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The Magazine for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

The Americas PLUS WHY IS THIS CARLSONIAN

SMILING? Long-term employees share the secrets to workplace happiness

Ambition 2015 Midterm Report Chatting With Carlson’s New Chief Recent Renovations Unveiled


NEW NEW TRU B LU MARCH 2013. THE MARCH OF BLU CONTINUES IN THE U.S. THE NEWEST NEW BLU OPENS ITS DOORS. MOA™ MN. ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS SHOPPING DESTINATIONS. AND RADISSON BLU. GET CONNECTED. DIRECTLY. NOW YOUR FAVORITE MALL HAS YES I CAN!SM ATTITUDE. GORGEOUS ROOMS. COOL SPACES. MEET. GREET. EVENTS. PARTY. FITNESS. POOL. AND THE ALL NEW FIRELAKE N0.2 BAR AND RESTAURANT. NEW NEW BLU. IT IS YOU. SMILE.

RADISSON BLU MALL OF AMERICA Bloomington, MN 55425, U.S.A. radissonblumoa.com © 2012 Radisson. All rights reserved.

LOBBY, RADISSON BLU MALL OF AMERICA

MOA


The Front Desk TA B L E O F C O NTEN TS | H O TLI N E TH E AM ER I C AS | V312

18

22

28

34 FEATURES

The People’s Choice / By Matt Mullen Carlsonians everywhere applaud as Trudy Rautio, a company veteran, steps up as chief executive officer. . . . {18} Experience Counts / By Ginny Gaylor What happens when a hotel’s staff boasts hundreds of years in combined guest service savvy? See for yourself. . . . {22} Tools for the Job / By Jennifer Chappell Smith Six programs, field-tested and proven to help Carlson Rezidor properties drive sales and increase revenues. . . . {28} Down to Business / By Kelly Thore Managers and employees from across the Americas grow their skill sets at the Carlson Rezidor Business School. . . . {34} Upgrades with Elegance / By Judy Kenninger Recent, full-body renovations give these Carlson Rezidor properties a lush new charm. . . . {40}

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54

40

65

DEPARTMENTS Executive Column . . . {06} Celebrating accomplishments with an eye to the future

Making a Difference . . . {48} Employees band together in the name of Responsible Business

Core Metrics . . . {10} Mapping the company’s progress toward Ambition 2015

Hotel Legend . . . {54} Rezidor’s own Kurt Ritter shares a big announcement

New Arrivals . . . {14} Nine properties join the Americas’ portfolio this year

Partner Profile . . . {56} Denise Estefan helps boost Radisson® in Latin America

A Credit to All . . . {16} The new Club CarlsonSM credit card adds perks for loyal customers

Talk the Digital Talk . . . {58} An update on all things social media, including how to get started

Employee Profile . . . {46} Rosanne Swanson keeps her finger on the pulse of Carlson Rezidor

Hotline News Plus . . . {60} Noteworthy highlights and honors from the field

On The Cover /

Long-term employees demonstrate commitment in satisfying Carlson Rezidor guests.

/ Photo by Ellen Barnes H OTL IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 5


Hotline The Americas | V312

Journey to the Top More steps ahead on our path to be the best. I By Molly Biwer

W

hat a year! The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group made great progress on our Ambition 2015 strategy in 2012, and we had some big announcements as well. As this issue of Hotline The Americas reflects, Carlson Rezidor is well on its way to number one, as we reach for our next level of success. In one of this year’s biggest newsmakers, the CarlsonSM Board of Directors announced on

2

H O TLIN E T H E A ME RICAS

August 19 that they had elected Trudy Rautio as president and chief executive officer. Trudy has been a senior executive with Carlson for 15 years. She’s only the fifth chief executive in the company’s 74-year history and Carlson’s second female president and chief executive officer after Marilyn Carlson Nelson. Many of you already know Trudy, a true Carlsonian, for her work to develop mentoring programs within the organization. Always a believer in helping others to achieve their highest potential, she has been a mentor to me and many others. We’re so happy to have her lead the next phase of our company’s growth. Read more about her vision for the future on page 18. Another Year of Success As Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, notes on page 6, the hotel industry will face some major changes over the next decade. We’re positioned to thrive, given our Ambition 2015 accomplishments so far. See what those milestones look like, by the numbers, in our Ambition 2015 midterm report on page 10. I’m thrilled to report an increase across the board in our Kenexa employee engagement scores, especially a 12 percent jump in Minneapolis! It says a lot about our executive team’s leadership and the positive affect it has on our business. We cover many other exciting things in this issue. Club CarlsonSM has announced its new credit card; read more about it on page 16. Also, learn how our gorgeous hotel renovations are improving business on page 40. Of course, Carlson Rezidor’s goal to be number one couldn’t be accomplished without its people. The long-lasting relationships that employees have built with guests and among each other are a big part of our success. We celebrate the stories of just a few in “Experience Counts,” page 22. And in our employee profile, on page 46, we recognize a member of my team with whom I’ve had a lasting friendship, Rosanne Swanson. But this single issue will not be enough to truly recognize the commitment of our employees who

P ho t o gr a ph y by D a v i d B o w m an

Editor’s Letter


The Magazine for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

The Americas Publisher Thorsten Kirschke, President, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

have a long history with the company. As we approach our 75th anniversary next year, Carlson Rezidor would like to recognize and thank its valued long-term employees in a new series of articles in Hotline The Americas. (See “20 Over 20,” right.) Honors and Accolades We’re capping off this banner year with some exciting award announcements as well. In one of the biggest, Carlson Rezidor won “Hotel Group of the Year,” the top award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris! We were recognized for outstanding achievements in innovation, development, human resources and business performance. In addition, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, had more good news to share this year. The hotel was honored with a “Design Award” from Lodging Hospitality magazine; a “Silver Award in Hospitality” in Travel Weekly’s annual Magellan Awards; a “Development of the Year” finalist honor at the American Lodging Investment Summit; a “Best Hotel Design” Gold Key Award at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show; and a “2012 Fodor’s Choice” selection. On top of those awards, Hospitality Management magazine recently named the hotel’s general manager, Pierre-Louis Giacotto, as a “GM to Watch.” Finally, our own Hotline The Americas won another round of honors this year in the Custom Content Council’s Pearl Awards, with a silver award in design for our “Hello Aqua” feature and a bronze award in the Best Special Issue category for our 2012 Global Business Conference issue. These success stories are certainly a fitting end to the year. Keep those stories coming—let's plan on celebrating even more in 2013. Happy holidays!

Editor-in-Chief Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Managing Editor Deborah M. Bernstein, Director, Internal Communications, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Supporting Editor Susan Ryan, Manager, Internal Communications, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

We want to hear from you! In each issue going forward, Hotline The Americas will celebrate 20 employees who have 20 or more years of service with the company or its hotels. For submission requirements, visit CONNECT or email us at hotlinetheamericas@ carlsonrezidor.com.

Contributors Laura Archer, Mark Caskie, Jaimey Easler, Christie Hailey, Jean Herr, Lynn Larson, Matt Mullen, Jacqueline H. Ponzoni, Kelly Thore, Carrie Ward, Christine Xoinis Design | Custom Content | Production pacecommunications.com Suggestions and Advertising Please contact Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, and Editor-inChief; Hotline The Americas, hotlinetheamericas@carlsonrezidor.com, +1 (763) 212-2901 Hotline The Americas serves as the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s magazine for the Americas. Hotline The Americas 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 The Americas is printed with a satin UV (ultra-violet) coating. UV coatings do not emit volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. They are compatible with standard de-inking processes for recycling of paper. © 2012 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved. Hotline The Americas by the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. 701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka, Minnesota. 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 the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Disclaimer | The information contained in Hotline The Americas is not a franchise sales offering. Part of the information presented in Hotline The Americas reflects data and information provided to the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group by hotels operating under Carlson Rezidor brands, which may be independently owned and operated. While the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data may change prior to this 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 the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, please visit www.carlsonrezidor.com. Web | To view Hotline The Americas online, visit www.carlsonrezidorhotlinetheamericas.com.

Molly Biwer Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


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Exec Column L EAD I N G G LO B AL H O TELS

appointed to the newly created role of chief commercial officer. Suzy now leads our commercial strategy within the Americas and will be responsible for strategy development and the overall integration and alignment of Analytics; Loyalty and Online Strategy, including Social Media; Revenue Optimization; Sales; Distribution; and Channel Management. She’ll also join me in co-chairing the Global Revenue Council, which develops our global go-to-market strategy. I’m also delighted to announce that Bob Kleinschmidt has been named to the newly created position of chief financial officer, Americas. In his new role, Bob continues as chief development officer and takes over the former duties of Suzy. Bob oversees Finance, Strategic Sourcing, Legal and Hotel Development. Bob was instrumental in bringing Radisson Blu to fruition in the Americas. Additionally, he led the complex Radisson Blu Mall of America and Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago deals in spite of difficult financial market conditions. I also applaud him for his tireless efforts that led to management contract renewals over the past two years. As part of their handover, both Bob and Suzy bring us our Ambition 2015 midterm report tracking key performance indicators on page 10. The numbers show our company ready to head to the next level of success! Finally, Joy Linsday makes another strong addition to our team as vice president, Human Resources, Americas. One of her key responsibilities will be to develop and implement a three-year human resources strategy to support Ambition 2015. Her skill in bringing diverse teams together for Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Kirschke leads the overall strategy for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s brands in the Americas.

Looking Forward It’s time to think about our next evolution. I By Thorsten Kirschke

F

or the past two-and-a-half years, we’ve asked a lot of ourselves as a company, but we have risen to the challenge. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is now halfway through its Ambition 2015 strategy, and the progress looks very encouraging. We are going to accomplish exactly what we promised when we announced the strategy in 2010. Since then, the company has rolled out an incredible number of new initiatives—from revenue generation programs, to our Club CarlsonSM loyalty program, to enhanced training programs for our employees, to the launch of our flagship Radisson Blu brand in North America. Our accomplishments are almost too many to list. And, although development is lagging due to constrained financial markets, we continue to make progress in that area as well. Building a Global Team One area of focus has been building a global team and organization. First, Suzy Riesterer, formerly executive vice president, Finance and Administration, has been

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Photography by Joe Trevelen

Development 2013 Investment Outlook the collective pursuit of business goals will be especially beneficial to the company. Beyond 2015 Ambition 2015 was a strategy designed to drive our company ahead after the economic slowdown from 2007 to 2009. It was a necessity to ensure the best possible path forward for the company. For the next few years, our strategy will not change. There is still much to do—we must maintain our sense of urgency to drive results faster and further. But because we are delivering so well on our objectives, it has given us space to think what life will look like after Ambition 2015. Earlier this year, the Carlson board of directors named Trudy Rautio as president and chief executive officer of Carlson. Trudy was instrumental in developing the Ambition 2015 strategy for hotels as well as Carlson’s other businesses, and she’s currently leading our team to create the vision of where the company wants to be in 2020. (See “The People’s Choice,” page 18.) Future Trends As we progress, one thing is certain—the hotel business is going to look very different in the next decade. We are already embracing these changes. Some of the future industry developments that will impact us include: 1. Developing and emerging markets. Rapidly developing economies, such as China, India and Brazil, will provide the biggest opportunity for global expansion. We continue to aggressively pursue growth in these markets. 2. Brand scale segmentation. The traditional hotel segments—luxury, upper upscale, upper midscale and midscale—will need to become increasingly distinct to target niche groups of customers. Our company is clearly differentiating itself in each of these segments to maintain the integrity of its brands. 3. Changing demographics and consumer behavior. The next generation of consumers will demand different, highly customized travel experiences. Carlson Rezidor will pilot

Prospective hotel owners may have an easier time finding financing in 2013, according to Bob Kleinschmidt, chief financial officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Cautious optimism describes the general mood in the hotel investment community. “We’re getting a few new builds coming back, and we’re starting to see a little bit of the light at the end of the tunnel in the financing market,” he says. Development in the midscale segment has been especially limited the past two years. “Many owners of midscale hotels might own just one or two hotels, and finding lending from smaller, regional banks has been difficult.” Despite a sluggish economy, Carlson Rezidor has maintained a strong pipeline of potential new hotels in the Americas, with nearly 40 hotels that may soon join the nine the company added this year. (For more on this year’s new hotels, see “New Arrivals,” page 14.)

H OTL IN E TH E A M E R I CAS 7


Hotline The Americas | V312

Exec Column Going Mobile Connected World As consumers increasingly use mobile devices to access and engage with online content, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has seen traffic to its sites mirror this trend. The company continues to expand and enhance its websites and mobile offerings to meet the needs of its guests.

CARLSON REZIDOR INTERNET TRAFFIC 2010

2012

97%

78%

Desktop

Desktop

16%

3%

Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones

6%

Tablets

on-property mobile applications to give guests information about the hotel, order room service and see their room charges. Other innovations may include Internet-accessible televisions. 4. Investment climate and competitive intensity. Companies will have to work smarter and faster to secure investment dollars and win business. To increase our competitiveness, our sales teams continue building relationships with group and corporate accounts of all sizes: With one key client, Corporate Lodging Consultants, we have grown revenue by more than $7 million for hotels in the Americas since 2010! We’re helping our hotels be more efficient and effective with Requests for Proposals, and our enhanced Preferred Corporate Rate program is generating large increases in corporate travel bookings. 5. Potential of evolving technologies. Technology will become a major player in the hotel industry, which historically has been slow to adopt. Carlson Rezidor will continue expanding and enhancing our website and mobile offerings to meet the needs of customers. The focus will be on a more personalized experience that gives the customer even more 8

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control over travel planning with things like online check-in and checkout, room selection, and adding amenities such as theater tickets to reservations. 6. Corporate social responsibility. Increasingly, customers will want to do business with companies that act responsibly with regard to people, community and the environment. Here the company is emerging as a leader, winning numerous awards for ethical conduct and sustainable operations. The initiatives I mentioned are only the beginning of our work in these areas. We are in a prime position to address these trends and can all be excited about what Carlson Rezidor will continue to accomplish. Celebration of Achievement In closing another exciting year, it’s important to note that our progress couldn’t have come without a great deal of hard work from our employees and partners. I extend my heartfelt appreciation for your commitment. It’s taken all of us to build on our history of true hospitality in preparation for our next level of success. I want to wish you happy holidays and extend my best wishes to you. Let’s get ready for another year of achievement in 2013! ■


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H OTL IN E TH E A M E R I CAS 9

*Terms and conditions apply. The creditor and issuer of this card is U.S. Bank National Association ND, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.


