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Country Inns & Suites: A Global Promise ■ Radisson Blu Focuses on Emerging Markets ■ Celebrate Employee Success HOTLINE MAGAZINE


The magazine for Carlson Rezidor

“Our Global Family” VOLUME 2 2013

One Spirit. One Heart. One Legacy.


Hotel Group







In true one-family, one-Carlson spirit, I am proud to introduce the premiere GLOBAL issue of Hotline.

Our Growing Global Family Hotline now spans the world. In the spirit of collaboration, our original Hotline, published in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Hotline The Americas have merged. And we’ve added a new family member: Asia Pacific. As Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Republic of China, said, “The whole world is one family,” and now we are, too. Throughout my 25 years with the company, I’ve seen the spirit of family woven into the fabric of our company. It’s what makes Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group a special place to work. There are so many common threads that bind us together. Things like our caring spirit, our service heart and our lasting legacy. We all share a dedication to serving our guests and exceeding expectations. In this issue, your president will share news about your region’s top priorities and developments on page 12. You’ll gain knowledge about Carlson Rezidor’s overarching commercial strategy and discover how our brands are focusing on providing the quintessential guest experience. You’ll learn how to develop your

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

career, keep your hotel safe and meet some of your amazing colleagues. You’ll find out how employees are bringing innovation to the workplace, and you’ll catch up on the latest news about customer-service bright spots around the world. I’m also thrilled to introduce our recurring chief executive officer column on page 8. Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, Carlson, will share our Vision 20/20 mission and the progress made during our recent leadership meeting. I hope you’ll be as inspired as the entire team behind the new global Hotline. Hotline honors the most important part of the Carlson equation for success: our people. Dive into the international world of Hotline and discover the breadth of our global reach, human touch and genuine hospitality! The magazine is a powerful tool that keeps you informed about all that’s happening in the world of Carlson Rezidor and also helps you do your job better. Keep sending your stories and photos to so we can continue to share the good news with your colleagues. Enjoy!

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Featuring individual touches, Park Plaza速 sets the trend for the next generation of travel


Radisson Blu takes the lead in emerging markets


Caring and comfortable service around the world


A higher standard helps set Radisson速 apart

ON THE COVER: We are family: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group employees around the world. Illustration by: Gluekit




52 22



Everyone can play a part in creating safer hotels


Make the most of your hospitality career


RevPAR growth starts with an innovative spirit


34 74


Tek Chand, Jeffrey Freund and Ahdi Adel Ghobrial Falts

Signings, openings and renovations


Awards, innovations, Bright Spots and more


Four questions on the future of South Asia

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The global magazine for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Publisher Trudy Rautio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson Editor-in-Chief Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas Managing Editor Deborah M. Bernstein, Director, Internal Communications, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas Regional Editors Renu Snehi, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, The Rezidor Hotel Group Joanna Ong-Franklin, Director, Public Relations and Communications, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific Elina Ciptadi-Perkins, Manager, Internal Communications, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific Contributors Marie Barr; Chi Birmingham; Mitch Blunt; Dieter Braun; Brandy Brinson; Judy Colbert; Spencer Collins; Luis Garcia; Gluekit; Simon Impey; Jeff Johnson; Erica Katz; Himanshu Khagta; Carmen Kidd; Zoe Murphy; Dale Edwin Murray; George Myers; Tes One; Sara Rubenstein; Shotopop; Joseph Sywenkyj Suggestions and Advertising Please contact Molly Biwer, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations, and Editor-in-Chief, Hotline +1 (763) 212-2901 Hotline serves as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s magazine. Hotline is distributed to Carlson Rezidor employees, Carlson’s board of directors, hotel owners and developers, general managers, strategic partners, key clients and other stakeholders. Production and the Environment Hotline is printed with a satin UV coating. UV (ultraviolet) coatings do not emit volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. They are compatible with standard de-inking processes for recycling of paper. © 2013 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved. Hotline by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. 701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka, Minnesota, 55305, U.S.A. Copyright Notice | None of the information provided in this publication may be used, reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or the use of any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Disclaimer | The information contained in Hotline is not a franchise sales offering. Part of the information presented in Hotline reflects data and information provided to Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group by hotels operating under Carlson Rezidor brands, which may be independently owned and operated. While Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data may change prior to publication. Carlson Rezidor provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data. For the most up-to-date information on Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, please visit

Our Family ILLUSTRATION BY: Shotopop


Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s brands span the world. Take a closer look at Carlson Rezidor regionally and some of its key strategic partnerships. Rezidor Hotel Group—operates Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); operates and develops Hotel Missoni; and, through a strategic alliance with Regent Hotels & Resorts, develops and operates new Regent properties in EMEA. A member of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Rezidor is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. CarlsonSM is the company’s majority shareholder. Edwardian Group Limited—operates Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels and The May Fair Hotel. Edwardian is headquartered in the U.K. PPHE Hotel Group—develops and operates Park Plaza® hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas—develops and operates Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group brands in North, Central and South America Atlantica Hotels International­—develops and operates Radisson®, Park Plaza and Park Inn by Radisson in Brazil Radisson Hotels Latin America (RHILA)—operates Radisson hotels in Central and South America Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific—develops and operates Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group brands in 13 countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia, North Asia and the Pacific Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd.—develops and operates Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels in India Bestech Hospitalities Pvt. Ltd.—develops Park Inn by Radisson hotels in North and Central India Panorama Group—develops Radisson and Park Inn by Radisson hotels in Indonesia SM Group—develops Park Inn by Radisson hotels in the Philippines

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Creating a Legacy

GLOBAL MESSAGE TRUDY RAUTIO President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson

Working together, Carlson’s people are embarking on a bold new path, heading toward another 75 years of success. By Trudy Rautio

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our new global Hotline. Our employee magazine continues its mission—to keep colleagues updated on company developments, celebrate our accomplishments, share best practices, provide tips and tools to help us succeed, and, most importantly, help us serve our guests with our caring spirit and service hearts. The publication now reaches more than 80,000 people around the world who make up our Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group family. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of CarlsonSM, we have many highlights to recognize and can look forward to more in the future. We are entering a new era for our company, marked by an evolution of our business strategy, an intensified focus on global collaboration and the importance of people to our organization’s success.

VISION 20/20 Earlier this year, I introduced Carlson’s new vision for the company, Vision 20/20, which encompasses all of our businesses: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGI FridaysSM and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.




Vision 20/20 represents an evolution from Ambition 2015. Through the work of our Ambition 2015 strategy, we built a foundation for success by concentrating on business fundamentals and building our core competencies. We have made significant progress, which positions us to think about our future. Vision 20/20 takes us to the next level. It is transformative, and it puts you at the center of our success. It is based on my core belief that people plus performance equals results. Under Vision 20/20, Carlson’s core values remain the same: our caring spirit, our service heart and our commitment to creating a lasting legacy. Our long-term goals also remain the same: to create sustainable businesses, build shareholder wealth and drive growth in our businesses.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES But Vision 20/20 also imagines a new way forward. Our four strategic objectives for Vision 20/20 are to develop our talent, foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, be the bright spot for our customers, and last, but never least, deliver great results. Carlson’s success, of course, starts with having the right people. This is an

area I am passionate about. To paraphrase a quote by our founder, Curtis L. Carlson, you can take away our buildings and we can rebuild, but take away our people and we have nothing. In a competitive market for the best talent, we must find, grow and keep the people who have the skills to achieve great things in this business. This starts with fostering the growth of our own talent by taking full advantage of Carlson’s strong culture of mentoring and educational opportunities such as the Carlson Rezidor Business School. (See “Steps to Success,” page 52.) Additionally, we should be open to new ideas, learning what works and what doesn’t, and keeping what is successful. Carlson is deeply rooted in entrepreneurship, but creating an ongoing culture of innovation requires consistent attention and a process to sustain itself. This is so crucial that the theme of our upcoming Values Week in October is “Dream with your all,” with a focus on innovation. At the same time, we must accelerate innovation through effectively leveraging collaboration: This is absolutely fundamental to Vision 20/20 and Carlson’s future success. Next, we must deploy our talent— and our culture of innovation and collaboration—to be the bright spot for our customers. For Carlson and our businesses, this is what makes us truly unique. The bright spot is the overwhelmingly positive experience on a customer’s journey. A common objective of all of our business strategies involves the customer experience, and it is essential to enhancing our success in the future. Finally, if we do the first three things right, we will deliver a unique, positive

customer experience that differentiates us from our competitors. This is how we win in the marketplace. It enables us to deliver strong financial results, meeting or exceeding our return on equity targets, with strong earnings and revenue growth.

LEADING THE VISION Earlier this summer, senior leadership met in Stockholm, a site chosen to honor the Swedish heritage of Curt Carlson. The focus of the two days was to further clarify the Vision 20/20 strategy and explore how our leaders can promote innovation, collaboration and talent development. The meeting included leaders from all of Carlson’s business units. While we may have three different businesses in three different life-cycle stages, with three different sets of global complexities, we are still One Carlson—united by common attributes, ownership and values. Together, we collectively create the overall Carlson culture. During the meeting, we announced the creation of an Innovation Council that will work across business units and departments to find ways to keep the company moving forward. Innovation challenges the way things have always been done, and great leaders champion new ideas to create an environment that breeds this mindset. We also announced the 2012 Carlson Fellows awards. Let me take a moment to congratulate the honorees. • Barbara Coakley, manager, Accounting, Carlson Restaurants • Karen Forrester, senior vice presi- dent and chief executive officer, TGI Fridays, U.K. • Nicholas Francou, group controller, EMEA, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

• Ronald Heinz, senior director, Executive Compensation, Carlson • Arild Hovland, senior vice president, Russia and CIS, The Rezidor Hotel Group • Lyle Lewis, vice president, Philip- pines and Japan, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific • Tim Sticha, vice president, Finance, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas • Janet Wheatley, vice president, Trav- eler and Transaction Services, North America, Carlson Wagonlit Travel • Kenneth Zack, director, Operations, TGI Fridays, U.S.A. • Albert Zhong, general manager, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, China • Lawrence Perlman, director, Carlson Board In Stockholm, they received our company’s highest honor because of the exemplary results they each produced for the company. Additionally, each of them has displayed great strength of character, strong leadership and dedication over the course of their careers, representing Carlson ideals and values every step of the way.



Caring Spirit Be the bright spot for customers with our caring spirit.

Service Heart Outperform the competition with our service heart.

COMING TOGETHER GLOBALLY As our Vision 20/20 objective of fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration indicates, achieving our long-term goals depends on working together effectively around the world. In our hotels business, we are already taking giant steps. In 2012, Carlson and The Rezidor Hotel Group joined forces to establish Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, combining the strengths of our two great companies to maximize the value for all of our stakeholders—owners, partners and employees alike.

Lasting Legacy Create enduring businesses and a lasting legacy.

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WHY BE THE BRIGHT SPOT? Today’s availability of instant information is helping to drive consumer perceptions that all hotel brands are basically the same, which puts downward pressure on profitability. CarlsonSM, however, is positioned to compete differently. When customers see Carlson brands as the standout bright spots of their journeys, they are happy to pay for the experience and disinclined to search for alternatives. Creating incredibly memorable experiences will encourage guests to return again and again.


So far, the collaboration has been a huge success, making us the 10th largest hotel company in the world and increasing the global strength of our brands, revenue generation systems, purchasing opportunities and people development programs across all theaters: Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To discover the best ideas and deliver the best results, we have to continue to reach out to each other across the organization. This means we have to be creative and be a part of teams that work across boundaries, whether functional, organizational or in specific business areas. Doing so will help us develop new approaches to our business and solve issues before they become problems, as

long as our teams stay passionate about putting the customer first. By leveraging each other’s strengths and expertise, we will all succeed together.

DIAMOND ANNIVERSARY We have many things to look forward to as we continue our 75th year of business. This milestone represents so much more than 365 days. Carlson has always been a force for good in the world, and this year in particular, we want Carlson to have a real and meaningful impact on the communities in which we do business. Whether it is our planned global tree planting, Days of Caring or community service projects, we intend to ramp up our volunteer efforts, fundraising drives and other activities to make the world a better place. This September also marks

the 10th anniversary of our Annual Responsible Business Action month, which provides another opportunity to give back. Looking forward to the next 75 years, we must continue to show the world how we create a lasting legacy at Carlson.

THE KEY TO OUR LEGACY As we transition into what will prove to be a transformative set of years for the company, I have a strong and enduring belief in each and every one of you—the people of Carlson. Vision 20/20 is about continuing to build on the lasting legacy of Carlson and changing the way we do our work. It will focus on both the “what” and the “how”—and that vision depends on you. The transformation begins here and now with all of us.


AMERICAS › The region continues clawing back from the 2008–2009 recession, says Thorsten Kirschke, president, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. “The past few years of success have put us in an excellent position. Now, we must become much more strategic in nature and capitalize on these past years of good work.” Key performance indicators show the region is on or ahead of plan in many areas, building on Ambition 2015 initiatives aimed at building core competencies, he says. “Our strategy will evolve to drive intelligent growth by creating unique experiences for the modern traveler and designing customized solutions for profitable hotels.”


ASIA PACIFIC › The momentum of the company’s growth in Asia Pacific has continued in 2013, according to Simon Barlow, president, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “We have had considerable success in development—signing two strategic joint ventures in India and Indonesia.” At the same time, international economic uncertainty continues to impact the Asia Pacific region, particularly the two largest markets, India and China. Despite these difficult trading conditions, the rest of the region has seen good growth this year, says Barlow. “Our results are in line with expectations and significantly ahead of the same period last year.”

REZIDOR › The Rezidor Hotel Group continues driving toward becoming a more efficient and profit-driven hotel company, notes Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group. “We have seen positive gains and ongoing growth in emerging markets,” he says. “Through our renewed mission, vision and strategy, and our increased global collaboration with CarlsonSM, we are wellpositioned to continue our success.” With slow economies in some parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company cannot rely only on market growth to lift performance, Neumann adds. “We must continue to beat the competition.”

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Delivering Results Rezidor is climbing to new heights with clear strategies that drive performance and excellence. By Wolfgang M. Neumann

A Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group

s The Rezidor Hotel Group continues its journey to become a more efficient and profit-driven hotel company, it is building very good momentum in 2013. We have seen positive gains in many metrics and ongoing growth in emerging markets. In addition, through our renewed mission, vision and strategy, and our increased global collaboration with CarlsonSM, we are well-positioned to continue our success in the short term and in the future. Still, with low gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasted for many countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and economic uncertainties surrounding our industry, we cannot rely on market growth to lift our performance. We must continue to beat the competition.

operational excellence AND PROFITABILITY At Rezidor, we have increased market share consistently since January 2012 in all but one month. We have increased our RGI (Revenue Per Available Room Growth Index) in the first half of 2013 by 3.3 percent for Park Inn by Radisson and by 2.4 percent for Radisson Blu in EMEA. In December 2011, The Rezidor Hotel Group (a publicly listed company) launched Route 2015, a turnaround plan designed to lift Rezidor’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin by 6–8 percent by 2015. Rezidor is well on track with all

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four key areas of this plan—Revenue Drive, Fee-Based Room Growth, Cost Savings and Asset Management—and has delivered a 2.1 percentage point increase in EBITDA margins in 2012. In addition, as unveiled at our 2013 Annual Business Conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Riga in Latvia, Rezidor is on a journey to “Climb Mount Profit.” The peak is high: a 12 percent EBITDA margin. This mountain cannot be conquered in one go. It will take time, careful planning and a real team effort to gradually get to the higher levels and increase performance. At the end of 2012, we had successfully reached Base Camp 1 with an EBITDA margin of 5.5 percent, and we are now on track to reach Base Camp 2 by the end of this year. In other good news, at the end of Q2 2013, Rezidor had delivered six consecutive quarters of occupancy-driven RevPAR growth, ranging from 4 percent to 6 percent, and increased market penetration. In other words, our RevPAR is growing faster than our competitors’, thanks to a series of global commercial initiatives.

