Lucinda Semark EDITED

Carlson Rezidor’s Executive Vice President Revenue Generation for Asia-Pacific, Lucinda Semark, gives HM an exclusive update on Radisson’s global refresh.

Tell us about Radisson Re-Imagined. What’s involved in the program?
At Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, we have a powerful set of global hotel brands that are dynamic and can cater to both business and leisure travellers. We have spent the last three years on brand development investment, focusing on each of our brands, which started with the unique essence of the Radisson Blu brand in Asia Pacific.
Now it’s Radisson’s turn. With Radisson Re-Imagined, it provides us with an opportunity to focus on the important and growing four-star segment and maintain Radisson brand’s competitive place in the market and ensure we have the right facilities to meet the needs of the younger Gen X and Gen Y travellers who stay in four-star hotels for their business and leisure trips.
We are excited to launch Radisson Re-Imagined in all our Radisson branded hotels as there is significant opportunity both in terms of number of hotels and size segments. With the Re-Imagined program, we are leveraging technology to enhance several guest touch points and some of the key highlights include:
-Check-In Choice – a service allowing guests to advance check-in using mobile devices, iPad and laptops
-Radisson iConcierge – a concierge application that offers destination information to guests through their smartphones
-Meeting Success – a complete meetings and events program renewal with enhanced F&B offerings, mobile application for event planners and integration with Radisson App
-Revitalized Yes I Can! The signature service philosophy of Radisson
-Spread the Love – a brand charity program allowing guests to give back to local communities through donations.
The Re-Imagined program was rolled out as a pilot program in seven Radisson hotels around the world in April 2013 and will be implemented globally in over 150 Radisson hotels, including 12 in Asia Pacific.
Although the core components and brand essence remain consistent with the global rollout, localization is critical in the four star segment to ensure service, food preferences and other key brand hallmarks such as Yes I Can service philosophy, are delivered in the most relevant and appealing way to guests.

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What does it ultimately mean for customers?
We recognized the importance of internet connectivity for travellers and since 2010 we have been one of few hotel companies to provide all guests with complimentary unlimited internet access in all our hotels. In the past three years, we have provided over 200 million hours of free internet access to our guests as part of our service promise and guest experience.
We are now moving into another exciting new phase of implementing innovative customer experiences that will be distinctive for Carlson Rezidor, adding new and unique functionality that will set us apart from the competition.
Today’s travellers are increasingly integrating technology into their lifestyles and the Radisson Re-Imagined program allows us to leverage technological innovations to enhance guest experiences and ultimately drive preference for our brand. It also allows us to develop the right facilities to meet the needs of the younger Gen X and Gen Y travellers who stay in four-star hotels for their business and leisure trips.

What impact are you expecting the changes to have on RevPAR and GSI in hotels across Asia-Pacific?
It is essential that we continue to invest in our world class brands to attract and retain the best staff and deliver compelling customer experience, which in turn drive strong results for our owners.
Based on our pilot program, performance indices at pilot properties are showing positive YoY gains since Radisson Re-Imagined rolled out and they are also experiencing strong growth in guest loyalty measures. I am confident that with the positive market perceptions we have received so far, it will increase our GSI and loyalty, leading to an improved RGI, allowing us to achieve an ultimate impact on RevPAR and drive development and growth opportunities across the region.

There are quite a few technological advances involved. How important is using advanced technology in the refresh?
In an increasingly mobile age, where technology is readily available at your fingertips the significance of utilising technological advances to improving guest touch points is becoming just as important as price, location and loyalty programs, when selecting a hotel.
With the Re-Imagined program, we want to leverage technology and give our guests the ability to stay connected with our brand through multiple touch points which is why we are enhancing our online and mobile web experience through touch points such as Check in Choice and Radisson iConcierge.
However, in Asia Pacific particularly, combining hospitality and technology is crucial as personal service and relationships are still important elements of the overall guest experience. We need to ensure that there is a balance in offering convenient and beneficial guest services via technology and personally we need to take into account cultural differences when integrating technology to improve guest experience.

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You also launched a hotel simulator game recently. How successful has that been?
Our newly launched game called Rad Hotel by Radisson, is making waves in the marketplace as it is the industry’s first mobile game to simulate real life hotel management and is available as a free download on iTunes and Google Play across Asia Pacific. It challenges players to design and operate simulated hotels using the brand’s Yes I Can service philosophy to further generate guest satisfaction and ultimately grow their business. This interactive game, leveraging technology and service concepts, creates engagement opportunities by allowing existing and future guests to connect with the brand in a new and different way.
The launch of this mobile game is the start of many exciting things to come for travellers and loyal guests of Radisson. This is part of the brand’s rejuvenation program to make it more relevant to its customers who are mainly Gen Y travellers. This innovative mobile application truly reflects Radisson’s brand proposition of being daring which will now allow Radisson to have an engaging social connectivity with its guests, delighting them even more.
The game was launched in November and in less than a month, it has received a fantastic response with over 13,000 downloads worldwide so far.

There’s Radisson Blu and there’s Radisson. What ultimately are the defining characteristics between the brands?
In Asia Pacific, we have a powerful set of five distinct brands catering to different consumer segments. By having both Radisson Blu and Radisson branded hotels operating in Asia Pacific, it means that we have both a first class brand with Radisson Blu, and a core 4-star brand with Radisson, that can provide to both business and leisure travellers.
Radisson Blu is a five-star, iconic, and international hotel brand characterized by its stylish and sophisticated interiors. The hotels feature bespoke architecture with modern façade, and unique statement pieces that accentuate the unique character of each hotel. Flagship properties can be found globally in prime locations, including major cities, airport gateways and leisure destinations around the world.
Radisson on the other hand, is an upscale brand that offers true hospitality experience, characterized by its ‘Caring, Sharing and Daring’ service philosophy, focused on reliability, efficiency and thoughtfulness. The hotels feature classic, timeless design and are located in major urban and suburban locations, as well as near airports and business districts around the world. Radisson hotels also meet the needs of a growing middle class and the younger Gen X and Gen Y travellers who stay in four-star hotels for their business and leisure trips.
Both Radisson branded hotels offer a range of “World of Radisson” services and amenities that have been created specifically to be empathetic to the challenges of modern travel. There are some hallmarks that are shared between both brands such as Yes I Can service philosophy, 100% Guest Satisfaction Guarantee, free internet and, complimentary Grab & Run breakfast and express check in and check out.

There’s your charity ‘Spread the Love’ which will also benefit from the changes. Tell us about that.
Responsible Business is a core part of our business strategy and positions our commitment to the environment, community and people. Spread the Love is one example of the various initiatives we do for Responsible Business. It is a brand charity program that is part of the Radisson Re-Imagined initiative, to reinforce our ‘Caring, Sharing, Daring’ brand philosophy. Through this program, guests can give back to local communities by donating US$1 to a charity that will be matched by the Carlson Foundation. Through this program, we hope to generate at least US$10 a day per hotel and the goal is to raise USD$1 million.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management