Ho t l i n e T h e A m e r i c a s | V312

Core Metrics of strategy milestones and performance indicators. “We are really starting to see the impact of our investments on our metrics here in the Americas,” says Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor. “We’re right on track,” adds Bob Kleinschmidt, chief financial officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor. “What’s more exciting, this is where we start to see an acceleration of growth in our numbers.” (For a detailed look at some of the company’s key metrics, see “Changing Gears,” page 12.) Brand Positioning The first of Carlson Rezidor’s five Ambition 2015 strategy themes is to establish clear, compelling positioning for each brand, supported by meaningful product and service innovation. In this area, perhaps the launch of Radisson Blu in the Americas made the biggest splash. Next spring, the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, will join the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin. The company’s planned multimillion-dollar renovation at the Radisson Plaza–Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia will also convert that property to Radisson Blu, and Carlson Rezidor continues looking for expansion opportunities in key gateway cities. Looking ahead, the company plans to reveal details of its Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM Generation 4 designs in early 2013 and will soon roll out an exciting new look for Park Inn by Radisson in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Operationalize the Brand Promise The second theme—operationalize the brand promises through investments, operational excellence and people—is about making the ideas behind the brands a reality, says Kleinschmidt. “Here, rising Quality Performance Review and guest satisfaction scores show we’ve been making great strides.” In addition, nearly 50 percent of Radisson hotels in North America will have completed Product Improvement Plans by the end of 2012. Bob Kleinschmidt, chief financial officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Kleinschmidt oversees the company’s development, investment and finance strategies for the Americas.

Picking Up Speed Carlson Rezidor accelerates into 2013 and beyond. I By Matt Mullen

A

fter nearly three years of impressive initiatives and investments, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has made “good” to “exceptional” progress against the goals within the five themes of its Ambition 2015 strategy, say company executives. The news stems from Carlson Rezidor’s recent analysis

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Photography by Freed and Joe Treleven

It’s paying off: For renovated hotels, Revenue Per Available Room is up 10.5 percent and Revenue Generation Index is up 6.7 points. Carlson Rezidor has committed to significant renovations in the company’s owned and managed hotels, including the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa, Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown and Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport. “We are not just asking franchisees to invest,” says Kleinschmidt. Optimism in a Tight Market In the strategy’s third theme, accelerate development with clear geographic and business model priorities, Carlson Rezidor’s growth efforts, like its competitors, have been slowed by a cautious lending environment in the wake of the global economic downturn. Still, the company is starting to see signs of improvement, and has more than 40,000 rooms in its global pipeline. (See “Development 2013,” page 7.) Win the Revenue Battle To “win the revenue battle through superior marketing, sales and distribution,” Carlson Rezidor committed more than $60 million in investments to bring the company’s hotels $414 million in incremental revenue by 2015. By the end of 2012, the company expects to be over 35 percent along the way to its goal. The company attributes this progress against its revenue generation goals to the development of a number of key initiatives, including the relaunched Club CarlsonSM loyalty program that now features a branded credit card. (See “A Credit to All,” page 16.) Team Works The final Ambition 2015 theme—build a global team and organization aligned with key priorities and based on a culture of performance—may be the most critical, says Riesterer. “None of this could have happened without the hard work of our people.” The brands’ rising guest satisfaction scores are due to employees who are delivering great experiences, she says. “The takeaway for employees is to maintain the momentum and energy around Yes I Can! SM, Be Our Guest and Adding Color to Life SM.” In this area, the company hit another big milestone in November. The 2012 Kenexa Employee

Engagement Survey showed Carlson Rezidor jumping to the top 25th percentile for Kenexa norms, quite a leap from the 50th percentile ranking that the company saw in 2009. On to 2015 At the halfway mark of its strategy, the company is poised for another level of success, says Kleinschmidt. “The next couple of years are where we can really start to stand out from competitors with industry-leading programs.” “Given what we’ve all accomplished in the last few years, we believe a lot more is possible,” Riesterer adds. “In 2015, I think we’ll be doing things that we couldn’t have even imagined in 2010.” ■

Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Riesterer leads the development of the company’s commercial strategy in the Americas.

H OTL IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 11


Shifting Gears

80

Strategy Roadmap

60

As the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group passes the midpoint of its five-year Ambition 2015 strategy, the company remains on track to meet or exceed the majority of its goals. Carlson Rezidor’s key performance indicators provide a snapshot of company success halfway through a transformative journey.

100 80

40

60

Hotels using Revinate

20

Carlson Rezidor is helping hotels take control of their online reputation through tools such as Revinate, a software platform that monitors customer sentiment on the Web.

20

Rooms in the pipeline, 2012

5,912

Openings, 2012

0 2009

2015

As of Q3 2012

Evolution of Success

In the Americas

Source: Carlson Rezidor

0

Global Growth 40,733

Rooms

40

Something to Talk About 32%

in thousands

Despite strong economic headwinds, Carlson Rezidor is making solid progress against its development goals. As of Q3 2012

Carlson Rezidor anticipates continued improvement in financial performance as Ambition 2015 investments provide increasing returns.

Quality Counts Overall, QPR scores at Radisson continue to improve; condition scores have declined due to hotels under renovation. (102 hotels) As of Q3 2012 ÂŽ

Purchasing Power Through new initiatives, the strategic sourcing team is lowering costs for the company and its hotels.

Increase in rebates from beverage suppliers

+65 %

80 70

Bringing it Home At Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, hotels are embracing the Be Our Guest service training launched in 2011, and guests are giving fitness centers high marks. Quality Performance Review (QPR) scores show strong improvements.

QPR

Medallia Guest Surveys

QPR Cleanliness

Staff Role in Experience

QPR Conditions

0.4%

+.03 Fitness Center

+.03

QPR Brand Standards

9.0% 12

H O T LIN E T H E A MERICAS

2012 (Round 1)

90

Previous agreement

1.7%

2011 (Round 2)

100

60

Overall Scores

Cleanliness

Conditions

Brand Standards

Increasing Online Carlson Rezidor has invested millions in website and mobile development to bring in more revenue through its brand sites. As of Q3 2012

Service Concepts Detail

$

2015 global Web revenue target

$

2012 global Web revenue (USD)

1 billion 504

million

10


Business Boosters

00

140 Brand Contribution

57%

Radisson has shown great improvement across key Medallia metrics.

160

2015 99

92

8

7

95

CIS RGI

*YOY, August 2012

Survey Says

40% 2009

+167%* nights

Carlson Rezidor’s Global Sales team continues to deliver more revenue to hotels, in part by strengthening its relationship with Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), the U.S.’s leading negotiator of workforce lodging rates.

120

2011

Radisson RGI

180

6

2012

GSI*

SPI*

PPI*

LPI*

YIC*

85 2009

World of Radisson

2015

QPR service concept compliance has increased in all areas except 3-Hour Express Laundry and Business Class.

200

Room counts declined as low-performers left the brands. The company predicts a surge in revenue going forward.

QPR Service Concept Compliance 2011 (Round 2)

Committed Colleagues Raising employee engagement scores was a key Ambition 2015 goal for Carlson Rezidor. Measured by employee survey, the company saw engagement take a big jump from 2011 to 2012 across all brands and corporate staff members. Source: Carlson Rezidor, Kenexa As of November 2012

5

+

%

Radisson

6

+

%

Corporate

6

%

Park Inn by Radisson

Increases since 2010

4

+

%

Country Inn & Suites

34%

18% 10 % Global brand Web conversion

0

As of Q3 2012 (102 hotels)

+

Global brand Web share of revenue

Global Web revenue

2012 (Round 1)

Late check out Express check out 3-Hour Express Laundry Super breakfast High Speed Internet Extra Thoughtful Care Music Moods Grab & Run Business Class 100% Guest Sat. Guarantee SM Yes I Can!

Join the Club With a big launch in 2011, Club Carlson set a new industry standard for loyalty programs. • Average member stays 13% longer per stay • Average member stays twice as many nights as a non-member • Members come from 250 countries SM

As of Q3 2012

20

40

60

80

100

Club Carlson Loyalty Members Millions

8.4

9.2

6.6

At launch

At one-year anniversary

Current members

H OTLPerformance IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 13 SM *Guest Satisfaction Index, Service Performance Index, Product Performance Index, Loyalty Index, Yes I Can!


This page: The Radisson Petra Concepci贸n, Chile Next page, top to bottom: The Country Inn & Suites Minot, North Dakota; a night scene in Buffalo, New York; Country Inn & Suites Dover, Ohio; the Radisson Hotel Maiorana Bel茅m, Brazil

NEW ARRIVALS By Deborah M. Bernstein

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group adds to its list of hot hotels in the Americas. 19 4

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Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or Ho t e l G r o up

C

arlson Rezidor is flying high when it comes to hotel openings this year. With nine hotels added to its brands—five newly constructed hotels and four that have rebranded—the company is on track to meet its Ambition 2015 goal to grow its portfolio by at least 50 percent. For Radisson®, Latin America is a hot region with the opening of three new-build hotels. The Radisson Petra Concepción in Chile and Radisson Hotel Maiorana Belém in Brazil opened this year. A third hotel is scheduled to open in Colombia in the first quarter of 2013. “In Latin America, Radisson is an upper-upscale brand,” explains Jean-Marc Busato, area vice president, Latin America, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “With the opening of the Radisson Hotel Maiorana Belém, Brazil, Carlson Rezidor has accrued critical mass in the world’s fifth-largest country.” Earlier this year, Radisson named the Radisson Petra La Dehesa in Santiago, Chile, as its 2011 Hotel of the Year. With the addition of the newly built Radisson Petra Concepción, Chile, which is owned by the same company, another star is emerging. The hotel is in the heart of Concepción’s new financial and commercial district and is conveniently located across from the region’s largest convention center. “It’s contemporary, like our Santiago hotel, but custom; local building components have been included, such as the use of clay and wood in the interior finishing,” Busato says. Next on the list? A resort just 10 minutes from the walled city of Cartagena—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—scheduled to open in early 2013. The 233-room Radisson Hotel Cartagena, Colombia is being constructed on the Caribbean Sea. A spa on the 10th floor overlooks the lagoon in the back and open seas in the front. U.S. Success The United States is a hotbed of development for Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM as the brand adds three new properties and three rebranded ones. Two of the three new builds offer outdoor verandas, which are a reinterpretation of the brand’s signature porch. You’ll find them at the Country Inn & Suites Dover in Ohio and Country Inn & Suites Buffalo South I-90 in West Seneca, New York. At the Buffalo South hotel, an outdoor gas fireplace keeps guests toasty during chilly nights. In North Dakota, the third new-build hotel, the County Inn & Suites Minot, opened May 9. “It is a beautiful hotel located in a booming economic area 40 miles from the Canadian border,” says Keith Gartland, district director, Country Inns & Suites, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Country Inns & Suites also opened rebranded hotels in Corpus Christi and Temple, Texas, and in Port Clinton, Ohio. The continued growth is another step forward in the company’s plan to expand the brand globally by 250 hotels by 2015, primarily in the United States, Canada, India and Mexico. Also in the United States, the growing Park Inn by Radisson brand picked up a landmark hotel, the rebranded Park Inn by Radisson Fresno, in sunny central California. The property is the first Park Inn by Radisson in “The Golden State.” ■ H OTL IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 15


ClubCarlson

Fact | Club CarlsonSM members spend more and stay more often than non-members.

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16

A Credit to All

The new Club CarlsonSM Visa ® rewards employees, customers and hotels. | By Suzanne Bopp

A

lready, employees and guests alike are buzzing about the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Signature Visa credit card. Launched on December 1 as the latest addition to the company’s growing loyalty program, the card promises plenty of extra perks across the board, including more free nights, Gold Points® and more—and not just for guests. “These credit cards will boost customer engagement and drive customer loyalty to our brands,” says Brad Macdonald, senior director, Customer Strategy, Analytics and Partner Marketing, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “Employees can earn rewards as well by enrolling new customers.” The Club Carlson card program, co-branded with Visa and established in partnership with U.S. Bank, was years in the making. “We’re being very

aggressive with the program and getting the word out,” Macdonald says. “We designed it to be the most rewarding card in the industry.” For example, customers with the card earn points for every dollar spent—and double points for every dollar spent at Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide. On top of those perks, cardholders also enjoy bonus award nights. “Any time they go to redeem points at a Carlson Rezidor hotel for a free night, we’ll give them an additional night on top of that, totally free, just for having the credit card,” Macdonald says. “It’s a rich benefit guests can get excited about. That’s the sizzle factor.” Employee Rewards Guests aren’t the only ones racking up extras. Hotel staff also earn benefits through an incentive system for each customer they enroll in the program.


Illustration by Ilovedust

Taking Charge Upping Enrollments “Employees are the most important ambassadors for the card,” Macdonald says. To help hotel staff members fill that role, Carlson Rezidor is providing properties with brochures to hand out to guests, as well as marketing displays to advertise the card. Employees can also refer guests to the program’s website, www.clubcarlsonvisa.com, for more information on the card and its benefits. Spreading the Word Guests can apply for a credit card in many ways, though having employees refer them to the online application during their visit is the company’s preferred method, Macdonald says. “We’re also inviting those who call in for a reservation through Carlson Rezidor’s call centers to sign up. From there, we transfer interested callers straight to U.S. Bank to begin the application process,” he adds.

To help keep track of enrollments, hotel staff members should write their employee numbers on each application handed out to customers. When a customer applies for the card, Carlson Rezidor can then reward the employee through the existing Club Carlson for Employees program. Employees interested in learning the best ways to talk to customers about the card can find training documents on CONNECT. “These materials can help employees present the program and its many benefits to prospective applicants,” Macdonald says. Properties should also display the program’s collateral materials for guests to see. “Most importantly, employees should be thorough, ensuring that every Carlson Rezidor customer has been invited to enroll,” Macdonald adds. “It truly provides benefits for all.” ■

To maximize the new Club CarlsonSM Visa credit card program, hotel employees should: • Take advantage of training documents on CONNECT. • Display the program’s marketing collateral around the hotel. • Enroll guests. For a chance to earn employee Gold Points®, ask customers to apply when appropriate.

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By Matt Mullen | Illustration by Montse Bernal

THE

’ PEOPLES

CHOICE Carlson SM looks to veteran Trudy Rautio to lead the company’s next level of growth. The move came swiftly, but Carlsonians are already saying she’s a perfect fit. Even for a person with a long history in a fast-paced business, Trudy Rautio was

surprised by how quickly she found herself promoted from executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer of Carlson to the helm of the company earlier this year. Shortly after an August 19 phone call from Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairman, Carlson, to offer Rautio the position, the board of directors announced that they had elected her as president and chief executive officer. One day later, to enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation, Rautio gave a speech to employees worldwide in a Carlson town hall meeting, saying that while the move was unexpected, she was both grateful and humbled by the honor. The news soon made headlines around the world.

