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While it may be new news to some that Carlson Rezidor Hotels has changed its name to Radisson Hotel Group, it certainly wasn’t new to us: Skift broke the story about the rebranding last month.
The rebranding of Carlson Rezidor to Radisson Hotels Group is just one part of a much larger strategy, and a big part of that is how the new Radisson Hotels Group intends to market and promote its portfolio of seven hotel brands. Among other steps, the company renamed the loyalty program from Club Carlson to Radisson Rewards and rebranded Quorvus Collection to Radisson Collection.
“Repositioning” is a word that many in the hospitality industry use whenever they have work to do on a brand, and that’s exactly what Radisson is doing with its own brands, especially its namesake one.
In January, when Skift spoke to Carlson Hotels’ president of the Americas, Ken Greene, he told us, “With the core Radisson brand, we have a bit of a tarnished image.” To remedy that, Greene said the company intends to remove 10 percent of the brand’s worst-performing properties and invest in underperforming ones to offer a more consistent guest experience.
Now that we have an even better understanding of exactly how Radisson Hotel Group intends to market its namesake Radisson brand, as well as its seven other sister brands, it’s the perfect time to take a look at each one and give them a bit of the Skift Take treatment, as we did previously for Marriott and Hilton.
One other thing that’s apparent from this exercise: It looks like there’s room for Radisson to add a midscale brand, too.
Note: Global footprint numbers come from the Radisson Hotel Group site and brand descriptions are from this press statement. We referred to STR’s global chain scales, or categories, and Radisson’s own classifications in categorizing the brands.
Global Footprint: 14 hotels, with two pending final legal agreement, by the time the brand debuts in June; room numbers are unavailable
Radisson Take: “Welcome to the Exceptional. Radisson Collection will replace the company’s Quorvus Collection brand. Radisson Collection will launch in June 2018 as a premium collection of our exceptional hotels.”
Skift Take: When this soft brand emerged in 2014, it was marketed as appealing to the younger luxury traveler. And while the brand has grown from three to 14 hotels in four years, it still has a long way to go in terms of cultivating a real brand identity or appeal. What kind of “exceptional” are we talking about here? What makes the new Radisson Collection different from any other luxury soft brand collection out there? We’ll wait to see what Radisson does with it come June.
Global Footprint: 400 hotels; 90,542 rooms
Radisson Take: “Feel the difference. Radisson Blu will continue to deliver a positive and personalized service in stylish spaces with continued expansion in major cities around the world.”
Skift Take: By “difference,” we think they’re implying the difference between Radisson Blu and Radisson. Truth be told, Radisson Blu properties — or at least the ones we’ve been to — are very nice. But the majority of them are concentrated in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific regions. And simply because of the name association with Radisson, North American travelers don’t necessarily have the best impression of the brand. Let’s hope Radisson’s version of a “Sheraton Grand” succeeds.
Global Footprint: 41 hotels; 8,578 rooms
Radisson Take: “Smart, engaging service. Park Plaza offers trend-setting designs and captures the energy and style of each individual location. The brand is currently being re-worked to make it more relevant for high-end international travelers.”
Skift Take: Think of this as Radisson’s version of IHG’s Crowne Plaza, or Marriott’s Renaissance Hotels — a smart brand that’s appealing, especially, to business travelers. This is one of Radisson’s brands that will only ever exist outside of the Americas; you can find it in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as in Asia Pacific.
Global Footprint: 19 hotels; 3,539 rooms
Radisson Take: “Enjoy It! Radisson RED, a playful twist on the conventional hotel experience, has rolled out a new product definition and updated logo with a robust growth plan across EMEA and Americas.”
Skift Take: Radisson’s version of Marriott’s Moxy, albeit less annoying (although the newer Moxy hotels are a lot more sophisticated than the ones Marriott launched the brand with). When Radisson Red debuted in 2014, the company said it hoped to have 60 Radisson Red hotels in existence by 2020. While it’s somewhat doubtful Radisson will reach that goal in the next two years, it will be interesting to see if Radisson can capitalize on growing guest demand for more design-driven spaces.
Global Footprint: 217 hotels; 39,658 rooms
Radisson Take: “Simply delightful. Radisson will be introduced in EMEA to serve the upscale segment. The brand will be refreshed in the Americas and Asia Pacific, with changes to its logo and visual identity, product design and guest experiences, that will focus on delivering Scandinavian inspired hospitality.”
Skift Take: Like Sheraton, this is a brand in need of some major TLC and self-care right now. We hope that pruning the inventory, especially in the Americas, and changing travelers’ mindsets about the brand with a new identity will help. And going the route of “Scandinavian inspired hospitality” certainly seems to be a thing these days — just look at what Ace Hotels is doing with its new hygge-influenced Sister City brand. Hygge, for those not in the know, is a term to describe the Danish concept of extreme coziness.
Park Inn by Radisson
Global Footprint: 203 hotels; 37,847 rooms
Radisson Take: “Feel good. Park Inn by Radisson will continue to expand its footprint around the world and provide stress-free experiences, good food and upbeatenvironments in major cities and near airports.”
Skift Take: If InterContinental Hotel Group’s Crowne Plaza and Marriott/Starwood’s Aloft Hotels had a baby, this might be it, although Park Inn wouldn’t be a baby per se, but more like a middle-aged man. It’s certainly got the “color” thing down — using bright pops of fluorescent shades as a décor accent — but there’s something about the design that’s more Gen X than Gen Z.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
Global Footprint: 538 hotels; 43,260 rooms
Radisson Take: “I love this country. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson recently announced a new naming convention adding ‘by Radisson’ to align the brand with the master brand and will stay true to its brand essence of country warmth.”
Skift Take: It’s a whole lotta country, and not very much rock ‘n’ roll. Radisson’s answer to Hilton’s Hampton Inn or Marriott’s Fairfield inn & Suites and Country Inn & Suites, does have a lovely, welcoming, and inviting design aesthetic, but we wonder if there are too many associations with the word “country” to make “I love this country” an effective marketing slogan. For now, the brand only exists in the Americas and Asia Pacific, but it’s the largest brand in Radisson’s portfolio by property number.
Global Footprint: 10 hotels; 2,285 rooms
Radisson Take: “Affordable high design. Prizeotel will continue to grow across EMEA to serve the modern economy segment.”
Skift Take: “2 stars that feel like heaven” is how Prizeotel describes its amenities on its website and, honestly, as silly as it sounds to say that aloud, it’s a welcome phrase to world-weary economy travelers seeking smart accommodations that don’t skimp on the necessities. This brand really does stand out from the others in the Radisson portfolio, not just because it’s the only economy brand but because it also appears to be so tech-driven (keyless entry, guest service messaging). It’s like the epitome of what every select-service hotel aims to be, but one that manages to be thoughtful in how it incorporates designer Karim Rashid’s distinctive flair and eye for detail.