In Q2 2013, Rezidor’s revenue grew by 7 percent to MEUR250. Strict cost control and the termination of nine unprofitable leases in 2012 helped us to convert the majority of this revenue increase directly to the bottom line. Our EBITDA was up by 54 percent to MEUR35. EBIT improved even more, up 124 percent to MEUR26. All of these factors contributed to a MEUR9 improvement in free cash flow. It is important to remember that the first half is usually the weaker half of the year. A lot remains to be done and there is still obvious room for improvement—we are still MEUR5.2 below our 2008 EBITDA peak. As a publicly listed company, our financial performance is closely monitored and assessed by the investor and analyst community. In July, we delivered the Q2/H1 2013 financial results, showing our best performance since 2009 and underlining our traction and momentum.

GROWTH OUTLOOK Across the theater, while Europe remains fragile, emerging markets are growing. We have seen a modest, demand-driven recovery in the EMEA hotel market, despite continued macroeconomic uncertainties. The World Bank is projecting weak GDP growth in Western Europe and negative growth in some countries. One of the regional bright spots is Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, which bodes well for Rezidor considering our substantial presence in those countries. Central and Eastern Europe look more promising, with Russia projected to achieve 3.4 percent GDP growth in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most rapidly growing region, and Nigeria alone is projected to enjoy a 7.2 percent increase in GDP. The Middle East and parts of North Africa are also looking strong, with impressive growth in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As one of the leading players in these emerging markets, Rezidor is well-positioned to benefit from this growth. We are creating a lot of jobs, developing stable trading partnerships and reducing overall barriers to trade and investment, which will contribute to the long-term development and sustainability of these emerging markets. European RevPAR development, especially in Southern Europe, continues to be impacted by ongoing economic instability. Rezidor’s limited presence in this region helps to mitigate the risks. The Middle East and Africa are stronger, with best-performing countries such as Oman, Bahrain and

the UAE all delivering double-digit RevPAR growth. While the fundamentals of our business remain strong, and we continue to make good progress, the visibility for the rest of the year is still bleak. We will need to maintain a cautious outlook on the upcoming periods and stay focused on capturing market share. In Q2 2013, we signed 11 new hotels featuring 1,800 rooms. More than 75 percent of our signings were in emerging markets such as Rwanda, Nigeria, Oman and Bahrain; once again, these were 100 percent fee-based, signaling our firm commitment to asset-light growth. Openings remain a challenge under these market conditions, particularly because most of our pipeline is in emerging markets. For the first half, we have opened eight new hotels and 1,700 rooms, 90 percent of which are fee-based. The new openings reflect a healthy balance of mature and emerging markets; new properties include hotels in Glasgow, Scotland; Bremen, Germany; and our fourth hotel in Istanbul.

2013 MEASURES OF SUCCESS With a focus on becoming a more profitable company, many of Rezidor’s key metrics indicate positive progress this year.

REZIDOR IN 4-D Over the past months, the Rezidor Leadership Team undertook an in-depth strategy review to ensure that not only do we deliver on our short-term financial targets, but also we create a foundation for Rezidor’s long-term sustainable success. This strategic approach goes beyond the current turnaround plan—it provides a solid and clear framework, with a renewed mission, vision and strategy based on our existing values of Being Host, Living Trust and Fighting Z-pirit. Providing a unique Yes I Can! SM service remains our mission. Our vision clearly projects our ambitions to be recognized as: • The most passionate team of hoteliers  Building outstanding guest loyalty by providing memorable experiences  Committing to attracting, developing and retaining talent • The most innovative and responsible organization  Leading the industry in anticipating trends and responding to changing customer needs  Caring for our planet and acting in a way that is sustainable

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“WITH UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING OUR INDUSTRY, WE CANNOT RELY ON MARKET GROWTH TO LIFT OUR PERFORMANCE. WE MUST CONTINUE TO BEAT THE COMPETITION.” The most dynamic hotel company in EMEA  Operating distinctive and market-leading brands  Being the leader in the Nordics and emerging markets • The preferred hotel company to invest in and to do business with  Delivering consistent and compelling financial returns to our owners and shareholders  Valuing strong and long-term relationships with all stakeholders Our 4D Strategy is closely aligned with Carlson’s Vision 20/20 and builds on four core elements: 1. Develop our Talent 2. Delight our Guests 3. Drive the Business 4. Deliver the Results Our 4D Strategy is critical to moving us forward. You can read more about the specific pillars that make up these four elements on the opposite page. •

Global MILESTONES Since The Rezidor Hotel Group and Carlson formed the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in 2012, the global partnership is producing tangible results and has already made solid contributions to Rezidor’s improved financial performance in 2013. Our leadership teams are working more closely than ever with leaders in the Americas and Asia Pacific to align the brand strategies and revenue generation activities around the world. Carlson Rezidor has just completed phase one of its global website platform consolidation; rolled out SNAP (Stay Night Automated Pricing), which is producing impressive results; introduced several new global sales



programs and tools, including Global PCR and Salesforce. com; and seen Club CarlsonSM contributing to an increased share of revenues. There is a whole series of other global initiatives being undertaken on the Brand and Marketing levels. The rollout of our renewed Park Inn by Radisson has begun, aiming to deliver relevant Choice, Connectivity and Community to rising Gen Y and Gen X clientele. Smart Meetings & Events and a brand-new app will soon be rolled out globally. Europe’s largest upscale brand, Radisson Blu, continues to bring the wow factor to many of the world’s greatest cities. Our innovative “Turn Your World Blu” summer campaign ran globally on a multilingual microsite, publicized on social media and supported by online advertising, email blasts, travel blogs and websites, plus in-house messaging. In addition, every September, we showcase our global commitment to responsible business by organizing a dedicated Responsible Business Action Month (RBAM). A responsible business is never just about profits; it is about developing its people, protecting the planet and preserving the communities it operates in. In this spirit last year, we delivered our most successful RBAM ever, with more than 260 Carlson Rezidor hotels in EMEA raising more than EUR130,000 in cash and giving EUR310,000 in kind to charity, including the World Childhood Foundation. This year, this unique program is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and I call on all of us to make it a truly memorable event. Open up your hearts to those in need and help make a difference this September. These are just a few key initiatives underpinning the progress we have made in our global Carlson Rezidor partnership. There are so many more opportunities to capture!

Winning the Global Race These are exciting times. We are well aware that in order to be ahead of the game, we have to be at the front; we can’t simply follow the crowd—we’ve got to lead it. With a clear 4D Strategy, our Yes I Can! heritage, a strong Leadership Team, our innovative spirit and commitment to ethical business practices, I am confident that together we will win this race to the top: We will arrive at Base Camp 2 of Mount Profit by the end of 2013 and ultimately at the Summit in 2015. Thank you—together we are moving onward and upward.


The Rezidor Hotel Group’s 4D Strategy ensures the company will continue to deliver on short-term targets while creating a foundation for long-term success. Closely aligned with Carlson’s enterprise-wide Vision 20/20 strategy, the 4D Strategy builds on four core elements: Develop Talent, Delight Guests, Drive Business and Deliver Results.

Develop Talent

Drive Business

• Attract and retain high-caliber


team members • Invest in team members • Drive a performance and talent management culture • Recognize performance and ensure competitive compensation

• Maximize profitable Total Revenue • Embrace the shifting dynamics of the marketplace • Drive profitable Room and Meet- ings and Events Revenues • Drive profitable F&D and other revenues

Delight Guests • Enhance and deliver the brands’ promises • Create and deliver Bright Spots • Rekindle the innovation culture • Rejuvenate Food and Drink (F&D)

Cost Optimization: • Embrace intelligent cost management

• Increase operational flexibility and transform fixed costs into variable costs • Establish Procurement as a recognized value enhancer • Apply “FIT Logic” to improve business processes and deliver savings

Profitable Growth:

Deliver Results • Deliver compelling results for our hotel owners • Maximize shareholder value

• Accelerate growth in emerging markets • Establish critical mass in selected focus countries • Pursue growth in mature markets • Exploit mid-market opportunities • Optimize the fee-based portfolio and secure the pipeline

Portfolio Optimization: • Deleverage the company and drive EBITDA margin through proactive portfolio management • Optimize CAPEX spend while driving ROI and meeting obligations

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Tek Chand Chand’s co-workers see him as a role model and the embodiment of the Carlson Credo.



above &

beyond Tek Chand Shimla INDIA

Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Himanshu Khagta


oing above and beyond comes naturally to Tek Chand, housekeeping supervisor at Radisson Hotel–Shimla and the winner of the 2012 Asia Pacific Employee of the Year. Chand’s leadership, work ethic and integrity have long made him a role model to his co-workers. At this hotel near the northwest Himalayas, Chand’s leadership is evident in the way he is always eager to assist. From the kitchen to the front office, wherever help is needed, Chand is ready. Likewise, his work ethic inspires his peers, who commend his customer-focused approach. He regularly shares his knowledge of guests’ likes and dislikes with other staff so everyone can work together to make the guests’ stays memorable. He is also a great example of integrity. Chand has repeatedly found valuable items in guest rooms, from money to jewelry, and always deposits them to be returned to the guests. On one particular occasion, in May 2012, he found cash equivalent to US$5,000 and a blank, signed check belonging to a guest in a room. When asked whether he had any temptation to keep any of the valuables he has come across, Chand recalls, “I immediately called up my manager and informed him about this packet lying in the room. If I had been tempted and did something unethical, I would have only hurt my self-respect. One works hard, and it takes one’s entire life to earn self-respect, but just one second to lose it.” Growing up in a small village in Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, Chand earned a postgraduate degree in accommodation operations and management from the Institute of Hotel Management in Shimla. He decided to work in housekeeping because of his love for cleanliness and for being around and helping others. He first joined Radisson Hotel–Shimla as a trainee in 2006, when he was still a student. Upon graduating in 2008, he was hired as a housekeeping assistant and was promoted to housekeeping supervisor in April 2011. Vikas Kapoor, general manager, Radisson Hotel–Shimla, says of Chand, “The experience of being named as Asia Pacific Employee of the Year meant the world to him, as he has always lived up to the beliefs and values passed on to him by his father.” Chand says that his father taught him that the most important values are honesty, integrity and dedication. Although Chand’s father passed away in 2009, and did not live to see his son receive this meaningful award, Chand knows his father would have been honored. “My father would have said, ‘I am proud of you, my son. Today I stand even taller and tell the world, this is my son!’”

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living the

credo Jeffrey Freund Minneapolis U.S.A.

Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Sara Rubinstein


or 26 years, Jeffrey Freund, vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, has embodied the Carlson Credo. In fact, he carries it in his wallet. “For me it’s truly about never, ever giving up,” he explains. “That’s the part of the Credo that most resonates with me. We are evolving and going through many changes as part of keeping up with trends, new systems and creating efficiencies. The goal is we want the company to be around for many generations to come. We can never give up if we truly believe that is to be a part of our future.” Freund’s favorite part of his job is visiting the hotels, making many trips each year. “I love being in the hotels—just the energy of the staff in the hotels is incredibly enjoyable,” he says. Hospitality offers unmatched opportunities to leave customers with positive experiences and memories, from the front desk clerk with a welcoming smile to the restaurant waitress who brightens someone’s day by remembering how the customer takes his coffee, he says. “It’s those little things that make really great experiences, and that is such a great thing about our industry.” Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Radisson, and executive vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, describes Freund as having “a passion for the company and our hotels that is second to none. He is focused on guest satisfaction and takes personal responsibility for monitoring the Medallia Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) scores for his hotels.” Freund has played a crucial role in the portfolio’s improvement over the past two years, Rosenberg says. Freund developed a program that appoints task leaders among the Owned and Managed group who lead special areas such as food and beverage, housekeeping and front office. He also created new payroll control systems, checkbook accounting processes and other reports that support hotel operations and drive profitability. Freund says the improvements in the Carlson Owned and Managed properties are the result of teamwork and have been slowly building for some time. He credits the solid focus and direction that came from the company’s leadership. “We’ve had great support from our group—they allow for creativity and for the ability to take chances,” Freund says. “We see failures as not being fatal but rather as being great learning experiences that help us further improve and find better ways to reach our objectives.”



Jeffrey Freund Truly a team player, Freund always gives credit to his team and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group leadership.

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Ahdi Adel Ghobrial Falts At the Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Falts appreciates the creative challenges of his position and chosen career.




HONOR Ahdi Adel Ghobrial Falts Abu Dhabi UAE

Written By Zoe Murphy | Photography By Simon Impey


s a nominee for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Middle East Young Leader of the Year award, Ahdi Adel Ghobrial Falts describes the honor as inspirational in many ways. “And I hope it can inspire others,” he says. Falts, the night manager for the Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island and Park Inn by Radisson, Abu Dhabi Yas Island, began his hospitality career as a telephone operator in 2004 in his home country of Egypt. He joined the Radisson Blu property in July 2011, and within six months the hotel promoted him to his current position. “I am the general manager representative at night,” Falts says. “I am responsible for the night shift team, and one of my biggest responsibilities is to lead them with my own actions.” This idea of leading is something Falts believes comes from the top down. “The general manager encourages me, and I try to encourage the people around me in the same way,” he says. The admiration is a two-way street. “Ahdi allows me to sleep a bit better at night, knowing that the hotels are in his capable hands,” says General Manager Craig Bruce. Bruce adds that Falts is both customer- and team-focused, taking care of requests meticulously. “He has his finger on the pulse of the hotel and anticipates opportunities. He takes pride in his responsibility for the hotels during the night—this is truly what I admire about him,” Bruce says. Hospitality appealed to Falts as a career because it allowed him to draw on his outgoing personality and his creativity. “I have the opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds on a regular basis. This keeps my job fun and exciting.” But perhaps most important to Falts are the opportunities for growth that the hospitality industry and Carlson Rezidor, in particular, offer. “The opportunities are endless, no matter what qualifications you come into the company with. Experience makes the difference,” he says. For Falts, the Carlson Credo offers five tips to running a thriving hotel. Additionally, he feels the Credo helps all employees by creating a safe working environment and enabling him to train his colleagues on how to be superior leaders in their respective positions. “I strive to live up to the Credo by making it key to our operation’s success,” he says.

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Safety Begins With You Everyone plays a role in keeping a property secure. By Judy Colbert


ee Something, Say Something” is the mantra of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and it applies to every employee in every Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group property, says Chris Gernentz, director, Safety and Security, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. Even something as innocuous as a sense from a housekeeper that something seems off between an adult and some children could lead to stopping a human trafficking ring. That may be an extreme example, but it illustrates just how important it is for every staff member to be aware of his or her surroundings and speak up if he or she suspects a problem.

