I just attended Carlson Hotels' Global Business Conference in Orlando. Carlson unveiled some aggressive expansion goals. As part of Ambition 2015, the company will aim to expand its portfolio by at least 50 percent to more than 1,500 hotels by 2015. With its highly successful Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn and Radisson brands, Carlson just might reach its goals--assuming the global economy continues to strengthen in the coming years.
At the conference I had an opportunity to chat with Kurt Ritter, president and CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group, of which Carlson Companies is the main shareholder. Brussels, Belgium-based Rezidor has long had a reputation for being a leader throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR). In fact, Carlson's new executive vice president, human resources and responsible business, Beathe-Jeanette Lunde, recently joined Carlson here in the United States after working for Rezidor.
In my chat with Kurt Ritter I learned that Rezidor will release its 2009 Sustainability Report in the next two weeks. (Click here to access previous versions of that report.) Ritter said the report is something the company is required to generate because it is a listed company. I also learned that each Rezidor hotel has its own responsible business coordinator who is responsible for reporting monthly to the head office, and that Rezidor has 120 properties with some type of eco-label. Rezidor gives its guests the option of offsetting their travel and provides its hoteliers with an online environmental best practices database for the sharing of ideas. All employees and managers are required to undergo training in responsible business. Rezidor will hold a Responsible Business Action Month this September.
My impression is that from an environmental perspective, The Rezidor Hotel Group is ahead of Carlson here in North America. Perhaps with the appointment of Beathe-Jeanette Lunde, that will begin to change. To stay abreast of The Rezidor Hotel Group's investments in the area of CSR, visit their website.