Carlson Rezidor launches two new brands

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (CRHG) announced Tuesday that it will launch two new global hotel brands: Radisson Red, a ”lifestyle select” brand, and Quorvus Collection, a curated collection of contemporary luxury hotels that celebrate the local culture. It aims to have more than 60 Radisson Red hotels and 20 hotels in the Quorvus Collection by 2020.

CRHG President of the Americas Thorsten Kirschke told HOTELS Carlson has earmarked US$50 million in equity to start developing the first five forward-thinking Red branded hotels in the U.S., with another US$15 million being spent on brand development. He said Carlson is in the process of identifying sites and expects the first two in the U.S. to open by the end of 2015.

The first five to be developed in the U.S. could be fully owned and operated, joint ventures or sliver equity with management, according CRHG Chief Branding Officer Gordon McKinnon, who added that Red is not a conversion opportunity for the company’s Country Inns & Suites brand – the last brand Carlson created from scratch in the 1980s. In fact, he said the first two Reds to open globally could be conversions of Radisson Blu properties in EMEA.

While development costs are not yet available, McKinnon said the first five in the U.S. with about 150 keys each will cost about US$125 million, and should take about 15 months once construction commences. He compares costs to those of Starwood’s Aloft, Hilton’s Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott’s Courtyard brands, adding that while ADRs will depend on the market, it could range from US$115 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to US$140-150 in Chicago, and US$300 in New York City.

Carlson said the Red concept boasts a forward-thinking focus on design and detail, the customer experience, personal interaction, personal choice and recognition of the increasingly important role that technology plays in facilitating the best of everyday life. The prototype includes a mirrored facade that allows for more light inside the space, with costs being offset by efficiencies like limited F&B service and staffing models that allow for multitasking.

The technology focus will include a mobile application that will not only allow guests to skip reception for check-in, but order a drink in the bar, food from the deli, flowers through an online concierge or a taxi for the airport; manage their own personal profile and preferences; and manage the environment within their Radisson Red room. The brand, with a contemporary purpose-driven design focus, will convey an eclectic, modernist aesthetic.

The first member of the Quorvus Collection is expected to be announced in Q2 2014 with McKinnon telling HOTELS that goals for the growth are modest with three to four expected to be announced by early summer. After that, while momentum might increase the rate of development, McKinnon expects to grow Quorvus by two or three properties a year with the biggest opportunities coming in EMEA and Asia Pacific.

All 5-star Quorvus Collection hotels will offer a suite of hallmark services and will comprise six core lifestyle elements – wellness, replenishment, style, inspiration, entertainment and connectivity.

“We are trying to do two key things with Quorvus,” said McKinnon. “The first is deliver modern luxury, which is very different from traditional. It has nothing to do with the physical aspects of the hotel; it’s all about services and how they are provided. The second big element is about how we localize modern luxury, from the food to how we help them develop local programming.”

Carlson President and CEO Trudy Rautio said, “Radisson Red and Quorvus Collection are inspired by Vision 20/20, an evolution of our Ambition 2015 growth strategy. Vision 20/20 aspires to elevate the guest experience with innovations in technology, guest service and beyond.  These two brand concepts will illustrate that perfectly.”