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A 15-year Carlsonian, Rautio swiftly transitioned into her new role as the company’s fifth chief executive in its 74-year history. Hotline The Americas recently caught up with Rautio to get her perspective on the business and to learn what employees can expect going forward. HOTLINE I You’ve been closely involved in helping develop and implement the Ambition 2015 strategy. What can we expect in the next few years? RAUTIO I There will be an emphasis on both

the performance and the caring aspects of the business. Those things won’t change. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group will continue the work it’s doing around revenue generation, progressing in our competitive index and improving the

“Trudy is highly respected. She’s probably the most effective go-to person in the company.” —Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairman, Carlson portfolio. We’ll provide the same level of care for guests—whether it’s Yes I Can! SM, Be Our Guest or Adding Color to Life SM. And we’ll continue deploying planned initiatives as part of the Ambition 2015 strategy. One is the Generation 4 redesign of Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, which we’re debuting in the Americas. We’re going to launch the next generation of Park Inn by Radisson in Europe and India, and we’re continuing the product improvements with Radisson® in the Americas. Carlson Rezidor will also focus on Radisson Blu in both emerging markets and in key cities in the Americas. HOTLINE I What about longer term? RAUTIO I Our work doesn’t stop when we

reach our Ambition 2015 goals, so we’re already developing the next strategy that will carry us to 2020. We have lots of growth opportunity in emerging markets. Carlson Rezidor has a 20

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very strong foothold in India, and we’ll be looking at investing more there. We’ll also be exploring more strategic investments in the Americas. This is a long-cycle business, so it’s important to plan ahead. HOTLINE I Your career includes time as president of the hotels business in the Americas. How has the industry changed since you came to Carlson? RAUTIO I It’s clearly consolidated. The big

players have created a lot of brands, and they’re continuing to segment and recreate themselves. Carlson Rezidor has the opportunity to do that as well. Scale has become increasingly important, in terms of programs like loyalty membership, information technology and marketing funds. At the same time, niche hotel brands have continued to evolve. This shows there is room for innovation in this industry. So, we’ll be looking at how we use innovation strategically. HOTLINE I Generally, the industry has had difficulty securing lending for hotel projects. What’s the outlook for development? RAUTIO I We’re seeing money free up for

renovation projects; there seems to be an increasing amount of capital available for that kind of work. The money for new-build projects and reconstruction is still very tight. I don’t see that changing in the very near term because of economic headwinds from Europe. We will have to work harder to make deals, but Carlson is very good at that. One key market to mention is New York City. We are really willing to invest there; we just haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet. HOTLINE I Will Asia continue to be a hot market? RAUTIO I There’s no question that Asia is

going to be a fast-growing part of the world, although this region’s growth has slowed from its peak. We’re investing with a partner in a launch of Park Inn by Radisson hotels in India and will continue to look for those kinds of opportunities. We believe that the midscale segment will provide the most


opportunity, but like the Americas, we are underrepresented in key cities, so we’re also looking to further the expansion of Radisson Blu into major markets like Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. HOTLINE I Can you provide a quick snapshot of Carlson’s other businesses? RAUTIO I All of the businesses have their

own Ambition 2015 objectives, and they’re all making significant progress. Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is moving ahead aggressively on its objectives. Doug Anderson [president and chief executive officer, CWT] and his team have done an outstanding job. CWT continues to invest in technology; for example, its CWT To GoTM mobile app for business travelers won this year’s Global Business Travel Association award for app innovation of the year. Our restaurant business has also advanced. Nick Shepherd [president and chief executive officer, Carlson Restaurants] and his team have looked at all ends of the business. They started with the service elements of T.G.I. Friday’s® and launched a new service program for employees. Then, they tackled the menu, launching new menu items while retaining customer favorites. Finally, they’ve looked at remodeling the physical structure of the restaurants and have created a phenomenal prototype in Nashville with an open kitchen and a lot of new seating. T.G.I. Friday’s will be working at expanding that concept over the next couple of years. HOTLINE I You are the company’s second female chief executive officer. Do you think your appointment paves the way for others? RAUTIO I There are few [female chief execu-

tive officers]; it’s more representation so that others are more likely to view women in leadership positions as commonplace. If you look at hotels, restaurants or travel, women are underrepresented in the executive ranks, so figuring out a way to unlock that potential—and working with Nancy Johnson, [executive vice president,

Development, Americas, Carlson Rezidor] who headed up the American Hotel and Lodging Association on initiatives like that—will be very important for me. HOTLINE I You are well-known within Carlson for your belief in the importance of mentoring. Has mentoring played a role in your success? RAUTIO I Yes, mentoring provides a forum

where you can get advice from someone who has been there ahead of you. It’s a forum that’s non-judgmental. I think it has helped watching Marilyn for all these years and how she dealt with relationships and furthered the goals of the business. She’s been a real mentor to me, along with many others in the organization. I feel fortunate. At this time, I just happened to be where they needed me.

“By all accounts, the small-town girl grew up to be a remarkably savvy executive.” —Travel Weekly HOTLINE I You’ve said the Carlson Credo will help guide your decision-making. What are your feelings about the Carlson legacy? RAUTIO I I started right before the Carlson

60th anniversary celebration, where Mr. Carlson first read the Credo. It’s also been reaffirmed by the [Carlson] family as the values they want employees to embrace. Marilyn often says that business can be a force for good. If you’re representing those values, you can’t help but do good for your employees and for your stakeholders. HOTLINE I One of the Credo tenets is “Dream with your all.” What are your dreams for the company? RAUTIO I I think if we meet the objectives

that the family has for a sustainable, profitable organization that’s active in the community, I’ll be very proud. We’re approaching our 75th anniversary. Thinking about helping to lay the foundation for the next 75 years is an important next step. ■ H OTL IN E TH E A M ER ERII CAS 21


Written by Ginny Gaylor

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EXPERIENCE

Where is the loyalty? Right here, say employees of these Carlson Rezidor hotels. Combined, they’ve put in more than 600 years of service. In a time when long tenure with one company is hard to find, these staffers prove that ...

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18 23 3 1 32 2032 16 3 32 34 25 Row 1 (left to right, figures indicate years of service): Grace Serrano, housekeeper, Radisson Hotel Phoenix– Chandler, 17 / Bryon Barrett, maintenance, Radisson Hotel Corning, New York, 23 / Gary Brown, maintenance, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mesa, Arizona, 14 / Melissa Wyatt, general manager, Mesa, 14 / Hortencia Rodriguez, room attendant, Mesa, 13; Row 2: Victor Gilsdorf, maintenance engineer, Chandler, 15 / Lizzeta Guevara, housekeeping supervisor, Chandler, 18 / Gary Wickard, night auditor, Corning, 27 / Edward Hackett, housekeeping houseman, Corning, 23 / Patricia Madigan, grill server, Corning, 36; Row 3: Debra Rose, laundry attendant, Corning, 20 / Kathleen Mattison, cocktail waitress, Corning, 20 / Tammy Rosno, controller, Corning, 22 / Jan Ebeling, CEO, Corning, 21 / Steven Witiaz, property manager, Corning, 24; Row 4: Charlie Felker, pantry cook, Corning, 29 / Rachel Lenhardt, revenue manager, Corning, 20 / Mark Spernyak, maintenance supervisor, Corning, 28 / Rebecca Ahrenberg, room inspector, Mesa, 14 / Su Carpenter, grill server, Corning, 29; Row 5: Cindy Mullaney, grill server, Corning, 33 / Kenneth Comstock, banquet houseman, Corning, 22 / Michael Tacka, grill server, Corning, 29 / Joanne Giese, banquet server, Corning, 23 / Sonja Downing, housekeeping room attendant, Corning, 21; Row 6: Susie Palombo, corporate sales manager, Corning, 38 / Michele Donegan, general manager, Corning, 23 / Johna Story, rooms director, Mesa, 14 / Maxi Padilla, room attendant, Mesa, 14 / Susan Fowler, grill server, Corning, 32


L

ongevity isn’t easy to find in today’s working world.

Rarely these days do employees stay with one company for 10 years, much less 20 or 30. This is especially true in the hotel business. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found in January 2012 that workers in the leisure and hospitality industry had the lowest tenure of any sector, staying in one position an average of only 2.4 years. Despite this, having workers with longterm experience can be hugely beneficial to a company, especially one centered on offering the best service and building strong relationships with its customers. That’s why the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group places such a high priority on employee satisfaction and training programs such as Yes I Can!SM, Be Our Guest and Adding Color to Life SM. Efforts such as these have led to steadily increasing levels of employee engagement. In just two examples, both the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mesa, Arizona and the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York have exceptional records of long-term service by their staffs. The results? Benefits ranging from enhanced employee mentoring to increased guest satisfaction. Enduring Friendships

Since it opened in 1998, Country Inn & Suites, Mesa, Arizona has been under the same ownership and management group. Even more impressive, there are still six of the original employees working at the location who all started at the hotel when it opened 14 years ago. Owner representative Mary Lambert believes employees’ friendships and the hotel’s focus on internal recognition is what has helped retain staff members for so long. “One question they used to ask on [Carlson Rezidor employee engagement] surveys was ‘Do you have a best friend at work?’ We always got a really strong response from that,” Lambert says. 24

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SUSIE PALOMBO 38 YEARS

Corporate Sales Manager, Radisson Hotel Corning, New York


Phoenix’s Fantastic Four

“They just lead the charge,” says Leslie Beringer, accounting and human resources manager at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix–Chandler. She’s referring to the property’s four veteran employees. “They are all about guest service and working together for a common goal.” The employees—Grace Serrano, housekeeper; Lizzeta Guevara, housekeeping supervisor; James Russell, part-time night auditor; and Victor Gilsdorf, maintenance engineer—have each worked for the hotel for 15 years or more. “Grace and Liz both treat the hotel like it’s their home,” Beringer says. “Jim is like the heart of Radisson and is always quick with a smile. Victor is meticulous in the details. He keeps the marble floors spotless and loves it when guests say how beautiful the floors are.” Beringer finds that such experienced team members benefit not only their fellow employees, but also the guests. “They provide consistency and security in times when business is ever-changing. It helps in hiring, and it’s important to all levels to see consistency and not a high level of turnover,” she says. “The guests recognize the long-term people as well, and our folks love that.”

“I think we make coming to work fun, and I think that has a lot to do with our high retention rate.” Certainly having those close relationships can make all the difference, but the hotel also strives to recognize its employees’ accomplishments and reward them accordingly. “A lot of people stay with us because we try to do a lot of promoting from within,” Lambert says. She cites the hotel’s current general manager, Melissa Wyatt, as one of the best examples of that policy. Originally hired at the age of 17 to work in guest services, Wyatt worked her way up to the general manager position. “Often, when people are promoted within the same company, they can share their experience with newcomers and better understand what the other staff are going through—the challenges, the excitement they have—because they actually did live it,” Lambert says. Wyatt feels the support of the management team strongly, as well as the strength

of the bond with her other co-workers. “They make it more than just a job. They are more than co-workers,” she says. “We are truly like a family, and they’re always there to lend a helping hand, whether personally or at work.” In Wyatt’s opinion, the reach of those relationships extends beyond the hotel to all of the Carlson family. “When I go to a Carlson Rezidor business conference, I get to meet people in the same position as me. You get to hear their stories from their hotels. It’s a very cool thing, and it broadens your view of the whole situation.” Johna Story, rooms director, has been with the Country Inn & Suites, Mesa, Arizona for 14 years. For her, it is the people that make all the difference. “It’s the people who you work with that make coming to work fun,” she says. “We don’t get a large turnover here; two people have been here 14 years in housekeeping, a couple more have been here 13 years. It’s a good bunch.” Gary Brown, maintenance staff member and van driver, began his second career at the property 14 years ago. And though he will be 65 next year, he can’t see retirement in his future just yet. “This is more than a job,” he says. After working for a steel mill in Illinois for 30 years, he and his wife moved to Arizona to be closer to their only son. When his wife passed away a year and a half ago, the hotel held a memorial service for her. “They took care of me, bringing in food. They’re like family,” Brown recalls. Empowered to Act

At the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York, many employees have built relationships that have lasted for decades. In fact, 25 percent of the staff have been with the location 20 or more years. What’s more, four employees have worked there for more than 30 years. General Manager Michele Donegan, herself a 24-year veteran, credits the H OTL IN E TH E A M ERICAS

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Yes I Can! service program with helping retain quality employees for so many years. “It’s the high standards we set,” she says. “We live Yes I Can!; it’s an empowering culture. Employees use their own best instincts to handle situations, and they have the freedom to do what they do best. They take a lot of pride in what they do, and they are very good at it.” Also important has been the dialogue established between the employees and guests. “One of the things I really appreciate is that Carlson Rezidor, through Medallia guest feedback, has provided us a way to communicate and build stronger relationships with guests,” Donegan says. “The Yes I Can! service culture and the ‘making it right’ strategy are truly embraced by us all—we live and breathe it. It’s about the way we serve guests and the way we treat each other. It’s a great way to live life, too.” Adding to that sense of support is the fact that the hotel routinely promotes from within. “I think that it is important that the staff knows that the leadership team understands and appreciates the role of every single employee,” says Donegan. “Every employee–guest interaction is an opportunity to exceed guest expectations and is critical to allow us to deliver personalized service.” She also finds a link between staffers’ success and their longevity. “We’ve known them and know they have Yes I Can! attitudes before we promote anyone into leadership positions.” Kathleen Walrath, the Human Resources manager at the Radisson in Corning, likes the feedback she receives from employee engagement surveys. As a result, the hotel learned about several things staff members needed to help them with their positions. “We worked on them, and I feel the employees really appreciated that and took the extra step forward,” Walrath says. “We recognize the importance of recognizing our employees and the consistency that they bring to the operation 26

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Committed to Employees

Joy Linsday, vice president, Human Resources, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, says an organization that values long-term service experience generates good will that carries all the way to the customer, or in the hotel industry, the guest. “The Yes, I Can! SM program at Radisson® and the Be Our Guest program at Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, for example, help us gain alignment and underscore the impact we have on every single guest,” she says. “It also shows the investment in our employees—it’s a symbol of caring about the employee, their experience and how they make the difference in our business.” Carlson Rezidor’s commitment to its staff is evident in the high number of long-term employees found throughout the corporate offices and the managed hotels. There are 270 employees with more than 20 years of service, including two who started in 1960. No business wants to lose talent. Linsday’s solution for retention is to answer key questions for each employee that are critical to their long-term success. “I always like to think of it as every leader’s opportunity to understand their employees’ ‘Why?’ Why are they here? What do they value? What are they looking for?”

with their Yes I Can! service.” Just this year, the hotel implemented monthly socials to recognize employees and celebrate the great work they do. “The hotel is consistently recognizing the good work employees do, appreciating them and making it known that we couldn’t do what we do without them,” Donegan adds. “We’re a team and have a family environment because so many of us have worked together for so long.” Long-term staff agree. Patricia Madigan, dining room server at the hotel for more than 36 years, has even found that some guests have become like family, too. “A couple that comes to our restaurant had me come out to their house in the middle of the summer and gave me all of these bedding plants,” she says. “This was just from a conversation we had. Now, the plants are in my garden.” Corporate Sales Manager Susie Palombo is one of the Radisson Hotel Corning’s long-term staff members, or as she


jokingly refers to herself, “a seasoned employee.” Palombo started with the location 38 years ago as a server in the dining room. She is quick to recognize the opportunity to progress that the hotel offered her. “I had a great manager who took the time to train and inspire his employees,” she says. “I really do love what I do, but I’m also challenged by the high standards we uphold. The hotel has allowed me to grow personally and professionally.” Palombo recognizes the importance of the experienced staff, but also feels that newer employees bring a lot to the table. “We have a great blend of new and seasoned employees; that’s what makes us such a strong team,” she says. Commitment to Service

In the hotel industry, retaining employees for decades is something not only to celebrate, but also to emulate. As both of these hotels demonstrate, the key to longevity lies in a balance of opportunity and empowerment, relationships and acknowledgement. Carlson Rezidor sets high expectations for its properties, but it is serious about recognizing the potential in employees and thanking them for a job well done. The proof is with the guests. As one Radisson Hotel Corning, New York guest of 15 years shared on Medallia, “From the front desk and bellman recognizing me immediately and having my key ready, to the Grill 1-2-5 staff (Susie Fowler, Cindy Mullaney and Su Carpenter) knowing my favorite breakfast, and, of course, Terry Paluch and Kathy Mattison in the bar ... it’s the next best thing to home.” ■

We Want to Hear From You!

