamond pins: Thomas Hagemann, general manager; Alexander Kovalenko, chief of security; Alena Mikoelyan, accountant; Irina Volostnikh, deputy chef confectioner; and Ruslan Voronov, deputy chief security. Two earned two-diamond pins: Vladimir Kachanov, security department officer, and Bella Konnova, brigadier chef kitchen. Three earned one-diamond pins: Svetlana Golubeva, Congress Centre director; Vladimir Natikach, assistant manager of the Congress Centre; and Alexander Rusanov, security department officer.

Colorful Party colorful, contemporary party marked the 10th anniversary of the Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen Airport Hotel. Four body-painted artists adorned with the Park Inn by Radisson colors welcomed about 100 guests at the event. There were also four-color drinks and a fire show by the artists. “We are proud of our wonderful hotel, which after 10 years continues to deliver outstanding service,” says Wicki Maria Larsen, general manager. With its recent renovation and convenient location, only 10 minutes from Copenhagen’s vibrant and charming city center and a short stroll to one of Europe’s best urban beaches, the hotel is perfect for both business and leisure travelers.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The global premiere of Smart Meetings & Events; Frank Wennevik, director of sales and marketing, Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport, Gardermoen Hotel (left), Marte Thorkildsen, Norwegian minister for consumer affairs, and Thorbjøn Andersen (right); Wicki Maria Larsen (center), Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen Airport Hotel; Thomas Hagemann (left), Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi general manager, with Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group; Jasminder Singh, Edwardian Group Limited; Lucy Ramos (back row, third from left) and Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, San Antonio Airport staff.

VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4




World Childhood The commitment to helping others has been a lifelong philosophy for the founding family of Carlson. Diana Nelson, chairman of the board, CarlsonSM, shared in a blog post on World Childhood Foundation why the group’s work is so important to her and her family. “We became involved as a family and it was an important part of taking a stand for children, not only in Minnesota and the U.S., but in the world,” she writes. Beginning in 2004, Carlson launched fundraising efforts that have benefited the foundation in both project funding and in raising awareness of prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation, which is Childhood’s main focus. More than US$250,000 was raised for World Childhood by hotel employees and customers in 2012. Nelson says, “We have a special relation-



ship with Childhood, through our business, Carlson, through the Carlson Family Foundation and through active service on Childhood’s board by three Carlson family members. We are pleased to be involved in project funding, governance and the creation of fundraising events throughout the year.”


Designer dreams It wasn’t out of any desire to win an iPad or even bragging rights that Executive Housekeeper Shivani Singh and Purchase Manager Vipin Bisht, both of the Country Inn By Carlson Delhi Sake, in India, tapped into their creativity to design an entry for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s 75th Anniversary Global T-shirt Contest. The two enjoyed the experience and hoped to win the competition and give the prize money to the Home for Destitute Children near the hotel that the property recently adopted. “If we can put our T-shirt on all those Carlsonians out there, it’s going to be for these kids here in Delhi,” says Pratip Kumar Mazumdar, general manager.

Five-Star Fanfare adisson Blu Hotel, Maputo—Mozambique’s first international five-star brand—opened in February to great fanfare. The property offers fantastic views of the Indian Ocean. It held a grand opening ceremony in September with the president of Mozambique, Armando Emilio Guebuza, as guest of honor. The property is a collaboration between Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and the Rani Group.


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Diana Nelson, chairman of the board, Carlson, blogged for World Childhood Foundation; Airina Thay holding the scissors for the ribbon cutting at the opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo in Mozambique; General Manager Ashraf Naguib (back row, center) and the staff of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis saw to the safety of guests during difficult times in the country; the Blu Connect Council fosters a culture of happiness for the staff and guests at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills in India.

Eat Light Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Illustration by Sam Brewster

100 percent vegetarian hotel offers dishes for all.

ountry Inn & Suites, Sahibabad is the only all-vegetarian hotel in Asia Pacific, as well as the only vegetarian five-star hotel in India. “The hotel owner believes in vegetarianism; as such the hotel’s food and beverage concept follows his belief right from the start of operations,” states General Manager Sushil Chug. The property serves Indian and international vegetarian food that can also appeal to nonvegetarians. “We have modified many recipes that are originally non-vegetarian by substituting the meat with vegetarian ingredients and made various attempts to ensure the taste and texture is similar to meat dishes,” Chug continues. Some of its regular patrons are non-vegetarians who keep coming back because they find the options delicious, and they like that it is healthier. “Being 100 percent vegetarian is a novel concept that sets us apart from the competition,” Chug concludes.


egypt Safe and Secure Difficult times in Egypt saw staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis rise to the challenge after authorities imposed nighttime curfews due to unrest in the city. General Manager Ashraf Naguib says, “These were difficult days and nights in Cairo. But our staff all became heroes to step forward to guarantee that all of the hotel’s operations ran smoothly, efficiently, safely and with professional calm. I don’t think any of our guests would ever have noticed any difference from our usual highest standards.”

