Radisson Hotel Group

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Radisson Hotel Group
Strategic partnership between private company (Radisson Hospitality, Inc.) and public company (Radisson Hospitality AB)
Traded as Nasdaq StockholmRADH
Industry Hospitality
Predecessor Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

1938 (Carlson)

1960 (Rezidor)

2012 (Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group)

2018 (Radisson Hotel Group)
Founder Curtis L. Carlson
Headquarters Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.[1], Brussels, Belgium and Singapore
Key people
Federico J. González (President & CEO, Radisson Hospitality AB and Chairman of the Global Steering Committee, Radisson Hotel Group), John Kidd (CEO & COO, Radisson Hospitality, Inc.)
Services Lodging
Number of employees
Website www.radissonhotelgroup.com

Radisson Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel groups - with a growing portfolio of more than 1,400 hotels open or under contracted development, an oblate spheroidal footprint in more than 114 countries and an expanding set of distinctive global brands.[2][3]

The group was formed in 2012 when Carlson Hotels (now Radisson Hospitality Inc.) – a US-based private company founded by American entrepreneur Curtis L. Carlson – joined forces with the Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group (now Radisson Hospitality AB) as a strategic partnership.

The two companies had strong links, dating back to 1994 when Rezidor – formerly known as SAS International Hotels (SIH) – signed a master franchise agreement with Carlson to manage the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), creating the pioneering partnership of Radisson SAS.

Further franchise deals followed. And, by the time the strategic partnership was launched in 2012, Carlson had acquired a 51% stake in Rezidor – a public company listed on the Nasdaq Sweden since 2006.

Radisson Hotel Group’s brands include: Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, the Radisson Rewards loyalty program and meetings and events program Radisson Meetings. In 2016, Rezidor (now Radisson Hospitality AB) also acquired a 49% stake in prizeotel.

In December 2016, HNA Tourism Group Co., Ltd, the core subsidiary of HNA Group, purchased Carlson Hotels, Inc. (now Radisson Hospitality, Inc.) and acquired a 51.3% stake in Rezidor. HNA Group was ranked 170th in the 2017 Fortune Global 500 list.

In May 2017, Federico J. González was appointed as President & CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group (now Radisson Hospitality AB) and John M. Kidd became CEO & COO of Carlson Hotels (now Radisson Hospitality Inc.). At the same time, the creation of a Global Steering Committee was announced to provide overall strategic direction for both companies.

On March 5, 2018 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced a rebrand to Radisson Hotel Group. The new corporate identity is supposed to align the global brand portfolio around its leading hotel brand, Radisson.[4]

Radisson Hotel Group has more than 95,000 workers globally.



Carlson’s roots date back to 1938, when Curtis L. Carlson took an idea for a loyalty program and a $55 loan from his landlord to found the Gold Bond Stamp Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota – a classic US story of entrepreneurialism. The family-run company grew and diversified over the next 80 years to become an international travel and hospitality corporation.[2]

In 1962, Carlson bought into his first Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis, a vintage property named after French explorer Pierre-Esprit Radisson. Two years later, he bought complete control of the hotel, which, by 1982, was deemed too old to renovate profitably and demolished. By this time, Carlson had also built the thriving Radisson South Bloomington and the Radisson in Minneapolis – successes that convinced the company to construct a contemporary new Radisson on the site of their original hotel.

Gold Bond was renamed Carlson Companies, Inc. in 1973. Carlson acquired TGI Fridays Inc., with 12 restaurants in nine states marking the company’s entrance into the restaurant business. In 1976, Carlson acquired Country Kitchen, Inc., a chain of family-style restaurants. Ten years later, Carlson founded the Country Inns & Suites By Carlson brand with the opening of the first hotel in Burnsville, Minnesota. The brand now operates more than 480 hotels throughout the world, primarily in the United States, Canada, India and Latin America. [3]

In the 1990s, Radisson Hotel Asia (RHA) was set up in Singapore as the company’s Asia Pacific headquarters. Soon after, its regional offices in Delhi NCR, India, and Shanghai, China, opened. Radisson Blu Hotel Beijing and Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport, the first Radisson hotels in China and India respectively, opened in 1995 and 1998. [5]

A 1991 agreement with Edwardian Hotels of London added nine upscale four- and five-star hotels to the Radisson chain in the UK.

A major industry innovation followed in 1992, when Look To BookSM, was launched as a patented online reward program for travel agents.

In 1994, the Scandinavia-based SAS International Hotels (later Rezidor) signed a master franchise agreement with Carlson to manage the Radisson brand in the EMEA region. Radisson SAS was formed as a pioneering co-branded partnership, which would eventually evolve into the Radisson Blu brand.

