Carlson Rezidor is well on track to achieve its global growth goals by the end of 2015, having signed 70 new hotels last year and reaching 1,310 properties in operations and its pipeline, year to date. This growth is happening even in the face of eliminating more than 20 percent of the hotels in the portfolio that were underperforming.
"I'm comfortable that if we progress at that pace, we will make our target of 1,500 hotels by 2015," said Thorsten Kirschke, president of the Americas, at the Carlson Resistor Hotel Group Full Service Brands Business Conference in Chicago this week. "This puts us into the elite class of very few hotel companies that have consistently grown at an average compound growth rate of over 20 percent."
The company's market share has grown by 1.3 percentage points around the globe, he said, and this month its loyalty program has exceeded 10 million in membership. Over the last three years, there has been a 50 percent increase of Web-based revenues into its hotels on a global scale.
More than 500 hotel owners, management company representatives, general managers, and directors of sales from Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, and Park Plaza, along with Carlson and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group global industry and brand leaders, gathered at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago for the event. The hotel is Radisson Blu's first location to open in the United States, the second of which will open at the Mall of America in Minneapolis next month.
While last year the company focused on the strength of its systems, brands, partnerships, and teamwork to achieve its goals, this year an emphasis is being placed on "mastering the markets," the conference theme.
Kirschke said Carlson Rezidor is in a strong position and has made significant progress three years into its Ambition 2015 strategic plan, which aims to establish globally consistent and competitive brands. "It's a good moment to pause and take inventory of where the road has taken us," he said. The global aspect is key for upscale, upper upscale, and full-service hotels because more and more emerging markets are traveling and it's important that the Carlson Rezidor brands are recognizable and distinct among the flood of commoditized products out there, he added.
Recent achievements he cited include 33 new new openings for Radisson Blu in 2012 in gateway cities around the world, making the brand a true flagship anchor product for its full-service portfolio. This includes the successful conversion of 13 Radisson Edwardian hotels in London to Radisson Blu. "Radisson Blu works," Kirschke said.
The company announced that the Radisson Plaza Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia will be converted to a Radisson Blu by late summer 2013 after a $17 million renovation. They also have plans to convert the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis to a Blu.
The Radisson brand, which has a strong concentration in North America and is starting to grow further in Asia, has renovated 50 percent of its portfolio to date. Kirschke commended owners, management companies, and asset managers who invested in their properties during challenging economic times. "This is not the same brand anymore that you knew three years ago," Kirschke said. The brand's revenue generator, guest satisfaction indexes, and market share have all significantly improved.
Park Plaza in Europe had a record year in 2012, gaining significant market share, and the Park Inn brand has been taking off now that the company added "by Radisson" to the name, he said. Last year, 15 Park Inn hotels were signed and the brand is focusing on a next generation prototype that embraces its growing customer base of Gen X and Y travelers. The first next generation property opened in Amsterdam.
To date, Carlson Rezidor has invested almost $40 million in capabilities, platforms, people, and other surrounding systems and structures to help owners better capture RevPAR growth, Kirschke said.
He encouraged attendees to remain focused and stay engaged so the company can achieve all of its goals in the Ambition 2015 plan. "We've made great progress, but we're not home yet."
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