india Happiness Business The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills in India considers itself to be in the “happiness business.” More than a mantra for customer service, the hotel aims to keep employees happy so they can better foster guest happiness. The property created the Blu Connect Council (BCC), an employee-centric initiative to empower and encourage staff to express their opinions, think creatively and have a sense of ownership over their work. VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4


Coffee Craze hen Radisson began its search for a new in-room coffee supplier, it was important to identify a source with exceptional quality and one that shared the brand commitment to environmental and social responsibility. BD Imports, an importer of green (unroasted) coffee from experienced native exporters, offered the right approach to sourcing and importing exceptional coffees, while working with local growers to understand and represent their unique business goals. The coffee has been so well received by guests that several have even contacted BD Imports to find out how they can purchase the coffee to use in their own homes. “BD Imports is doing some really great work in our world,” says Susan Mason, vice president, Radisson Franchise Operations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “I’m proud that we’ve partnered with a company so committed to a quality product while building relationships with its local suppliers, and then taking that next, essential step with them to cultivate business skills that will help them sustain their businesses for years to come.”






OBAMA VISIT The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar hosted U.S. President Barack Obama when he visited Senegal. The hotel won the top award at the recent World Travel Awards for the country. “Seeing Radisson Blu become the leading hotel in Senegal, in such a short period from the hotel’s opening, is a validation of Rezidor’s goal to establish the brand as the premier upper-upscale hotel choice in Africa,” says Andrew McLachlan, Rezidor’s vice president for business development in Africa & Indian Ocean Islands. “Considering the spate of top awards that the hotel has won recently, it is no surprise that the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, chose Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar during his visit to Senegal,” he adds.

BLANKETS TO BREAD The Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London has partnered with London’s Waterloo Quarter Business Improvement District and the Waterloo Food Bank on a program that raises funds for the hungry by recycling old textiles through First Mile Ltd., a local recycling company. In the first year, the property expects to recycle more than 1,000 towels, 300 pillows and 300 blankets. “We understand that by making positive choices we can all reduce our effect on the environment, and every effort has been made to increase our sustainability as a company, with Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London receiving Considerate Hotelier of the Year 2013,” says Daniel Pedreschi, general manager, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London.

U.S. President Barack Obama with Jorgen Jorgensen, general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Illustration by Sam Brewster


Sophisticate Plus – Chef’s New Favourite The Best Tool for Show Cooking Anywhere, Any Time... • The only mobile, foldable, self-contained induction cooking table range with streamlined controls available on the market today. • Choice of 5 configurations to suit your specific catering needs–maximum 2 cooking or 3 warming induction units per table. • Hygienic; scratch, stain and heat resistant, easy to clean, durable granite composite work top–available in choice of 4 colours to complement any interior. • Laminate and wood trimmed finishes available on request. • Tables fold and nest for compact and efficient storage.

One Day. One Room. Multiple Uses. CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION USA: +1(925) 941.1700 | Europe: +44(0) 1303.234000 | The Middle East: 9714.294.2633 |


STEVE BROWN ILLUMINATES THE ROAD OF INNOVATION FOR CARLSON Four questions for Steve Brown, senior vice president, chief information and innovation officer, Carlson What is the focus of the innovation AGENDA? Carlson Rezidor has a tremendous opportunity in an industry that has room for innovation. Vision 20/20 envisions the company competing differently, changing from delivering a hotel stay in a market commoditized by large-scale players to delivering a brand-driven, differentiated customer experience. What are some of the challenges? The vast breadth of the organization and its customer touchpoints require that the company come into tight alignment around its approach to innovation and closely coordinate its activities. The innovation strategy requires a different level of collaboration in order to accelerate impact. What is your team working on? We are working to align the leaders and the organization around the strategy, alter internal processes to reward behavior that encourages innovation, introduce collaboration capabilities that connect team members, build and implement an ideation and prioritization process to allow innovation to surface, and launch “small opportunity� teams to tackle key strategic challenges. What do you hope to accomplish next? We need to achieve a balance between the relatively long timeline of moving the culture forward and building foundational innovation capability with the urgency required to move fast and introduce innovative concepts that differentiate our brands.

WRITTEN BY: Deborah M. Bernstein PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Erika Ludwig



VOL U M E ON E | 2 0 1 4



Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach

Club Carlson℠ is the global hotel rewards program from the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Club Carlson redefines hotel rewards with a collection of exceptional benefits, services, and privileges at more than 1,000 participating hotels worldwide including: Radisson Blu, Radisson,® Park Plaza,® Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.℠

More Points Earn 20 Gold Points® per U.S. dollar spent on eligible hotel nights, and on meals and beverages charged to your room.

Free Award Nights Enjoy faster free nights – starting at 9,000 Gold Points, with no blackout dates on standard rooms.

Free Internet Stay well connected. Members enjoy free Internet at more than 1,000 Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide.

Like us Follow us @clubcarlson

Terms and conditions apply. ©2013 Club Carlson. All rights reserved.

Elite Rewards Stay often to earn Elite membership and enjoy access to exclusive benefit options including: complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout, and Elite Rollover Nights.

Hotline V114 Americas  
Hotline V114 Americas  

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group's employee magazine looks at the company's transformational growth in the first issue of 2014.