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One-on-One With Carlson Rezidor's Thorsten KirschkeFebruary 27, 2012 By: Jena Tesse Fox
Last week, Rezidor made the surprising announcement that its Radisson Edwardian brand—which has included 12 luxury hotels in London and one in Manchester—would join the company’s popular Radisson Blu portfolio. We spoke with Thorsten Kirschke, president, Americas, for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel group, to find out how this change would impact the Radisson Blu brand, and the Radisson hotels in the UK overall.
“We should be kicking ourselves for not doing this earlier,” Kirschke says. “If we’re exploring more opportunities of value-creation as a global company, we’d be silly not to communicate that there is one Radisson Blu brand that is a main global player in the upper-upscale arena. Radisson Edwardian has its own portfolio, and if you take a global market like London and occupy it with 13 Radisson Blu hotels, it’s a huge statement of alignment to consumers.”
One of the key elements in what he calls the “brand DNA” of Radisson Blu is individuality, Kirschke says. “It’s a non-cookie-cutter brand that could be seen as a boutique hotel brand in a global environment…With every hotel under the Radisson Blu flag, we reflect local market in the sense of time and place.” Kirschke feels that the 13 former Radisson Edwardian hotels reflect that in terms of architecture, décor and overall tone.
Ultimately, Kirschke does not think that the rebranding will change very much in terms of the hotels themselves. The Radisson Edwardian portfolio has seen an overall investment of more than $200 million for 2,500 rooms, he says. “The group has proven over and over that they are responsible owners,” he says. “They treat the properties with great respect and care, and we are in partnership with them for another 40 yrs. Ultimately, we are two family-owned businesses doing business for the long term, and with the same values.”