Hotel Online  Special Report

 Top Executives of Carlson Hotels Trade Places with Radisson
Plaza Hotel Myrtle Beach Frontline Employees for the Day
to Better Understand Customers
July 22, 2004, Myrtle Beach, S.C. - Top Executives of Radisson Hotels & Resorts, and its parent company Carlson Hotels Worldwide, worked in front line jobs serving customers at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Myrtle Beach for two days this week as part of the company's 2005 strategic business planning process. 

Termed "The Hotel Apprentice" program, the executive leadership team from the company's headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., traded in their formal business attire for hotel uniforms for two days to engage with customers in all areas of the business and gain insights to be crafted into the company's 2005 strategy. They worked in front line jobs such as concierge, front desk, housekeeping and maintenance.   Even with more than 200 years of combined hotel level experience in the industry among them, it is always extremely valuable to have first-hand interaction and feedback from customers.

In fact, Carlson Hotels Worldwide's Brand Marketing team has obtained thousands of hours of customer feedback on the Radisson brand, as well as its sister-brands Regent International Hotels, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts; Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn as part of a comprehensive branding study to better define and position each of the company's five brands within the Carlson hotels portfolio.

Trudy Rautio, President of Carlson Hotels
Worldwide, The Americas, helps a customer
at the concierge desk.

Yvonne LaPenotiere, Executive Vice President
of Brand Marketing, washes dishes in Vidalia's
Low Country Cuisine's kitchen.
The customer feedback is also helping develop new hotel standards that will help further increase guest satisfaction, such as the new Express Yourself online pre-check-in process being introduced at Radisson hotels throughout the Americas on Sept. 1 that will expedite the guest check-in process.  When used, guests express will be invited to pre-check in online and express their service preferences and will only need to show identification at check-in with no long wait and no hassles. 

Some of the top executive leaders who participated in "The Hotel Apprentice" program included Trudy Rautio, president of Carlson Hotels Worldwide, the Americas, and Bjorn Gullaksen, executive vice president of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and brand leader for Radisson Hotels & Resorts. 

The executives will spend three days next week, July 26-28, at a management retreat in Minneapolis developing the 2005 business strategy for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, with input gained from their interaction with customers at the Radisson Hotel Myrtle Beach. "We are striving to answer such questions as 'how can we get closer to our customers in our business services', 'how can we simplify our customers' lives', 'why will our customers come back', and 'what business are we in'," said Rautio. "We are committed to a customer focused strategy and there is no better way to gain customer perspective than by personally serving them," she added.

Rautio said the company picked the Radisson Plaza Hotel Myrtle Beach because it is a flagship property for the Radisson brand and represents the type of customer experience we wish to provide Radisson guests. "The hotel is also very busy at this time of year and provides an opportunity for maximum customer interaction," she added.

From Left to Right, Sam Winterbottom, Steve Mogck, Scott Heintzeman,
Kristin Pardue, Bjorn Gullaksen, Alison Smith, Mike Roddy, Trudy Rautio,
Jeff Bata, Yvonne LaPenotiere, Brian Stage, Tom Polski and Mark Golenzer.
Other corporate leaders who participated in "The Hotel Apprentice" program at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Myrtle Beach included Jeff Bata, vice president of finance; Mark Golenzer, vice president of investments, strategy and analysis of Carlson Hotels Worldwide; Scott Heintzeman, CIO of Carlson Hotels Worldwide; Nancy Johnson, executive vice president of Select-Service Hotels and brand leader for Country Inns & Suites by Carlson and Park Inn; Yvonne LaPenotiere, executive vice president of brand marketing; Steve Mogck, senior vice president, legal and assistant secretary of Carlson Hotels Worldwide; Kristin Pardue, director business process improvement; Tom Polski, vice president of public relations and communications; Alison Smith, organizational effectiveness consultant for Carlson Hotels Worldwide; Sam Winterbottom, executive vice president of development of Carlson Hotels Worldwide; and Brian Stage, executive vice president for sales, distribution and reservation services of Carlson Hotels Worldwide.

Adjoined to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the 12-story, Four Diamond, Radisson Plaza Myrtle Beach was named the top Radisson in the nation for 2003 in overall product condition. This hotel features 402 luxurious guest rooms and suites, Vidalia's Low Country Cuisine restaurant, M Bar contemporary lounge, Coffee & Cream Starbuck's style café, health club, indoor pool and gift shop. The hotel lobby and second floor lounge opens into the pre-function space at the Convention Center.

The Myrtle Beach Convention Center provides more than 200,000 square feet of meeting, ballroom and exhibition space and recently opened its latest addition the outdoor Plaza of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The Plaza is perfect for conventions, trade shows, press conferences, weddings and small concerts.

Minneapolis-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide, part of Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, includes five hotel brands, totaling 875 hotels in 67 countries.  Hotel brands include: Regent International Hotels, one of the most respected brands in the luxury segment of the lodging industry; Radisson Hotels & Resorts®, one of the world's leading upscale hotel companies with more than 430 locations in 61 countries; Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, positioned in the mid-scale segment of the full-service hotel category, has 37 hotels globally and is known for its great value and customer-focused service culture; Country Inns & Suites By Carlson®, one of the fastest growing, mid-tier lodging chains with over 330 locations offering excellent value with upgraded services and amenities; and Park Inn®, with 70 hotels worldwide, is a unique emerging hotel brand offering a relaxed environment in the economy category and is poised for aggressive global growth.  Provisions® is the company's worldwide procurement division.


Carlson Hotels Worldwide
Joan Cronson
(763) 212-1418

Radisson Plaza Hotel Myrtle Beach
Erin Barrett
(843) 916-2000


Also See: Trudy Rautio Promoted to President of the Americas Division of Carlson Hotels Worldwide / July 2003
Samuel Winterbottom Named EVP of Development for Carlson Hotels Worldwide / Nov 2002
Michael Roddy Named General Manager at the Myrtle Beach Radisson Plaza; Year Old City-financed Hotel May Refinance Bonds to Cover the Early Losses / January 2004

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