JOHNA STORY 14 YEARS

Rooms Director, Country Inn & Suites, Mesa, Arizona

In each issue going forward, Hotline The Americas will celebrate 20 employees who have 20 or more years of service with the company or its hotels. For submission requirements, visit CONNECT or send us an email at hotlinetheamericas@carlsonrezidor.com. H OTL IN E TH E A M ERICAS

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By Jennifer Chappell Smith | Photography by Adam Voorhes

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Any skilled craftsman knows that the right equipment makes all the difference. It’s the same in the hospitality business. How is Carlson Rezidor helping its properties boost revenues? Hear from hotels using six of the company’s top programs. H OTL IN E TH E A M ERICAS

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With the frenetic pace of running a hotel, it’s easy to let revenue generation efforts slip. “Sometimes, managers just get too busy with running the day-to-day,” says Sanjiv Chauhan, general manager at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Covington, Louisiana. “We might have a revenue meeting scheduled, and it goes out of the window because something else happens.” On one recent morning, for instance, an overflowing washing machine required Chauhan’s attention, as he got a team together to repair it and mop up the mess. That’s why his recent participation in the Revenue Optimization Performance Enhancement Services (ROPES) program has been such a help, he says—for his time management, revenue generation strategy and bottom line. One tool among many that the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group provides, ROPES provides

an off-site revenue expert who serves as a strategist for the property, removing some of the burden from busy managers. Since joining the program in June 2012, Chauhan went from tentatively agreeing to a six-month trial run to enthusiastically signing up for a full year. Why? In just a few weeks he began to see revenue ticking up, and his Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) eventually jumped by nearly $20 over the last year. Chauhan’s success with these tools impresses Susan Cecere, director, Revenue Optimization Operations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. To help hotel management increase their bottom lines, the company offers a bevy of resources. “All of these tools save time, and all of them equal additional revenue,” Cecere says. “Hotels that really dive into using these resources are the properties that have been making the most money and that have better Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) scores. Hotels that have better GSI have a better Revenue Generation Index (RGI). And that’s really how we measure our success.” 1. ROPES

Chauhan has come to rely on the advice of his ROPES specialist, Rebecca Frost, and he enjoys consulting with her during weekly calls. “Every week, we’re readjusting rate strategy; before we started using ROPES, we weren’t able to give revenue management the constant adjustments needed,” Chauhan says. “Whatever decision she makes, she runs past us,” he adds. After 30

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signing on for the yearlong plan, Frost came down for a complimentary check of the property and the competition. Her ideas included: • Price repositioning. Lowering rates on weekdays and raising them on weekends based on market data. • Group pricing. Helping the hotel offer the proper group rate. • Program participation. Encouraging use of revenue-boosting programs such as eStandby. Along with ROPES, Frost helps Chauhan’s hotel monitor Stay Night Automated Pricing (SNAP), a tool that analyzes area hotel rates and automatically sets rates to stay competitive and help generate revenue. Chauhan believes that both SNAP and ROPES contributed to positive results: • Occupancy rate went from 43 percent in August 2011 to 65 percent in August 2012. • RevPAR went from $36.34 to $55.31. 2. SNAP

Another SNAP user, General Manager Arthur Boshnakian at the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth in California, says SNAP changed his thinking about revenue management. “It took us in a completely different direction,” he says. “It fit our hotel very well.” Stuck in the rut of having fixed seasonal rates that never changed, SNAP helped Boshnakian consider the local market strategically. “It just gives us a direction, a platform for what we’re doing,” he says. “Some properties have the luxury of having revenue managers, but we don’t.” Learning the system’s varying scenarios allowed Boshnakian to trust SNAP. It’s paid off. He attributes a 2 percent average daily rate (ADR) increase to SNAP during the first three months he used the program. 3. Redirected Call Program

How many times is a well-intentioned front desk clerk forced to rush through a reservation call because a current guest is approaching the desk?

Hotels that take part in the Redirected Call Program (RCP) send calls to a dedicated central phone number, where sales representatives have the time and expertise to make the most of the call. “While your front desk team focuses on the needs of your in-house guests, a large team of professional RCP sales representatives are ready to use their sales skills and focus on the guest on the phone,” says Cecere, who explains that although hotels pay for calls sent to the program, it’s worth every penny. “The RCP reps have a better conversion rate [closing the sale] than the hotels, and that’s going to help your bottom line. It’s a program that pays for itself,” she explains. Carlson Rezidor commissioned an independent study that found that RCP reps were twice as likely to close the sale, twice as likely to upsell, three times as likely to overcome objections and less likely to offer steep discounts. The numbers back that up: • In 2011, RCP resulted in $81 million in revenue. • For Radisson® and Park Plaza®, RCP’s ADR is 8.9 percent higher than hotel direct when comparing like rates on like days. • For Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM and Park Inn by Radisson, ADR is 8.1 percent higher. For more information, hotels should contact Stacy Braun, manager, Redirected Call Program, Reservation Sales, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, at sbraun@carlsonrezidor.com. 4. eStandby

Less than half of Carlson Rezidor hotels use this fairly new service, which offers online customers discounted rates for upgrades. The system only offers the upgrades if they are available at check-in—hotels still have the opportunity to sell the upgrade at a higher rate prior to the arrival of the guest. Revenue Manager Cheryl Truss at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin, is surprised more hotels aren’t

“Many on staff have been here for a long time ... it’s nice to know they can be recognized.” — Katie Conner, assistant general manager, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Roanoke, Virginia

“Surround yourself with good people and you look like a superstar.” — Zan Wagner, general manager, Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs Airport

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“Before we started using ROPES, we weren’t able to give revenue management the constant adjustments needed.” —Sanjiv Chauhan, general manager, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Covington, Louisiana

“All of these tools save time, and all of them equal additional revenue.” —Susan Cecere, director, Revenue Optimization Operations, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

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already taking advantage of it. “What I ask everybody is, ‘Why wouldn’t you use it?’ It’s an easy way to make money and make guests happy,” she says. She added $11,000 to her annual revenue by September 2012 with upgrades that ranged in cost from $5 for a higher floor to $149 for the Presidential Suite. On a third-party site, guests see potential options and learn they’ll get the upgrades at 50 percent off or more if they’re available upon check-in. While 35 percent of profits goes back to the service, she says it’s worth it. “It’s a win-win for us and for the traveler,” Truss says. “Guests want the opportunity to get a whirlpool suite for $40 more instead of $80 more, and we maximize rooms that aren’t reserved.” 5. Be Our Guest When Sandi Sample at the Country Inn & Suites, Roanoke, Virginia transfers a call, the warmth

in her voice reflects her friendly personality. She makes an impression—so much so that she’s approaching Gold Pin status in the hotel’s Be Our Guest training and incentive program. The silver pin on her lapel means she has received between 100 and 249 personal mentions from guests lauding her service. At this 16-year-old, 77-room hotel with 18 employees, the recent introduction of the colored pin program has made a difference. “Many on staff have been here for a long time, and they’ve been following Be Our Guest practices anyway, but now it’s nice to know they can be recognized,” says Katie Conner, assistant general manager. She adds that the pins are also promoting a bit of friendly competition among employees. The measure of staff performance, reflected by the pin program, says a lot as well. “If you look at the Service Performance Index (SPI), we’re ranked 18th out of more than 400 hotels. We’re proud of that,” says the hotel’s general manager, Lisa Dellinger.

6. Yes I Can! SM

Fresh off the heels of the North American 2012 Yes I Can! Tour, where Carlson Rezidor executives and ambassadors visited all 120 Radisson hotels in North America, the more than two-decade-old service philosophy has recently been in the spotlight. At the Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs Airport, General Manager Zan Wagner has long seen staffers embody Yes I Can! every day. As a Yes I Can! certified trainer, Wagner appreciates the renewed emphasis on the philosophy. A historically top-rated Radisson, his hotel serves as a model for making the most of the concept. Some of his recommendations include: • Actively use the Making it Right log. “Our problem rate is low, and resolution rate is high,” he says. His team keeps a log for every department and checks it often. • Hire the right people. “Hire happy, smiley people, and you are three-quarters of the way there,” Wagner says. “Surround yourself with good people and you look like a superstar.” • Make the most of Yes I Can! training. Wagner and his assistant general manager ensure it’s entertaining, with prizes, laughs and a complimentary lunch. Before formal training, new employees get a written summary of best practices. • Delight the guest. Wagner encourages staff to anticipate needs—such as providing balloons for guest birthdays and flowers for guest anniversaries. Open the Toolbox

For all of these Carlson Rezidor programs, continual additions keep staff members up-to-date on best practices that will help them be more effective revenue generators for their properties, notes Cecere. Hotel employees can find more information on these tools, and more, through CONNECT. With so many programs at their disposal, Cecere encourages hotel managers to think about what may work for them. “Use the resources. Learn about them. Discover what’s out there,” she says. ■


Register now for the 2013 Full Service Brands Business Conference To view the conference details and register, visit: fullservicebrandsbusinessconference.com

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23


DOWN TO

BUSINESS

By Kelly Thore | Photography by Douglas Barnes

Business School students embark on a 34

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journey of education, networking and exploration. HH OTL OTL ININ E ETH TH E EA M AM ERICAS ER I CAS 33 35


T

he 65 employees who registered for the Carlson Rezidor Business School session at the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown this fall arrived ready to work. That much was evident from day one, as students gathered in a conference room with pencils and notebooks out, awaiting a welcome from Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “It’s great to see so many eager faces here,” Kirschke said in his address to the School. “Educational opportunities like these are crucial to help us all grow and perform better at our jobs.” Interaction with company executives and firsthand updates on the industry are just a few perks of attending a Business School session, a voluntary program put on by Carlson Rezidor to help employees develop new skills and network with others. And with new courses and increased enrollment, it’s clear the School’s momentum has just begun. Business School 411

Carlson Rezidor held its first Business School in 2010, organized to train employees on topics relating to the company and the hotel industry. Now, after receiving high levels of

positive feedback about the event, the company holds up to six schools per year. “We realize that one of the most important components to operating successful hotels is having the proper training tools in place to help develop our employees,” says Steve Outwater, vice president, Learning and Development, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and dean of the School. Invitations go out to hotel general managers, sales directors and corporate leaders 10 weeks prior to each Business 36

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School’s start date. “Employees can then sign up through the Carlson Learning Network on CONNECT,” says Outwater. The scene in Salt Lake City was typical of a Business School session—the hustle and bustle of excited students roaming the hotel, discussing course lessons and swapping business cards. Attendees, who ranged from managers to a housekeeper, kept packed schedules, with class from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and networking events in the evening. Students chose between five total courses— Sales Success, Proactive Leadership, Yes I Can!SM Hotel Trainer Certification, Responsible Business Hotel Trainer Certification and a LOTS Business Planning Workshop—and left prepared to implement new strategies at their properties. Sales Success

The Sales Success course, led by Wendy Rood, taught sales professionals and hotel general managers effective selling strategies. “The first thing we tell students is to learn what the client wants to get out of doing business with your hotel. Your customer is asking for conference space


with natural light for a reason—so people maintain energy throughout the day, for example,” says Rood. “Then we discuss what questions to ask to get those key answers.” The course helps students discover customer needs beyond the physical features the hotel has to offer and also explores other factors that improve sales metrics. “We learned how to identify when to talk to the client and when to listen,” says Tom Bartig, catering sales manager at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse in Wisconsin. “Most of us found we talk 80 percent of the time and listen and ask questions of a client 20 percent of the time, but it should be 50-50.” Bartig, who has been with Radisson for 32 years and in sales at his current property for 27, says that he’s always learning ways to do his job better. “I’ve seen many areas I can work on to improve my strategy,” he says. Responsible Business Hotel Trainer Certification

Students in the Responsible Business Hotel Trainer Certification course quickly learned that operating an environmentally, socially and ethically conscious business is no longer optional.

“It’s the responsibility of every hotel to do their part,” says Ann Wolstad, master trainer. “We discuss how to get involved in your community, as well as global issues like pollution, waste and child trafficking.” The program is broken into two segments: Living Responsible Business, during which students discuss relevant issues facing the industry, and Leading Responsible Business, in which students “teach back” concepts they learned in the Living portion. By course’s end, each student will become certified as a trainer for his or her hotel. “It’s important for Country Inns & Suites managers to take this course since, in relation to Radisson hotels, we have smaller properties and fewer employees,” says Ilana Bobroff, general manager at the Country Inn & Suites, Ithaca, New York. “The more ideas we get from others, the better chance we’ll have of some resonating with our staff.”

Clockwise, from left: Students in the Yes I Can! SM Hotel Trainer Certification course learn to work together; Business School faculty mingle during the School’s commencement dinner; an engaged student talks business with a peer; two students take a networking break.

