LAS VEGAS — During a Q&A session at Radisson Hotel Group’s Americas Business Conference, held here at the Wynn Las Vegas, an attendee posted a question to the company’s leadership about incorporating an extended-state product into the lineup.
The question reflected the increasing strength of the growing extended-stay segment, and Aly El-Bassuni, COO Americas, agreed that this model is “conspicuously absent” from the company's portfolio. But instead of launching a new brand to corner this market, El-Bassuni said the company is considering adding a tier to its Park Inn brand to cater to the segment—possibly within the year.
“Fundamentally, we want to do a residence package,” Phil Malcolm, Radisson’s VP of technical services, told HM about the idea. “Where we're at right now, the Park Inn brand seemed the obvious one to do it with.” The company’s development team is still working on the project, he said, and will announce further details when they are ready. “We don't want to roll out half-baked.”
After the new prototypes for the Park Inn and Red brands unveiled at last year’s conference, the model rooms at this year’s event were more focused on fine-tuning the details. The Radisson Red brand, for example, has been gaining ground internationally, with signings announced for Reykjavik, Iceland; Perth, Australia; South Africa; and Portugal in recent months. And while the brands need to have some set standards, the demand for authenticity in hotels means that each property needs to reflect its location. “We're going to develop hotels in many urban areas where we developed public areas to appeal to both the guests and the non-guest,” Malcolm said. “So we're developing with that in mind.”
Red owners will have a choice of themed art packages to suit each property’s vibe, or can request customized art to make each property distinct. “It would be something that's local to that area,” Malcolm said. “That's what we're trying to build, to develop and do something that's going to be consistent in all the Reds.” Ultimately, Malcolm expects the Red brand to shift more from upscale into the upper-upscale segment in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific markets, although probably not in the Americas, he said. This positioning, however, would likely be "somewhat fluid," he added. As the brand's aesthetic continues to develop, he said he expects "two approaches" to be available to owners.
The model room for the Park Inn brand, meanwhile, has some slight changes from last year’s setup, with a different headboard and new art options available. “We're having bigger discussions right now globally about what Park Inn can be for the Americas,” Malcolm said.
During the Q&A session, an attendee asked if the Country Inn and Suites brand would get a Generation-5 prototype soon. El-Bassuni told the crowd that no new prototype would be coming soon, and the company would instead continue promoting the roll-out of its Generation-4 prototype for the brand, which is nearly at the halfway point across the portfolio. “Our mission is to see that through by 2022,” he added.
Malcolm agreed that the Gen-4 prototype, announced in 2013, was not ready for a full upgrade yet—but acknowledged that any design package could stand some tweaking. “We may have to give [owners] more options,” he told HM during a tour of model rooms. “We have to make sure the price points are still competitive ... [but] we're not going to change and give you a new Gen-5 that is completely different from your Gen-4 to owners that have just renovated. But that's not to say we can't improve the existing program and give owners more to work with.”