Radisson Hotel Group CEO Outlines Planes For Luxury, Sustainability And 2022 Growth
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Federico J. González, CEO of Radisson Hotel Group, believes the company is entering a new phase of growth with the recent, pre-pandemic launch of Radisson Collection, a new luxury segment for the hospitality company. Paired with the announcement that Radisson Hotel Group Americas and Choice Hotels are combining forces, he sees a bright future for the growing number and reach of its brands.

Radisson Collection is the newest brand for Radisson, which in its own right, is growing by leaps and bounds. The combination of Radisson’s North and Latin American hotels and Choice Hotels gives loyalty program members more opportunity to redeem their points around the world. González shares details of the new luxury brand for Radisson, its new hotel openings and what loyalty program members and guests can expect when they visit.

When and why did you launch Radisson Collection?

The brand launched in March 2018, but is really hitting its stride now with a current portfolio of 49 hotels and 17 more under development. The latest openings include Milan; Seville, Spain; Bodrum, Turkey; Riyadh; Venice; and Berlin. Each has its own individual personality reflective of the destination, but they are united by bespoke design.

These hotels also foster relationships within their local community to help create a vibrant social scene. Visitors can indulge in dazzling cocktails on a rooftop bar or explore the interior design details from local designers. Guests today like bespoke design and want to avoid cookie cutter hotels where a brand is exactly the same around the world. Radisson Collection gives hotel owners an opportunity to join an international network while maintaining the identity and authenticity of their hotels and resorts.

Where do you see growth and demand for the brand?

Our growth plan for the brand is focused on expanding to 80 properties in top-tier locations. Many properties already have a strong heritage and reputation like the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, considered to be the world’s first design hotel by Arne Jacobsen, and The May Fair in London, Radisson Collection Hotel. Other notable hotels include Palazzo Nani Venice, the Radisson Collection Hotel, and the Grand Hotel Brioni Pula, a Radisson Collection Hotel in Croatia.

What brands compete with Radisson Collection?

The brand competes with other soft brand collections where hotels retain their own name and design, but are part of a larger hospitality company. These include Autograph Collection from Marriott, Curio Collection by Hilton and Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

What traits do all Radisson Collection properties share?

There are three pillars for hotels to focus on so that guests have positive memories of their experience long after they leave. Each hotel will have authentic local influence providing an impression of the destination. This can include artwork by regional artists as well as locally inspired food and beverage options. We’ve launched a new series of global art collaborations working with emerging area artists to create a curated selection of immersive artwork unique to our hotels. Team members also act as local culture experts and “influencers” by sharing their own favorite spots in the destination with guests.

The second pillar comes in the form of creating a space that fits an aspirational lifestyle. People travel for new experiences, and art and design play a prominent role in that. Lastly, these hotels also appeal to locals interested in visiting the dining options and bars by creating a vibrant social scene.

What happens when Radisson Hotel Group Americas joins Choice Hotels?

Radisson Hotel Group Americas will soon become part of Choice Hotels. Currently, there are no Radisson Collection properties in the Americas, but the brand is part of the agreement paving the way for more development. Loyalty program members will still be able to earn and redeem points the way they used to while combining their balances between Radisson Rewards Americas and Choice Privileges. Members can continue to transfer points between Radisson Rewards (the international version of the program) and Radisson Rewards Americas, opening the door to even more earning and redemption options globally.

How does the loyalty program split affect members?

There are no immediate changes to Radisson Rewards Americas, which can still be earned and redeemed when booking hotels in the Americas. Members traveling globally can continue to earn points in both Radisson Rewards overseas and Radisson Rewards Americas. There is also the option to transfer points between the programs, which provides greater flexibility.

How does Radisson Collection attract quality talent?

Our people are our biggest asset, and in today’s environment, attracting good talent is key. Last year, Radisson Hotel Group ranked fourth in Forbes Best Employer ranking in the travel and leisure category globally. A new recruitment campaign is underway overseas to attract talent to fill over 1,500 job vacancies. Radisson Academy has proven to be a strong asset in training and developing the next generation of international hoteliers. The platform offers 230 Radisson Hotel Group specific courses in 14 languages and over 1,000 industry expert videos to “upskill” team members.

Also, in 2021, the brand launched an extensive training program targeting our Radisson Collection brand in partnership with Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), one of the top hospitality schools in the world.

What is Radisson doing on the sustainability front?

Radisson has made a commitment to become Net Zero by 2050 and have become a leading partner in the Hotel Sustainability Basics, a new industry movement to drive sustainable travel.

Some examples of Radisson Collection hotels practicing these best practices in sustainability include the Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla and Radisson Collection Hotel, Gran Vía Bilbao, both of which are in LEED-certified green buildings.

The Radisson Collection Hotel, Grand Place, Brussels won the “Best New Sustainable Hotel” category at the recent New Hotel Awards event. Radisson Collection Hotel, Berlin offers guests the choice of green housekeeping, in exchange for earning rewards points or a donation on their behalf to charity.

The hospitality industry as a whole has to take initiative, and Radisson Collection wants to be at the forefront of that.

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