Yes I Can! Hotel Trainer Certification

The Yes I Can! Hotel Trainer Certification course offered on-spot certification for employees looking to become trainers for H OTL IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 37


Left to right: Students in the LOTS Business Planning Workshop develop their course presentation; a student in Proactive Leadership helps lead a group discussion; (top) one student relaxes during a break from class; (bottom) two students share a meal after a busy day of learning.

their properties. Students explored the pillars of the Yes I Can! service philosophy and how to deliver 100 Percent Guest Satisfaction every time. “We want students to go back to their hotels and work with all employees and managers there to build a Yes I Can! community,” says Charmain Stoyand, master trainer. Since every Radisson property is required to have a certified Yes I Can! trainer on staff, students exit Stoyand’s course with an understanding of how to coach others to create that “Hotels That Love to Say ‘Yes’” kind of environment. “I signed up for this course because I believe it’s really important to know and understand the philosophy of the Radisson brand,” says Elodie Crespin, assistant general manager at the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin. “I want to take Yes I Can! back to my property so we can better cater to guests and keep them loyal.” Proactive Leadership

There’s a difference between managing and leading—and, as students in the Proactive 38

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Leadership class discover, it can make the difference in whether your message is received or misunderstood and can save valuable time in getting the best results. “Managing is trying to control a process and its results, whereas leading is more about releasing potential in your people,” says Ted Trembath, course student and regional general manager for the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport and Radisson Hotel Phoenix– Chandler. “The impact you have is much greater from a leadership perspective.” The course, led by Ray Taylor, was crafted to help general managers, executives and corporate leaders communicate, accept and respond to feedback, as well as how to draw out another person’s best potential by challenging people to think for themselves. “We’re not concerned with a student’s specific job function,” Taylor says. “Instead, it’s more about who they are as a person and how they communicate what they know to influence others and make a difference.” Sandi Adams, another of Taylor’s students and owner and general manager


Coming Soon ... The School In 2013

of the Radisson Hotel Fargo in North Dakota, came to the school for that very reason. “Ultimately, I want to become a more effective manager and leader at my hotel,” Adams says, adding that she brought four other staff members from her hotel to the School to help them grow, as well. “Learning opportunities like these make your staff more well-rounded,” Adams says. “In bringing these new tools back to our teams, we’ll have that trickle-down effect, making our staff stronger.” LOTS Business Planning Workshop

With the support of LOTS, a popular business leadership program, the school hosted the LOTS Business Planning Workshop to build employees’ problem-solving skills. In the course, which targeted general managers, department heads, owners and other leaders, students were given a case study on an actual problem faced at a company property and were challenged to come up with solutions. “We want them to work together to analyze the problem and come up with

answers,” says Outwater, instructor for the course. Since three students in the course were from the Radisson Blu St. Martin, Outwater assigned the group this question as their case study: “How can the Radisson Blu St. Martin cover fixed expenses in the post-season?” Students worked together to analyze the factors at play—including opportunities, threats and financial consequences—and crafted a presentation highlighting solutions based on that analysis. “The course trains you to follow a very specific process when looking at business problems,” says Jean-marc Jalbert, general manager at the Radisson Blu St. Martin and LOTS student. “It’s important to share ideas and see different points of view when looking for solutions.” Coming Together

Course lessons aside, perhaps the most important takeaways from the Business School are the relationships forged among students on campus, Outwater says. “We foster a collaborative environment in hopes that students will continue long-term relationships with their peers once they leave, using

one another as resources down the road,” he says. When students aren’t in class, they’re encouraged to network with one another over dinner or during breaks. Administrators also orchestrate extracurricular activities, such as the afternoon students at the Salt Lake City school spent packing bag lunches for local children in need (see “Making a Difference” on page 48). “We must continue growing our knowledge of the business, developing our leaders and working on the ability to sell better,” Outwater says. “To me, the Business School is an opportunity to meet new mentors and invest in yourself and your career. And as a company, we want to help our employees do exactly that.” ■

There will be three Business School sessions in 2013, in addition to courses offered at both brand business conferences. The first will be held at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona, from May 19 – 24; the second at the new Radisson Blu Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota, from Aug. 18 – 23; and the third at the Radisson Plaza–Warwick Hotel Philadelphia from Dec. 8 – 13. “We’re continuously working to develop new classes for the School so we stay current and relevant to meet our employees’ needs,” says Steve Outwater, vice president, Learning and Development, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and dean of the Business School. The 2013 schools will debut two brand new course offerings: a Social Media workshop, which examines the social media landscape and how its various forms can be leveraged at individual hotels, and a Management Effectiveness course, designed for department heads to help maximize employee performance.

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Elegance UPGRADES WITH

Thanks to recent renovations, Carlson Rezidor properties are taking on chic new personalities—and guests are starting to notice. By Judy Kenninger

thing keeps getting better. The hotel recently invested $1.8 million in two initial phases to update the hotel’s ballroom and 100 guest rooms with a contemporary look. “We wanted to stay as fresh as possible,” says Michele Donegan, general manager. “We have a very discerning, international clientele, and they appreciate a more modern look.” Renovations are still underway, but guest reaction has been uniformly positive. “Our Medallia scores are up,” Donegan says. “We’ve always been in the top tier, but our Service Performance Index (SPI) is 9.03, up .04 from the previous year.” Those scores also reflect staff sentiment. “They really take pride in working in a place that is a leader in our market,” she adds. It’s a trend that the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is seeing across the Americas, as other recently renovated Radisson® and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels are also generating positive reviews, along with increases in measures such as Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) and Average Daily Rate (ADR).

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Ph ot o g ra p hy b y R h e a A nn a

A

t the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York, guests returning to this area favorite on TripAdvisor are finding that a good


Guests at the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York can relax with the property’s new, clean room styles.


With Country Inns & Suites hotels constantly being refreshed as part of the brand’s continual renovation process and

hotels for property owner Greenleaf Hospitality Group. “Our Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) was 9.02, our best result ever.”

nearly 50 percent of Radisson hotels having completed their product improvement plans (PIPs), more employees, general managers

Radisson Rising

and hotel owners have reason to celebrate. Travelers checking TripAdvisor and other hotel websites for Rome, Georgia, are finding that one property stands above the rest: the town’s Country Inn & Suites. “We’ve been ranked number one by TripAdvisor for the past 10 months,” says owner Anil Patel. “Before our renovations last year, we used to sit at 13 out of 17.” “We’ve been able to secure more business, our guest satisfaction scores have increased, and so has our occupancy and average daily rate,” says Kelly Boomgarden, general manager of the Country Inn & Suites, Owatonna, Minnesota. And in Michigan, with renovations nearly complete, the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center had its best numbers of the past 36 months in August. “That was the first month our lobby and meeting rooms were done,” says Tim Rayman, director of 42

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It’s no wonder guests applaud the new vibe at the Radisson in Kalamazoo. The $16.5 million project, which began in November 2011 and was completed in October 2012, gave a new look to the guest rooms, lobby, event space and all public areas, adding functionality and style. Rayman points to four new “pod” desk areas that replaced the traditional check-in desk. “It gives our staff flexibility,” he says. “For example, if they see a guest waiting in the lobby and their room is ready, they can walk over and present their key. Guests appreciate that personal service.” The guest rooms, renovated one to two floors at a time so the hotel could remain open, now have flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, laptop-accommodating safes, refrigerators, better lighting and more power outlets. The design style is Carlson Rezidor’s Urban package, which Greenleaf localized with photography of Kalamazoo’s downtown and the owner’s classic car collection.

Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or

From left: Event space at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center gets a stylish upgrade; the property introduced a new look to the lobby; decor like this modern chandelier gives the hotel a fresh new feel.


In keeping with Carlson’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, the hotel used energy-saving features, such as LED bulbs, and donated many of the replaced items to local charities rather than sending them to landfills. Rayman focused on the positives in communications with the community and potential guests. “We talked about our PIP and the big investment we were making in the future of our property and the city of Kalamazoo.” Now that work on the hotel is complete, one big benefit is the increase in enthusiasm among staff members. “Our hotel team has a new swagger,” he says. “It’s fun to see how that shows in our Medallia scores; we’re having great results.” The property’s GSI, which was 8.57 before work on the renovation began, started rising this summer as work was completed and hit that record 9.02 in August, the first month the new lobby was complete. ADR has also gone up $2 during 2012. “That’s good growth for us,” Rayman says. “We’ve always been strong, but now we’re at $140.”

At the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York, the property’s RevPAR went up $10 in the first year the hotel offered newly renovated guest rooms. RevPAR rose again in 2012, by another $8, as the hotel completed more guest rooms. “We’re able to upcharge $15 for the premium [renovated] rooms,” says Donegan. Occupancy at the property has remained stable, even in a down market. “Our average rate is at $113, and we expect to end the year at $112,” Donegan says. “That’s up substantially from where we were before we started the renovations in 2010.” Renovations have improved functionality, too. “There are outlets galore for electronic devices, and we have shades and blackout curtains on the windows and lighting where guests need it, such as direct lights that attach to the headboards,” she adds. As they continue with renovations to the restaurant and bar, Donegan remains enthusiastic. “It’s going to change our entire space dramatically,” she says. “This process has been lots of fun, and it’s rewarding to see how much our guests appreciate the new look.”

“Our hotel team has a new swagger. It’s fun to see how that shows in our Medallia scores; we’re having great results.” —Tim Rayman,director of hotels, Greenleaf Hospitality Group (Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center)

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Today’s Country At the Country Inn & Suites, Rome, Georgia,

Patel has renovated both the property’s exterior and interior. In 2011, a $1 million renovation included common areas as well as all of the guest rooms. “The hotel needed a new look,” he says. “We chose the Terra Cotta color scheme, and now we have gone from country to contemporary.” The exterior renovation, completed this year, removed shutters and lattice, and added architectural louvers over the air conditioners and a new paint scheme. “When guests learn we’re 11 years old, they don’t believe us,” Patel says. “They all think we’re a brand-new hotel.” In addition to the first-place ranking on TripAdvisor, Patel says GSI and other scores are up, and the renovation has reaped rewards in RevPAR and ADR. RevPAR jumped by nearly $10, he says. New corporate business is coming in, and Patel credits the new look. “Folks that had left our hotel are coming back to give us a second chance. Word has definitely gotten out.”

That’s been the experience for Boomgarden, too. “We had lost a large account because we were somewhat ‘tired-looking,’” she says. “They said it wasn’t a service issue, just that they wanted a better first impression. Now, they’ve come back, and that one account is worth $200,000 each year.” The Country Inn & Suites renovation in Owatonna, done in two phases during 2010 and 2011, included all public areas and guest rooms. The final steps, adding flat-screen televisions and new mattresses, were completed in the summer of 2012. “It’s been a very positive outcome,” Boomgarden says. “Our GSI was 8.14 prior to the renovation and rose to 8.67 in 2010, and now we’re at 8.93 as a rolling average for the past 12 months.” Occupancy is up 9.4 percent for the past 12 months, and RevPAR is up 15.4 percent for the same period. Another important benefit has been staff retention. “Our staff is taking a new ownership and is even more emotionally invested in the property,” Boomgarden adds. “They’re proud of their new hotel.” ■

Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or

From left: The lobby at the Country Inn & Suites, Owatonna, Minnesota, gives guests a first taste of the property’s new look; redecorated guests rooms at the Country Inn & Suites, Rome, Georgia now reflect the brand’s Terra Cotta color scheme.


Welcome to InspIratIon

Country Business ConferenCe 2013 AmBition 2015

March 17–20 | Fontainebleau Miami Beach

RegisteR today

Register at countryinnsandsuitesbusinessconference.com Join us in Miami for the Country Inns & Suites Business Conference to learn about brand performance, strategy and new product introductions. Choose from multiple education sessions designed to improve your personal and hotel performance and more—all focused on helping you grow your business. Register now for the 2013 Country Inns & Suites Business Conference. We look forward to seeing you there!

© 2012 Country Inns & Suites By Carlson,SM Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Photography by David Bowman

Employee p y Profile

Fact | Swanson had the same desk for her first 20 years on the job.

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In addition to preserving institutional knowledge as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s “historian” in the Americas, Rosanne Swanson is also a mother to three and a new grandmother.

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Rosanne Swanson | Minneapolis This P.R. guru is the go-to expert for all things CarlsonSM. | By Kelly Thore

W

hen anyone in the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group corporate headquarters has a question about the company’s history, Rosanne Swanson is the first person they call. Swanson, specialist, Communications and Public Relations, Americas, recently celebrated her 22nd year on the job—and has seen every major company event over the last two decades unfold from a unique position. “I serve Carlson Rezidor and our hotels by spreading their news to the right media outlets, and I have to do it promptly, since time is always of the essence in the news business,” Swanson says. Whenever there’s a big breaking story, such as the promotion of Trudy Rautio to president and chief executive officer of CarlsonSM this summer, Swanson’s team digs up every available detail and works to funnel the news through the appropriate channels. And that process has come a long way since Swanson’s early days with the company, when she would spend hours photocopying releases and media kits to send by mail days after a company announcement. “Now with so many digital mediums available to us, my department is able to move information faster,” Swanson says. “We can respond immediately to requests, with up-to-date information and images.” She does more than just getting the right news into the right hands. For example, she also responds to media requests for hotels, assists in fact-checking for stories about company properties and even ensures that employees at specific hotels have a communications outlet when necessary. “I facilitate a lot of interviews with media when they want a hotel perspective, working as a liaison between various publications and our employees,” Swanson adds. “We want to make sure our employees have a voice and are heard.” Jeff Weinstein, editor of HOTELS Magazine, is in frequent contact with Swanson. Whenever he needs information on company updates or to arrange interviews with executives, Swanson, he says, makes it easy. “Rosanne knows her job, she knows the Carlson Rezidor brands and she understands my job, which is so important,” Weinstein says. “When I’m trying to get an interview with a hotel employee or company executive, or need clarification about something, I’ll reach out to her first, and she’s always right on it.” This is just one of the many media relationships Swanson has cultivated during her time with Carlson Rezidor, thanks to her reputation for being both prompt and knowledgeable. But more than that, Weinstein says Swanson’s true on-the-job gift is her kind disposition. “She’s friendly, thoughtful and personable,” he says. “That’s the kind of person you want to work with.” ■


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Employees participate in the “Walk the World” 5K fun run hosted by the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis to raise funds for the World Childhood Foundation.

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Fact | This year marked the company’s ninth Responsible Business Action Month.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Making a Difference

Hotels across the globe come together for Responsible Business Action Month. | By Karen M. Alley

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Givingg Back

B

etween various fundraiser walks, raffles, and, for one property, an on-site battle of the bands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group employees in the Americas had a busy September. Like the company’s other hotels around the world, they found their own ways to participate in Responsible Business Action Month (RBAM), an initiative put forth by Carlson Rezidor each year encouraging hotels to benefit their communities and important charities. “It’s important for hotels to get involved because our business is dependent upon the communities that we operate in. If our communities aren’t successful, our business will never be successful,” says Brenda Schultz, director, Responsible Business, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “So many of our properties participate in community events and service projects throughout the year, but by coming together in September under the RBAM umbrella, we’re able to create more buzz and have an even bigger impact.” Several of this year’s RBAM events benefitted the World Childhood Foundation, an organization CarlsonSM helped co-found in 1999 that works to protect marginalized children. For instance, Club CarlsonSM initiated a campaign between August 24 and September 30 that allowed members to donate Gold Points® earned through frequent hotel stays to World Childhood Foundation. To encourage member contributions, the Carlson Family Foundation offered to match the value of points. Members generously donated more than 4 million Gold Points, and together with the matching funds, generated $12,932 for Childhood. But that’s just one example of how hotels, employees and guests alike got involved this year. “Our goal is for local efforts to have a global impact,” Schultz says. “Through our hotels’ efforts, we certainly accomplished that this year.” Stealing the Show For employees at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast, RBAM meant transforming the property banquet room into a hip rock venue. On September 25, music from six area bands blasted through speakers situated around the room, with young twenty-somethings dancing as hotel associates served up items from the concession stand and sold T-shirts and raffle tickets. This “Battle of the Bands” was the brainchild of Meghan Burghardt, sales and catering coordinator at the hotel. The event, officially dubbed “Banding Together to Benefit World Childhood Foundation,” generated $4,813 for Childhood, building awareness of the dangers at-risk children face around the world.


