Updated 2020: Radisson Hotel Group is not a name as well known as Marriott or Hilton. But with almost 1,200 hotels worldwide and clearly defined brands, it’s an interesting hospitality group to watch and more easily navigated than Marriott or Accor with over 30 brands each. Get a quick overview of the hotel group, the experiences you can expect from their brands and the loyalty program they offer!
The Hotel Group: Radisson Hotel Group (RHG), the former Carlson Rezidor hotel group, now has almost 1,200 hotels around the world. They have a balanced distribution around the world, with 49% of hotels in the Americas, 36% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 15% in Asia. That gives travelers a solid proesence around the world. While the RHG hotels are pretty evenly split between midscale and upscale offerings, you’ll find most of the midscale properties in the US and most of the upscale ones in Europe. And you’ll only find a handful of true luxury properties anywhere!
The Experience: Radisson has one of the most cleanly defined brand architecture of all the big hotel companies. While Marriott or Accor struggle to fit all of their brands into a chart, never mind distinguish them in the eye of the industry professional or traveler, Radisson has done a good job over the last few years of defining their brands and how they fit into the portfolio:
I have stayed at most of their brands and my experience has been good throughout. Country Inn & Suites, like the Country Inn & Suites DIxon are solid midscale, select-service hotels that won’t wow you, but deliver.
I found Park Inn properties, like the Park Inn Brastislava to be more stylish than their competitors, a little less boring despite their budget and select service.
The same applies to their trendy Red by Radisson brand, targeting millenials and their upscale Radisson Blu brand, which offers upscale hotels that I found to be much more unique and pleasant than your average Marriott hotel – the Radisson Blu Krakow is a great example of what to expect!
That stylish theme continues with the Park Plaza and art’otel properties. They frequently compete with independent boutique hotels and some of the hipper brands, like Kimpton or aloft. I especially liked the art’otel Cologne and the art’otel Berlin Ku’damm.
The Rewards Program: There isn’t as much praise to be heaped upon the loyalty program of the Radisson Hotel Group, called Radisson Rewards. After running it through multiple, massive devaluations, it’s hard to find reasons to recommend it to travelers: With the small number of hotels compared to other programs and limited airline or other partners, the program has a small reach. The program offers generous earn rates and reasonable redemption rates, but few perks and little to earn customer loyalty.
It works best, if you stay for business at mid-scale hotels in the US and want to redeem for upscale hotels in Europe or if you travel a lot to Northern and Eastern Europe. Most other travelers are better off by sticking with the larger programs like Hilton or IHG and booking their occasional Radisson stay through Online Travel Agents and their more generous rewards programs!