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It’s admirable that hotels aren’t content to live off their existing clientele and are going after younger travelers with design-driven concepts. Has Carlson Rezidor struck the right with its target audience? We’ll see. There has been some pushback on Twitter, but these are early days for the brand.
In order to find out more details on the new brands … HotelierMiddleEast.com spoke exclusively with Carlson Rezidor SVP marketing CRM & global branding Eric De Neef, who introduced us to the new brands:
Can you tell me why has Carlson Rezidor felt the need to create two brand new hotel brands?
We analysed the market, and with the emergence of trends such as mobile luxury, generation Y and other such trends, as well as the changing lifestyles of our customers, we asked ourselves what kind of products we had to fit this market.
It’s important when you are thinking about different customer segments, for our new Radisson Red brand for example, that you realise there has been a real change in attitude amongst guests, and that is why we call it a ‘lifestyle select’ brand. So these guests are very design conscious, very business savvy, and we went through our current portfolio and tried to find a position for them. If you look through our portfolio you will find, very strong reliable brands, but we found there was an opportunity for us to create something new to fit these needs.
So what is it that these two brands do that others can’t, and why didn’t you just adjust one of your existing brands to accommodate these new guests?
Our new hotels will be very driven by design, and very technology driven, and to use Radisson Red as example, when you arrive at the hotel there won’t be a traditional reception desk, as check-in will be online and on mobile. With your phone you will even be able to open the doors of your room. So, with all of these new innovations, you cannot just retrofit one our current operations.
We do have plans to introduce the mobile app for Radisson Blu and for Park Inn by Radisson, but we won’t push those brands that far because these services are all about the guest experience. When you design a Radisson Red, it is much more about creating a much more sociable atmosphere, for the food and drink as well. It will be about creating social gatherings and creating social communities. A Radisson Red is a concept that incorporates a whole host of concepts, more than just the mobile app that we will be using, and versions of which you can find in other properties.
You’ve set a target of 60 Radisson Red hotels by 2020, so will these be all new hotels, or will you be converting some properties?
For Radisson Red, we are looking at the possibility of conversions where applicable, but the objective is to have 80% new builds, and 20% conversions from existing properties. If we want to create the consistency of guest experience, then we will have to go predominately new build.
However, the Quorvus Collection will be a much more a conversion model, because it is the uniqueness of the property that will be building our collection. The properties we pick will be the ones that fit the requirements and position of a Quorvus luxury property.
We will also be on the lookout for remarkable properties worldwide that we could potentially purchase and turn in to a Quorvus Hotel.
What kind of equity will be available to finance all of these new builds and acquisitions?
As part of the brand announcements, Carlson Rezidor has made US $80 million available for the launch of the new brand, split between $55mn of equity for new properties and $25mn for a marketing to launch the new brand.
What is your plan for these new brands in the Middle East? Do you have a target for a number of properties you’d like to open?
We don’t have a target by region, but as an emerging market, the Middle East will have a bigger focus when it comes to the launch of these two brands than more established markets.
In a luxury market like the Middle East, I feel that there is a lot of short term potential for the Quorvus Collection. I think that Radisson Red will offer a different value proposition on the market, but I feel that the first of the new brands to be introduced in the Middle East will be Quorvus.