STAYING ALERT Paul Moxness, vice president, Corporate Safety and Security, The Rezidor Hotel Group, says it’s important to base a safety and security program on “real threats, not on fear or vendors selling smart gadgets.” He also says hotel personnel should engage with local law enforcement to share information, promote best practices and work together to make their communities a safe destination. “We have a huge interest in working with local destinations

ILLUSTRATION BY: Dale Edwin Murray



and other hotels to make sure travel is as safe as possible. With a major incident, it can be worse for the destination than the individual hotel.” Moxness suggests the hotel management talk with the guests and major clients about what makes them feel safe, secure and comfortable before there’s a question raised about such issues. “Safety and security is more than complying with corporate policy and legal regulations; it is part of our service.” His version of “See Something, Say Something” is the 1-2-3 program for incident management: 1. If something is unsafe, insecure or just feels wrong, tell someone about it. 2. Ensure steps are taken so people aren’t in harm’s way. 3. Follow up and ensure the situation is made safe. “In today’s fast-paced world, our job is to keep up and try to be ahead,” says Gernentz. “We need to constantly keep our eyes open and keep our employees trained to prevent and react to situations that may not have been a problem a couple years ago. Compliance with regulation has become a big issue and the possible risk of lawsuits can be higher. We are also seeing threats from many different sources in which our employees now need to be armed with more awareness than ever.” In the United States, where properties have to comply with regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Americans with Disabilities Act, guests want to know that hotels are compliant, says Gernentz. “Five years ago, if we mentioned something about safety


HOTEL SECURITY TIPS Eirik Bergvoll, general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, has hosted several high-profile delegations and says the keys to good security are a welltrained team and a simple strategy. His top suggestions? 1. Work to prevent incidents from happening in the first place. 2. Address any concerns promptly. 3. Monitor and maintain security systems and practices religiously. 4. Do things right the first time. 5. Know what is happening in your hotel at all times.

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and security, our guests would think something was wrong. Now, they think something’s wrong if we don’t mention it.” Wherever a hotel is located, employees should be aware that criminals are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to attempting to gain unlawful access to guest rooms or guest information, says Moxness. He adds, “Despite media attention on such issues as terrorism and violent crimes, insurance companies continue to tell us that fire is a main risk, so corridors, stairwells and

We have a huge interest in making sure travel is as safe as possible. fire exits must be clear and accessible for evacuation at all times.” Moxness references an old saying, “‘Good safety and security starts with good housekeeping’—and that hasn’t changed.”

SECURITY LEADERS As part of Carlson’s global, enterprisewide Safety, Security and Crisis Council, Moxness and Gernentz meet with other security and safety personnel from other brands on a regular basis to discuss such things as geographic areas that are experiencing increased thefts from automobiles, increased intrusion into guest rooms and other safety and security matters. Carlson’s cross-enterprise safety and security practices share information and best practices across the company, with participation from all



the hotels, TGI FridaysSM restaurants, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and CarlsonSM corporate. In addition, the security operations center in Minneapolis has every property mapped, says Moxness. “When it gets an incident report—such as a storm, strike or unrest that has the potential to impact our business—we can provide alerts to the businesses that might be impacted. This could be a storm off the coast of China or civic unrest after a trial verdict.” Each employee should receive training and that’s available through training sessions on the Carlson Learning Network or on CDs, says Gernentz. “In larger properties, such as Radisson Blu hotels, which often cater to events and meetings, we can have security personnel. In our Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels, we may only have 15 employees total, so we have to emphasize how all employees contribute to overall safety.” In many cases, the training has to be provided in English and another language. “We need bilingual supervisors who can communicate with front office or security personnel if a housekeeper or maintenance person spots something wrong,” says Gernentz. Moxness says during the course of the year, “We’ll make some of our line training programs available globally on Carlson Rezidor’s learning network. It will be up to the individual hotel how they want to train staff. They can plug all employees into the system and allocate training programs to them.”

WHAT TO LOOK FOR So what does a safe and secure hotel look like? Among other things, guests should expect to arrive in a safe, well-

lit parking area and be greeted when they enter the lobby, says Moxness. They should find rooms that are equipped with a secure lock and fire-detection alarms, as well as sprinkler systems. "Some of these things are visible and noticeable,” he says. “Others, like trained staff, backup generators, secure guest data and secure Internet access, are not so visible.” Moxness encourages hotels to create individual TRIC=S in my hotel (Threat assessment plus Risk mitigation plus Incident response plus Crisis management equals Safe, Secure hotels) presentations. Hotels can use these to showcase many of the things they do to make their hotels safe and secure. The presentation can be used for introductory training for new staff, as well as for showing corporate clients that guests are in the safest possible hands. Moxness emphasizes the importance of cross-training staff in case of illness or other reasons that might place extra demands on a certain department within the property. He also recommends that when hotels practice evacuation exercises, they place employees in different areas of the hotel so they will understand what a guest or visitor would experience in a real situation. That way, they may note any hazards or hindrances they encounter. Beyond teaching staff members what you think they should know, Moxness says hotels should empower staff. “Encourage them to suggest improvements because they often have the best view of what can improve safety in their workplace.”

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Radisson Blu rises to the challenge of bringing worldclass service to emerging markets.





LEFT TO RIGHT Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel, Ukraine; Oleksandra Finogeeva, head waiter at the Bukovel hotel VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



urrounded by the picturesque Carpathian Mountains, the Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel provides refuge from the bustle of city life. Located in the ski and spa destination of Bukovel, in western Ukraine, the area has only recently been developed, but already 1.5 million tourists per year are visiting the region, primarily Ukrainians from the country’s growing middle and upper-middle classes. The Bukovel property is just one example of the Radisson Blu brand’s successful operations in locations with mounting economic and social growth. Today, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group continues to pursue aggressive development goals for Radisson Blu, and key emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific are playing a big part in the brand’s current and future success. Despite the challenges sometimes encountered in these markets, the company’s proven track record gives it an edge over competitors. RAPID EXPANSION Since the 1960 opening of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, the world’s first designer hotel, the brand has



grown quickly. It’s now Europe’s largest upper-upscale hotel brand, with more than 215 hotels in operation and 45 in the pipeline in EMEA. In Asia Pacific, Radisson Blu launched in 2010 and has already grown to 39 hotels in operation, and Carlson Rezidor recently established Radisson Blu in the Americas as well. While the brand has prospered in developed markets in Europe, it also has been a leader in emerging markets, says Elie Younes, senior vice president and head of group development for The Rezidor Hotel Group, which develops and operates Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson hotels across EMEA. “We were one of the first international hotel chains to recognize the huge potential of emerging markets. Early on, we set up regional offices in South Africa and Russia to drive growth regionally with a local presence,” says Younes. As a result of that mindset, Carlson Rezidor now is a leading hotel operator in many of the theater’s developing economies. Radisson Blu is the largest upper-upscale hotel brand in Istanbul, the largest city in rapidly growing Turkey. In Russia, the Commonwealth

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Mountain biking is a popular recreation activity near Bukovel in the Ukraine; Juris Zudovs, general manager, Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel; Galyna Boychuk, lobby bar waiter, Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel; Ivanna Shapirko, front office manager, Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel; the luxurious spa at the Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel; the countryside surrounding the Bukovel hotel is picturesque year-round.

of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltics, the Park Inn by Radisson and Radisson Blu brands are leading in their respective mid-market and upper-upscale segments. “In addition to our leading position in Russia and the Ukraine, we also possess the largest pipeline in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Younes. Radisson Blu has also been one of the fastest-growing hotel brands in Asia Pacific, having introduced the first hotel in the Philippines in 2010. “Today, with 39 operating hotels, the brand is well-represented in major locations such as Sydney, Delhi, Shanghai, Phuket, Fiji and Goa,” says Simon Barlow, president, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “We have a strong pipeline of 27 more Radisson Blu hotels opening in the next few years.” This includes the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok, which will welcome guests in early 2014. PRIME OPPORTUNITIES Despite the brand’s current success in emerging markets, there is plenty of room for further growth.

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India and China are the growth engines of Asia Pacific and two of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, says Barlow. “But Asia is not just about India and China. Indonesia, with a population of 250 million people, the Philippines, with 100 million, and Thailand, with 65 million, are also very large markets with the same outbound potential in the future.” In all of these large Asian countries, massive investments in infrastructure, roads, rail, ports and airports are fueling fast-growing middleclass wealth, which generates demand for domestic travel and more hotels, says Barlow. “On the back of these fundamental economic trends, there

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The front of the Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel at dusk; the hotel offers instant access to the trails with its location next to the ski lift; gourmet food tempts guests after a day of outdoor activity; Oleksandr Androsov, food and beverage manager, Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel; an inviting room at the hotel.



is a great opportunity for the Radisson Blu brand to expand,” explains Barlow. “Having a strong brand presence in these countries is vital for the wider world of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as familiarity with the brand in their home countries means that travelers from these areas are likely to use the brand when they travel to Europe, the U.S. and other parts of the world,” Barlow adds.

enthusiasts, makes staffing difficult. “When we opened the resort last September, challenge number one was location,” says former General Manager Peter Tichy, who oversaw the opening. Tichy, who has since moved to open the Radisson Resort & Spa, Zavidovo, had to recruit employees from across the country to find needed employment skills, such as foreign language experience. “We interviewed about 1,000

“Each country is very different ... to be a success, you need to know what works in each market.” SIMON BARLOW, president, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific Younes notes that emerging markets are highly lucrative for an international operator like Carlson Rezidor, as these markets still face an undersupply of international hotel chains. “Ukraine, as just one example, has huge potential in many cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, but a lack of branded hotels.” LOCAL CHALLENGES Still, opening and operating a hotel in developing markets often presents unique obstacles. At the Bukovel hotel, for instance, the remote location, while appealing to outdoor

candidates long before opening,” he says. The hotel’s current general manager, Juris Zudovs, says managing supplies is another hurdle. The biggest city is more than 100 km (60 miles) away, so planning ahead is crucial. “The infrastructure here also isn’t as developed, so the hotel maintains supplies of electricity and gas to run for up to a week,” Zudovs says. Younes adds that developers face their own host of problems, which can include visa restrictions, bureaucratic hurdles, political instability,

financing woes and legal uncertainty. “Often, owners have no experience in real estate or hotel development, and without clear project management, projects run the risk of delays and cost overruns,” he says. THE PERFECT PARTNER Carlson Rezidor understands these challenges, says Younes. “We have experience in carefully working through them, and we are aware that in order to make it through unscathed, finding the right partner is vital. For instance, we connect owners with the right experts throughout the process to avoid delays in construction.” Forging relationships within the local community is just as important as nurturing partnerships with owners and operators, something that he notes as an important key to success for hotels in areas just starting to attract more tourism. “Not only are we serving our business interests, we are social anchors in these cities by creating jobs and contributing to the local markets and societies,” Younes says. Barlow adds that Carlson Rezidor’s broad international experience serves it well. “Each country is very different—different systems of law, different cultural nuances, different languages and different levels of economic maturity—to be a success, you need to know what works in each market and adapt.” A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, Barlow says.

Experience A New Way To Work Experience Meetings World Premiere Radisson Blu will globally launch its Experience Meetings concept this October to boost awareness of the brand’s unique capabilities in the meetings and events business. Three components mark the concept: Brain Food (innovative food and beverage), Brain Box (a breakout room concept) and Free Internet (fast, no-cost Internet for all meeting delegates).

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“In Australia, a new-build hotel may open about two years after we sign a contract. In India, by contrast, a new-build hotel can take up to five years to open due to the permits required. Patience becomes a virtue.” LEADING THE WAY The opportunities are great. As a whole, the tourism industry has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the world over the past decade. “The industry reached over 1 billion tourists just last year,” Younes says. “The nature of the industry is growth.” For the people who work at Carlson Rezidor hotels, emerging markets provide opportunities as well. “For those who like new challenges, and like to be able to see the results, working in emerging markets provides a lot of satisfaction at the end of the day,” says Zudovs. “There are still many undiscovered, exciting opportunities to work in different cultures, meet different people and learn new things.” Lyle Lewis, vice president, Philippines and Japan, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific, and general manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, has firsthand experience in emerging markets and agrees that employees can gain much from the experience. “Nothing is more rewarding than working outside your birth culture,” Lewis says. “One learns a great deal from other people. It is both a rewarding and enriching experience to work abroad.”



Focused Profitable Growth Elie Younes, senior vice president and head of group development for The Rezidor Hotel Group, on the company’s development strategy for Radisson Blu

Hotline | As head of group development for Rezidor, what role do you play in Radisson Blu’s expansion? A: I am responsible for driving and executing Rezidor’s growth strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in alignment with the overall strategy of our company. As part of my responsibilities, I help us find commercially viable solutions to grow our business profitably. This also involves setting a clear direction and providing the necessary tools to our development executives to identify the right partners and locations to execute our growth plan. Hotline | Why the strong focus on emerging markets such as MEAO (Middle East, Africa and Others) and EE (Eastern Europe)? A: It’s no coincidence that the emerging markets of MEAO and EE make up 87 percent of Rezidor’s pipeline for Radisson Blu properties. In general, a lot of the action has taken place in emerging markets and continues to take place there. It is our belief that this will continue in the future. Establishing management contracts in these emerging markets is key to our development strategy, as they offer tolerable risk/return characteristics and add value to the other party (real estate owners). Hotline | How is the development strategy evolving? A: Our strategy has become more focused when it comes to geographic areas. We have to apply a focused approach to grow in those markets where we see the greatest potential. We strive to optimize our portfolio by growing in-depth in the markets

where we already have a strong presence. This is how we create scale and optimize costs. We are among the first movers in countries like Nigeria and Russia. The growth trend in these markets produces demand for hotel accommodation and also increases the regions’ attractiveness to competitors. We realize that we need to be agile and adapt to the new environment. We need to strengthen our efforts in these markets to defend our leading position and leverage our experience as an early entrant to the markets. The likely increased competition in emerging markets will naturally put more pressure on us, but as a market leader with legendary spirit, we are in a strong position to keep momentum and drive the business. Hotline | How is Radisson Blu’s expansion in these developing markets important for the future of the brand and CarlsonSM as a whole? A: The key driver behind hotel demand is usually improved economic activity, which stimulates corporate business triggered by large multinational companies going into these markets. Given our strength in the international business travel segment and our expansion in such markets, our brand awareness and its perception will naturally improve both locally and internationally. Our ultimate aim is to accelerate our growth through a focused and profitable approach, adding value for our shareholders, partners and employees and the societies in which we trade.


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That idea is driving the growth of the Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM brand, where guests are assured that they will find the same “Caring, Consistent and Comfortable” hospitality whenever they check in. Not only is Country Inns & Suites growing throughout the Americas, but it’s hitting its stride in India, where the growth potential is also promising. Scott Meyer, senior vice president, Midscale Brands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, says, “Caring, consistent and comfortable hospitality has been the cornerstone, or the DNA, of our brand for 25 years. Our Be Our Guest service philosophy translates well into any country or culture around the world. “It doesn’t matter if you’re staying at a Country Inn & Suites in the U.S., Canada, India or South or Central America, you’ll always be treated like family.” AMERICAN-BORN Country Inns & Suites, founded in 1987 in Minneapolis, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. The brand now has 455 hotels throughout the Americas. Meyer and other brand executives attribute the success of the brand to its exceptional culture of going above and beyond to make guests feel at home. “Deep down, every guest appreciates genuine hospitality. They appreciate the effort that our team members make to help them feel welcome when they come to the hotel,” he says. Guests enjoy the feeling that they are cared for and that people are genuinely interested in their well-being, he says. Guests want to feel comfortable. “When guests are greeted with a warm smile and friendly hello,



they immediately feel at home. Then, when they get to their room, the furnishings, decor and overall layout promote a sense of comfort.” SERVICE FIRST Cultivating this service culture begins with the employees. Country Inns & Suites offers its hotels a full training kit, and provides support as well as activities to implement with the staff throughout the year. “Bottom line, our overall success as a brand lies in the hands of our employees at the hotels, and it grows from a simple philosophy of ‘Let’s treat our guests like family,’” says Meyer. To work at a Country Inns & Suites hotel, employees have to have a service heart—a desire to take care of people. “The type of people who enjoy hosting and caring for people in their homes make great employees.” The hotels also present a wide range of unique amenities. In North America, for example, hotels offer a lending library where guests can check out books and return them to the hotel or to another Country Inns & Suites hotel. The brand just inked a deal with Penguin Random House Publishing that gives guests an even wider range of popular books to choose from. However, Meyer says, “At the end of the day, you can have all the amenities, but if you don’t have a service heart, and the guest does not feel welcome and taken care of, they’re not going to come back just for the amenities.” AMERICAS GROWTH The new Generation 4 design for the Americas, which the brand rolled out in March, has been well-received by existing franchisees, as well as by other developers. The design, which features a more contemporary, updated look, will work not only in suburban and tertiary markets, but also in urban locations, according to Meyer. The design particularly appeals to a new generation of guests. “We came up with an overall design that resonates with the up-andcoming millennial generation, and also—just as importantly—it doesn’t alienate our existing customer base.”