Thanks to the participation of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties worldwide, “Walk The World for Childhood” fitness events made a big impact during Responsible Business Action Month. Some key statistics: • 44 locations • 15 countries • 968 walkers • 3,695 kilometers walked • $21,474 raised for the World Childhood Foundation

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“We felt that having a concert event would be a good way to get people involved, especially the younger generation,” says Burghardt, adding that the show required careful planning. Five months before the event, she began reaching out to local bands to line up potential acts, ultimately securing six to play. To emcee, she recruited Rocco Cima, a local radio personality who promoted the event on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Several organizations sponsored the event, including Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Visiting Nurses Association of Morrisville, Pennsylvania; Extreme Fitness Personal Training; The Addis Group; and Clarins USA. In addition to support from Jerry Skot, general manager, Burghardt also called in the help of Joe Olivera, food and beverage director, to fine-tune the details. “Joe is experienced with putting on events, so he guided me through the process,” she says. The event raised money in several ways, including $20 admission tickets, concessions and T-shirt sales and a raffle of more than 60 items, including Eagles tickets and a stay at the hotel. Burghardt’s passion for the cause even rubbed off on Jim McLaughlin, manager of a local Sam’s

Club®, who donated a grill to the raffle and had a cake made for the event donning Childhood’s logo. Charlotte Brandin, executive director, Childhood USA, also spoke to the crowd about the impact the event would have for Childhood. “We got people talking about the issues, which is important,” Burghardt says. “Next year, we’re planning for an even bigger and better event.” Walk the World Another way hotels contributed to the RBAM and Childhood fundraising cause? By hosting various “Walk the World for Childhood” fitness events. The campaign was initiated in the Carlson Rezidor corporate offices with the idea that, if every hotel organized its own walking event, company employees could span the circumference of the world in the name of Childhood with their combined steps. Several properties, like the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Lehighton, Pennsylvania, organized their own community events. In Lehighton, approximately 25 staff and friends of the hotel participated in a 5K Fun Run/Walk, with proceeds benefitting Childhood. Employees at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis also held their third-annual 5K Fun

Ph o t og ra p h y c o ur t es y b y J o e P ap e o, D o u g la s B a rn e s

Walk the World At a Glance


Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou r te s y of Ca rl s o n R ez id o r H o te l G ro u p

Top row (left to right): The Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast hosts a battle of the bands; Omaha Center employees help build a house; staff at the Radisson Royal Hotel Quito, Radisson Hotel Decapolis Miraflores and Radisson Hotel San Isidro assist local children; Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin employees clean litter. Bottom row (left to right): Hotel employees at the battle of the bands; executives participate in the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis 5K; the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa donates books to nearby schools; the Radisson Royal Hotel Quito upgrades a playground; students at the Carlson Rezidor Business School in Salt Lake City pack lunch bags for the Utah Food Bank.

Run to benefit Childhood, ultimately signing up 90 participants and generating $3,515. “We started the Fun Run three years ago because so many of our associates are into fitness-based activities, and it went along well with the health and wellness program we were doing,” says Laura Linder, accounting specialist, who organized the event. “It’s a great way to raise money for Childhood, but even more, it gets people talking and helps raise awareness.” Employees at the company’s Omaha Center in Nebraska jumped on the Walk the World cause, too—but in their own creative way. With the help of Kevin Bradley, recruitment specialist and human resources generalist, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, who also serves as the office’s Responsible Business committee team leader, employees counted their steps during the month of September. “The initiative helped encourage a healthier lifestyle for our associates, while at the same time raising awareness for Childhood,” Bradley says. And in a community that felt overrun with fundraising walks, employees at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Ithaca, New York also put their own spin on the walking campaign. “We decided to host

a marathon event using our treadmills here at the hotel,” says Ilana Bobroff, general manager. From noon on Saturday, September 29 until noon the next day, 20 employees, friends and family took shifts walking on the fitness center treadmills. Participants raised $1,223, which the hotel owner generously matched for a total of $2,446 donated to Childhood. “Guests were excited to see the treadmills in constant action and to hear about Childhood,” Bobroff says. “We look forward to holding the event again next year.” Benefiting Local Children In addition to raising money for Childhood, several hotels found ways to reach out to help local children as part of RBAM. For example, the 65 students attending the Carlson Rezidor Business School at the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown put together 500 healthy snack packs for the Utah Food Bank, also donating a $500 Sam’s Club® card. “The students worked together to pack bags for the school backpack program, which provides food for the weekend for kids who don’t have the resources at home,” Schultz says. “The packs ended up weighing about 460 pounds, so we were grateful

“We got people talking about the issues, which is important. Next year, we’re planning for an even bigger and better event.” —Meghan Burghardt, sales and catering coordinator, Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast

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“This is a great opportunity for us to come together for global change and help clean up our environment.” —Brenda Schultz, director, Responsible Business, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

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to have the option to deliver them in the Radisson shuttle.” (See “Down to Business,” page 34.) At the Radisson Royal Quito Hotel in Ecuador, employees pitched in to help the Instituto Fiscal de Educación Especial del Norte, which provides therapy for 150 children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and muscular dystrophy. After refurbishing the school cafeteria earlier in the year, the hotel staff noticed that the playground was in poor shape. So this September, the hotel revitalized that part of the campus, too. “It took about 15 employees two days to clean debris and level the ground, and then we had people install a new swing set, slide, sandbox and ball pit,” says Ximena Rodriguez, director of sales and marketing. “We also painted walls around the playground and did some landscaping. The experience brought us closer as a team.” Staff at the Radisson Royal Quito Hotel also worked to ensure that local students had what they needed in the classroom—as did several other Carlson Rezidor hotels. The property teamed up with the Radisson Hotel Decapolis Miraflores and Radisson Hotel San Isidro in Lima, Peru, to hold a raffle benefitting children of low-income families

in San Juan de Lurigancho. The raffle generated around $1,000, which the properties donated to help a group of 100 children buy school supplies. And at the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa, staff pledged to provide 200 copies of a children’s etiquette book to its own local schools. Reaching Out to the Community Other hotels found additional ways to contribute to RBAM right inside their own neighborhoods. In the midst of the Omaha office’s walking campaign, Bradley also recruited a group of volunteers to help build with Habitat for Humanity for a day. “We had seven people, a representative for each department, come out and help us build,” Bradley says. The team helped finish up some framing and installed the windows in the house, which got people working with their hands and working together to make sure the job was done right. “Not only did we make an impact in helping build the house, but it was also a great opportunity for staff members to get to know people they don’t work with every day.” Associates at the Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown in New Hampshire teamed up with their local United Way branch to find a suitable project for

Ph o t og ra p h y by J o e P ap e o , D o u gl a s B a rn e s

Clockwise, from left: Students and faculty at the Business School in Salt Lake City donate more than 400 pounds of food to area children; Radisson Blu Mall of America staff cleans around the hotel site; participants in the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis 5K run to benefit the World Childhood Foundation; Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown employees refresh a local cemetery; staff at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Ithaca, New York raise funds for Childhood; a participant at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast battle of the bands; employees at the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa hand-deliver books to local students.


Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou r te s y of Ca rl s o n R ez id o r

their staff to take on, which turned out to be fixing up and painting the fence around one of the city’s oldest cemeteries. Seven employees dedicated their time to working on the 23-acre cemetery, including the general manager, Kim Roy. “It was awesome to get out there and help the community with people we work with,” says Peter Palandri, group reservations. Cleaning Up the World Carlson Rezidor emphasized not just serving the people of a community, but the environment surrounding it, too. As such, the company asked hotels to participate in the World Cleanup 2012 movement, encouraging employees to rid their communities of litter and other garbage. “There is waste everywhere, in our cities, beaches, oceans and forests. This is a great opportunity for us to come together to work for global change and help clean up our environment,” says Schultz. Over the weekend of September 8–9, hotels across the Americas took part in clean-up events. For example, employees at the Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin walked up five miles of nearby beach, collecting more than 80 pounds of

garbage. Staff members from the Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa ventured out during the early morning hours to collect marine debris from the area surrounding a local lighthouse. Back in the states, employees from the Radisson Hotel Nashville Airport came together to finish building a bridge at a park by the nearby Lake Radnor, while a group of employees at the soon-to-open Radisson Blu Mall of America banded together to pick up garbage around the hotel and mall area. In total, the company campaign yielded impressive numbers, with 91 participating hotels from 33 countries and a total of 2,000 employees coming together to collect around 35,000 gallons of trash. “Participation in initiatives like World Cleanup 2012 start because hotels genuinely want to be a part of the community, and then they see a return on that commitment in the growth of their business and reputation,” Schultz adds. “If your hotel sits across from a dirty beach, for example, your business may not survive because people won’t want to come. So you get out and help clean up the beach, improving the community and your business. Everybody wins.” ■

35K GALLONS OF TRASH

COLLECTED DURING WORLD CLEANUP 2012

21K

DOLLARS DONATED

TOFROM CHILDHOOD “WALK THE WORLD” EVENTS

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Hotel Legend By Deborah M. Bernstein

H “The hotel industry is forever changed as a result of Kurt’s influence, talent and dedication.” —Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

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e’s one of the industry’s longest-serving luminaries. Now, much to the dismay of those who worked alongside him, Kurt Ritter, president and chief executive officer of The Rezidor Hotel Group, is retiring at the end of this year. The lifelong hotelier has played an integral part in the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group success story. “Since the age of 16, I knew that I wanted a career in the service industry,” Ritter says. “I like being a good host and daring to do things a bit differently.” For more than 20 years, he’s led Rezidor, Carlson’s partner company in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Under his leadership, the company grew from 29 hotels in operation and under development in 1994 to more than 400 in 2010. He negotiated a Master Franchise Agreement with Carlson Hotels in 1994 and was instrumental in the alliance that created the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in 2011. He is also behind the success of Radisson Blu as Europe’s largest upper-upscale brand. Ritter says his focus on developing Rezidor’s “Z-factor” spirit, a passion for acting in an innovative, entrepreneurial way, helped propel the company forward. “In operations, we’ve always tried to be innovative and leading,” he says. “We were the first to dual-brand with Radisson and SAS, the first to go asset-light and one of the first to heavily focus on emerging markets.”

Ritter’s list of awards and recognitions spans the globe and includes numerous lifetime achievement awards from industry organizations. In 2006, he was also named a Carlson Fellow for his lifetime achievements in the company. “The hotel industry is forever changed as a result of Kurt’s influence, talent and dedication,” says Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “For his entire career, Kurt has focused on staying true to the roots of hospitality. One more time, we take our hats off and celebrate the history of this industry leader.” “Kurt played a crucial role in making the industry what it is today,” says Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, Carlson. “His daily presence will be missed, as will the many sparks of fun that he always managed to inject in the business, but his legacy will continue.” On January 1, 2013, Ritter will hand over the reins to Wolfgang M. Neumann, who previously served as Rezidor’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. After his retirement, Ritter will be lending his expertise to Rautio, as well as providing consulting to Neumann for a transition period of three months. Looking toward the future, Ritter says he sees customer demand for unique experiences and personalized services increasing. “We cannot afford to forget our most important stakeholders: our guests. Without them, our business would not exist.” ■

Il l u s tr a ti o n b y Se a n M c Ca be

Carlson Rezidor celebrates the career of industry leader Kurt Ritter.


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Photography by Brian Smith

Partner Profile

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Fact | Denise Estefan has been at the helm of RHILA for seven years.

Denise Estefan, president, Radisson Hotels International Latin America, understands firsthand the challenges that hotel staff face on a daily basis.

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Denise Estefan | Miami

RHILA’s partnership with Carlson Rezidor is a winning combination. | By Kelly Thore

W

hen it comes to the hotel business, Denise Estefan, president, Radisson Hotels International Latin America (RHILA), has just about done it all. She’s worked in a hotel kitchen, cleaned hotel rooms and made beds, and worked behind the front desk. “Earlier in my career, one of the things I wanted to do was experience every department of a hotel,” Estefan says. “I completed a management training program that allowed me to spend a few months in each, from the kitchen to the sales office.” Estefan credits those experiences as helping to guide her effective leadership of RHILA—an important partner to the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. RHILA is the master licensee for the Radisson® brand in Central and South America, and the company currently operates 19 deluxe four- and five-star hotels. Estefan, who got her degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Cornell University, was voted one of Latin America’s “Top 25 Businesswomen” by the Latin Business Chronicle. “We always want to grow,” Estefan says. In addition to the hotels in its current portfolio, RHILA also has four contracted and scheduled to open in the next two years, as well as about 10 in the pipeline. If you ask Estefan, that’s the perfect size. “We have contact with our hotels daily, see their numbers and are close enough that we can understand why these figures went down or those went up,” she says. “We provide very personal service.” The most important part of fostering those close relationships, Estefan says, is that the company acts as advocates for their properties. “We’re the owners, operators and franchisers for several, so we’re on both sides of the table,” she says. That means conducting training with properties and equipping them with tools, such as Carlson Rezidor’s social media tracking tool Revinate, to help measure success. “No matter what a hotel is trying to accomplish, we’re there along the way for each step,” Estefan adds. As a partner to the company for 18 years, Carlson Rezidor has benefitted from having such a tight-knit community of hotels in a challenging market. “We have such familiarity with the area and many connections from having worked in it for so long; these are huge assets,” Estefan says. “And by partnering with Carlson Rezidor, we’re able to get the global brand recognition that comes with the Radisson name, as well as reservation production and corporate tools like the loyalty program and Medallia,” Estefan says. “Our partnership really is mutually beneficial,” she adds. “We have the best of both worlds.” ■


H OTLNIN TH I CAS 57 C arlso n H o t els | H OTLI E ETH E EAAMMEER RI C AS 33


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Social Media

Talk the Digital Talk Carlson Rezidor bolsters its social networking strategy for 2013 and beyond. | By Virginia Citrano

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ocial media can really drive #worldtraveler #hotel #bookings for @Radisson, @ParkPlazaHotels, @ParkInn, @CountryInns and @ClubCarlson, when leveraged the right way. That’s the new language of the hotel industry—a modern, abbreviated style that’s critical to connecting busy travelers to destinations around the world. After investing heavily in its social media efforts this year, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is working to further harness the power of Facebook, Twitter, travel review sites and more in the coming year.

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For Carlson Rezidor, social media is the next piece in a brand-building strategy that begins with effective websites for all hotels. The company now has a global presence for all of its brands on the major social media sites. It has set up brand identity standards for these sites and has created reference guides and webinars on how to participate in social media. “Social media is not a stand-alone channel,” says Jerry Johnson, senior director, Channel Marketing, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “It has to be integrated. With our tools, we can pinpoint that a customer has come from a social media site and that they are booking and engaging with our brands.”


