Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
HOTEL CHAIN FINDS HAVING FEWER FRANCHISES IS KEY TO A
BETTER BRANDRadisson to Focus on Meetings Business
Looking ahead: Brian Stage of Radisson Hotels
y working to retool its brand image, Radisson
Hotels Worldwide hopes to increase its meetings business from 25
percent to 40 percent. Radisson’s vice president of sales and
marketing, Brian Stage, recently spoke with M&C about the
future direction of the Minneapolis-based chain.
What changes are taking place at
We are looking at building our reputation. We want our brand to
be well understood, reliable and true to its promise. I don’t think
we had that in the past.
Reputation is a big factor in the meetings business. If planners
like one property, they will be willing to try another [in the
chain]. When you don’t deliver on their expectations, you lose
their loyalty to the brand.
Has brand reputation been a
Customers who didn’t know us weren’t sure what we were about.
Our hotels were so different in location and in what they
Now, we are moving toward new acquisitions and away from
franchising. We have had to say goodbye to a lot of hotels that
were with us for a long time. We will pare 30 hotels from our
portfolio in 2002. It’s an exciting time but also quite
What is your long-term goal?
To have 50 percent of our inventory be either owned or managed
What operational changes are taking place to achieve
We are concentrating on employee training. We also are looking
at strengthening our direct booking system. Six months ago we
unveiled direct bookings for meeting groups through our Web site.
In addition, we are going to spend a lot of time identifying loyal
customers so we can build customer relationships.
Are you going to create a point system to attract
We have had a point system for years. Frankly, the planners we
have talked to don’t consider it important. Our biggest selling
point is our 100 percent guest-satisfaction guarantee. We are going
to make it our focal point when selling to groups.
In what locations would you like to see the Radisson
Our goal is to place Radisson in first- and second-tier cities,
where the bulk of the meetings business is. I’d like to see us have
a greater presence in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and, of
course, New York City.
Last July, we took over big properties in Baltimore and
Philadelphia. There will be some new construction, like in Myrtle
Beach, S.C., which will open in 2003. Primarily, though, our growth
will take place through acquisition.
• CHERYL-ANNE STURKEN
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