Radisson has decided that the world needs a new hotel brand. This week it launched ‘Radisson Individuals’ which will be seen first in the UK.
Radisson Individuals is a conversion brand. Let me explain what that means, if you’re not clear.
What is a hotel ‘conversion brand’?
Most hotel chains have jumped on the ‘conversion brand’ bandwagon in recent years. Hilton has had DoubleTree for ages, with the brand dating back to 1969. IHG recently launched voco. Marriott bought the Canadian chain Delta with the sole intent of using it for a conversion brand.
Most hotel brands come with a very long checklist of standards. Whether it is to do with minimum room sizes, 24 hour room service, the size of the beds, the provision of desks, the provision of a coffee maker, the requirement for showers to be ‘power showers’ etc, there is a long list of boxes which must be ticked.
‘Conversion brands’ do not need to tick any boxes. As long as they meet a general quality standard, they are ‘in’. There is also often no requirement to sign up to timetabled refurbishments. This makes them attractive to hotel owners who want to switch from their current brand.
Within a conversion brand, no two hotels will be the same. In the US, conversion brands are popular with hotels with external air conditioning units – you couldn’t become a Hilton if you had those, but you could become a DoubleTree. Stucco ceilings in rooms are also generally a ‘no no’ with mainstream brands, but not conversions.
Radisson Individuals wants to be comparable with Hilton’s DoubleTree brand. The reason that every DoubleTree guest receives a chocolate chip cookie at check in is because there is no other brand standard. The cookie is the only thing you can be certain of getting at a DoubleTree.
Will Radisson Individuals work?
It remains to be seen if Radisson Individuals will have more sway with hotel owners than Delta, DoubleTree or voco.
Federico González, chief executive, Radisson Hotel Group, said:
“We created Radisson Individuals in response to the evolving demands of the modern market for both hotel owners and guests. Joining Radisson Individuals is an ideal first step for individual hotels with strong service scores who wish to remain independent or may be considering transitioning to one of our successful core brands, as well as a strong proposition for local, regional hotel brands seeking to explore additional distribution channels and/or co-branding options.”
To my mind, only DoubleTree is a widely recognised conversion brand. Putting Delta or voco above your door is not necessarily going to drive business. It WILL get you onto marriott.com or ihg.com and so bring you guests from members of the loyalty programme.
To add to the confusion …. at present, Radisson Individuals looks more like a ‘soft’ brand – like Marriott’s Autograph, Hilton’s Curio or Hyatt’s Unbound – than a true conversion brand. Hotels appear to be keeping their original names. Radisson is clear that it is meant to be a conversion brand, however.
When is Radisson Individuals launching?
Radisson Individuals has its own website here.
To date, it seems that the first global opening is the Henrietta House Hotel in Bath – see the hotel website here and image above. With some rooms of just 10 square metres, this is a hotel which would struggle to meet the brand standards of most traditional chains.
There are no Radisson Rewards redemption nights showing. This may be an IT issue, as the hotel does not technically join Radisson until Saturday.
There is also no indication yet of the points earning rate for Radisson Individuals.
It is a busy time for Bath. The Abbey Hotel, reviewed here by Rhys, joined Marriott’s Tribute brand this Summer. IHG also recently opened a Hotel Indigo which has been getting excellent reviews – I hope to see it soon. The downtrodden Hilton has become a DoubleTree and a Hampton is on the way.
How to earn Radisson Rewards points from UK credit cards (April 2021)
Radisson Rewards does not have a dedicated UK credit card. However, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 60,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 90,000 Radisson Rewards points
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 15,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.
Even better, holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card. It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)