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An ‘Evolving’ Plan

Radisson Hotel Group Outlines Vision For Continued Growth

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Dennis Nessler
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Continued progress within its ongoing repositioning program in the Americas, a host of new locations in key U.S. gateway markets, and several key technology initiatives were among the highlights of Radisson Hotel Group’s annual business conference taking place this week.

Held at the Wynn Las Vegas, the conference carried a theme of “Embrace, Engage and Evolve” as the company’s leadership updated attendees on its progress as it relates to its five-year strategic plan, which is now in year three.

However, Federico Gonzalez, Chairman, global steering committee, Radisson Hotel Group, cautioned that the company’s vision extends well beyond five years. “It’s not a plan, it’s a culture and it’s never finished. For those of you who think in 2022 it will be done, no it will not be done,” he said.

Gonzalez—who noted Radisson Hotel Group is now the second largest hotel company in the world since being taken over by new parent company Jin Jiang International—went on to detail the overall objective of Radisson Hotel Group. “Our vision is very clear we want to be the preferred hotel company for all the key stakeholders,” he said.

Aly El-Bassuni, COO, The Americas, reinforced the point while urging attendees to “embrace this journey,” which represented the first of the three pillars.
“It’s a new company with a new way of doing business, a new strategic plan and a bold vision for becoming the world’s first hotel company for investors, for talent and for guests. Together we have transformed the identity for Radisson Hotel Group and for each of our brands. As the new Radisson Hotel Group we set a fundamental tone for a change in culture and operating philosophy,” he said.

El-Bassuni continued, “We are poised to build on that foundation we constructed over the last two years. Today and throughout this event we will remain focused on the strategic pillars that will drive [growth],” he said.

Gonzalez noted the company is even larger than at last year’s event now boasting some 1,450 hotels globally, more than 1,100 of which are currently open with the rest in various phases of development.

Some 680 of those properties are in the Americas, a region that saw some 72 hotel openings and signings in 2019. “Here in the Americas our pipeline continues to grow. We’re building momentum with new signings and openings in a number of new locations,” said El-Bassuni.

A number of those new locations are in key gateway markets with its upscale, select-service Radisson Red brand signing deals to enter Los Angeles, San Francisco and Nashville. In addition, its flagship Radisson brand has inked deals to enter Long Island City and Raleigh Durham, NC.

In terms of global development, the company’s Radisson brand leads the way with 81 properties in the pipeline, while its upper-upscale Radisson Blu flag has 73 locations in development. The upper-midscale Park Inn brand has 41 properties in development, while Radisson Red has 35 hotels in the works and its midscale, limited service Country Inn & Suites brand has 31 hotels in the pipeline. The company’s premium lifestyle brand, Radisson Collection, has some 17 properties in development while there are 8 in the pipeline for the upper-upscale Park Plaza brand.

Meanwhile, in year two of its major repositioning effort, El-Bassuni noted that some 450 hotels underwent lifecycle PIPs and that more than 70 percent of the Americas portfolio has now been updated.

He pointed out that the repositioning program is slated for completion by 2022. El-Bassuni added that in total the company has invested more than $700 million in The Americas thus far for the initiative and that number is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2022.

Stressing the positive impact of the repositioning on performance, El-Bassuni noted that Country Inn & Suites hotels that were repositioned saw a 20 percent increase in RevPAR in 2019, while Radisson hotels saw a 12 percent lift during the same period.

From a technology perspective, Radisson Hotel Group is poised to begin rolling out its new Emma unified technology system with pilots underway for the first set of hotels, according to El-Bassuni. “Emma is going to be a next-level innovation for all of us with more robust tools, analytics and business intelligence than ever before,” he said, later adding, “now the full roll-out will be underway.”

In addition, Kristen Richter, SVP and chief commercial officer, Radisson Hotel Group, stressed that the company launched a new website this summer effectively consolidating the various individual branded sites into one central site. Richter pointed out as a result the new site boasts a significantly faster loading time.

During the event, the company also rolled out its new ResAdvantage system, a new program designed to help increase bookings through call centers.

Radisson Hotel Group also announced the launch of a global roll-out plan of plastic reduction, including the introduction of bulk amenities in all hotels across the group’s portfolio by 2022.

Finally, during a media press conference Gonzalez acknowledged the company is close to naming a new president for the Americas region to replace Ken Greene, who departed last fall. Gonzalez said he expects to officially name the replacement in mid-March.

Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.
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