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NEW MARKETS The brand has proved an ideal choice for owners and employees in other parts of the world as well. In India, especially, Country Inns & Suites has established a strong foothold. “Once the brand was developed in the U.S., we saw there was an appetite for an upper-midscale brand in other markets around the world, and that ultimately led us to India, where there was a great opportunity to provide a lodging product in the upper-midscale segment,” says Meyer. Raj Rana, chief executive officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific, notes that Country Inns & Suites remains a brand of choice for both guests and owners because the brand assures owners of a return on investment, and guests love to come back for the warm and friendly service the brand is known for. For a brand to succeed anywhere, it has to strike a chord with its client base and has to make sense for an owner, Rana says. “In India, the brand is perfectly positioned to deliver on both fronts.” global identity Country Inns & Suites began rolling out a new, modern visual identity, including a new logo,

advertising and brand graphics, to hotels in the Americas earlier this year. That identity is now going global, with hotels around the world taking on the new look. The new visual identity included a redesign of all in-hotel branded materials, such as key cards, door hangers and lobby signage, as well as a new look and feel for the brand and hotel websites and marketing materials. “This look speaks to our brand positioning and personality and will accompany every communication,” says Aurora Toth, vice president, Brand Marketing, Midscale Brands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. For hotels in India, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has already launched the new websites with warm-colored, wood-toned backgrounds and the new logo. Other elements of the visual identity will soon be implemented throughout Asia Pacific. “We want to see our hotels in India use the new identity in their advertising and in-hotel materials,” says Toth. “We’re working with teams in Asia Pacific to coordinate how they can best source those materials.”



ilam Patel, general manager of the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Hanover, Virginia, U.S., has seen her hotel succeed thanks to its compassionate staff. “Each and every one of them continue to demonstrate on a daily basis the true hospitality they have ingrained in their hearts,” she says. The Be Our Guest service-training program sharpened their skills to go above and beyond what they already so naturally do, Patel says. “It also helps guests feel at home when the front desk greets repeat guests by name and welcomes them.” The hotel receives feedback from guests in all sorts of ways—from phone calls and email, and even from thank-you cards. “We especially love the handwritten notes that are left in the room that simply state how great the stay was.” The hotel also scores highly on Medallia Guest Satisfaction surveys. “Many guests mention Marsha McCreary, the breakfast host, by name. She is the heart of our hotel, embracing each guest with a good morning hug and upbeat and happy attitude—there’s no better way to get the day started. It’s amazing to see how many guests return here just to see her and catch that morning hug!”

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India expansion Carlson Rezidor has partnered with Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd. (CDMS) to seize growth opportunities in India. “CDMS has done a great job in managing the Country Inns & Suites hotels to deliver consistent and exceptional experiences to guests and profitability to owners,” says Rana. As in the Americas, the “Caring, Consistent and Comfortable” message resonates with guests. “At our hotels, we encourage guests to make themselves at home,” says Sanjeev Pahwa, vice president, CDMS. “Our staff is trained to meet all guest needs. Keeping in mind the diversity of Indian regions, we hire local staff, which helps tremendously in adapting to the local culture.” This service culture comes naturally. “In India, we say athithi devo bhava, which is an ancient Sanskrit saying meaning, ‘Guest is God.’ This philosophy is part of Indian culture. Country Inns & Suites hotels have embraced this philosophy,” says Pahwa. The service has not gone unnoticed. Eight CDMS hotels were recently awarded TripAdvisors’ Certificate of Excellence.

Rana notes that the next two to three years could be tough for the hotel industry in India. “Excess supply has to be absorbed, and generally the Indian economy has to regain its strength. In the short term, this creates some challenges, but in the longer term, we remain confident of our growth. We are on track to open six new Country Inns & Suites hotels this year alone,” Rana says. The success thus far supports his optimism. Country Inns & Suites, despite increasing competition from other midscale brands in India, has tripled its portfolio since 2007. “This is being driven by a very high loyalty index, a powerful measure of our success as it reflects guest-return ratio,” Rana says. Worldwide appeal Those core values should continue to lead the hotels to success no matter where they are in the world. While modifications are made for local culture, the sense of hospitality remains the same. “Even though we’re in different countries and serve different cultures, the DNA is the same worldwide. That’s the important driver of our business, and that’s what will make us successful on a global basis,” Meyer concludes.



ikas Ray, general manager of the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson–Gurgaon, Udyog Vihar, India, says his hotel has been successful because “we are a very competitive product on the market. We are competing with other international brands in the city and provide true value for money to our guests. And of course, we maintain very good service standards; we are professional, yet very friendly to guests.” The employees are crucial to the hotel’s success. “We pay a lot of attention to our team members here in the hotel by keeping them happy and engaged, which results in their giving better services to the guests,” says Ray. He says he stresses to employees that they are selling a service. “We are not selling a product. Our effort is to provide the finest experience to our guests each time they visit us. We are attentive to each guest and his or her requirements so that we provide impeccable hospitality to all our customers.” Feedback often refers to the helpfulness of employees. “The feedback we get from the guest is positive due to our employees and their effort, which recently has been recognized by TripAdvisor with its Certificate of Excellence.”



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Radisson bolsters its global image through





superior service and product delivery.

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very employee at the Radisson Hotel Yuma in Arizona knows the property’s motto by heart: To be number one, you have to act like number one. “It’s pretty simple. Everyone at the hotel consistently provides guests with great service,” says Evan Fuller, the general manager of this recently built hotel in the southwestern U.S. “The staff asks guests at every opportunity about their stay and how we can make it better.” Since opening four years ago, the property has almost always held first or second place among the brand’s hotels for its Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) scores. “It’s something we think about every month, every week, every day, every minute,” says Fuller. “We talk about Yes I Can! SM and guest service all the time—from our managers to our line staff. There’s a lot of pride in being number one, and we want to stay the best.” Fuller’s commitment is echoed in Radisson® properties across the globe, as hotels strive to improve their product and service to meet the challenge posed by Javier Rosenberg, chief

operating officer, Radisson, and executive vice president, Owned and Managed Hotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, at the 2013 Full Service Brands Business Conference in Chicago. The formula is simple, says Rosenberg: “A renovated and fresh product, together with caring and engaged service, delivers a great experience and a satisfied guest. A satisfied guest becomes loyal, choosing our brand over other options and driving revenue to our hotels.” EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE Guests already know the brand for a higher level of service, says Rosenberg. “It is encouraging to see that, as we have continued to raise the minimum GSI standards over the past few years, hotels continue to meet and exceed them.” At the time of their hire, all Radisson employees must undergo Yes I Can! training by a certified instructor, says Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. The Yes I Can! service philosophy provides a solid foundation for Radisson hotels to first establish a consistent level of service and to build upon it to deliver 100 percent guest satisfaction. “Service is one of the most important parts of the entire hotel experience,” she says. “That’s why the service promise is so important—so guests know what to expect and it becomes another reason for them to return to stay at our hotels.” From location to location, guests may be different, but creating a Yes, I Can! spirit offers a path to success. At the Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam—located in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei—this often means being aware of the needs of foreign guests, says General Manager Peter Feran. “For example, our employees have driven a guest to the airport to collect a lost bag.”

PREVIOUS PAGE Evan Fuller, general manager of the new Radisson Hotel Yuma. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Alex Gonzalez has been nominated twice for Employee of the Month at the Radisson Hotel Yuma; the Market Wine Bistro offers casual dining; Front Desk Supervisor Tricia Harper welcomes all with a smile; lush blossoms adorn the exterior of the Radisson Hotel Yuma; the lobby of the Yuma hotel is bright and welcoming.



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GAME THEORY Training is the first step in establishing a service culture, but that’s not enough. “One big thing is keeping score,” says Fuller. “Employees should know all the time what their scores are.” At the Radisson Hotel Yuma, whiteboards strategically placed in each department reveal the hotel’s weekly guest service score as well as its goal score. Fuller even posts GSI scores of other Radisson hotels to encourage friendly competition. Fuller asks each department to set monthly “stretch” goals for five different categories. “For Engineering, it might be: Is everything functional in every room? Or for the restaurant: How can we speed up service and improve presentation?” The Yuma hotel’s “Building a Yes I Can! Community” newsletter lists its Medallia scores and comments from the month, describes the hotel’s employee of the month and gives employees a monthly area of focus. Through the newsletter, the staff is always reminded of its hotel’s priorities and how they play a key role in boosting guest satisfaction and building loyalty. “At any time, Human Resources Director Fred Mendoza can ask any employee what the three steps for Yes I Can! service are, and that employee can tell you: Do it right, make it right, surprise and delight,” Fuller says. “And the important thing is, they know they are empowered to make it right. They don’t have to ask the guest to wait while they go ask their manager. They can provide a solution on the spot.” fresh product Service excellence is only one half of the formula for delivering great guest experiences. The physical attributes of a hotel are the other half of the equation.

In North America, the brand is in the fourth year of a five-year plan to ensure all Radisson hotels meet a higher aesthetic standard, through renovations and design upgrades where needed. “We remain on track to reach the milestone of completed renovations at 75 percent of all Radisson hotels in North America by the end of the year,” Rosenberg says. At just one of these hotels, John Sevilla, general manager of the Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, recently guided his employees and guests through extensive updates. “It takes two things to drive brand loyalty: excellent service and a wonderful product,” Sevilla says. “We now have both.” The Fisherman’s Wharf’s overhaul includes details that embrace the property’s location and add a touch of local context to the ambiance. Located on the water in San Francisco, guests enjoy picturesque views of the bay from the comfort of their rooms, and Sevilla says property renovations help to capture and enhance that local experience. “Some of the highlights in our renovation include headboard wall murals in every guest room that depict a scene as if you are on the Golden Gate Bridge,” he says. INTERNATIONAL APPEAL As with service, this renewed emphasis on product extends beyond North America.

Keys to Renovation Success Radisson Hotel Fargo North Dakota, U.S. After managing an extensive two-year renovation to its public spaces, Sandi Adams, general manager, says her property’s improvements led to improved Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) scores. But she cautions a major renovation can lead to temporary GSI setbacks. “If guests are put off by the renovation experience, you have an opportunity to impress them.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Housekeeper Norma Romo starts her workday; the Radisson Hotel Yuma’s pool area; Maria Sanchez, head housekeeper, is known for her meticulous standards; Fred Mendoza, human resources director, is in charge of training all Radisson Hotel Yuma employees; many of Arizona’s native plants grace the hotel grounds. FOLLOWING PAGE The exterior view of the Radisson Hotel Shimla in India.

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People Behind the Brand

Richard Flores, vice president, Branding, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, says his main goal is to continue to move Radisson® forward. “We want to continue to focus on Radisson’s new brand vision, which strives to modernize the brand and focus on what our guest wants. We have piloted Radisson ReImagined, which focuses on 12 touch points, from Yes I Can! SM to the iConcierge app.”


Radisson has maintained a good reputation in Asia Pacific as an upscale brand since its first property opened in Japan in 1995. Today, there are 22 hotels open and in the pipeline across seven different countries, such as Australia, French Polynesia and India. The brand is providing a fresh product there, too. The Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam, for example, recently underwent a renovation. The hotel’s updates started in 2010 with an infrastructure transformation. The initial overhaul included a full kitchen renovation; updates to the IT network, property management systems and reservations systems; fire and safety equipment upgrades; housekeeping and laundry area makeovers; and renovations of the lobby, restaurants and banquet and meeting rooms. By 2012, the property began closing down two floors at a time to renovate each room and suite. Before construction, the hotel invited loyal guests to tour a mock-up room, and Feran and his team shaped the room design based on these guests’ feedback to maximize customer satisfaction.


DELIGHTED GUESTS It’s no surprise that improvements lead to increased GSI scores. “Our improved guest satisfaction scores are very much attributed to our recent renovations,” says Sevilla. Feran agrees. “The feedback from our guests has been nothing but excellent,” he says. “Since the new rooms and suites came online, our guest service scores have been increasing significantly each month.” In addition, Radisson general managers find that property improvements carry a hidden benefit: boosting employee morale. “Not only do our guests experience a great product, our team members have been revitalized and take even more pride in their efforts,” Sevilla says. As for Fuller at the Radisson Hotel Yuma, he attributes its number one ranking on TripAdvisor to the look of the hotel, which was built in 2009, as well as its excellent service. “It’s all about consistency in service and product across the brand,” he says. “Radisson is heading in the right direction.”

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

New look. New reason to say:

“I LOVE THIS COUNTRY.” Textile for Textile Concepts Concepts for Textile Concepts for Radisson Park Inn Inn Radisson Blu Blu and and Park Radisson Blu Park Inn Zum Eistruper Tel. +49540260 60 99900 Zum EistruperFeld Feld30, 30,49143 49143Bissendorf, Bissendorf, Germany Germany --- Tel. Zum Eistruper Feld 30, 49143 Bissendorf, Germany Tel. +495402 +495402 60999 999 0 search for Rolf Krebs search for Rolf Krebs - search for Rolf Krebs

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GLO BAL ALL The hospitality at Park Plaza速 is evident in its modern rooms and welcoming service culture. From resort destinations to key international cities, the award-winning properties aim to create memorable guest experiences while capturing the spirit of each locale. The smart and straightforward brand is poised for even more growth over the next five years. Written By Brandy Brinson



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The upscale, full-service hotels feature individual design, city-center locations and excellent meeting facilities, making them ideal for both corporate and leisure guests. “The hotels’ modern spaces are flexible for conferences, exhibitions and private events. Park Plaza hotels’ event facilities are perfectly complemented by stylish guest rooms, award-winning restaurants and bars and reliable service that is flawlessly delivered,” says Robert Henke,
vice president of Marketing and Branding at PPHE Hotel Group, Park Plaza’s exclusive partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The brand’s amenities also delight the guests. “Every day, our guests enjoy our unique combination of friendly staff, outstanding accommodations and award-winning restaurants and bars,” says Henke. Tech-savvy offerings appeal to guests as well. Mika Koponen, vice president, Technical Services, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific, adds, “Our Park Plaza hotels understand that online connectivity is a number one priority for guests.” BRAND POSITIONING Park Plaza hotels have a unique take when it comes to brand positioning. It characterizes itself as urban, casual, warm, personalized and spontaneous. As a result, the brand’s clientele is specific, too. Park Plaza guests know what they want and expect it to be



delivered. They fall between the ages of 30 and 50. According to Henke, “They are well-traveled, cosmopolitan and high earners. They generally have a high level of disposable income and want a little luxury as well as value for money. They don’t feel comfortable in traditional five-star hotels, but enjoy recognition and like to escape from their busy working lives. They are tech-savvy, enjoy good food, care about their families, are regulars at the gym, are looking to progress in their careers and want to avoid cookie-cutter hotels.” The brand has seen rapid growth of its Facebook and Twitter fan bases, with nearly 120,000 fans and followers—much larger than other brands of similar size to Park Plaza. Park Plaza has a strong service culture, with its Service Performance Index improving year over year. The brand receives excellent customer feedback and employee engagement scores, as well. With a strong financial track record, the brand has been running highly profitable operations. Despite the global uncertainties, Park Plaza has improved margins and Revenue Per Available Room year on year. Park Plaza also has a corporate social responsibility focus, with activities endorsed by third-party accreditations. The brand’s efforts feature innovative building and operating solutions and clearly

defined reduction targets for CO2 emission of 20 percent by 2017. FUTURE EXPANSION Further out, Asia Pacific wants to work even more closely with Park Plaza hotels in Europe to make the hotel brand truly global. “We work very closely with our European colleagues, and given the growing importance of outbound Asian travelers to Europe, we strongly believe that Park Plaza has a bright future in the increasingly crowded world of global hotel brands,” Koponen says. Nine new hotels are scheduled to open in key markets such as China, Germany, India and the United Kingdom in the next two years, says Henke. The focus will continue to be on creating hotels with unique, stand-alone destination bars and restaurants to attract a local clientele. “Within five years, I’d like to think that the brand becomes known as one that appeals to Gen Y travelers, families and corporate travelers looking for a more boutique and individual hotel experience when they travel,” Koponen says.

