Key Dates in Our History
Print this page
Print
2011
  • Carlson launched Club CarlsonSM, a new hospitality program that replaced goldpoints plusSM with an enriched array of first-class redemption opportunities, making it one of the most rewarding loyalty programs in travel.
  • Rezidor Hotel Group is named as one of the Ethisphere Institute's Most Ethical Companies.
  • CWT acquired Kaleva Travel, Finland’s largest business travel agency.
  • T.G.I. Friday’s® and Kuwait-based Americana Group announced a renewed development agreement to build an additional 30 T.G.I. Friday’s® restaurants over the next five years in the Middle East.
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hotel Investment Conference in Asia Pacific.
2010
  • Carlson announced its plans to increase the number of Radisson® hotels in Asia Pacific to more than 100 hotels by 2015.
  • Carlson achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.
  • Gregory R. Page of Cargill elected to the Carlson Board of Directors.
  • Carlson was recognized by the Dave Thomas Foundation as one of the top "Best Adoption-Friendly" companies in the U.S.
  • Carlson Hotels announced plans for second Radisson Blu® flagship hotel in the U.S. to be located adjacent to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
  • Carlson was named to Working Mother Magazine's list of 100 Best Companies 2010.
  • The Rezidor Hotel Group celebrated its 50th anniversary.
  • Carlson became the majority shareholder of The Rezidor Hotel Group by acquiring additional shares of the company. Carlson's total ownership of outstanding shares in Rezidor is 50.1 percent.
  • Carlson Hotels signed a landmark agreement to develop the first Radisson Blu® hotel in the U.S. The USD 125 million development in Chicago is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.
  • Carlson acquired the remaining 60 percent stake in T.G.I. Friday's® UK Holdings LTD from AAC Capital Partners.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced the acquisition of Gateway Travel Management, a privately held regional travel management company based in the Pittsburgh, Penn. area.
  • Carlson and The Rezidor Hotel Group AB announced they entered into a definitive agreement with Formosa International Hotels Corporation (FIHC) under which FIHC will acquire the Regent luxury hotel business.
  • Carlson signed the United Nations Global Compact, which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
  • Carlson Hotels announced that Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM has achieved the 500th hotel mark with the opening of its property in College Station, Texas.
  • Carlson Hotels announced Ambition 2015, its global growth strategy aimed at expanding its portfolio by at least 50 percent by 2015 to more than 1,500 hotels in operation.
  • Carlson Hotels acquired a majority stake in RHW Hotel Management Services, a key Indian partner, and announced plans to triple the size of its hotel portfolio in India by 2012.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® developed and rolled out Earn Your Stripes strategic initiative to reinvigorate the guest experience in its restaurants.
  • In connection with an internal reorganization at JPMorgan Chase & Co., One Equity Partners II, L.P. (OEP), a JPMorgan Chase subsidiary, transferred its ownership interest in CWT B.V. within JPMorgan Chase to Chase Travel Investment. Carlson retains its existing ownership interest in CWT B.V.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel created new global organization for its Energy Services division. CWT Energy Services provides integrated services in the highly specialized energy-services sector.
2009
  • Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM celebrated the opening of its first hotel in New York City.
  • A comprehensive strategy was created to reposition the Radisson® brand in the Americas, aligning it with the global Radisson® portfolio as a leader in the upscale category.
  • Groupe Aeroplan, Montréal, Québec, acquired Carlson Marketing.
  • 100th anniversary of the Radisson® Hotel in downtown Minneapolis; hotel opened in 1909 with President William Howard Taft as the guest of honor at its grand opening.
  • 140 Carlson hotels earned an ecolabel certification.
  • Give Me More Stripes guest recognition program achieved more than one million members.
2008
  • Hubert Joly was named president and chief executive officer of Carlson; Marilyn Carlson Nelson remained chairman of the board.
  • Carlson Leisure Group (CLG) and its portfolio of leisure, travel-related businesses was acquired by CLG's management team.
  • Apollo Management L.P. acquired Regent Seven Seas Cruises operations.
  • Carlson's ownership of The Rezidor Hotel Group reached 44.4 percent.
  • Carlson Hotels celebrated the opening of its 1,000th location, the Radisson® St. Martin Resort, Marina and Spa.
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Hubert Joly endorsed a comprehensive climate change global policy.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® launched the Give Me More Stripes guest recognition program.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel reported strong growth in global sales volume and robust new sales for the first half of 2008. Enhancements to CWT services and solutions also marked the first six months.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel signed a global, multi-year agreement designating StarCite, Inc. as a preferred technology partner for Meetings and Events activities worldwide.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced significant growth in 2007, with sales and new business rising to historic highs. CWT also reported substantial progress and innovation in its four lines of business.
2007
  • Whitbread sold 30 of its 45 U.K. T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants to a joint venture between Carlson and private equity group ABN AMRO Capital.
  • Carlson became the first hotel company to offer guests carbon offsetting option through its goldpoints plusSM program.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel U.K. unveiled a carbon calculator tool to advise environmentally aware travelers of the level of carbon dioxide emission on a trip by air or rail.
  • Carlson Hotels increased its ownership of The Rezidor Hotel Group to 41.7 percent.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® debuted Right Portion, Right Price to provide guests with more choices.