Illustration by Dieter Braun

The bucket term “social media” can include any technology on a website or mobile device that allows users to interact with one another and with organizations they care about. New forms of social media can detect where users are and direct information to them based on their location, quickly evolving into a tool that builds lasting relationships. And the company’s attention to mobile strategies has already paid off handsomely: Revenue from mobile devices is up more than 150 percent year over year. Social media sites have come to dominate the Internet in the last year. FourSquare, a location-based check-in site, has some 20 million registered users worldwide reporting their whereabouts through their mobile devices. Twitter has 500 million users. Facebook, sometimes referred to as a country unto itself, has more than a billion active users. Nearly half of Carlson Rezidor hotels are now participating in Revinate, a Web-based tool that collects guest comments about a property and its competitors from travel review sites. Revinate highlights positive notes and alerts hotel managers to negative postings so they can quickly respond. “If you haven’t signed up yet, do it,” says Sarah Garis, manager, Social Media, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “Hotels should actively listen to what’s being said on social media. Conversations are happening every day about our properties and brands, and it’s important that we monitor these comments as they provide valuable guest feedback.” The takeaways from these postings are key: Carlson Rezidor research shows that 48 percent

Social Media 101: A Crash Course

Users turn to different digital platforms for specific types of online conversation. Hotels can explore and share insights on a single topic in many ways: Twitter: I’m eating a #doughnut. Facebook: I like doughnuts. Foursquare: This is where I eat doughnuts. YouTube: Here I am, eating a doughnut. LinkedIn: My skills include doughnut-eating. Pinterest: Check out this doughnut recipe.

of all travelers look at travel review sites, and 33 percent make changes to their travel plans after reading a review. Social Media In Action So what digital plans lie ahead for Carlson Rezidor? Most recently, the company announced its partnership with Ignite, a leading worldwide social media agency, to learn about customer habits on the Web and how to engage travelers and travel influencers. For example, the company invited leading social media voices in travel, food and architecture to the launch of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago. Attendees were prompted to “check in” to the event on FourSquare, and were given Twitter hashtags to group event tweets. Carlson Rezidor monitored the comments made and passed them on to other users. In May, Carlson Rezidor expanded its Big Night Giveaway campaign to Facebook with great success. The first 100,000 people who registered for the offer received 50,000 bonus Gold Points®, which was enough for a free night at any Radisson® or Radisson Blu hotel worldwide. The campaign resulted in substantial gains in Radisson followers on Facebook, Twitter and travel networking sites. “By extending these campaigns to social media, it brings in more awareness and revenue through booking,” says Jackie Astleford, senior director, E-Commerce, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “We are reaching an audience that we hadn’t reached before with traditional media.” In 2013, Carlson Rezidor will push ahead with social media and brand identity standards all properties must follow. The Facebook booking widget will be customized for all properties, and there will be tabs for Club CarlsonSM and the mobile app. Hotel managers will also learn more about how to “socialize” events held at their properties, so they can capture the attention of others in their area who may have similar hosting needs. “We want to help hotels understand that there are potential sales leads in social media,” says Garis. “You can find people in your area who need your services and make connections you might not make otherwise.” ■

Getting Social At Your Property Not sure how to leverage social media for your hotel? These guidelines will get you started. • First Things First. Before you start with social media, make sure your website is current and meets brand standards. • Read and Respond. Hotel managers should check Revinate daily and follow brand standards for responding to reviews. • Then, Facebook. Facebook is Carlson Rezidor’s biggest social media driver. Familiarize yourself with key tools, such as the booking and Club CarlsonSM widgets. • Learn to Socialize. Use guides and webinars to learn about other forms of social media and the right way to use them. • No Buzz? Don’t Tweet. Social media is all about online users talking. If that’s in short supply, don’t make it a priority just yet. • Ask for Help. Share news and photos with your brand, and the brand may share them through its social media channels.

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Hotline News Plus WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF CARLSON REZIDOR HOTELS | BY KELLY THORE

They Love This Country One Carlson Rezidor brand hits a big milestone.

Ph o t og ra p h y c o u rt es y o f C ar ls on R e z i do r H o t el G r ou p

This fall, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM celebrated its 25th anniversary in style during a surprise party at the Mall of America® in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Excited shoppers learned about the brand’s history as they enjoyed a roaming 20-piece drum line, free cookies and the chance to win prizes such as Club CarlsonSM Gold Points® and one-night stays. (See next page for more.) ■

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Fact | In 1987, Scott Meyer served as general manager of the brand’s first property, the Country Inn & Suites Burnsville, Minnesota.

25 Years Strongg

Shoppers at the Mall of America® got a surprise taste of the Country.

T

he scene in the rotunda at the Mall of America in Minneapolis on August 15 was typical of any day at the bustling shopping center. That is, until one shopper stepped through a “doorway” set up by the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, signaling the kickoff of a pop-up celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM brand. That shopper, along with two others who walked through the door later, was given a gift certificate for 25 free nights at any of the brand’s properties. “Twenty-five years is a huge milestone, and we’re celebrating in a big way,” says Scott Meyer, senior vice president, Midscale Brands, Americas. “We’re thrilled each of our winners now has 25 nights with us to see what Country Inns & Suites is all about.” The party certainly created a buzz throughout the mall. “Everyone likes a celebration, so this was a great customer-facing way to create noise for the brand,” says Staci Graber, public relations specialist, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, who helped organize the event. The celebration continued at CarlsonSM headquarters on September 5, as corporate employees enjoyed a special on-site Be Our Guest Breakfast, complete with the signature waffles, breakfast burritos, juices and other offerings guests enjoy at Country Inns & Suites properties. Employees old and new mingled and conversed among themselves, admiring old photos and sharing stories about how the brand has evolved since it began decades ago. ■ H OTL IN E TH E A M ERICAS

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Fact | International Housekeepers Week is held each year during the second full week of September.

Carlson Rezidor hotels and staff earn kudos.

Star Spotlight: More Hotel Honors The Clean Team

Staff at the Country Inn & Suites Mall of America in Minneapolis celebrated International Housekeeping Week from September 9–15. Throughout that week, the hotel’s housekeepers were treated with a kickoff brunch, homemade treats in the employee breakroom, gift cards and handwritten thank-you notes in acknowledgement of their hard work at the property. ■

Going Once ...

Guest Feedback

Praise from Customers

■ “Martin Hughes, the manager of T.J. Maloney’s in the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana, could not have been more attentive. My husband was hosting a gathering there for his office staff, and the food was excellent. Our waiter was efficient, and both he and Martin made sure we got every6 2 H O T LIN E T H E A ME RICAS

thing in a timely manner so we could also attend the Comedy Club performance afterward. Martin took the time to personally escort our group to the theater, later following up to ensure all had gone well. Martin’s love for his job was very apparent, and, though we have not spent much time at the hotel just for dinner or drinks in the past, his attitude and that of other staff members

Tom Bartig, catering manager at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse, entered a “pie auction” benefiting a local YWCA chapter with a basket that generated $925. The package included one peachesand-cream-cheese pie; a one-night stay at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and a onenight stay at Country Inn and Suites By Carlson, Mall of America; a $150 gift card donated by a local bank; and a mix of wine, cheese and other treats. Bartig helped put together another package with a sister hotel, as well, earning another $775 for the YWCA, which included another

pie, more treats and the same two hotel stays. A total of $1,700 was donated to the YWCA on behalf of Radisson®. ■

Celebrating Dedication The Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa held a special luncheon this July to recognize employees celebrating their anniversaries, as well as other top-performing staff members. During the ceremony, employees paid homage to their long-term colleagues and honored Marilu Erasmus, hostess of the property’s Sunset Grille, as Colleague of the Month. ■

Proof in the Numbers

Due to continuous Yes I Can! SM service execution from the hotel’s staff, the Radisson

Resort at the Port in Cape Canaveral, Florida, earned an impressive Guest Satisfaction Index score of 8.62 for September and October. ■

Stunning By Design

This fall, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago was awarded the 2012 Gold Key Award for best design by The International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show®. The award was presented on November 12 in a ceremony sponsored by Hospitality Style and HOTELS magazines. ■

Left: Martin Hughes, manager of T.J. Maloney’s in the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, delights guests. Top: Tom Bartig, catering manager at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse, presents his auction package.

P ho t o gr ap h y c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or Ho t e l G r o up

THE HONOR ROLL

make us want to spend more time enjoying the food, drinks and music this hotel has to offer.” Local Guest ■


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Hotline News Plus month, the Greenleaf Hospitality Group, which owns the hotel, was also honored as one of Achievers’ “50 Most Engaged Workplaces.” ■

Getaway for Grabs

Ph o t og ra p h y c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or Ho t e l G r o up

Prized Plates

Chef Milton Rebello of the Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina was the proud recipient of a coveted gold medal in Canada’s “Gold Medal Plates” regional culinary competition held this October. The competition, one of 10 across Canada, was held in Regina. The Canadian Gold Medal Plates celebration recognizes excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Each regional gold medal

Top: Milton Rebello, chef of the Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, competes in the annual Gold Medal Plates competition. Right: New Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM general managers complete the five-day Country Brand Orientation.

chef will compete at the Canadian Culinary Championship, held February 8–9, 2013 in British Columbia. ■

A Helping Hire

The Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown was honored by the Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Refugee Services Office as an employer that provides “outstanding employment opportunities to refugees in the State of Utah.” The property was recognized by the group at a luncheon on October 26. ■

Eight Radisson® properties and one Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Canada participated in an auction this September for Logan’s Run, a charity fundraiser and gala benefiting childhood cancer research. The hotels banded together to donate a 15-night holiday package comprised of stays at many of the brand’s properties throughout Canada, including the Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Canmore, the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport and more. ■

A Star Staff

Earlier this year, the Radisson Hotel Star Plaza certified 13 new Yes I Can! SM service stars, in departments ranging from accounting to housekeeping. And in June, Victoria Salazar, executive pastry chef of the property’s on-site T.J. Maloney’s, was featured in The Times of Northwest Indiana, a local newspaper, for her culinary creativity at the restaurant. ■

Fresh New Faces

This October, 14 general managers new to Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM properties across the Americas gathered to participate in one of seven Country Brand Orientation (CBO) sessions held throughout the year. “The orientation is a five-day course that provides newly appointed general managers an understanding of their

responsibilites in representing the brand,” says Lynn Messman, senior director, Franchise Operations - Sales Programs, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Americas. Attendees spent three days at the CarlsonSM headquarters in Minneapolis, followed by two days at the global reservation center in Omaha, Nebraska, immersing themselves in the brand. ■

Off to the Races

Janelle Smith, director, Group Sales, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Americas, is raising funds for the Student Youth Travel Association Foundation by participating in charity runs. After completing a half-marathon in Minneapolis this year, she continues to grow closer to her 2012 fundraising goal of $3,500. ■

Aiming for Excellence

The Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center earned its highest ever Medallia scores this August, along with a Guest Satisfaction Index of 9.02. Later that H OTL IN E TH E A M ERICAS

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SERVICE SPECIALISTS

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is always looking for ways to better serve its guests. That’s part of the reason Jody Vinci, director, Global Customer Care, worked to restructure the Customer Care department in its Omaha Contact Center this spring. “We divided into specialized teams so that we could capitalize on every interaction in a more personalized way,” says Vinci. Effective as of April, the Customer Care department is now split into three different divisions: Customer Care, Member Services and Online Customer Support. The Customer Care team handles guest issues or concerns, making sure to quickly resolve any complaints or issues. This team is also responsible for communicating with property managers and owners about those problems. Member Services staff will take care of any

Above: Grady Tanner cuts the ribbon in front of the town welcome sign he built outside of the Country Inn & Suites Bountiful, Utah. Right: Jody Vinci, director, Global Customer Care, led a restructuring of her department, training her employees to become division specialists. 6 4 H O T LIN E T H E A ME RICAS

Hello, West Bountiful One property backs effort to erect a local welcome sign.

When Grady Tanner, a boy scout working on his Eagle project, first approached the employees of the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Bountiful, Utah, he had already been turned down by other businesses, but the hotel team was willing and able to help him complete his “Welcome to West Bountiful” sign. Located on the hotel’s grounds along Interstate 15, the nowcompleted sign is sure to catch the attention of passersby. Tanner spent two years on the project, including fund raising, planning and construction. “I wanted to do a project that would benefit my whole community,” says Tanner. On August 8, West Bountiful held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new sign, with the mayor and members of the local chamber of commerce in attendance. Media covered the event, and hotel staff offered property tours and a reception following the dedication. “Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM as a brand is committed to the communities where its hotels are located,” says General Manager Grant Dahlstrom. “This was a chance to give back to our city.” “We will be forever grateful, and forever loyal Country Inns & Suites customers,” says Grady’s mom, Dee Tanner. ■

Club CarlsonSM members calling in, ensuring that their needs are met for long-term customer retention. Callers who are members of Club Carlson for Employees, Club Carlson for Business and partners of the Club Carlson program will also be directed to Member Services employees, as well as customers calling in regard to the new Club Carlson credit card. And staff of the Online Customer Support team fields all Web inquiries, providing online assistance to any guest or Club Carlson member who writes in via email. The team also monitors communications made on the company’s social media sites, responding to any issues or concerns that arise among customers on digital forums or mediums. “Now, our staff members are specialists in their own divisions,” Vinci says. “We’re communicating with guests through the medium of their choice.” ■

Ph o t og r ap h y c o ur te s y of Ca r ls o n R e zi d o r H ot e l G ro u p

Fact | The “Welcome to West Bountiful” sign built by Eagle Scout Grady Tanner is 12-feet long, 6-feet high and weighs 39,100 pounds.


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Hotline News Plus

Life on the Road Minnesota Vikings quarterback and Club CarlsonSM member Christian Ponder reflects on what makes for an ideal hotel stay.

Ph o t og ra p h y b y J o e Tr el e v e n

L

ike most professional athletes, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is no stranger to frequent travel. The 12th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft—and one of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s newest Club CarlsonSM Concierge-level members—estimates he now spends 40 to 50 nights a year in hotels. Road trips aren’t new for him, though. When Hotline The Americas met with him at Vikings headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, he fondly remembered earlier journeys, some of which included Carlson Rezidor properties. “My dad always liked to drive, so we took a lot of trips,” he says, like the trek his family made from south Florida to Ohio for his cousin’s wedding. “It was my mother, myself and my brothers. We drove in a little Buick all the way to Ohio, but we stopped in Charlotte and stayed at a Country Inn & Suites, and it was very nice.” So what makes a hotel stay memorable for the young sports star? An attentive staff, comfort and the little extras. “You first recognize the service; the people you deal with while you’re there,” he says. “The biggest things for me, especially the night before a game, are a comfortable bed and a comfortable room.” He lights up when he thinks about an in-room perk that would make a stay even better. “I’m big into dessert,” he says. “I love a good key lime pie or cheesecake. Something like that would be fantastic!” Despite their celebrity status, Ponder and his teammates are grateful for the attention they get from staff while on the road. “With a whole football team, anytime we stay in a hotel, it can be a handful. We always appreciate everyone’s hospitality.” ■

Right: Christian Ponder, starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and Concierge Club CarlsonSM member.


