Carlson Rezidor, one of the largest and most dynamic hotel groups worldwide, extends their network in Russia/CIS & Baltics and adds a new country to their growing portfolio: Belarus. The very first Radisson Blu hotel in the capital city Minsk will enjoy a prime location on a main axis leading from the centre to the airport. Featuring 200 rooms with signature services such as free high speed internet access, the upper upscale property will open its doors in Q2 2017.

At the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (RHIC), Carlson Rezidor also announced a new Radisson Residence in Zavidovo, a popular leisure destination and natural reserve 100 km northeast of Moscow. The property will comprise 200 apartments and is scheduled to open in Q4 2014. Since last summer, Carlson Rezidor already operates a Radisson hotel in Zavidovo.

“Both signings further strengthen our leading position in Russia/CIS & Baltics, and underline our unchanged commitment to this emerging market which is one of our most important growth regions”, said Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of Rezidor.

At RHIC, Carlson Rezidor also presented the new concept “Welcome Russia” featuring selected websites, hotel menus, in-hotel media and travel guides in Russian language. The group's 50 hotels with the highest Russian guests' volume will implement the programme in November. “The Russian clientele is very important for us. We want to make our Russian guests' travel smoothly and easy, and break down language barriers”, explained Neumann.

With a total of 74 hotels and 18,300 rooms in operation and under development, Carlson Rezidor is the leading international operator in Russia/CIS & Baltics, and has a room count twice as high as the nearest competitor. The group's core brands Radisson Blu (upper upscale) and Park Inn by Radisson (midscale) are the largest brands in both Russia and CIS. Carlson Rezidor's overall development strategy is built on asset-light, profitable and sustainable growth with a strong focus on emerging markets.

Carlson Rezidor's presence in Russia dates back to 1991. The group was one of the first international operators to pioneer the market and to establish a dedicated area office in Moscow. “Long-term expertise, deep knowledge of the region, and trustful relationships to owners are crucial for our mutual success. Together with our business partners, we aim to further position Radisson Blu as the premier upper upscale brand in the region's key markets and to grow our midscale brand Park Inn by Radisson at economically vibrant destinations that often lack international quality accommodation”, said Elie Younes, Senior Vice President & Head of Group Development of Rezidor. “Russia, CIS & Baltics also offer opportunities for our new brands Radisson Red in the lifestyle select segment and Quorvus Collection in the luxury segment which we want to capture with selected partners in selected markets”, added Younes.

Carlson Rezidor's flagship in the region is the Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow (535 rooms), an award-winning property in a landmark building that is part of Stalin's legendary “Seven Sisters”. In Greater Moscow, the company's portfolio features eight hotels in operation and under development including the Radisson Congress Hotel (400 rooms) and the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel (600 rooms) that will open in early 2017 on the grounds of the historic All-Russian Exhibition Center.

Other key markets for the group are St Petersburg and Sochi (each with six hotels in operation and under development). Across Russia/CIS & Baltics, Carlson Rezidor is also active in further primary locations such as Tbilisi/Georgia, Astana/Kazakhstan and Riga/Latvia with Radisson Blu, and has Park Inn by Radisson hotels at destinations like Yekaterinburg, Veliky Novgorod and Kazan/Russia, Vilnius/Lithuania and Baku/Azerbaijan. The group's most recent openings in Russia were the Radisson Blu Hotel Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow (391 rooms; the only property with direct terminal access) and the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg (200 rooms).