HB ON THE SCENE: Carlson Reveals New Loyalty Program, Spike In Sales

WASHINGTON, DC—A revamped loyalty program named Club Carlson, a 12 percent spike in systemwide sales for 2010 and newly launched mobile websites for its Radisson and Country Inn & Suites brands highlighted the start of Carlson’s annual global business conference here.
Held at the Gaylord National Convention Center, the conference played host to some 1,400 franchisees of the Minneapolis, MN-based company’s Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn and Park Plaza brands.
The company’s efforts to improve the brand’s standing in North America with the upper-upscale Radisson Blu concept continue to move forward as Thorsten Kirschke, COO, president, The Americas, announced the Radission Blue Aqua hotel in Chicago is slated to open in October. In addition, he noted the company will convert the Plaza VII hotel in Minneapolis to a Radisson Blu and that the brand has plans in place to enter New York City at a future date.
Kirschke also revealed that the company is some $501 million into the planned $1 to $1.5 billion relaunch. “We know we have challenges with the brand in North America and we’ve done some work on that,” said Kirschke.
In addition, Carlson opened some 66 properties in 2010 bringing its total portfolio to some 1,070 as it exceeded the 200,000 rooms mark for the first time.
The new Club Carlson loyalty program, which was previously known as goldpoints plus, will officially launch on March 31, 2011. According to Fredrik Korallus, executive vp, global revenue generation, the program will be the fastest in the industry in terms of redemption levels with guests earning a free night for every five stays. He also noted the company is investing some $10 million in the program with a goal of 10 million members by 2013.