Carlson Hotels unveils Ambition 2015 strategy

Orlando, FL | March 03, 2010

At its Global Business Conference today, Carlson Hotels announced Ambition 2015, its global growth strategy. Through this strategy, the company wants to be known for its innovative and vibrant spirit reflected in the quality of its segment leading brands around the world. It aspires to be the number one hotel company to work for and to invest with. It aims to expand its portfolio by at least 50 percent by 2015 to more than 1,500 hotels in operation.

"We believe this is a great time to invest in the hotel business. With Ambition 2015, we have a comprehensive and compelling strategy to build the business," said Hubert Joly, president and chief executive officer, Carlson.

Ambition 2015 will focus on four priority growth initiatives including:

  • Expanding Radisson as a powerful, globally consistent first-class brand.

  • Accelerating the growth of Country Inns & Suites By Carlson in four key markets: United States, Canada, India and Mexico.

  • Growing Park Inn as a winning mid-scale brand across theaters in key countries.

  • Continuing to grow in key emerging markets, with greater emphasis on mid-scale.

As one of the world's leading brands, Radisson® is being positioned to deliver vibrant, contemporary and engaging hospitality characterized by the Yes I Can! service philosophy. Carlson's ambition is to expand Radisson as a powerful, globally consistent, first-class brand. The positioning is being supported by a series of innovations introduced during Carlson Hotel's Global Business Conference, including new room concepts, new restaurant concepts and a series of new service concepts focused on the guest experience. The strategy for Radisson will entail an investment program of up to USD 1.5 billion in the North America alone, focused on establishing flagship hotels in key U.S. cities and on upgrading the existing portfolio. With 422 hotels in operation globally and 90 hotels currently in the pipeline, the brand is poised for significant growth around the world. Carlson plans to grow the portfolio to at least 600 hotels by 2015.

Country Inn & Suites By CarlsonSM, Carlson's mid-market brand, is known for providing a caring, consistent and comfortable hospitality experience. The brand currently operates 485 hotels throughout the world and has 80 properties currently contracted under development. Today, this homegrown brand celebrated the forthcoming opening of its 500th hotel and announced plans to expand by an additional 250 hotels globally by 2015 primarily in the U.S., Canada, India and Mexico. Among the many distinctive product and service innovations offered by Country Inns & Suites, the "Friends Hosting Friends" recognition program has generated tremendous employee engagement scores and high overall guest satisfaction. Other key programs that will roll out in 2010 include personal care amenities, a new a breakfast program and new employee uniforms.

Park Inn® is Carlson's bright, bold and fresh mid-scale brand. Rated number one in 2009 for guest satisfaction in Europe by J.D. Powers and Associates, the brand will be a key focus of growth across theaters in key markets. Its scalability and moderate costs make Park Inn an ideal brand for conversions and new builds. It has 100 hotels in operation throughout the world and 54 hotels in the contracted pipeline.

The strategy entails continuing the growth in key emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, where it has gained significant strength. For example, Carlson is the largest and fastest growing international hotel company in India with 79 hotels in operation or contracted at the end of 2009.

These strategies will be supported by investments in marketing, sales, distribution and technology. As part of its Ambition 2015 strategy, Carlson Hotels expects to increase the contribution from brand websites to 30 percent of revenue and to double the number of members in its goldpointsplusSM loyalty program.

For more information about Carlson's Ambition 2015, please visit www.carlsonhotelsmedia.com/ambition2015 to watch the live webcast of Carlson Hotel's Global Business Conference. The webcast of the presentations will be available after 8 p.m. ET March 3, 2010.

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