CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed exclusively, Daniel Reid, Head of Radisson Collection, the luxury brand of Radisson Hotel Group – Senior Director, Sales & Marketing – Radisson Collection Worldwide
You have launched Radisson Collection as your premium lifestyle tier brand. What are the criteria your existing properties must meet to re-brand? Are there different criteria for new properties?
Guest experience has been a primary focus for us, and through Radisson Collection, we want to further enhance our offering to our customers and hotel owners. The collection is focused on exceptional hotels in unique locations, and each hotel we select to become a part of the collection has to bring something entirely unique to our guests.
All of the hotels in our collection are iconic, featuring stunning design elements that remain utterly authentic to their locations, providing easy access for guests to reach prime leisure attractions. Coupled with an extensive offering of services, they are the ultimate destination for guests seeking to explore and absorb all the culture that a destination has to offer them.
We’re also rebranding some of our stand-out Radisson Blu properties – truly unique hotels such as the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow in Russia, and the Royal Hotel, Copenhagen in Denmark (one of the first Radisson Blu properties to undergo the change and join Radisson Collection). To make this leap to our premium lifestyle collection, the hotels have to upgrade in a number of areas. Sometimes this involves refurbishment or adding and improving amenities, but it’s often the smaller touches that make the difference as well. Elements like improved guest services, offering a minimum of three pillows per person, and even providing a Nespresso machine in every room are what elevate the guest experience to the required level for Radisson Collection.
To what extent are your Radisson Collection properties managed or franchised?
Our Radisson Collection portfolio is continuing to grow day by day and we’re enjoying the success in tailoring our offering to our customers’ needs. As of March 2018, we already had eight Radisson Collection hotels in operation, and another eight under development, of which 66% of these are managed, 26% are leased and 8% are franchised. We have exciting plans underway to increase the Radisson Collection portfolio to 30 hotels by the end of 2020 – and have already achieved some fantastic results with this. We recently opened our Radisson Collection Hotel, Tsinandali Estate Georgia, situated in the heart of the country’s most popular wine district, ‘Kakheti’, and have recently signed the Radisson Collection Resort & Spa Bodrum, which offers unparalleled views of the Turkish Riviera. Both of these hotels will further diversify our offering and through them, we look forward to bringing even more memorable experiences to our guests.
What are the competitive advantages of the Radisson Collection hotel brand for investors / developers?
The Radisson name has always been synonymous with a high standard of service, and through our Radisson Collection portfolio, investors and developers will be able to capitalize on our pre-existing strong brand recognition. Our collection hotels are incredibly conversion-friendly and allow hotel owners to retain their own unique design identity. We offer conversion solutions that are fully supported by our dedicated technical services team, and are investing over €25 million in sales and marketing globally, in order to help investors maximize their potential profit. We also have a flexible framework of brand endorsement in place, which allows existing hotels to keep their established name, as well as providing access to our Global Reservation and Corporate Support Offices – giving additions to our Radisson Collection portfolio the support they need to provide our customers with an unrivalled guest experience.
Radisson Collection nowadays includes both new properties but also properties in need of renovations (i.e. your Moscow flagship). Tell us about your approach
As the philosophy behind our Radisson Collection hinges on supplying our customers with an unparalleled guest experience through each hotel’s unique identity, it’s important to not only create design-focused hotels from scratch, but also to nurture them from our already established pool. For instance, our Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Copenhagen was the world’s first design hotel, and our goal with its renovation was to stay true to its Danish modernist design roots. Its established design aesthetic blends beautifully with its prime location in the heart of Danish capital, allowing guests the perfect opportunity to get out and explore all the city has to offer, as well as indulging the rich comforts of contemporary living. It is through fostering these distinctive design elements that we are able to create truly iconic hotels that not only bolster our offering, but are able to stand alone in their own respective markets.
Do you consider co-branding initiatives as you had in the past, for example, with fashion label Missoni?