PREVIOUS PAGE FIRST ROW Park Plaza Victoria London’s Tozi Restaurant and Bar; Park Plaza Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok lobby and pool. PREVIOUS PAGE SECOND ROW Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London; Park Plaza Histria Pula Champagne Bar and Luna Bar terrace. PREVIOUS PAGE THIRD ROW Tozi Restaurant and Bar; Park Plaza County Hall London; Tozi Restaurant and Bar. PREVIOUS PAGE FOURTH ROW Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London; Tozi Restaurant and Bar; Tozi Restaurant and Bar.

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SUCCESS Hospitality is a world of possibility. Take charge of your career to seize the opportunities. By Deborah M. Bernstein

T Mary Plunkett, (opposite) vice president, Human Resources, Carlson

here’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” Whatever your role is in the hotel or company, training, planning and mentoring can help you develop your career. Throughout its history, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has offered employees growth opportunities. Line-level employees with leadership potential have advanced into management positions around the globe. You’ll find examples throughout the company, whether it’s a former housekeeper who is now a vice president for franchised properties, a training manager who moved up the ranks to become a general manager, or a high-potential employee who is spotted and mentored.

EXPANDING HORIZONS Training and education are key components to career advancement, says Steve Outwater, vice president, Learning and Development, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. He should know. Outwater, who serves as dean of the




Carlson Rezidor Business School, joined Carlson Rezidor in 1987 as director, Food and Beverage, at a Radisson® hotel in Arizona and quickly moved up the ladder. “If you want to advance, think about a position that interests you, and then get as much education and learning as you can for that position, whether it is with the Business School, a local program or another resource,” Outwater advises. Learning other job roles can also help you advance in the ranks, says Outwater. “On a sports team, the person who can play lots of positions is more valuable than a specialist. Take on challenging projects, too. It’s a great way to be noticed, and people will sense that you are engaged when you volunteer and take on tough assignments.” Mary Plunkett, vice president, Human Resources, Carlson, says training is especially important at points in a person’s career when they are shifting roles or responsibilities. “Look for ways to expand the boundaries of the job you’re in,” Plunkett says. “Innovation is a huge part of our strategy, so focus on your customer(s) and start something new or find a way to do something in a different way. Get

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involved in a new project. As you face challenges at work, ask yourself, ‘What do I want to gain from this? How will it help me grow?’”


VALERIE DONALDSON general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Leeds

���You can be a working mother and still have a career. It’s all about working smarter, having a strong team to support you at work and at home and finding balance.”

SUSAN MASON vice president, Radisson, Franchise Operations, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas

“When I was a housekeeper, I just wanted to continue to climb. I would call the corporate director of rooms looking for opportunities—you have to manage your own career.”


Plunkett, who is responsible for Carlson’s talent development strategy, is an expert in career development, with more than 20 years of global talent and organization development experience at blue chip companies that include Heineken®, BP p.l.c. and Boeing Company. Plunkett says you need to take responsibility for your career. Be clear and honest about your aspirations. Treat your career like a company, complete with your own informal board of directors for career planning. It may include colleagues, former managers, family, friends and mentors, who will give you different perspectives. She notes six main areas (see chart) to consider when planning your career strategy: performance, expertise, ownership, challenge and visibility, mentors/supporters/role models and global experience/cultural depth. Remember that your career path includes not just your work experience but also your life experience. Think about your career broadly. If you are involved with various boards or community activities, step out of your comfort zone. Volunteer for a finance committee if it’s not your area of expertise, or help with marketing if that is an area you don’t know well. “The most important thing is to really understand your company’s business strategy,” she says. “Whether you are in a support or management position, know where the business is going and how you can contribute to it.”


Willem van der Zee certainly had specific goals in mind when he began his career; he knew he wanted to be a food and beverage director of a four- to five-star hotel by the time he was 30 and a general manager before the age of 36. He developed a career plan and reached his goals. Today, he is area vice president, Central Europe, The Rezidor Hotel Group. “Life is a constant learning curve,” says van der Zee. “It’s not a cliché, but something I really believe in.” He says the advice he has for those with career aspirations is to never give up. “Be patient, and you’ll get there.”

SOUND ADVICE “Normally, moving up in the ranks means assuming a broader manager position within a hotel,” says Outwater. “So find a mentor whom you look up to and can get advice from. Find out how they did it. Watch other people.” Andre de Jong, senior director, Operations, Southeast Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific, was spotted as a high-potential employee and developed his career with the help of a strong mentor: Lyle Lewis, general manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu in the Philippines and vice president, Philippines and Japan, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Lyle,” de Jong says. “I’ve worked for him for the last 10 years. He’s been the greatest colleague and mentor I could have ever wished for. He literally bought me my ticket out of Saudi Arabia into Cairns, Queensland, [Australia] to work in Food and Beverage. I followed him later to Shanghai, China, and, in 2007, to corporate in Singapore. He cared

about my professional development and taught me patience, perseverance and the art of diplomacy.” “I’ve had great mentors who were really strong role models for me,” Plunkett says. “They always made time for me. Mentoring is a two-way street, though. As I mentor people, I get a lot of great ideas.” “You realize you have been looked after very well, but at some point you realize you need to do the same for the people who grow up in the organization below you or after you,” adds de Jong. Outwater attributes his success to the last attribute of the Carlson Credo: never, ever give up. “There are times when you think you should be further along than you think you are, times when you get passed over and times when you don’t see the opportunities right in front of you. The most important thing is to be persistent. Opportunities will present themselves. You just have to be ready for them.”


CAREER GROWTH › Strive to win and develop a reputation for delivering results above expectations.

› Rise to the challenge and play offense with your career.

› Build strong functional expertise in one business/ technical area.

› Find role models

› Own it and be responsible for your own career.

› Develop depth by seeking out different cultures and skills.

who will provide constructive input and learn from it.


Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Commercial Organization focuses on 2014 and beyond. By Spencer Collins

Competitive Advantage ILLUSTRATION BY: Gluekit




arlsonSM has a long history of innovation, going back to 1938, when company founder Curtis L. Carlson transformed the world of loyalty marketing in the grocery business with his groundbreaking concept of trading stamps. This type of entrepreneurship is part of the company’s DNA, and it plays an enormous role in Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s commercial strategy for the future. Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, spoke at the first Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Commercial World Forum about this type of forward thinking and how it would shape the road

ahead for Carlson Rezidor. “We can no longer be followers—we must be innovators,” Riesterer says. “We need to do things differently. To succeed, we need an in-depth understanding of our guests and our markets so we can create new services that our customers value, while leveraging the investments we have already made and keeping profits and costs in mind.”

WORLD FORUM This summer, more than 100 of the company’s revenue-generation experts from Carlson Rezidor offices and partner companies all over the world—including Asia Pacific (Singapore), The Rezidor Hotel Group (Brus-

sels), PPHE (Amsterdam), Radisson Blu Edwardian (London) and Carlson Rezidor’s corporate offices in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.—gathered in Minneapolis to discuss the company’s Commercial Organization strategy and begin developing specific programs for the next year and a half. In addition, key representatives provided updates on revenue generation and other highlights from the Americas, Asia Pacific and The Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson brands across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (See “Global Update” sidebars.)

TIME OF EVOLUTION “Customers and markets continue to evolve, and we must move forward with them,” Riesterer told attendees. “For Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to be successful, our Commercial Organization is aligning around a global plan that addresses both the similarities and the unique dynamics of our global business.” Over the last few years, that plan has involved fixing specific competitive gaps and building core capabilities, such as redesigning websites and mobile sites to increase functionality, introducing SNAP (Stay Night Automated Pricing) and other revenue-optimization tools, launching new sales programs and building e-marketing and social media capabilities across the company. That work will continue, but the company is moving beyond these fundamentals to build distinct competitive advantages, says

Riesterer. “Now, based on what we’ve already accomplished, and using the strategic framework of Carlson’s evolving strategy, Vision 20/20, we have the opportunity to transition to an exciting, new phase of innovation and a return to entrepreneurial leadership,” Riesterer says. The Commercial Organization’s number one goal continues to be driving Revenue Generation Index (RGI). To accomplish this, over the next few years, revenue generation teams will focus on four key areas: creating a unique customer experience, making it easy for customers to find and book hotels, leveraging existing resources and building costeffective infrastructure.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE In the first area, Carlson Rezidor’s Commercial Organization team will be working with Branding and Opera-


ASIA PACIFIC The theater is ready to win the revenue battle Since 2010, Carlson Rezidor properties have grown by more than 76 percent in Asia Pacific. “It is a young portfolio, with 47 percent of the hotels open less than three years,” explains Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “As the region becomes more competitive, our hotels need to stand out.” To address this, one of the three core strategies for Asia Pacific is Win the Revenue Battle. “As part of this, we are focusing on

tions teams to develop a differentiated guest experience: The goal is to create deeper emotional connections between the company’s customers and its brands. “This is an overall business imperative. We’ll be refining a customer experience that is distinctive for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group,” Riesterer says. This will involve a shift from the functional perspective of a customer experience in a specific hotel to a more holistic look at how customers interact with the company before, during and after their stays. “It starts with a better underOPPOSITE PAGE, FROM LEFT Shelly Irrgang, vice president, Sales and Revenue Planning, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas; Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Lucinda Semark, executive vice president, Revenue Generation, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific; Richard Biggs, vice president, Revenue Optimization and Distribution, The Rezidor Hotel Group.

three strategic revenue generation initiatives: Optimize Revenue, Convert Customers and Create Demand. These will help hotels enhance their revenue management, win new customers and make them loyal, and drive incremental revenue.” The 2013 plan is aimed at accomplishing five objectives. These are launching the Radisson revitalization program, improving awareness of Radisson Blu, increasing occupancy for all hotels, increasing system contribution 8 percentage points to 27 percent and defining revenue generation approaches for hotels. “To ensure that our hotels are geared for battle, we have launched the Revenue Generation Academy to establish a revenue generation culture and equip the teams with


REVENUE BATTLE Optimize Revenue

Convert Customers

Create Demand

the right tools and skills,” says Semark.

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COMMERCIALSTRATEGY standing of the entire journey our customers take throughout their experience with Carlson Rezidor, not just during their time in the hotel,” Riesterer explains. As part of the project, Carlson Rezidor is partnering with leading consumer research firm GfK Customer Research to better understand the overall customer experience, defining guests’ journeys and gaining insights as to how properties can enhance guests’ stays. Other customer-focused goals in this area include attracting new guests and building loyalty. The guest-focused research also includes driving engaging customer conversations. “Wherever we connect with our customer—through our reservation and customer care calls,


EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA The Rezidor Hotel Group focuses on profitable total revenue Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) growth for The Rezidor Hotel Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa was positive in 2012, according to Richard Biggs, vice president, Revenue Optimization and Distribution, The Rezidor Hotel Group. The group operates the Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Missoni and Regent brands in almost 60 countries, which can be a challenge because of the multiple currencies, languages and legal



websites and mobile sites, social media and direct mail—we need to understand our customers so the interaction and information is relevant and important to them,” says Riesterer. She cautions that as the organization creates the future, it must still maintain its present momentum. “We need to continue to improve our current services to our customers and create bright spots for our guests.”

EASY TO FIND, EASY TO BOOK The Commercial Organization will also focus on making it easy for customers to find and book hotels, Riesterer says. “We need to be available in the channels and on social media sites that our customers use to plan their travel. And we have to provide them the information they

and business requirements. “We also face challenges in finding the ‘right’ staff and the ‘right’ business in all locations,” Biggs says. “From a Rezidor point of view, our key commercial challenges are system delivery and speed-to-market,” he says. Rezidor’s new 4D Strategy will include a push to create a culture that maximizes profitable total revenue. “We have to drive a mindset change that optimizes profitable total revenue, versus RevPAR only, by sourcing the most lucrative and sustainable business,” Biggs explains. Additionally, the company has made efforts to ensure that Carlson Rezidor’s Revenue Generation engine embraces the shifting dynamics of the marketplace. “We must respond to the digital and global business environment by continuously adapting our RevGen organization and commercial spend at all levels, across all hotels, areas and central support offices,” he says.

need to make their choices, which of course means choosing our hotels.” To accomplish this, Carlson Rezidor must not only improve the availability of inventory and online content, but also the quality of information within these two areas. One of the ways this will happen, according to Riesterer, is through better communication of relevant, timely information to existing and potential customers through direct and indirect channels. Riesterer adds, “We have to be seen as valuable and competitive by our hotels and partners in this area.”

LEVERAGING RESOURCES Carlson Rezidor has made significant investments in the last few years in existing and new revenue generation tools. Maximizing these areas of revenue opportunity will lead





Operational in almost 60 countries

to increased profitability, enabling hotels, partners and Carlson Rezidor to continue to reinvest in the future of their businesses. Carlson Rezidor will also continue to enhance its revenue generation tools and programs. “The main focus of this strategic area is to drive immediate revenue— making the most of the programs we are putting into place,” Riesterer says.

A COST-EFFECTIVE, AGILE BUSINESS In its fourth strategic area, the Commercial Organization will work on developing a cost-effective infrastructure that supports Carlson Rezidor business strategies. According to Riesterer, the key to this is reducing the cost of business processes and services to support


THE AMERICAS Building on progress to achieve revenue gains Comprising more than 600 properties across four brands, the Americas is currently on plan for Revenue Generation Index (RGI) and ahead of plan for room signings and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). “Radisson® is on track to reach 75 percent PIP completion by the end of 2013,” says Shelly Irrgang, vice president, Sales and Revenue Planning, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. The brand is also on target to double its number of signings, according to Irrgang, but critical mass is still needed. “The development team is working

profitability, while at the same time ensuring that hotels find those processes effective and easy to use. Examples would include processes for loading rates and content for distribution in all channels. “We need to build and design processes with the end-user in mind, ensuring we make it intuitive to work with us,” Riesterer says. Some of Carlson Rezidor’s main plans to improve cost-effectiveness include improving access to information across the enterprise. “Data, and more importantly, information, will be critical to our future success,” Riesterer says. “The world is becoming more focused on oneto-one conversations, and we need the right information to make these conversations meaningful.”

very diligently to focus on that,” she says. “It helps all of us from a brand quality and from a brand awareness perspective to gain properties in key markets.” There has been a successful ramp-up of new Radisson Blu properties for the Americas. “I’m very excited as well about the Radisson Blu conversions,” she adds. “All of these locations are great opportunities to drive revenue.” Priorities for Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM include engaging everyone involved and making sure everyone’s opinions are heard. “We did about 28 roundtables with hundreds of owners to really engage them in conversation about all the areas we wanted to focus on.” In addition, the Country Inns & Suites Generation 4 prototype aims to broaden consumer appeal and at a competitive cost. “The excitement over this brand and all the

She adds, “Our systems must be capable of supporting our current and future strategies.”

