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EXCLUSIVE: Carlson’s CEO Joly talks about the Rezidor merger

Hubert Joly

BY JAMES WILKINSON

Carlson Hotels’ CEO Hubert Joly says the company’s merger with the Rezidor Hotel Group will result in a “more consistent alignment” of its portfolio of brands and the “continued growth” of properties around the world.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Joly says it’s exciting time for the newly combined company, now named the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as it aims to generate almost half a billion US dollars revenue and a RevPAR Index increase by almost 10 points by 2015.

“Carlson and Rezidor have grown together over the past 17 years, however our increased collaboration over the past two years led us to this next natural step of going to market as one and with firm, cohesive goals in place,” he says.

“We like to say one plus one equals three. The development brings with it many opportunities that our management team will be focused on including the global development and alignment of our brands, the growth of our revenue generation engines, the pursuit of purchasing synergies and the development of our human resources.

The new Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group boasts a portfolio of more than 1300 hotels – across a range of brands including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inns and Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Missoni and Park Plaza – and it’s currently experience significant growth, especially in Asia-Pacific.

“Guests around the world will benefit from a more consistent alignment of our brands and the continued growth of our portfolio,” Joly says. “You can see an illustration of this with the global roll out of Radisson Blu as a world-class upper upscale brand.

“Our goal is that all of our stakeholders benefit from this development over time.

“We just talked about the guests… we are also aiming to increase revenue generation and reduce operating costs to the benefit of our owners. As mentioned, we will seek to enhance development opportunities for our employees. And we expect these changes to benefit all of our shareholders.

“One of the most important things about this announcement is that it will allow us to implement a number of revenue generation initiatives from which we aim to generate more than USD 400 million in additional revenue and a RevPAR Index increase of more than 9 points by 2015,” he says.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

For staff, Joly says, the new company will open up a range of extensive career opportunities for employees of both Carlson Hotels and the Rezidor Hotel Group.

“From an industry perspective, the name change eliminates any ambiguity,” he says. “The Rezidor Hotel Group and Carlson Hotels will now easily be perceived by business partners around the world as one global hotel company. This is also significant for our employees.  

“The expanded partnership between the two companies opens up a wealth of exciting new career and development opportunities for employees at both companies.

“One of our goals is to be the number one travel and hospitality company to work for, and our employees are very proud to now be part of one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups,” he says.

Joly says one of the main foundations which Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is built upon is its people and he’s proud to have some of the industry’s finest employees working for the company.

“Every great business needs great people,” he says. “We employ more than 80,000 people worldwide who are dedicated to customer service.

“Our ambitious growth plans and our employees are at the heart of delivering exceptional guest service and greater value, which in turn generates more attractive financial returns for our owners and stakeholders.  It’s truly an exciting time for us, our guests and our shareholders.”

It’s also an exciting time for Carlson Rezidor in Asia-Pacific, Joly says, as the company continues to record solid growth particularly from a development perspective.

“I am very proud of the achievements of our team in Asia-Pacific,” he says. “We now have 76 hotels in operation and 78 in the contracted pipeline in Asia-Pacific (and) our objective is to have more than 150 hotels operating across Asia-Pacific by 2015.”

The company’s roll-out of the Radisson Blu brand has helped drive growth across the Asia-Pacific region and 2012 is set to be a big year for the Minneapolis, United States-based group.

“2011 was also an important year with the roll out of Radisson Blu in the region (and) we are scheduled to open 18 hotels in 2012,” Joly says. “This year, we will also planning some big news around the Park Inn by Radisson brand.”

HM will be reporting from Carlson’s Global Business Conference in Nassau, Bahamas, being held from February 13-17. Tune in that week for exclusive video interviews with the company’s executive team, including Hubert Joly and Asia-Pacific chief Simon Barlow.

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