HB ON THE SCENE: Radisson Hotel Group Previews Emma, a New Unified Tech Platform

ORLANDO, FL—One thing was certain at Radisson Hotel Group’s 2018 Americas Business Conference, held here at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel: Technology will dominate the company’s strategy going forward.

“We recognize that to drive more system contribution, we must act swiftly, thoughtfully and decisively, as we transform the technology solutions and tools that are powering our business,” said Kevin Carl, EVP and global chief information officer, who previewed Emma, the company’s new technology platform.

“We are partnering with some of the world’s leading technology companies to create Emma, a unified platform that will encompass all aspects of our business,” he continued. “Emma will give you new capabilities with the goals of improving guest service, lowering your cost and increasing and optimizing revenue far beyond what we have today.”

Carl noted that it’s not the company’s intention to make technology more complicated—just the opposite. “[We don’t want] to further complicate our environment by creating complex integrations,” he said. “It is our intention to roll out a new capability and migrate properties over to the new platform. Our intention is to simplify. We have a lot of technology in our landscape, and we have great opportunity to simplify, reduce costs and create new capability; that’s what Emma is about.”

Launching in 2019, Emma will touch all core functions, including reservations, property management, revenue management, guest loyalty, sales, meetings and events, food and beverage, business intelligence and analytics, among others.

“Emma will give on-property access to better data on guest preferences, providing a 360-degree view of our guests,” he said. “Insight into past stays and purchases will enable you to create a more personalized experience. There will also be more options for loyalty members to redeem points for products and services during their stay.

“Second, Emma will also help us drive business to you,” he continued, noting that the platform will have fully integrated customer relationship management capability to manage accounts, guests and marketing campaigns. “Because Emma will be aware of all inventory, she will be able to provide more transparency in the group sales process and give meeting planners the ability to book space and catering directly online. Emma will also centralize billing for corporate clients. They will receive one invoice across all hotel stays for all of their employees.” Carl noted that corporate accounts have been asking for this functionality, and the company believes it will help differentiate it from competitors.

One of the key elements of Emma is the ability to quickly deploy new features as needs demand. “As a unified platform, you’ll have fewer third-party contact points and a one-stop shop for service, support and billing,” Carl said. “Emma will make life easier for you, and because she will live in the cloud, there is less hardware to buy, upgrade and maintain.”

Carl acknowledged that hoteliers have already made investments in on-property technology, and that’s being taken into account.

Ken Greene, president, Americas, Radisson Hotel Group, pointed to the company’s history, noting that it makes this technology investment easier. “We haven’t grown through acquisitions; we haven’t piecemealed systems together,” he said. “I’ve been with some bigger companies where you acquire brands and you patch these systems together. Then, you look at a cool piece of technology that just came out, and you can’t make it happen because of the complexity issues. We are this closed technology ecosystem that has some real simplicity to it. It will allow us, with Emma, to leapfrog our competitors in terms of capability.”

Carl agreed. “For the size of our portfolio, it’s actually an advantage,” he said. “For us to move to a new platform at our current size, and set that new foundation for the next wave, the next stage of growth—now is the time. If we do that, we can scale more cost effectively and roll out new features more efficiently.”