- Choice Hotels International will make a series of upgrades to its Radisson Blu brand, along with several other of its upscale and upper upscale brands, in an effort to drive more value for owners and repeat stays from guests, the company announced this week.
- Enhancements in design, guest experience and service will be made to Radisson Blu hotels across the country, starting with Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minnesota. Other brands set to be “redefined” include Cambria Hotels and Ascend Hotel Collection.
- The brand makeovers come on the heels of a year of growth by Choice in the upscale and upper upscale segments, which are increasingly demanded by guests and owners alike, Choice Chief Segment and International Operations Officer Raul Ramirez told Hotel Dive.
Starting with Radisson Blu, Choice is reimagining its upscale and upper upscale brands to further its growth in the increasingly demanded segments.
Choice plans to enhance the experience and comforts of Radisson Blu through “subtle innovation and digital ingenuity.” This includes prioritizing “comfort, distinctiveness and warmth” in the hotels’ design to create an “inviting environment for unique and reliable experiences,” the company said.
The first enhancements will be seen at Radisson Blu Mall of America, which is undergoing a $15 million renovation to turn it into an anchor hotel for the brand.
Choice plans to enhance five of its eight hotel brands in the upscale and upper upscale segments, including Ascend Hotel Collection, Cambria Hotels, Radisson, Radisson Blu and Radisson Individuals. The hotels will see new brand-specific amenities and Choice Privileges rewards, as well as revamped food and beverage programs.
The upscale push follows a year of growth for Choice in the segment. Its Cambria brand, specifically, expanded across the country in 2023 with hotel openings and groundbreakings in new markets like the Pacific Northwest; Copper Mountain, Colorado; and Savannah, Georgia.
Choice also opened 19 hotels under the Ascend Hotel Collection during the year and saw RevPAR increase more than 8% year-over-year for the Radisson brand, the company detailed in a release. In December, Choice completed the integration of Radisson Americas ahead of schedule.
According to Ramirez, growth in the upscale segments is especially important now because demand for the space is growing, from consumers as well as from owners and developers.
“What we have seen is that consumers are asking for these lifestyle brands with richer experiences. The lifestyle brands have also shown they can drive revenue from non-room amenities, so that's also an interesting factor,” he said. “What we are seeing in the market talking to owners and developers is that they feel they are stuck in ‘big box and boring’ or ‘designed forward but sterile,’ so what we want to do is make sure we create a [brand] experience with elements that fuel discovery.”
The brand enhancements are part of a larger strategy to grow in the upscale segments.
Earlier this month, Choice announced its largest marketing campaign to date, featuring its Radisson and Cambria brands. Choice Chief Marketing Officer Noha Abdalla previously told Hotel Dive the upscale brands were selected in a concerted effort to change the perception around Choice Hotels’ segmentation.
And Ramirez noted that Choice has also made significant investments to build up its leadership team on upscale. In November, the company announced it had hired Indy Adenaw as senior vice president and general manager of upscale brands, along with Alexandra Coleman, vice president of upscale brand management, to help grow Choice's portfolio in the segment.