MOVING AHEAD With these four strategic areas serving as points of focus, Carlson Rezidor’s Commercial Organization will continue to build out these strategies and identify specific initiatives for the next 18 months. “Overall, we need to beat the market, and we need to do this by creating a unique value proposition for our customers,” Riesterer says. “This not only benefits our existing hotels, but also helps us expand our distribution and sign up new hotels.” Carlson Rezidor has made significant strides in the last few years, Riesterer says. “I know we will achieve even greater things in the future.”


Ahead of Plan


On Plan


Ahead of Plan

Metrics Snapshot

changes taking place is amazing.”

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Global Signings, Openings & Renovations




Radisson Blu Hotel, Mannheim Scheduled to open in 2016, the hotel’s entrance will be located in the pedestrian zone of Mannheim, Germany, and offer easy access to the city center.

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Dubai, UAE | Opens Q4 2014

Istanbul, Turkey | Opens Q4 2013

Manama, Bahrain | Opens Q4 2015

Duqm, Oman | Opens Q4 2013

Mannheim, Germany | Opens Q1 2016

Kigali, Rwanda | Opens Q3 2014





Mumbai, India | Opens Q4 2014

Rouen, France | Opens Q4 2014


Batam, Indonesia | Opens Q3 2015


RADISSON SHANGHAI QINGPU Shanghai, China | Opens Q3 2013

PARK INN BY RADISSON ABUJA KAURA Abuja, Nigeria | Opens Q1 2015

PARK INN BY RADISSON ALMATY AIRPORT Almaty, Kazakhstan | Opens Q4 2014 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Park Inn by Radisson Kigali; Park Inn by Radisson Davao; Radisson Resort & Spa, Alushta; Park Inn by Radisson Rustaveli Tbilisi; Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Tuzla.



Tbilisi, Georgia | Opens Q4 2015

Kota, India | Opens Q3 2013



HOTEL OPENINGS PARK INN BY RADISSON DAVAO Davao City, Philippines Open Date March 2013

The first “next generation” midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand hotel established in Asia Pacific, Park Inn by Radisson Davao, is conveniently located near Davao’s international airport, city center and major tourist attractions. The 204-room hotel sets a new benchmark in the Philippines’ burgeoning market of 35 million travelers.


Alushta, Ukraine Open Date July 2013

The final phase of development at this property is complete.“Connecting the classical building and the new, modern, glamorous building makes the Radisson Resort & Spa, Alushta a highlight of the Crimean peninsula,” says General Manager Fikret Yuksel. The second stage of development adds 146 new guest rooms and suites.

COUNTRY INN & SUITES, NAVI MUMBAI Mumbai, India Open Date March 2013

Radisson Resort & Spa, Alushta The Ukrainian flagship property first opened in 1913 as the Grand Hotel. The second phase was designed by Swedish architect Christian Lundwall.

Located near many of the city’s main expressways, the property is “tremendously liked by business travelers,” says Ranjan Bhattacharya, managing director, Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd. In addition to 94 well-appointed rooms and suites, the hotel boasts a variety of dining options, including a multicuisine restaurant serving buffet and à la carte options, a specialty restaurant and a well-stocked bar.

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Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera Offering breathtaking views of the Golden Horn, the property is a natural choice for both business and leisure guests.




Istanbul travelers welcome the city’s newest Radisson Blu property: the stunning new Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera. The brand’s fourth hotel in Istanbul brings innovative modern style and comfort to the ancient Pera Taksim district—a major hub for shopping, arts, culture, dining and nightlife. The property boasts seven flexible meeting rooms, ideal for any event with up to 130 guests; delicious dining options; and a full range of high-tech capabilities.

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Less than 10 miles from Dallas Market Center, Texas’ newest Country Inn & Suites is positioned to take advantage of leisure and business travel. “The continued growth in this region is another step forward in our plan to expand the brand,” says Scott Meyer, senior vice president, Midscale Brands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas.

RADISSON AQUATICA RESORT BARBADOS Bridgetown, Barbados Open Date May 2013

Set on Carlisle Bay, the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados features the historic Victorian Pier, recently declared a United Nations World Heritage site. The four-star beachfront resort just completed an US$8 million renovation. Christopher Forbes, general manager, says, “What we offer here is approximately 2 miles of the most beautiful beach in Barbados.”


Chongqing, China Open Date May 2013

The first international upper upscale hotel in Shapingba features 438 guest rooms and suites offering breathtaking mountain views. Winston Chien, vice president, China, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, says, “With first-class accommodations, elegant dining options and the creative integration of local attractions in its offerings, the hotel is a unique urban resort.”



CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Country Inn & Suites, Dallas-Love Field; Radisson Blu Hotel, Bremen; Park Inn By Radisson Glasgow City Centre; Radisson Blu Hotel Chongqing Shapingba; Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados.



A renovated 19th-century stone building minutes away from the Central Station, the property mixes old and new, from state-of-the-art meeting rooms to 1930s sandstone flooring in the lobby. “The timing was perfect to launch our modern and contemporary Park Inn by Radisson Glasgow City Centre,” says General Manager Alistair J. Campbell.

Positioned to take advantage of business travelers to Scotia Bank, Mazda, Honda, IBM and Seneca College Markham Campus, Canada’s new Park Inn by Radisson hotel is just a short drive from central Toronto. The hotel’s 170 colorful, modern rooms and suites feature LCD flat-screen TVs and DVD players.



Glasgow, Scotland Open Date April 2013

Bremen, Germany Open Date June 2013

Radisson Blu Hotel, Bremen The new Radisson Blu Hotel, Bremen is the 50th Carlson Rezidor property in the German market. It is convenient to most of the city’s important sites.

The 235-room property is located on the Boettcherstrasse, a historic shopping street in the heart of the city’s old town. “Converting this great property into a Radisson Blu hotel was a fantastic experience,” says Frank Ruecker, general manager. The property includes the Himmelssaal—a 137-square-meter (449.5-square-foot), parabola-shaped sky room, with an atrium of blue-glass bricks depicting the Tree of Life.

Toronto, Canada Open Date April 2013

Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S. Open Date June 2013

Visitors to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo or Memorial Stadium will find respite at this 110-room property, just minutes from Lincoln Municipal Airport. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and their family of brands,” says Greg Fay, the property’s owner. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, fitness center and complimentary airport shuttle.


Panjim, India Open Date July 2013

This exquisitely furnished property is conveniently located in the city’s business hub. Just minutes away from the area’s best beaches, the property also appeals to leisure travelers. “I am sure this property will soon become one of the best places to stay in Panjim,” says Ranjan Bhattacharya, managing director, Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd.

Open Date July 2013 The third Park Inn by Radisson brand hotel in California, the property is seven miles from the Modesto airport. With 114 rooms, it has a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor pool and whirlpool, and complimentary high-speed, wireless Internet. “We look forward to offering a bright, bold and fresh, friendly and fun environment,” says the hotel’s owner, Harinder Singh.

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Shanghai, China

The Radisson Blu Pudong Century Park hotel recently completed its renovations, which include a daylight-drenched, cozy glass house for elegant dining, new black marble floors, New Zealand wool carpets and wall fabrics showing off modern art. Art and feng shui are the centerpieces of the hotel’s creative approach to hospitality. The whole hotel has a great visual impact and invites guests to rediscover the spirit within.



Radisson Blu Blu Pudong Mannheim Radisson Agnis ernaturis Century Park Assequiaestior a part of themoluptahotel’s tem. Icit quiandi te Earth Check initiative, dolupti beatqui tem the hotel lights have si delique beenquiatur, replaced by more conserum doluptium environmentally friendly ditae qui sunt vollabo LED lighting, for a smaller carbon footprint.

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When the Park Inn by Radisson Düsseldorf Kaarst completed its renovation work, it revealed a total makeover to guests, including a comprehensive redesign of the reception area, lobby, bar and restaurant. The updated areas complement the rooms, suites and conference rooms already modernized in 2012. In addition to its luxurious lodgings, the hotel’s 10 bright meeting rooms make it an ideal destination for work meetings.



Manchester, England

Beijing, China

Work is under way to radically enhance the look and feel of the 15-year-old hotel. More than £10 million (US$15.45 million) is budgeted for the project, which will touch all core elements of the property over three phases. This year, the hotel is updating its reception and lobby area, restaurant and bar, 120 business-class bedrooms and suites, and the functions and events area, as well as the all-new Collage Restaurant.

With its new streamlined lobby, the Park Plaza Beijing Science Park boasts a fresh, contemporary vibe. “We also redesigned the deli and added some retail space,” says General Manager Terry Manns, who adds that the hotel’s guests have been enjoying the new look. “Guests have been impressed, noting the dramatic changes.”


The Park Inn By Radisson Telford, England, underwent a £3.5 million (US$5.44 million) refurbishment. The 153 guest rooms promise a comfortable stay, and a new game room provides pool tables, plasma-screen TVs and lounge furniture. After the makeover, TripAdvisor reviews of the hotel skyrocketed from two to four stars.



RADISSON HOTEL WHITTIER Whittier, California, U.S.

The Radisson Hotel Whittier, located in the city’s historic uptown district, completed a stylish renovation of its lobby, guestrooms and ballroom. The on-site restaurant and the meeting spaces were included in the property’s update.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Radisson Blu Hotel, Cologne; Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport; Park Plaza Beijing Science Park; Radisson Blu Hotel, Cologne; Radisson Hotel Whittier; Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam

Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport The new Collage Restaurant has doubled in size and offers a wide variety of dishes, from lobster to blackened salmon.


Madison, Alabama, U.S.

One of the most convenient hotels in the area for travelers, the Radisson Hotel Huntsville Airport underwent a complete renovation. The updated guest rooms now offer 37-inch HDTVs, complimentary high-speed, wireless Internet access and large work desks.


Cologne, Germany

A burst water pipe in December 2012 resulted in severe damage to the fitness and wellness center. In April, the center reopened, unveiling new, state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The center’s old fitness equipment was auctioned, raising money to support the Germany World Childhood Foundation.


The Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam unveiled renovated rooms and facilities, which feature state-of-the-art technology. “We are excited with the new look, especially upon hearing return guests’ reactions,” says Peter Feran, the hotel’s general manager.


Nova Scotia, Canada

The Radisson Suite Hotel Halifax recently completed a US$7 million renovation. All the suites were updated, and an additional 16 new suites boast views of Halifax Harbor. The renovation includes a modern lobby with a lounge.

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2013 Earth Day Cleaning up the planet is a global effort, with multiple properties pitching in to help. ll around the world, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties celebrated Earth Day and made an effort to leave the planet a little better off. The event is celebrated in more than 192 countries. Among the company’s initiatives, Club CarlsonSM announced that it has become the first hotel loyalty program to commit to a global meetings and events



Illustration by Chi Birmingham

he Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Columbus Airport East displayed a poster illustrating its efforts to lower the property’s carbon footprint, as well as offering seeds for guests to take home and plant. Country Inn & Suites, Naperville and Country Inn & Suites, Sunnyvale both picked up litter around the grounds of their properties. Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa sponsored “Our Beach Clean-up Day” to remove waste from the island’s beaches. The Radisson Hotel Nashville Airport chose to plant shrubs and flowers around its property, as well as adding several birdfeeders. The Radisson Blu Marina & Spa, St. Martin celebrated by planting two new fruit trees in their citrus garden.

Asia Pacific ifty-one hotels participated in 2013, compared to just 14 in 2012. This year’s focus in the region was water conserva-

carbon-offsetting initiative. It will buy carbon credits to offset the estimated carbon footprint of all the Club Carlson for Planners meetings and events worldwide. In addition, Club Carlson members can donate their Gold Points® to help the environment, as well. For every 7,500 points members donate, 1 ton of carbon will be offset, plus Club Carlson will plant one tree.

tion. Many hotels involved their communities in their water-saving activities. About 28 hotels conducted a review of water uses and efficiencies in their kitchens, laundry facilities and guest rooms, 10 of those committing to installing sub-metering for monitoring water consumption and another 18 committing to do a “leak treasure hunt” to see where water is wasted within the hotel. Still other hotels planted trees, started a community vegetable garden and retrofitted inefficient lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs.

Europe,the Middle East and Africa he Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah-United Arab Emirates sponsored and participated in a walkathon organized by Bee’ah, an environment and waste management company. Employees from Park Inn Sandton Hotel volunteered their time to Food and Trees for Africa’s food

gardening project for World Water Day on March 16, as well as assisting the Phiri Primary School in Johannesburg with weeding, digging, composting and planting in its food garden. Radisson hotels across Russia, including the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow; Radisson Blu Belorusskaya Hotel, Moscow; Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel and Business Centre, Moscow; Radisson Royal Hotel, St. Petersburg; Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi; and Radisson Hotel Kaliningrad, supported Earth Hour 2013 by turning off all façade and sign illumination. Some hotels also dimmed the lights in service and public areas at the ground floor and in the restaurants. Park Inn by Radisson hotels supported the activity in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Astrakhan, Kazan, Veliky Novgorod, Izhevsk and Murmansk. In Poland, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Szczecin honored International Day Without Meat (March 20) by having its chef prepare a meatfree meal for the staff. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



Back to School The Omaha reservation center in the U.S. has set a goal of filling 75 backpacks for children in the community to use when school starts in the fall. The backpacks will include erasers, crayons, pencils, spiral notebooks, wide-ruled loose-leaf paper, glue sticks and colored pencils. Once filled, the backpacks will be delivered to the Open Door Mission– Lydia House Learning Center and a local television station’s school drive.



Warm Welcome Park Plaza Beijing Science Park shares its secret for retaining qualified talent in a very competitive recruitment market in China—First and Last Day Care Program (FLD). The program is for hotel interns and assigns each trainee a mentor who provides skills training and hands-on feedback during his or her tenure. Trainees are included in employee outings and responsible business activities to build camaraderie and lasting friendships. Upon completion of their internship, highachieving trainees are presented with awards. “We believe that good camaraderie is what makes people stay,” says Human Resources Director Amanda Wang. “So we ensure that each young trainee feels at home, included and empowered in our hotel.” Since the launch of this program in 2011, more than 27 former trainees have been employed full-time, five of whom have since moved up to the supervisory or middle-management levels.

Run for Cancer mployees of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City participated in the 4.2-kilometer (2-mile) Terry Fox Run 2013 to support cancer research activities in the UAE. The Dubai Terry Fox Run is a family-oriented event where participants can walk, run or use a skateboard, scooter, rollerblades or wheelchair. “We are proud to be part of such a wonderful activity to make an actual impact and support the cancer research facilities here in the UAE,” says François Galoisy, general manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City. The story of Terry Fox is one story of determination, perseverance and hopeful optimism in the face of great adversity. All funds raised from this event go toward cancer research in the UAE.


