As Carlson CEO Hubert Joly said during the company’s global conference in March, it’s easy to announce ambitious plans for growth. It’s an altogether different thing to execute such plans. But according to Thorsten Kirschke, Carlson is well on its way.

The five-year strategy titled ‘Ambition 2015’ outlined plans for Carlson to become a “vibrant, innovative hotel company with segment leading brands known as the No. 1 hotel company to work for and the No. 1 hotel company to invest with,” Joly explained. The most notable and daunting aspect of the plan was the relaunch of the company’s flagship Radisson brand in North America, where it has lagged well behind its European counterpart’s success in growth and perception among guests and owners.

“It’s one thing to put a strategy on paper,” says Kirschke, the recently promoted global chief operating officer for Carlson Hotels. “This is the first time for Carlson in many years we’ve seen a strategy like this in action and we are executing it against its objectives and putting money on the table.”

Radisson Revival
It’s easy to track Carlson’s progress on many of the Radisson initiatives and see why Kirschke is so enthused. Joly said Carlson and its partners planned to invest between $1 billion and $1.5 billion over the next five years to improve the North American Radisson portfolio to match its global upscale standards and to introduce the upper-upscale Radisson Blu concept here. Last March, executives unveiled five new guestroom designs, new service initiatives and other brand enhancements.

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