The year 2012 started with a major announcement for Rezidor: We brought our strategic partnership with Carlson to the next level and established the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. While the legal status of both our companies remains the same (Carlson is a privately owned enterprise; Rezidor a publicly listed company at Stockholm Stock Exchange), we now go to the worldwide market as one, we appear as one global hotel operator.
I think our joint name has been a logical next and natural step for us. Carlson and Rezidor have a long shared history that dates back to 1995 when we signed the first Master Franchise Agreement for Radisson in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This was followed in 2002 by the Master Franchise Agreement for Regent, Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites; and in 2010 Carlson and Rezidor jointly sold the Regent brand. Besides being the owner of our core brands, Carlson has also been Rezidor’s biggest shareholder ever since we went public, and is today our majority shareholder with 50.03%. Our collaboration has become closer and more intense over the years – but we felt that we were not yet capturing the full value of what we were doing together. It was time for further evolution.
When Rezidor’s and Carlson’s executive teams met in summer 2011, we created our first joint business plan with the head line “Together we deliver more” (for our mathematical wizards we also used the version “1+1=3”). We defined three core areas of cooperation: the global alignment and management of our brands, the ambitious development of our revenue generation engines, and global purchasing opportunities. These core areas also form the key topics for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group today. Dedicated global councils are working on targets, teams and timelines, and a Global Hotel Steering Committee that is co-chaired by Hubert Joly and myself oversees and controls our cooperation.
Our joint goals comprise highlights like 400 MU$ additional revenue and a RevPAR Index increase of more than 9 points by 2015, and a compelling and consistent brand value proposition around the world for our guests. I’m especially happy to see our sophisticated Radisson Blu hotels coming from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to the Americas: Some weeks ago, I had the pleasure to stay at the America’s very first Radisson Blu hotel in Chicago – a fantastic flagship in the heart of the “windy city”. I look forward to visiting other Radisson Blu hotels in the Americas and also in Asia-Pacific soon.
We will of course continue to further develop Radisson Blu in our Rezidor-region, and I am happy that we will get special support from our colleagues operating the Radisson Edwardian brand in London: Jasminder Singh and his team have agreed with Carlson to rebrand all their London properties with the exception of the May Fair Hotel to Radisson Blu hotels. This means of course a fantastic push for the brand – to paint London blu(e) will be an exciting and outstanding project, and result in a major presence of Radisson Blu in one of the world’s mega markets.
Of course: The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group will not be able to celebrate one highlight after the other; we will have to learn how to work together, we will need to take some hurdles, and we will see “ups” and “downs” in our partnership. But is this not the case in any good relationship? And both Carlson and Rezidor were never short of creativity, flexibility and fighting spirit; we want the best for all our stakeholders; and I think that we also are two great companies ready to combine their strengths (just remember our vision across all our hotels, offices and regions worldwide – Yes I Can!) Together, we will be one of the world’s ten largest hotel companies; join us on this exciting journey!
President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group