Zoo Trip Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Illustration by Chi Birmingham

A unique visit to bid a longtime employee good-bye.

he Park Inn by Radisson Ostrava, Czech Republic, staff recently supported its local zoo by purchasing a special farewell gift for departing General Manager Gabriela Dítêtová. He received a Day with the Zookeeper, which included activities such as cleaning an animal shelter and feeding one of the zoo’s elephants. Dítêtová described the day as a great way to relax and an exciting experience.


From Left to Right: Will Dong, banquet sales executive, Park Plaza Beijing Science Park, welcomes hotel interns with the property’s First and Last Day Care Program (FLD); Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City employees take part in the Terry Fox Run 2013 to raise money for cancer research in the UAE; the winning team of employees from the Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky who participated in the mini-football tournament with The Children’s Home.

Partners Across the Pond

British Airways; Leeds Bradford Airport; Radisson Blu Hotel, Leeds; Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and the Radisson Hotel Chicago O’Hare recently hosted a joint familiarization trip for 11 travel agents from Leeds in the United Kingdom. They received a comprehensive tour of the Radisson Hotel Chicago O’Hare.

Friendly Football The five Carlson Rezidor properties in St. Petersburg came together to participate in an annual mini-football tournament arranged between the properties and a local orphanage, The Children’s Home. The properties included the Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya Hotel, Radisson Royal Hotel, Radisson Sonya Hotel, the Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya and the Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky. The football amateurs from the Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky competed with five players from The Children’s Home. The friendly tournament ended in a win for the hotel. Around 50 staff from the five properties came together to support their teams.

The trip was created in response to the recent British Airways’ launch of three daily flights from Leeds Bradford Airport to London Heathrow Airport. The direct and convenient flight from Leeds will save time and offer better flight connections for business and leisure travelers going to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



Grand Opening A celebrity-filled event marks one hotel’s opening.

he Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel, Gothenburg, Sweden, recently opened its doors with a grand event. Guests traveled by river to the hotel, where they then walked a long blue “red carpet” to the hotel. Among the guests were top clients, hotel partners and celebrities, including Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee and top chef Ulf Wagner. The event featured an installation from famous Swedish graffiti artist Ollio, as well as music from DJ Nadja Seyer. Other artists who performed during the evening were Fibes oh Fibes, Materikaa and DJ Sanna La Fleur. The evening was a grand success and the talk of Gothenburg for many days following.




Dream Wedding adisson Blu Hotel Liuzhou, China, held its second wedding expo in close cooperation with 15 wedding-related companies. General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Liuzhou Madhusudan Jhingon says, “Based on the personal attention and professional service through our Yes I Can! SM concept, Radisson Blu Hotel Liuzhou aims to provide a tailor-made wedding for each new couple.� The exposition featured both traditional and Westernstyle services for couples. A random attendee of the wedding show was selected to receive a discount on his or her wedding at the property.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


From Left to Right: Attendees of the Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel, Gothenburg grand opening; General Manager Malin Franck (center) with Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and chief executive officer, The Rezidor Hotel Group (right) at the grand opening; performance of a Han Dynasty wedding at the Radisson Blu Hotel Liuzhou; Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport fifth anniversary.

Happy Anniversary Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport celebrated its fifth anniversary with General Manager Werner Knechtli and his team welcoming more than 300 guests to this special event. Among the guests were Kurt Ritter, former chief executive officer of The Rezidor Hotel Group, and Olivier Harnisch, chief operating officer of Rezidor. A beautiful Wine Angel show and Swiss TV host Rainer Salzgeber were also part of the event. A further highlight of the evening was the auctioning of a painting by Swiss artist Jordi, which raised funds for the World Childhood Foundation. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



Tools to Use Increase revenue with the innovative eStandby program.

ore than 40 percent of hotels globally use the eStandby® Upgrade solution— one of the key revenue generation tools launched by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in the past few years. Participating hotels are reaping the benefits of incremental revenue opportunities, says Kathleen Mallery, senior director, Revenue Optimization, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. “It is an added benefit that guests enjoy the opportunity to build a more personalized experience, which builds loyalty to your hotel and to the brand.” An eStandby Upgrade is a post-confirmation opportunity for guests to “stand by” for an upgrade when making reservations on the brand websites. The program goes well beyond traditional room upgrades. More than 33 percent of eStandby revenue is generated with “virtual” products such as high floor or late checkout. The upgrades are based on last-minute availability and are not confirmed until check-in. Confirmation is completely controlled by the hotel. eStandby is a product of Carlson Rezidor’s vendor partner Nor1. This partnership allows participation with no upfront or out-of-pocket fees to activate the program. Hotels pay only a revenue share on awarded guest upgrades based on the incremental guest spend, not the full value of the stay. Nor1 only makes money when the hotel makes money. Interested hotels can find out more at

Clean the World 80

The Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina in Canada is proud to have taken another step in its commitment to responsible business. The property now has the city’s first ORCA Green Machine in a hotel. ORCA stands for Organic Rapid Composting Machine. It turns food waste to water in 24 hours


and manages food waste on site. This process diverts thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and reduces methane gas production, a major contributor to climate change. It even helps to keep kitchens cleaner, thereby reducing the risk of insects. The hotel also participates in Clean the World, an amenity recycling program.

Illustration by George Myers


High Tea The new Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills joined with Dilmah Tea founders Merrill J. Fernando and his younger son Dilhan C. Fernando to establish the first high tea bar in Hyderabad. The official launch of Dilmah T-bar was a whole day of festivity celebrating India’s tea. The day concluded with a sold-out tea gastronomy gala dinner for 80 people, where the chefs of the property and tea makers of Dilmah worked together to infuse the seven-course meal with tea.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Going Social To put the newly opened Park Inn by Radisson Davao on the Philippines’ hospitality map and support its brand positioning around Gen Y, it launched its first social media initiative using Facebook. The competition asked people to upload pictures of the Philippines on the hotel’s Facebook page and explain in 25 words or less “How the Philippines Adds Color To My Life.” The winner, Tomas Jose Inigo, received a three-night stay and a dinner for two at the property.

Bike Journey The Radisson Hotel, Kaliningrad in Russia is offering guests bicycles to visit the city’s main attractions. They can ask for a bicycle at reception, use One Touch Service or book it in advance through the reservation department. Hotel staff will adapt each bike for the guest, familiarize the guest with the road regulations and help them choose the perfect route.

Think Planet he Rezidor Hotel Group launched the Think Planet initiative and set itself an ambitious goal of reducing its total energy consumption by 25 percent across its entire portfolio by 2016. Two Carlson Rezidor properties, Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport and the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town, are leading the way. The London property has worked to achieve optimal use of the building management system and plant equipment, saving 700,000 kilowatt hours in 2012, all while maintaining high guest satisfaction. The Cape Town property won top honors in the Think Planet campaign at the Rezidor Hotel Group’s Annual Business Conference held in Riga, Latvia. They did this by achieving the highest overall reduction in energy—a remarkable 28 percent or 1 million kilowatt hours. That is the equivalent of 20,000 LED bulbs lit for one year, explained Michael Rathgeb, general manager. The staff were rewarded with bicycles in recognition of their performance.


Clockwise From Top Left: Dilmah tea maker; Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town employees with their new bikes; Radisson Hotel Kaliningrad sales team; Tomas Jose Inigo’s winning photo of a dancer at the Kadayawan Festival in the Philippines.


Chef Challenge AH&LA HONORS Jose Estrompa, general manager for the Radisson Hotel Providence Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island, U.S., was honored with a State Leadership Award from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). The State Leadership Awards were created in 1998 to honor standout members in each partner state association who helped implement and strengthen programs. For more than 100 years, the AH&LA has served as the only U.S. national association to represent all aspects of the lodging and hospitality industries.

positive skills Angel Vasquez, housekeeping supervisor at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, U.S., was recently honored by the New York Hospitality & Tourism Association as the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year for properties with 151 rooms or more. Vasquez earned the award, according to Michael Marsh, general manager, because of “the relationships he’s built among his coworkers,” he says. “He’s great with what he does;



adisson Hotel Saskatoon’s chef Chris Corkum will represent the province of Saskatchewan at the 50th Annual Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) National Chefs Challenge in May 2104 in a cook-off against some of Canada’s most talented chefs. This will be Corkum’s second appearance at the CCFCC National Chefs Challenge. In 2012, he assisted in giving Saskatchewan its first-ever podium finish, earning second place. Previously, he also earned first place at the Saskatchewan Senior Chefs Challenge. The CCFCC National Chefs Challenge competition gives chefs five hours to prepare a four-course meal with four required ingredients. Aside from the taste and presentation of the dishes, the chefs are also judged on their professionalism in the kitchen. “It’s a huge honor to be representing the province at the national competition,” says Corkum. “I couldn’t have made it this far without the Radisson Hotel Saskatoon kitchen team. They’ve been so supportive during my training and gave me honest critiques to help me modify my dishes.” “We are very proud to have Chris representing Saskatchewan again this year,” says Trevor Robertson, executive chef of Radisson Hotel Saskatoon. A native of Nova Scotia, Corkum has a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of Canada in Prince Edward Island, specializing in pastry arts.


he’s very positive. It’s very hard to find people like him.” Vasquez was born in Puerto Rico and worked hard to become bilingual after moving to the United States. His language skills are an asset with the all-Spanish-speaking housekeeping staff, as well as being a great help with any guests who don’t speak English. “I love to translate for them and feel that I am helping this person and making their day better,” Vasquez says.

LEADING STAR Lynn Messman, senior director, Franchise Operations–Sales Programs, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, has a milliondollar smile on her face. That’s because the Lead Star program she spearheaded just went over the US$1 million mark. Lead Star is a referral program that provides incentives to qualified employees in the Americas when they forward a business lead that converts to a booking. Since its launch, 251 hotels in the Americas have received leads, and Lead Star has paid out US$72,000.

Recognizing Excellence his year, TripAdvisor awarded its Certificate of Excellence to more than 32 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties across all regions of Asia Pacific. This marks a record number of the awards for the theater. “More than a third of the Asia Pacific portfolio received the honor in 2013,” says Simon C. Barlow, president, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “This demonstrates our employees’ strong commitment to guest satisfaction.” The Certificate of Excellence is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Winners are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website, with only the top 10 percent receiving the award. To qualify, businesses must be listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months and consistently receive four- and five-star reviews from customers. Winning properties can showcase their success in a number of ways, including displaying the certificate and promoting the achievement on their websites and to local media. Last year’s winners also spread the word through social media and notified past guests of their win to encourage repeat visits.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group


five-time winners For the fifth consecutive year, key Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group partner company Atlantica is the recipient of Gallup’s “Best Place to Work” award. Atlantica was the only Brazilian company named and the only International Hospitality recipient. The award is a credit to all Atlantica’s team members who consistently pursue excellence in the area of employee, guest and client engagement. Guests have recognized Atlantica’s commitment, too, resulting in increases in guest satisfaction scores. “This is a very important accomplishment to us because this is a recognition of the company’s extraordinary ability to create an engaged workplace culture,” says Fabiana Zichia, branding manager. “It means we are among the most engaged and productive companies.”

Clockwise From Top: An employee at the Radisson Hotel São Paulo Faria Lima; employee at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island; Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu employee; Chef Chris Corkum.

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Swan Eco Award adisson Blu Resort, Trysil was awarded the Swan Eco Label. It is the 15th hotel in Norway to receive the honor. General Manager Kjell-Erik Nordahl says that efforts to achieve this prestigious certification had been a learning process, making the hotel staff very conscious of waste and energy consumption in all operations and procedures. “I am very proud of our team and the efforts that were put in to be certified,” Nordahl says. “The hotel surroundings are a constant reminder that we all need to be conscious of the environment inside and out.”


Best Bet

TripAdvisor recognizes the new Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk.

From Left to Right: Radisson Blu Resort, Trysil general manager and staff; David Mohren, general manager, and staff from the Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk; Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted Airport employees accepting award; Martin Lindeberg, Radisson Blu Hotel, Tallinn.



he Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk was named Best New Hotel 2012 in the MidMarket Category during the HVS Ukraine & CIS Operations Forum held in Kiev in April. After being in operation only nine months, the property


Double Winner There was a double celebration for the team at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted Airport. The hotel was awarded gold for Access Excellence and the property also received the award for “The Most Environmentally Friendly Company” in Essex.

has become the number one recommended hotel on TripAdvisor in the area. “We are very proud and excited to receive this award, which shows how hard the team works on a daily basis to satisfy our guests,” says David Mohren, general manager. “To see that we are the number one recommended hotel on TripAdvisor shows that we are not only perceived as a very good hotel by hospitality experts, but also by our guests.” Mohren adds, “A big thank-you to my fantastic team who made this happen, as well as to our owner company—Esta Holding­—for their continuous support and trust in the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.”

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Great Greeter Estonia’s best receptionist, Martin Lindeberg, hails from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Tallinn. He achieved second place at the World’s Best Receptionist Competition held in Rome, where he competed against receptionists from 13 countries.

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Office Party Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel hosts the party of the year.

little bit of Hollywood came to Pennsylvania when the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton in the U.S. hosted the Party of the Year with stars from the NBC-TV hit The Office. The NBC mockumentary, about a clan of quirky cubicle-dwellers at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co., wrapped up this spring after nine seasons. Scranton, the town where the imaginary paper company was located, lived up to the now-famous Office chant: “There Ain’t No Party Like a Scranton Party!” as a crowd estimated at 10,000 attended a Wrap Party to show their appreciation to the visiting cast and crew. Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski and other stars rode in classic convertibles and posed for hundreds of photos as fans thronged around them. The stars later took the stage in front of the Lackawanna County Courthouse and played a concert with The Scrantones, the band that performed the show’s theme song. Steve Carell, who played Office boss Michael Scott, wasn’t expected to make an appearance, but he surprised fans at a celebration later outside the city at PNC Field, home of the New York Yankees’ Triple A affiliate, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reported. “The cast and crew are truly amazing. It was a special occasion to host such wonderful and genuine people for an event that truly is unique in nature,” says Michael Kearney, general manager.


Spider-Man in Rochester Crew members from the set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stayed at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside while filming in New York. The general manager of the property, Michael Marsch, says, “This has been a great opportunity, not only from an excitement perspective and the buzz that’s happening in Rochester, but from an economic-impact perspective.” The film production benefited not only hotels, but also restaurants and other local businesses as well.



Pacific Alliance The president of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, stayed at the Radisson Royal Hotel Cali, Columbia, while attending the VII Summit of the Pacific Alliance. Other dignitaries present included Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Echenique, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso. The summit took place in May, in the city of Cali, Colombia, and reaffirmed the bonds of cooperation among the participating countries.

Illustration by Gluekit

Clockwise from Top Right: Henry Cavill, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Sinead O’Connor, Christopher Froome

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, marked 50 years of the African Union, with guests that included the former president of Mozambique, H.E. Joaquim Chissano, and the former president of Ghana, H.E. Jerry John Rawlings.

Georgia’s Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi, hosted many famous football players at the farewell game of former AC Milan player Kakha Kaladze.

Belgium’s King Filip visited the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, Antwerp while attending a science and space congress,

Spain’s Radisson Blu Resort, Gran Canaria hosted Magnus Carlsen, the chess superstar, before he traveled to London

where he participated in a meeting with Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne.

Superman Sighted “Man of Steel” Henry Cavill was welcomed to the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Jersey along with Russell Crowe and Amy Adams for a premiere and photos.

Tour de France Christopher Froome (Tour de France 2013 winner) participated in a press conference at the Park Inn by Radisson Orange.

Musical Notes Radisson Blu Hotel Wroclaw, Poland, hosted trumpeter Chris Botti. Sinead O’Connor also was seen at the hotel.