Fact | The Carlson Values, which include Integrity, Innovation, Empowerment and Accountability, guide company employees.

Carlson Rezidor employees rise in the ranks.

Sales manager at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Chandler in Arizona. Paul Crossan has been promoted to the role of Corporate Sales manager for the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport in Arizona. Kristen Bartholomew, who started working as a hostess and was promoted through the years to floor supervisor, is now Food and Beverage manager at the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York. Dianna Calenzo has joined the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Winchester, Virginia as assistant general manager from the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, another property of Nerangis Enterprises, which owns the hotel. Sally Costantino has been hired as the new Corporate 6 6 H O T LIN E T H E A ME RICAS

Flavia Fabiano, a former breakfast attendant at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Beaufort, South Carolina has joined the breakfast staff at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Jacksonville, Florida. Gwenn Feliciano has been named director of Sales and Marketing for the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin. She will oversee all sales, marketing and public relations functions for the property, including the oversight of European-based Sales managers.

Lauren Johnston has joined the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Naperville, Illinois as sales manager from a large catering company in the Chicago area.

Joy Linsday has been appointed vice president of Human Resources for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in the Americas.

Audrianna Lopez, former front desk agent, has been promoted to Reservations Sales coordinator at the Radisson Hotel Whittier in Vancouver, Canada. Drew Lynch has joined the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Brooklyn Center, Minnesota as the property’s assistant general manager.

Samantha Marks has been named the new Social Sales manager for the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York. She previously worked as front office manager at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis and completed a management training program for banquets and the front office in Minneapolis.

Daniel Ryan, formerly a guest service representative at the Radisson Hotel Corning, New York, has been promoted to the position of assistant front desk manager at the property.

Lisa Seuser, who previously worked as the director of Sales at two different properties in Wisconsin, has been named the new director of Sales at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Naperville, Illinois. Kellie Williams has been hired as the new SMERF (Social, Military, Educational, Religious, Fraternal) Sales manager at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport in Arizona. â– 

Ph o t og ra p h y c o ur t es y o f Ca r l so n R e z id o r H o te l G ro u p

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Shannon Foster, formerly director of Sales and Marketing for the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Chandler, has been promoted to regional director of Sales and Marketing for both the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Chandler and the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport.


Fact | The Niagara University College of Hospitality and Tourism Management is a founding member of Leading Hotel Schools of the World.

Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou r te s y of Ca rl s o n R ez id o r H o te l G ro u p

TRUE HOSPITALITY Awesome, friendly, helpful … these are just a few words guests have used to describe Rachel Coleman, guest service representative at the Country Inn & Suites Knoxville at Cedar Bluff, Tennessee. And word has traveled—all the way to the Tennessee Hospitality & Lodging Association, who named Coleman its 2012 TN Lodging Employee of the Year this September. “Rachel makes every guest feel welcome when they walk through the door,” says Renie Carroll, general manager of the hotel. “She earned her Black Be Our Guest service pin faster than any other team member, and her positive attitude and friendly personality make her a great role model for everyone.” Coleman has since earned the Blue pin, meaning 50-plus guests have mentioned her by

Above: Nancy Johnson, executive vice president, Development, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, earns a lifetime achievement award. Right: Rachel Coleman, guest service representative at the Country Inn & Suites Knoxville at Cedar Bluff, takes home the 2012 TN Lodging Employee of the Year award.

An Exemplary Student Carlson Rezidor’s own honored for a lifetime in the industry.

This fall, Nancy Johnson, executive vice president, Development, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, received the “Lifetime Hotelier Achievement Award” from Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management in upstate New York. She was presented with the honor during the school’s annual convocation, held October 18. Dr. Gary Praetzel, dean of the school, praised Johnson at the convocation, adding that she “epitomizes what we stand for” at the university. During the ceremony, Johnson donned an academic cap and gown to receive the honor. She also took time to meet and speak with students in the hospitality and tourism program after the event ended. Johnson was the 2011-2012 chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and was the founding chair of the Women in Lodging Council within the AH&LA. She serves on the board of directors of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association and has been named one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent magazine. ■

name in surveys. That guest-first mentality has contributed to the property’s service scores, which have helped earn it the President’s Award each year since opening in 2009. But beyond just serving its guests with “over-the-top hospitality,” Coleman has done a lot to improve the property itself. She recently stepped up to become the hotel’s Responsible Business director, working diligently to help it earn its TN Green Certification. She also leads team trainings on recycling, community service and other responsible business practices. “It’s an honor to set the standard for a guest’s stay in our area when they check in with me,” Coleman says. “We want to make a difference with guests and in the community, through friendly service and being a responsible business. I see those as one in the same.” ■

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Fact | The award-winning FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar offers a mixture of Midwestern-meets-Mediterranean cuisines.

Above: Her Majesty Queen Silvia and His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden visited the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis this fall during a trip intended to build upon the close relationship between Sweden and Minnesota, a state where many Swedish immigrants settled.

Loyal y Royals y

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hile in the movies, the moment might have involved trumpet blasts, a rolling red carpet and an announcement to bow for the king and queen, the real-life version was somewhat less theatrical. Nevertheless, the arrival of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden on October 4 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis still made an impression. “This is the fourth time they’ve stayed with us,” says General Manger Rob Smith. “Originally, they came here because of the Swedish connection with the Carlson family, and over the years the hotel has established a bond with the royal couple.” Preparations for the three-night stay included the advance work of a team of U.S. Secret Service and Swedish Secret Service agents. “They had to go through a vetting process with the employees that would work most closely with the king and queen,” says Smith. The royal couple stayed in the hotel’s Penthouse Luxury Suite, and their entourage occupied the entire 16th floor. “The Secret Service didn’t expect the king and queen to leave their room, but they ate two dinners at our FireLake Grill unannounced,” adds Smith. “One Secret Service agent said he didn’t know what it was about our hotel, but we say ‘yes’ to everything, so I explained our Yes I Can! SM culture.” ■ 6 8 H O T LIN E T H E A ME RICAS

Ph o t og ra p h y b y G e tt y Im a ge s

Swedish king and queen honor one Radisson hotel with repeat business.


Fact | As part of its disaster-relief efforts, the American Red Cross offers shelter, food and other services to those in need.

A VETERAN

Ph o t og ra p h y c o u rt es y o f C ar ls on R e z i do r H o t el G r ou p , i S toc k pho t o

SALUTE This year, the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Burlington, North Carolina went above and beyond to honor area military personnel for Veteran’s Day. With intentions of “selling out,” management at the hotel offered any veteran and his or her family a free night’s stay in tribute to their service to the country. The idea for the promotion first came to Michael Garner, general manager, whose father was a Navy veteran, as he sat in an airport last Veteran’s Day. “I was listening to the overhead gate announcements honoring veterans by inviting them to board planes first,” Garner says. “I thought, my hotel has to do something to add to this.” Staff began planning the event early in 2012, promoting it through a private-offer page on the hotel’s website, paper fliers and

Above: This summer, the Country Inn & Suites, Green Bay East helped benefit locals who had been negatively impacted by bad weather. Right: In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Country Inn & Suites, Burlington opened its doors to military personnel for a night’s stay on the house.

Calm After the Storm One property helps locals impacted by catastrophic weather.

Helping others was the philosophy behind a “Summer Storms” promotion launched by the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Green Bay East, Wisconsin this year. The program, which offered a special rate and extra amenities, helped those impacted by tornados and hurricanes through a donation to the Red Cross. “Storms wreak havoc throughout the country and the American Red Cross always comes to the rescue,” explains Mary Kay Keating, specialist, Revenue Optimization, Americas. “The rate was equal to rack rate, but 10 percent of the room rate went to the Red Cross.” The Summer Storm charity program also included a bottle of water in rooms for guests, as well as the Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM standard high-speed Internet access and daily breakfast each morning. The property also offered coffee and cookies 24 hours a day. “We sold approximately 165 rooms at an average rate of $103.70, for a total of $17,110.50,” says Keating. “Ten percent of that will be given to the local American Red Cross.” ■

personal visits to area veterans’ groups. When November 11 finally came, more than 140 military service personnel and their families filled the hotel. In addition to a free night’s stay, the veterans were treated to an evening reception catered by local establishments, the brand’s signature Be Our Guest Breakfast the following morning, and a welcome bag of gifts, snacks and coupons from local businesses. And thanks to the event, the hotel was even able to secure business for an upcoming family reunion as well as a wedding. “This is the first time we have offered such a promotion on this scale,” says Garner. “We saw a priceless opportunity to create a sense of giving back to those that have given so much to our community and our country. We have done numerous service events during our 15 years, but this was the highlight.” ■

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LOCAL

STAR Tami Woods, director of catering at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse in Wisconsin, says it best herself: She’s a “Yes” person. That mentality undoubtedly led to her recent honor as “Rotarian of the Year” by the Rotary La Crosse Club Downtown this September. Woods was honored at the annual Avenues of Service banquet, which hosted 200 rotarians from eight local club chapters at the Lunda Center at Western Technical College in La Crosse. As a member of the club’s fellowship committee, Woods works to organize various social events that help members get to know one another. “I believe in genuine hospitality, which is what Yes I Can! SM is all about, so I share that with the club and believe that it fosters a great feeling

Above: Housekeeping staff at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Scottsdale show off their first-place trophy after winning the Housekeeping Olympics. Right: Tami Woods, catering director at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse, receives a “Rotarian of the Year” award from her local Rotary Club chapter. 7 0 H O T LIN E T H E A ME RICAS

Going for Gold

Three hotels try their luck in a different type of Olympic games.

Staff from several Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM properties in Arizona put their best “sprucer-uppers” to the test as part of the Housekeeping Olympics this September, an event held annually among the local brand hotels. The Housekeeping Olympics began in 1999 under the suggestion of Johna Story, head of housekeeping at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mesa. Brand properties across the state are invited to participate, and this year, three entered: The Country Inn & Suites, Scottsdale; the Country Inn & Suites, Deer Valley; and the Country Inn & Suites, Mesa. “We played five games using all housekeeping items, from ‘Fastest Bed in the West’ to the ‘Tissue Toss,’” says Melissa Wyatt, general manager of the Mesa property, where the event was hosted. Each hotel had five participants, who also brought fans to cheer them on. A guest panel, which included Gary Mangini, district director, judged the events. When the competition wrapped, the Scottsdale property was named the winner, meaning the hotel gets to host the event next year. “The Olympics are a team-building event, helping us celebrate an important part of our staff,” Wyatt adds. ■

throughout our area,” says Woods, who has worked at the La Crosse property for 24 years. In addition to planning social events, Woods is willing to lend a hand wherever the club needs one—whether that means planning health fairs, delivering fruit baskets for a club fundraiser or even helping construct the group’s float for the community’s yearly parade. “Tami has been instrumental on numerous community projects, including two district conferences for Rotary held in the La Crosse Center,” says Tim Blaschke, general manager. “We’re all very proud of her efforts representing the hotel while supporting the great community we live and work in.” Above all, Woods says her work with Rotary shows that the Radisson in La Crosse is more than just a hotel. “I am proud of who I work for,” Woods says. “We’re real people who care, and we give our time and resources to build the community.” ■

Ph ot o g ra p hy c ou rt e s y o f Ca rl s o n R ez i d or Ho t e l G r o up

Fact | The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “rotarian” as one who is a member of a notable national or international service club.


—Joe Caldwell, frequent guest and Club Carlson SM member

VIP Treatment

This frequent traveler puts it simply: The staff truly makes the property.

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Right: Joe Caldwell, Concierge-level Club CarlsonSM member

Guest Profile

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oe Caldwell, co-founder and chief executive officer for a business Internet company, spends 35 to 45 nights on the road every year and can tell when a hotel is “something special.” He immediately recognized that quality in the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown—a property he didn’t even intend to stay with. “My family and I were vacationing in Hawaii, and on the way back, our plane had mechanical problems so we had to stop in Utah unannounced,” he explains. “We found the Radisson there and were immediately impressed.” All checked baggage had to be left on the plane, so Caldwell and his family arrived with literally nothing. “The hotel employees were very accommodating, getting us toiletries and whatever else we needed since we were stranded,” he says, adding that one even drove the group to the mall to get clothes for the next day. Right then, Caldwell was sold on the Radisson® philosophy. “Their employees are a notch above ones at the places I’m used to staying,” Caldwell says. “If I can, I always stay at a Radisson. It’s my first choice.” Caldwell is now a Concierge-level member of Club CarlsonSM and has already seen the program’s benefits in action. “I was recently staying at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Canmore in a regular room. But because of my membership status, they upgraded me to the presidential suite,” he says. “I love that card,” Caldwell adds. “It’s the company’s special advantage; it’s like its secret sauce.” ■

Fact | The Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown recently debuted new renovations.

“[Radisson employees] are a notch above ones at the places I’m used to staying. If I can, I always stay at a Radisson. It’s my first choice.”


Vistas

Fact | The Radisson Hotel Maiorana Belém in Brazil features five room types for guests.

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E

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

xplore in Style | As one of northern Brazil’s oldest and most vibrant cities,

Belém is today a blend of colonial squares and skyscrapers bustling with commerce. Ranked number two out of 25 hotels in Belém on TripAdvisor, the new Radisson Hotel Maiorana Belém is an ideal choice for a stay in the city. Visitors appreciate the property’s spacious guest rooms and suites, on-site restaurant and ultra-sleek pool atop the hotel. It also offers meeting space that can accommodate up to 400 guests, as well as business and fitness centers. Located in the upscale Nazaré neighborhood, the hotel is the perfect base for exploring the city’s historic streets lined with pastel-colored buildings and ancient mango trees. Also nearby is the Ver-o-Peso Market, a great introduction to the foods and folk traditions of the Amazon rainforest. ■


Welcome to InspIratIon

Country Business ConferenCe 2013 AmBition 2015

it’s a colorful world Adding Color to Life

SM

March 17–20 | Fontainebleau Miami Beach parkinn.com

RegisteR today

At Park Inn by Radisson, Adding Color to LifeSM Register countryinnsandsuitesbusinessconference.com is our serviceat philosophy that you exemplify with every guest experience. From a welcoming Join usatincheck-in Miami for Country Inns & Suites Business Conference to learn about brand performance, hello to the delivering authentic service, you are what makes Park Inn by Radisson the strategy and new product introductions. Choose from multiple education sessions designed to improve hotel our guests can rely on. your personal and hotel performance and more—all focused on helping you grow your business.

Register now for the 2013 Country Inns & Suites Business Conference. We look forward to seeing you there! H OTL IN E TH E A M ER I CAS 73

© 2012 Country Inns & Suites By Carlson,SM Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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Hotline The Americas Volume 3 - 2012