Radisson Hotel Group CEO outlines plans for 2022 luxury, sustainability and growth
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 hotel business. Coupled with the news that Radisson Hotel Group Americas and Choice Hotels are joining forces, he sees a bright future for the growing number and reach of his brands.
Radisson Collection is the new brand of Radisson, which in its own right is growing by leaps and bounds. The combination of Radisson hotels in North and Latin America and Choice Hotels gives loyalty program members more opportunities 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 was launched in March 2018, but is really on the rise with a current portfolio of 49 hotels and 17 more under development. Latest openings include Milan; Seville, Spain; Bodrum, Turkey; Riyadh; Venice; and Berlin. Each has its own personality that reflects 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 interior design details from local designers. Today’s customers love bespoke design and want to avoid cookie-cutter hotels where one brand is exactly the same all over the world. Radisson Collection offers hotel owners the opportunity to join an international network while preserving 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 prime locations. Many properties already have a strong heritage and reputation such as the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, considered 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, Radisson Collection Hotel, and Grand Hotel Brioni Pula, a Radisson Collection Hotel in Croatia.
Which 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 enterprise. These include Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Hilton’s Curio Collection, and Hyatt’s Unbound Collection.
What characteristics do all Radisson Collection properties share?
Hotels need to focus on three pillars so that guests have positive memories of their experience long after they leave. Each hotel will have an authentic local influence giving an impression of the destination. This can include works by regional artists as well as locally inspired food and drink options. We have launched a new series of global art collaborations working with artists from the emerging region to create a curated selection of immersive artworks 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 matches an ambitious lifestyle. People travel for new experiences, and art and design play a big role in that. Finally, these hotels also attract locals interested in visiting restaurants and bars creating a vibrant social scene.
What happens when Radisson Hotel Group Americas joins Choice Hotels?
Radisson Hotel Group Americas will soon be part of Choice Hotels. Currently, there are no Radisson Collection properties in the Americas, but the brand is part of the deal paving the way for further development. Loyalty program members will still be able to earn and redeem points as they did before 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 around the world.
How does the distribution of the loyalty program affect members?
There is no immediate change to Radisson Rewards Americas, which can still be earned and redeemed when booking hotels in the Americas. Members traveling worldwide can continue to earn points in Radisson Rewards Overseas and Radisson Rewards Americas. There is also the option to transfer points between programs, which provides greater flexibility.
How does Radisson Collection attract quality talent?
Our people are our greatest asset and in today’s environment, attracting the right talent is essential. Last year, Radisson Hotel Group ranked fourth in the Forbes Best Employer rankings in the travel and leisure category globally. A new recruitment drive is underway overseas to attract talent to fill over 1,500 vacancies. The Radisson Academy has proven to be a major 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 videos from industry experts to “upskill” team members.
In addition, in 2021, the brand launched an extensive training program targeting our Radisson Collection brand in partnership with the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), one of the best hotel schools in the world.
What is Radisson doing on the sustainability front?
Radisson has committed to becoming Net Zero by 2050 and has become a core partner of Hotel Sustainability Basics, a new industry movement to drive sustainable travel.
Examples of Radisson Collection hotels applying these sustainability best practices include the Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla and the Radisson Collection Hotel, Gran Vía Bilbao, both located 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 ceremony. The Radisson Collection Hotel, Berlin offers guests the choice of green housekeeping, in exchange for rewards points or a donation in their name to charity.
The hospitality industry as a whole needs to take initiative, and Radisson Collection wants to be at the forefront of this.