I just returned from Orlando after having the opportunity to join Radisson Hotel Groupâ„¢ Â at their firstÂ Americas Business Conference that took place April 2-4. Â With the recent rebrand, I was excited to attend and get a first-hand understanding of what’s in store for the future and improvement of RHG and Radisson Rewards.
Yesterday morning’s opening session kicked off with some inspiring words from many of the executive leaders and continued with a showcase of the brand’s vision over the next five years.
Some key takeaways were that RHG aspires toÂ secure a spot as the top 3 hotel companies in the world and the excitement surrounding the unveiling their new company motto, “Every Moment Matters”, which ties into the improvements and growth strategies that are currently underway.
As of now, the Radisson Hotel Group is made up of 1400 hotels across 8 distinctive hotel brands in 114 countries. Aside from the name change, Radisson Hotel Group is undergoing a complete revamp that coincides with the launch of the brand new and refreshed Radisson Rewards loyalty program that rolled out last month.
Revamping Existing RadissonÂ Properties
The brand overhaul unveiled at the conference puts the spotlight on the Radisson brand, including plans for a new design aesthetic, tagline (“Simply Delightful”), updated logo, and new color palette that will affect the more than 160 Radisson hotels currently in operation and under development in the Americas.
With that being said, about 15% of the existing non-compliant Radisson properties that we know of in America today will be leaving the portfolio entirely. The brand’s Radisson reposition will make the entire portfolio more appealing and competitive in gateway cities.
The new vision for Radisson hotels will focus on creating experiences that center around social spaces, food and drink, guest rooms, meetings and wellness. TwoÂ key aspects of the new brand proposition will include tasteful simplicity with touches that create lasting, memorable experiences.
With a new vision comes a new look. At the conference, I had a chance to tour a mock-up room, and it was extremely impressive. The new Radisson room design will embody a natural balance and harmony with a Scandinavian influence.
The design aesthetic focuses on streamlined yet comfortable natural designs that promote a balanced environment. The simple and modern design had a very high-end feel, in my opinion, and I’m very pleased with what we can soon expect to see at Radisson properties.
Perhaps one of the most exciting takeaways from the conference was learning that there are plans for a significant expansion of the Radisson Blu properties in America.
The Radisson Blu brand currently has over 300 compelling properties outside of the US and only 3 in the United States. I absolutely love the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago and have been patiently waiting to finally see when more Radisson Blu properties make their way over to the States.
Radisson Blu will be aggressively expanding its footprint in 21 new target markets over the next 5 years. The hotels will be new construction properties in popular American gateway cities. I’m excited to see the list when it becomes publicly available!
This news is particularly alluring because it will hopefully provide fantastic redemption opportunities with the free-night certificates that can be earned with the Radisson Rewards co-branded credit cards.
If you’re not already familiar, cardmembers can earn a free night certificate that can be used at any Radisson Hotel Group property in the United States for each $10,000 charged annually, up to a maximum of three award nights for $30,000 charged to the card.
On top of that, cardmembers can earn 40,000 points (that can be used globally) each anniversary just for being a cardmember and paying the $75 annual fee.
As many people are now saying goodbye to the IHG Credit Card, the US Bank-issued Radisson cobranded cards may be more attractive in the coming years as the Radisson Blu footprint expands in the United States.
New Properties in the Pipeline
Two confirmed openings were announced and signed-for live on stage yesterday morning, and they are two locations to absolutely be excited about.
- Radisson Hotel in New York City Times Square will be located at 525 8th Ave. The opening date is slated for Spring 2019 and will feature 320 guest rooms. This property is a brand new construction and will serve as a flagship location.
- Radisson Blu Anaheim, CA is scheduled to open in Summer 2020 with 326 guestrooms. This property is posiitiong itself as an upscale family-friendly hotel located only 1/2 mile from Disneyland.
I’m personally excited about both of these new additions as well as a few others I heard about.Â In January 2018,Â Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu officially opened its doors, and it looks amazing.
While mingling at the conference, I was able to pick up on some distant chatter about other properties in the pipeline that I’m super-excited about.
I also may have overheard that like we can potentially see aÂ Radisson Blu Maldives, Radisson Blu St. Kitts, and Radisson Blu Papagayo in Costa Rica in the near future too. Of course, it’s awesome to see Radisson’s presence in some aspirational destinations, so that’s something to look forward to!
Sneak Peek at New Room Design Concepts
Radisson hotels aren’t the only properties getting makeover. Another cool feature of the conference was being able to experience some virtual reality on site. I had a chance to “walk through” and take a glimpse of the new room design for Radisson Blu, Radisson Blu Resorts, and Radisson Red properties, and they are all looking fabulous.
Take a look:
The cool thing about attending this conference was having a chance to see how loyalty works from the other end and from another perspective. As you may have guessed, hotel loyalty generates huge revenue for hotels, and is projected to grow exponentially over the next 5 years.
Member folios are significantly higher than non-members and they are happier. In other words, loyalty makes you feel good about spending more money where you enjoy staying.
I was able to get a glance of the dedication to the continuous development of the Radisson Rewards program. As you may already know, in addition to the overall name change, Radisson Rewards now makes obtaining elite status is easier and more accessible for members with a lower stay/night requirement in place to qualify each year.
With free nights starting at just 9,000 points per night, Radisson Rewards is one of the more generous hotel loyalty programs.
For example, a Club member who earns 20 points per dollar will only have to spend $450 during their stay to earn 9,000 points (a free night in a category 1 hotel).Â At 35 points per dollar, Platinum members can earn 9,000 points by just spending $257 during their stay.
For frequent travelers and elites who spend a lot of time at RHG hotels, points can add up quickly. With the repositioning and development of the portfolio, RHG is focusing on securing corporate accounts to hopefully attract more loyal business and leisure travelers too.
Overall, I am extremely optimistic about the direction Radisson Hotel Group is going in for its US Markets. I think the positive changes are something to look forward to and will result in Radisson properties getting more attention and will land on the radars of frequent travelers, hopefully with a new and improved impression of the brand image.
What are your thoughts? Do the improvements and expansion make you more excited about what the future holds for for RHG? Feel free to share your thoughts!
Full Disclosure: I was invited by Radisson Hotel Group to attend thisÂ conference as media. My conferenceÂ registrationÂ and two nights ofÂ accommodation wereÂ provided. I paid for my ownÂ airfare to and from Orlando.