Two years later, Carlson acquired the Regent Hotels & Resorts, and expanded into the luxury sector.

The company’s guest loyalty program, Gold Points RewardsSM was launched in 1999, and went on to become Club CarlsonSM – the global rewards program of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Carlson’s expansion continued in 2000, with the Park Plaza and Park Inn brands added to its growing portfolio.

In 2002, the group granted The Rezidor Hotel Group additional franchise rights to Regent Hotels & Resorts, Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.

The same year saw the introduction of a new global structure and the creation of Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific (CHAP).

In 2005, Carlson acquired 25% ownership of The Rezidor Hotel Group. Further diversification arrived the following spring, when Carlson bought Accor’s 50% interest in Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) – a global specialist in managing business travel, meetings and events for companies, governments and non-governmental organizations. The remaining stake was bought in 2014.

The historic CWT travel company dated back to the 1870s, and the invention of rail sleeping cars, with the creation of Compagnie International des Wagons-Lits by the Belgian, Georges Nagelmackers.

Meanwhile, Radisson SAS was flourishing in EMEA. And, in 2006, the brand was a key asset when the Rezidor Hotel Group completed an initial public offering on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.[citation needed] Carlson purchased additional shares and increased its ownership to 35%.

In 2008 Carlson Hotels announced the opening of its 1000th hotel.

In 2010 Regent Hotels & Resorts were sold to the Formosa International Hotels Corporation, leaving Carlson free to focus on developing its own brands.

In 2012 Carlson increased its ownership in The Rezidor Hotel Group to 51%. The launch of a major new force in the travel industry followed: Carlson and Rezidor formed a strategic partnership and went to market as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.[6]


Rezidor was originally known as SAS International Hotels (SIH), an Oslo-based hotel subsidiary of SAS Airlines. Its creation brought an airline and a hotel group together for the first time in history.[citation needed]

SIH opened its first hotel in Denmark in 1960, the Royal Copenhagen.

Its launch marked the beginning of a collection of hotels. By 1980, the group expanded from Scandinavia, opening the Radisson SAS Hotel, Kuwait – which was badly damaged during the Iraqi invasion. [3]

The company’s Head Office moved to Brussels in 1989, and Kurt Ritter was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer. A pioneering Environmental Policy was introduced – followed in 2001 by a complete, group-wide Responsible Business program.

In 1994, SIH signed the first master franchise agreement with Carlson to operate and develop the Radisson brand in EMEA -– and the innovative Radisson SAS brand partnership was created. A second master franchise agreement, signed in 2002, included the Park Inn, Country Inn & Suites and Regent brands in EMEA.

Other key developments in the mid-90s included the launch of the company’s defining Yes I Can! service philosophy and the creation of an internal Management School.[citation needed]

In 1997, SIH became the first hotel company to go asset-light, divesting real estate to focus on management. And, in 1999, it expanded into Africa, with the opening of Radisson SAS Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town.

Having moved its headquarters to Brussels in the late 90s, in 2002, SIH changed its name to Rezidor and acquired additional franchise rights from Carlson.

Further strengthening the bond between the two companies, Carlson bought 25% of Rezidor Shares from SAS in 2005. And, the following year, when SAS sold its hotel business, Rezidor went public – listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Carlson acquired the largest stake, and later became Rezidor’s majority shareholder.

A new era began for the renamed The Rezidor Hotel Group. SAS divested all stakes in the company two years later. As a result, the upper upscale Radisson SAS evolved into Radisson Blu in 2009.

Rezidor continued to grow – becoming the largest international hotel operator in Russia & the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Park Inn ranked top of the J.D. Power and Associates European Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport opened Europe's largest Wine Tower – complete with flying, acrobatic Wine Angels.[clarification needed]

2010 was an important year for Rezidor. Radisson Blu became the largest upscale hotel brand in Europe, while the Park Inn brand evolved into Park Inn by Radisson. Rezidor celebrated its Golden Jubilee that year – along with the Arne Jacobsen’s now legendary Radisson Collection Royal Copenhagen Hotel. Rezidor was named as one of the Most Ethical Companies of the World by Ethisphere Institute, a US think tank.[citation needed]

The major event of 2012, however, was the creation of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group as a strategic partnership.

Rezidor’s President and CEO, industry legend Kurt Ritter, announced his retirement after 36 years.


A year after its formation in 2012, Austrian born Wolfgang M. Neumann took over as Rezidor’s President.

The world’s first-ever Radisson RED hotel launched in Brussels in 2016.