Open Society The Open Society Foundations met at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar, Sénégal. Kofi Annan was one of the attendees.

Olympic Dreams Restaurateur Philip Mosimann will help the Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, Sochi, Russia, prepare for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics.

for the Chess World Championship. The Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London, with the Swedish Worldwide Organization for Women, hosted a dinner with Krister Henriksson, one of Sweden’s most admired actors. The Radisson Blu Resort, Split, Croatia, hosted four of the top U17 European Championship teams, from Belgium, Croatia, France and Spain.

Top Chef erto Italian Restaurant, located in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, became the culinary hot spot of the city recently when the well-known Michelin star chef Antonella Ricci guest-starred at the restaurant. Ricci made Certo her home for three days, spending time in the kitchen creating new menus and preparing Italian dishes with the hotel’s team of chefs. She was accompanied by Executive Chef Vinod Sookar, as well as one of the best food and wine journalists in the world, Antonella Millarte. Originally from Ceglie Messapica in Salento (Puglia), Ricci is one of the most awarded and well-known Italian chefs worldwide, earning her Michelin star in 1994. Her family owns and has successfully run Al Fornello da Ricci, a restaurant in Puglia, for the past 47 years.


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Taxi Troubles Making the extra effort to offer the best service.

xcellent service created a bright spot for one guest of Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18, Thailand. The guest had called a taxi to go to the airport, but the taxi driver refused to use the meter. The guest exited the taxi and asked hotel bellman Chaiyuth Piagudpeng to arrange for another taxi. After departing in the second taxi, the guest realized that he had left his passport and laptop bag inside the original taxi. The guest called the hotel, spoke to Piagudpeng and asked for help. Piagudpeng turned to the hotel’s CCTV camera, obtained the license plate of the taxi in which the guest had left his belongings and contacted the taxi company. Then Piagudpeng borrowed the general manager’s car to collect the items and meet the guest at Suvarnabhumi International Airport to return the valuable items.


Guests First ax George aims to see every situation through the eyes of the guest. The senior front office supervisor at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport, George began his career as a receptionist with the property in 2006. Executive Assistant Manager Elaine Carolan describes George as striving “to meet the guest’s expectations at every encounter. He demonstrates a ‘never say no’ policy and empowers other staff to do so to ensure that we continuously meet the guest needs.”


From Left to Right: Bangkok taxis; Chaiyuth Piagudpeng, bellman, Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18; Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport; Ellen Jimenez, associate director of sales, Radisson Suites Tucson; Michelle Booth, Richard Eades and baby George.



Caring Hearts

We are Family

adisson Suites Tucson in Arizona, U.S., showed its caring heart when it reached out to help after a local police officer was shot. Sergeant Robert Carpenter of the Tucson Police Department was shot in the head while responding to a call. He survived and was in critical condition after multiple surgeries at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Upon learning of the incident, Ellen Jimenez, associate director of sales at the property, wanted to do something to help support the family. She spearheaded a campaign at the property to ensure the officer’s family had meals while he was in the hospital. Many of the staff volunteered to help, as well as other members of the community.

he Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel in London had a surprise addition to its hotel family when Michelle Booth gave birth to her son, George, at the property. Booth and her partner, Richard Eades, gave the baby the middle name of Reg, an acronym of the hotel’s name, to honor his birthplace. Baby George was born four hours after midwives at a nearby hospital told Booth her labor was not far enough along and sent her home. To avoid the long journey back to their Hackney home, the couple checked into the nearby Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel. “I was making quite a lot of noise and was worried about getting thrown out of the hotel,” recalls Booth. The baby came shortly thereafter, and Eades phoned reception. “I said, ‘This is room 239, we’ve just had a baby, would you kindly send some paramedics.’” “The paramedics were amazing, and the hotel staff were great, too,” says Eades. “I went back with chocolates as thanks; the manager was very sweet.” Neil Duffen, the hotel’s general manager, says staff were honored that George’s name was an acknowledgement of his parents’ stay and looked forward to welcoming them back to the hotel soon.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Illustration by Chi Birmingham



Ever Vigilant

One employee’s attention and quick thinking save the day. dward Mondal, security manager at the Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge in India, was alerted by Ajay Thakur, banquet manager, about the missing iPhone 5 of a guest at an event in one of the banquet halls. Thakur noticed that one of the victim’s colleagues was missing from the scene. Thakur had been observing this woman, whose body language was out of sync with the crowd, so he communicated his thoughts to Mondal. The security team requested to scan the suspect’s baggage, which revealed one mobile phone. The phone was identified by


the victim and returned to her. “I had been present throughout the event and the perpetrator suddenly was acting very strange, while usually guests and organizers would be even more relaxed and relieved towards the end of an event,” Thakur says. Security training had been imparted to the employees, and it had been communicated that each and every employee is responsible for the safety and security of the guests, employees, property and lastly the brand image, something that Thakur obviously took to heart. “Ajay reinforced our training and has given a great example of what needs to be done,” said Mondal. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3


on a given night,” explains James Fuller, revenue program manager, Revenue Optimization, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas. Before the SNAP overbooking module, hotels could inadvertently sell out and then end up with unsold rooms because of late cancellations or guests who didn’t arrive. Now, hotels get a better feel for what will cancel and what won’t. The overbooking tool got a test run with 15 hotels. A pilot program, which started in summer 2012, showed that only 3 percent of Carlson Rezidor hotels globally did manual overbooking. Hotels should now find the process simpler with the new module.

It’s a SNAP

Hotels have a new tool to manage overbooking. etting the numbers right can be a tricky part of the revenue equation, but a new overbooking module will make it easier for hotels to determine exactly how many rooms to overbook on a given night. JDA Software, the company Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group engaged to create the Stay Night Automated Pricing (SNAP) program, has taken some of the mystery out of the booking equation with an addition that will help hotels manage overbooking. A new overbooking module will provide hotels with a daily hotel-level overbooking recommendation during their 120-day SNAP forecast window, which means fewer unsold rooms and more revenue. “The new SNAP overbooking module inflates the hotel capacity in anticipation of cancellations and no-shows


TEDDY CARE The Country Inn & Suites, Deer Valley in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., helped to take the mystery out of medical visits for children with a free Teddy Bear Clinic, co-sponsored with a local hospital. “It’s an opportunity for children to learn about different medical situations in a fun and nonthreatening environment,” says Kathaleen Behr, director, Sales. “You could bring your child or grandchild to the hotel, with their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal, and walk through different stations at your own pace.”



The event was co-sponsored with the child life specialist from John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital. Children learned about the hospital setting as they tested their bear’s vital signs, checked out the X-rays and operating room, and more. FULLY LOADED The Rate Loading Team in Omaha has achieved 100 percent rate loading accuracy for the almost 600 hotels participating in the United States Government FedRooms Hotel Program. This enables Carlson hotels to receive preferred placement on

Illustration by Mitch Blunt


SAFETY FIRST The Radisson Blu Residence, Dubai Marina participated in Security Awareness Training by the Dubai Police Academy. “The safety of our guests is always at the forefront, and we believe this certification demonstrates our commitment to all those who stay with us,” says Rob Collier, general manager.

fond farewell The staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg, Germany, bid farewell to Marcelo Dos Santos Lopes, a 40-year veteran of the property. Greatly respected by his co-workers, Lopes is off to enjoy his welldeserved retirement.

Customer Engagement Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the appointment of Rachael Marret as senior vice president of Customer Engagement. She is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management Executive Leadership Program. “Rachael will play a key global leadership role with this newly created position, driving customer engagement and building loyalty with our company and brands,” says Suzy Riesterer, chief commercial officer, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

New Growth arlson Rezidor Hotel Group has signed a joint-venture agreement with Indonesia’s Panorama Group to increase Carlson Rezidor’s portfolio growth in Indonesia. Under the agreement, 20 Radisson and Park Inn by Radisson hotels will be developed in Indonesia over the next seven years. The properties will be located in such cities as Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya and Yogyakarta, as well as Manado, Makassar, Palembang and Medan. “The joint venture combines Panorama’s local knowledge and presence in Indonesia with Carlson Rezidor’s global network, resources and expertise, and will boost Carlson Rezidor’s current portfolio of 156 hotels in operation and under development in Asia Pacific,” says Simon C. Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.


Clockwise From Above: Panorama signing; U.K. & Ireland Business School attendees; Rachael Marret, senior vice president, Customer Engagement, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Marcelo Dos Santos Lopes. Opposite page: Kiera Maye, Teddy Bear Clinic contest winner.

Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

BUSINESS SCHOOL In May 2013, a record-breaking 99 Rezidorians participated in the largest-ever U.K. & Ireland Business School, held at the Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport. Throughout the week, team members from hotels located across Europe attended a range of courses. Employees representing the Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson and Hotel Missoni brands were given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and develop skills in areas including finance for non-financial managers, people development, revenue, responsible business and more. The school was a huge success, with many attendees commenting on how useful and effective the courses were. “We can really feel a genuine interest and willingness from the attendees to develop themselves and build skills that will help them deliver on a daily basis back at their hotel,” says Lisa Wade, area director, Human Resources, U.K. & Ireland. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



Gold Points for relief The Club CarlsonSM relief effort for victims of the Oklahoma tornados in the U.S. was a huge success. More than 23,000 Club Carlson members donated more than 152 million Gold Points®, which equated to a monetary donation of nearly US$245,000 to Red Cross relief efforts for the devastating storms. The Carlson Family Foundation also contributed US$10,000 as an incentive for members to donate. Additionally, employees could make personal donations. “We hadn’t done anything of this scope before, so it was difficult to estimate what the response might be,” says Mary Kay Caschetta, vice president, Loyalty, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “The response was amazing.”

care packages Radisson Hotel Phoenix– Chandler, Arizona, U.S., staff wrote letters to go in packages being sent to military men and women stationed in Afghanistan through Operation Show Our Love. The organization sends military service people packages that include batteries, toiletries and goodies.



Better Lives The Radisson Ambassador Plaza Hotel & Casino San Juan, in Puerto Rico, hosted its fifth annual blood drive with the American Red Cross of Puerto Rico. The drive collected blood from both employees and guests. According to the American Red Cross, 40 percent of blood used for transfusions in Puerto Rico was imported from the United States 10 years ago, but the hotel is helping to change that. The hotel also helps give animals a better life. Responsible Business Coordinator Hector Colom and Hotel Surveillance Manager Jose Borges visited “Santuario Canita,” one of the largest animal shelters in Puerto Rico. Representing their hotel colleagues, the pair brought food, detergent, shampoo and money to care for the animals.

Donation Drive Following the Uttarakhand floods in the North Indian states of Uttarakhand and some regions of Himachal Pradesh, employees of 23 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group hotels raised more than US$20,000 to aid disaster victims.

Clean Up orld Cleanup Day 2013, observed in June in Asia Pacific, garnered participation from more than 2,000 people from 61 hotels. This year, early results show that 7 tons of waste was collected, including 2 tons of recyclables. The Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate Road collected trash. Radisson Blu Indore and Park Plaza Gurgaon planted saplings. Radisson Blu Hotel Rudrapur turned its site into a playground for a school, while the Park Plaza Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok donated items to the Red Cross and a community association. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills spent the day at Golconda Fort, a 13th century fortress. Radisson Blu Hotel Jaipur cleaned up the Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal palaces. Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18 worked with the local council to clean Benjakiti Park.


Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; illustration by Chi Birmingham

Quids for Kids Guests step up to raise money for sick and disadvantaged children in the U.K. arlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties in the U.K. announced a partnership with Variety, the Children’s Charity, in the U.K. and Carlson Rezidor’s corporate charity World Childhood Foundation. Thirty-five U.K. properties pledged to help raise funds to improve the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged children throughout the U.K. “Quids for Kids” is one of the ways the partnership is supported. An optional £1 (US$1.50) charge is added to guests’ bills, which is then shared equally between Variety and World Childhood Foundation. Launched in mid-February, Quids for Kids already has raised just under £25,0000 (US$38,655).


From Left to Right: Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate Road staff participated in World Cleanup Day; employees from the Park Inn Sandton Hotel collected donations for the local SPCA.

Furry Friends mployees from Park Inn Sandton Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, came together to deliver items to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) that had been collected from guests and employees. The staff were able also to spend some time playing with the pets. In May, the hotel collected ZAR1,700 (US$170) in cash and pet food from guests and employees. With the money collected, the hotel was able to purchase more pet food as well as some grooming items. When it came to supporting the SPCA, guests were found to be very generous.


Help for the Earth

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney has championed two efforts to save the environment, while improving people’s lives and the guest experience. These initiatives are Microfiber Cloths and Soap Aid. The first initiative started in 2007 with the removal of harmful cleaning chemicals from the hotel. The Microfiber Cloths save money and improve

the guest experience by eliminating potential allergens. The cloths are also environmentally cleaner. The property also participates in a program known as Soap Aid. The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney is the only hotel in Sydney that donates soap that otherwise would be discarded and contribute to landfills. VOL U M E TW O | 2 0 1 3



Giving Hope

Charity fundraiser helps Libyan children fight cancer. adisson Blu Al Majary Hotel, Tripoli recently hosted a fundraiser for the charity Giving Hope, Giving Life. The group raises funds for children with cancer. More than 250 families enjoyed a host of games and activities around the hotel’s pool area, as well as snacks and drinks throughout the event. The Libyan organization collected around LYD70,000 (US$55,000), which will be used to help local cancer patients in the Tripoli area.


adisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach in Thailand celebrated World Oceans Day by inviting guests to visit the Phuket Aquarium. Guests released 1-year-old sea turtles, which had been hatched in the aquarium, back into the sea and enjoyed a guided tour. “This is an annual activity we do with the governor of Phuket, the navy and the aquarium to raise awareness about ocean life conservation,” says Rujeerat Racharit, the hotel’s director of human resources. Phuket Aquarium serves as a conservation ground for endangered sea turtles, and Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach supports this cause by helping the aquarium clean the sea turtle tank on a regular basis.


From Left to Right: Participants at the Radisson Blu Al Majary Hotel, Tripoli’s cancer fundraiser; guests at the Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach released sea turtles.



Photography courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

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K.B. KACHRU REVEALS THE BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD IN SOUTH ASIA Four questions for K.B. Kachru, chairman of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, South Asia Why is India such a growing market? India, with its huge population and diverse resources, is a great destination for hotel investment. The majority of operators have focused on the upscale and luxury segments. The branded supply in the midscale segment of India is limited, and there is great opportunity there. What are Carlson Rezidor’s plans? With 63 hotels operational and 32 under construction, Carlson Rezidor is already a leader here. We are a relatively young company in India. The key to our strong growth has been positioning our brands appropriately, working with employees to live the promise on delivery and maintaining personal relationships with hotel owners. What strategic partnerships are helping Carlson Rezidor reach its goals? We have a strategic tie-in with Country Development & Management Services Pvt. Ltd. and Ranjan Bhattacharya, the company’s managing director, to develop the Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM brand. We also have recently signed a strategic partnership with Bestech Hospitalities. How has your previous experience prepared you for your new position? As executive vice president, South Asia, my role was to establish Carlson Rezidor brands in this part of the world. Going forward, my future role as chairman is to maintain our growth and leadership position and grow relationships with our owners and partners.

WRITTEN BY: Zoe Murphy


PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Himanshu Khagta


colorful stays At Park Inn by Radisson we add color to each guest’s stay, every minute of every day. We offer easy check-in, free Internet and friendly service - because life is complicated enough. Adding Color to LifeSM

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Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach

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