2006
  • Carlson unveiled new logo symbolizing the company's heart, heritage and future and shortened name to Carlson.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel finalized acquisition of Navigant International, doubling its size in North America and reinforcing its presence in Asia Pacific.
  • Carlson and One Equity Partners (OEP) acquired Accor's 50 percent share of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Carlson became majority shareholder with 55 percent of CWT shares, with OEP holding the remaining 45 percent.
  • The Rezidor Hotel Group completed an Initial Public Offering on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Carlson purchased additional shares to increase its ownership to 35 percent.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel signed a global reseller agreement with Amadeus to distribute its online booking system Amadeus e-Travel Management, the most widely deployed online booking solution for global managed travel.
2005
  • T.G.I. Friday's® celebrated its 40th birthday.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel launched Direct Connect technology for hotels, providing travelers and agents with direct access to hotel inventory.
  • Carlson Hotels acquired 25 percent ownership in the Rezidor Hotel Group, intensifying the commitment to global growth and securing its brands in the EMEA market.
2004
  • Carlson assisted with the North American launch of a global code of conduct aimed at protecting children against sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industry, becoming the first North American company in the tourism industry to sign the pledge.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel's joint venture in China extended to Shanghai and Guangzhou.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced the completion of its acquisition of Maritz Corporate Travel in the United States and Onboard in Germany.
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel purchased Protravel in France to become the largest player in the French travel distribution market.
2003
  • Carlson celebrated Responsible Business Action Month for the first time.
2002
  • The Rezidor Hotel Group acquired the franchise rights to additional Carlson Hotel brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA): Regent Hotels & Resorts, Park Inn® and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.
  • Carlson Hotels announced expansion plans for Asia Pacific, creation of Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific and a new global structure.
2001
  • T.G.I. Friday's® celebrated 500th restaurant opening in the United States.
2000
  • Carlson Hotels acquired the Park Plaza® and Park Inn® brands from Olympus Hospitality Group, growing the total number of Carlson brands to five.
  • The Radisson® brand reached the 400-location milestone while introducing a contemporary new logo.
1999
  • Carlson became a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation global initiative to help at-risk children.
  • Curtis L. Carlson, founder and chairman of the board, Carlson Companies, died on February 19.
1998
  • The 100th international T.G.I. Friday's® debuted in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the 500th T.G.I. Friday's® opened in Plymouth, Minn.
  • Curtis L. Carlson named daughter Marilyn Carlson Nelson as president and chief executive officer.
  • Carlson Travel Network in the United States and Wagonlit Travel in Europe merged to form the Carlson Wagonlit Travel network for business travel. The new company is the first truly global travel services company with international management.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® signed a development agreement with Watami Food Service Co., Ltd., which resulted in the development of T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants in Japan.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® signed a milestone agreement with Compass Group PLC for the development of T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants and Friday's American Bar units in airports across Europe (excluding the U.K.), Asia Pacific, Canada and South Africa.
1997
  • Curtis L. Carlson launched the goldpoints plusSM program — "trading stamps gone electronic."
  • T.G.I. Friday's® became the first American casual dining chain to open a restaurant in Moscow.
  • Jack Daniel's Grill made its national debut — another all-time favorite!
1996
  • T.G.I. Friday's® opened in 10 new countries; development agreements signed for 26 new countries.
1994
  • Carlson Travel Group and Paris-based Wagonlit Travel signed alliance to form Carlson Wagonlit Travel — one of the world's largest business travel management companies.
  • Radisson® and SAS hotels formed partnership for international growth.
  • T.G.I. Friday's® signed an agreement to expand into the People's Republic of China, marking the 50th country where T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants operate.
1990
  • Carlson acquired A.T. Mays Group travel agencies in England and Scotland.
1989
  • Edwin C. Gage was elected chief executive officer of Carlson.
1987
  • T.G.I. Friday's® entered into its first international joint venture to operate T.G.I. Friday's® in Asia.
  • Carlson founded Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM brand.
1985
  • T.G.I. Friday's® signed its first international development agreement with Whitbread & Co. PLC of London.
1981
  • Carlson acquired E.F. MacDonald Motivation Company, Dayton, Ohio.
1979
  • Carlson acquired Ask Mr. Foster Travel.
1977
  • Carlson achieved USD 1 billion in annual revenues.
1975
  • Carlson acquired T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants.
1973
  • Company changed name to Carlson Companies, Inc., to reflect its diversification.
1968
  • Number of trading stamps issued nationally by all companies reached peak year.
1965
  • The first T.G.I. Friday's® opened in New York City.
1962
  • Carlson acquired first Radisson® Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Minn.
1955
  • Gold Bond trading stamps introduced into Canada. Gold Bond eventually becomes the largest trading stamp company in Canada.
1953
  • Gold Bond trading stamps introduced into one of the nation's largest food chains — Super Valu food stores — the first large supermarket chain in the nation to use trading stamps. Almost overnight, Gold Bond stamps became a household name for Americans.
1952
  • Gold Bond trading stamps slowly worked their way into the Minneapolis, Minn. marketplace, then regionally.
1938
  • Gold Bond Stamp Company founded and developed by Curtis L. Carlson in Minneapolis, Minn.