Radisson RED Brussels was followed by RED openings in Minneapolis, Campinas, and Cape Town .

Back in Europe in 2016, Rezidor entered the economy segment of the hospitality industry with the acquisition of a 49% stake in the successful German start-up prizeotel.[citation needed]


In December 2016, the China-based HNA Tourism Group Co., Ltd. bought Carlson Hotels and acquired Carlson’s 51.3% stake in Rezidor, announcing a mandatory public offer to acquire all shares in Rezidor.[citation needed]

Early in 2017, Rezidor reported a record year of organic growth: 45 hotels signed with 8,200 rooms added.

Radisson Blu remained the largest upscale hotel brand, with 186 hotels and almost 45,000 rooms in operation, according to MKG Hospitality-On.[citation needed]

Carlson Rezidor Asia Pacific had also seen powerful growth over the years, with activity in 14 APAC countries and 100 hotels in operation or under development by 2017. The group developed an especially dominant position in India, with a strong presence in state capitals and key cities.

In May 2017, Spanish-born Federico J. González took over as Rezidor President & CEO, while John M. Kidd became CEO & COO for Carlson Hotels – both heading freshly appointed leadership teams.

In December 2017, Katerina Giannouka became the group’s Asia Pacific President.[7]

González was also appointed as Chairman of the new Global Steering Committee, created to provide overall strategic direction to both Rezidor (now Radisson Hospitality AB) and Carlson (now Radisson Hospitality Inc.). Radisson Hospitality, Inc. and Radisson Hospitality AB are each governed by boards of directors that are independent of each other and vested with the authority to govern their respective businesses. These boards are advised by a Global Steering Committee made up of equal number of representatives from Radisson Hospitality, Inc. and Radisson Hospitality AB. [8]

The purpose of the Global Steering Committee is to: • Provide guidance and strategic counsel to both management teams and boards • Foster a deeper level of collaboration and communication • Ensure alignment on important matters such as partnership and global growth

The members of the Global Steering Committee are: • Federico J. González, President & CEO, Radisson Hospitality AB and Chairman, Radisson Hotel Group • John M. Kidd, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer, Radisson Hospitality, Inc. • Kevin Carl, Executive Vice President & Global Chief Information Officer, Radisson Hotel Group • Iñigo Capell, Executive Vice President & Global Chief Resources Officer, Radisson Hotel Group • Knut Kleiven, Deputy President & Chief Financial Officer, Radisson Hospitality AB • Eric de Neef, Executive Vice President & Global Chief Commercial Officer, Radisson Hotel Group [9]

Additional members on invitation include: • Andrew Skobe, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Radisson Hospitality, Inc. • Eva-Maria Erauw, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Radisson Hospitality AB • Jenny Winkler, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Radisson Hospitality, Inc.

On 5 March 2018, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group formerly announced a rebrand to Radisson Hotel Group. The new corporate identity aligns the global brand portfolio around its leading hotel brand, Radisson. In combination with the company rebranding, the loyalty program, Club Carlson, became Radisson Rewards™.

As part of the rebranding, Radisson Hotel Group redefined its brand architecture to leverage the Radisson identity and deliver a strong value proposition with eight global brands that range from accessible luxury to the economy segment.

At the Annual General Meeting in May 2018 in Stockholm, the shareholders resolved to change the name of Rezidor Hotel Group AB (publ) to Radisson Hospitality AB (publ) by amending the company’s articles of association.[citation needed]


Radisson's brands include:


  1. ^ Stringam, B.B.; Partlow, C.G. (2015). A Profile of the Hospitality Industry. Business Expert Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-60649-919-1. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Guliani, L.K. (2016). Corporate Social Responsibility in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. Advances in Hospitality, Tourism, and the Services Industry. IGI Global. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-1-4666-9903-8. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Ivanova, M.; Ivanov, S.; Magnini, V.P. (2016). The Routledge Handbook of Hotel Chain Management. Taylor & Francis. p. 778. ISBN 978-1-317-61843-0. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Wilkinson, James (2018-03-07). "Carlson officially becomes Radisson, plans to double Asia Pacific portfolio". Hotel Management. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  5. ^ http://www.radissonhospitalityab.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205430&p=abouthistory
  6. ^ http://www.radissonhospitalityab.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205430&p=abouthistory
  7. ^ http://www.radissonhospitalityab.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205430&p=abouthistory
  8. ^ http://www.radissonhospitalityab.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205430&p=aboutmessceo
  9. ^ http://www.radissonhospitalityab.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205430&p=irol-executive