MIAMI BEACH — Radisson Hotel Group's Canadian owners and operators all got together with the brand's sales, marketing and development team at the RHG's Americas Convention in April 10. The recently-reorganized umbrella brand has a new approach in Canada and around the world. As for new development, there’s “lots of white space” here in Canada.
“Radisson's road map is very clear,” delegates heard more than once at the conference. “If something doesn't help Radisson grow in size, improve quality, fit with brand repositioning or optimize performance, we won't do it.”
Radisson is committed to one brand per segment. Radisson has five go-to-market brands in The Americas: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Red, Country Inn & Suites and Park Inn by Radisson. The company's Destination 2022 clearly defines each brand and its value proposition, so there's no confusion and none of the cannibalization of guests found in companies with too many overlapping brands.
“There's a lot of talk about competitive advantage with all the consolidation. We believe in one brand per segment, like we had 25 years ago,” said Ken Greene, president, Americas, at the media round table held at the convention. “This is something that resonates with owners. At other brand conferences, some of the brands have lost market share.”
Asked if he would be in acquisition mode, Greene said, “In the Americas, yes. If you ask if we'd acquire another brand, we never say never! There are opportunities where we have segments open, and we have a lot of open territory.”
Asked about development in Canada, Greene said: “Canada is near and dear to me, as my wife [who lives in Toronto] reminds me every day. The Canadian strategy is the same as the American strategy. We hare looking to have Radisson Blu in key gateway cities — this ties globally to the strength of our company.
“The conversion of the Radisson Admiral in Toronto to a Radisson Blu is very strategic for us. Deepak [Ruparell of Silver Hotel Group] is one of the great hoteliers, and his confidence in us is great for us. We would like to do something similar in Vancouver if we can.”
Nathalie Lalonde, general manager of the Radisson converting to Blu, said that from the beginning the Radisson team has ben very involved, and that the brand has the flexibility to incorporate the local guest experience, with a stylish vibe of Toronto's downtown waterfront. “It's a great opportunity for us to create a more trendy hotel, and to create stories that speak to seasoned travellers. There's more buzz, more engagement.”
There were four new Radisson-branded hotels in Canada last year. They are: The award-winning Radisson Kingswood, Fredericton, N.B., which took the prize at the conference for New Hotel of the Year; Country Inn & Suites Belleville; Park Inn Brampton, Ont.; and Park Inn Calgary.
One of the highlights for Canadians attending the conference was the Canada meeting, organized by Radisson's Sarah Law. About half the attendees were from Radisson's Americas team, eager to introduce themselves and meet the Canadian contingency. The session covered operations, sales, development, marketing, loyalty, IT and sourcing. At the end of the session, everyone was offered Canadian maple rye or ice wine, and mini-balloons with the maple leaf emblem.