We believe co-branding initiatives are essential in order to further promote our Radisson Collection hotels, and we are already working in partnership with CNN International as the exclusive sponsor of their flagship show, Business Traveller. Through our partnership with them, we have already featured a number of our collection hotels in a commercial, which has certainly yielded some impressive results. We’re also working with Conde Nast Traveller and Quartz in order to help us strengthen our long-term brand relationships with our customers, and this has been supported by an integrated network of offline and online media activities that has helped us to achieve maximum reach and frequency against our target markets.
Some of your Radisson Collection properties do not necessarily meet the standards of large accommodations, i.e. minimum 30-35 sqm. What is your take?
Because the aim of our Radisson Collection properties is centered around guest experience, we have placed less emphasis on the individual room sizes, and instead have chosen to focus more on the overall experience, which includes providing an extensive range of services, tailored to further enhance our offering at each property. Our standard Radisson Collection room ranges from 28 to 34sqm, and we do our best to create as large a space as possible given the existing building specifications and real estate prices of the location’s market. With our new-build projects, we always work to ensure the property’s design follows our technical specifications, and try to maximize the alignment between the existing building and our brand standards – while still providing the authentic, luxury experience which lies at the core of each hotel’s unique appeal.
How different will be the Radisson Collection branded properties in terms of their F&B and Spa offerings, compared for instance, to the next tier brand of your group’s portfolio, namely Radisson Blu? Do you consider collaborations or franchises of major Chefs?
Our F&B and spas are at the forefront of our move to enhance our guest experience, and with Radisson Collection we want to explore new and alternative ways to expand and diversify what we can offer to our guests. With F&B, part of this is to match the unique brand identity of each of our Radisson Collection properties, through bringing in talented chefs and high-quality menus that are immersed in the local flavors of each destination. By using local producers and seasonal ingredients, we want to offer our guests an authentic experience that both reflects and experiments with delicacies of the region or city. The same is true of our spa services at each hotel; they will be sympathetic to the local traditions and treatments usually on offer at a destination. The end goal will be the same across all hotels – an exceptional spa experience, but with each spa offering a slightly different menu of treatments to achieve this.
To what extent do you aim for your portfolio to include resorts too?
Resorts are integral to our portfolio, especially with regards to our Radisson Rewards loyalty scheme. We already have two Radisson Collection resorts in operation (Radisson Collection Hotel, Tsinandali Estate Georgia and Nofa Resort Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel) and have another one under development (Radisson Collection Resort & Spa Bodrum). It’s our aim to continue expanding our footprint in the Mediterranean and the Alps in order to further diversify the experiences we can offer our guests. 11% of our EMEA portfolio already consists of resorts, and so we are incredibly excited to further expand the landscape with our Radisson Collection brand as well.
Are there any regions / cities in particular which you are targeting for expansion?
In keeping with the brand identity of Radisson Collection, we’re looking to expand into several high-profile locations in gateway cities and exclusive leisure destinations. Given Radisson Collection’s suitability for conversions, our focus is on mature markets that have limited new constructions, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, Rome and Paris. Within Europe specifically, we’re keen to expand our portfolio in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Poland, as we feel these are key markets where the brand can truly flourish. We’re also looking at some emerging markets too, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Russia, as well as exploring opportunities for safari lodges and Indian Ocean beach destinations.
How do you intend to implement a higher standard of service for Radisson Collection properties which have rebranded from Radisson Blu?
Providing an exceptional experience means delivering exceptional service to each and every one of our guests – and that means training team members to meet each guests’ needs and expectations. Making memorable moments has always been key to our ethos and through Radisson Collection, we want to take this a step further. We’ve worked incredibly hard to bring together talented hospitality teams who take our core values seriously and are dedicated to both our hotels and the guests. By creating a more diverse range of services for guests to enjoy, our hotel teams are more effectively able to offer an unrivalled guest experience across the board. Local knowledge plays a crucial part in this, as Radisson Collection is centered around providing guests with the most authentic experience possible at their destination, so team members are vital in sharing this knowledge with the guests who visit our hotels.
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