Carlson Americas adjusts strategies

Carlson Hotels Worldwide - The
Americas (CHAM) today announced company realignment to support its
customer- centered strategies, which includes the creation of a dedicated
research and development team, a guest experience and brand standards area,
and new leaders.Kevin Hanstad has joined the team as vice president of Customer
Research & Insights; Bret Smith, formerly vice president of Construction,
has taken on a new role of vice president of Product & Design; and Jim
Grimshaw has been promoted to vice president of Guest Experience and Brand
Standards. Carlson Hotels Worldwide portfolio of brands includes Regent
International Hotels, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels &
Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn.
  “We are taking a holistic look at how our guests experience our hotels.
With solid data to drive our decisions, we will develop new prototypes for
Radisson and evolve our older Country Inns & Suites,” Carlson Hotels
President Yvonne La Penotiere said. “The realignment of our teams around
the customer is key to our ability to excel in this rapidly changing and
dynamic hospitality marketplace.”
  In this new role, Hanstad will lead the development, deployment and
management of a customer research strategy to improve understanding of
customers to better meet their needs. In 2006, the company’s research will
focus on a new guest room design for Radisson. Next year, the research will
enable the company to move from mass advertising to more targeted
marketing. Hanstad noted that Carlson Hotels Worldwide has an ongoing
commitment to furthering customer knowledge and understanding. Customer
research will help shape product development, migration and brand
evolution. It will provide insights on customers’ experiences, perceptions,
behaviors and changing needs at every touch point from pre-arrival through
check-out and find more opportunities to build loyalty.
  Hanstad joins Carlson from Research International, a leading global
supplier of custom research for consumer marketed products, where he served
as Vice President for four years. Prior to this, he worked at United Heath
Group as Vice President of Marketing and spent nine years at Pillsbury in
marketing research roles of increasing responsibility. His work at
Pillsbury spanned multiple brands including Haagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Green
Giant and Totino’s.
  Bret Smith, formerly vice president of Development and Construction,
has been promoted to vice president of Product and Design. This new area
will centralize capabilities of product and design, providing more
consistency in how the brands are physically expressed in the marketplace.
In his new role, Smith will be responsible for architecture and planning,
construction management, interior design services, and F&B program
planning. His team will be responsible for the development of new prototype
designs to keep the brands’ relevant to customers.
  Prior to joining Carlson, he established Property Development Resources
and played a key role in the design development and pre-opening operations
for several international properties. In addition, he served as regional
development manager for the Southeast Asia region for the InterPacific
Group’s Hotels and Golf Course Development Division. Both Hanstad and Smith
will report directly to President La Penotiere.
  Jim Grimshaw has been promoted to vice president Guest Experience and
Brand Standards, reporting to Carlson Hotel Executive Vice President and
Brand Leaders, Nancy Johnson, Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Park Plaza
Hotels and Resorts; and Steve Mogck, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn
Carlson brands.
  Grimshaw’s experience spans 21 year in the hotel industry and 13 years
with Carlson Hotels, most recently serving as the senior director of
franchise operations. In this new role, he will develop and lead guest
experience management strategy for the hotel brands, including operational
alignment of guest touch point program creation through implementation and
optimization. He will also be responsible for the quality execution of
brand programs resulting in increased owner/operator and guest