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Radisson Empowers Guests In Upcoming Ads

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Hotel chain, Bolin look to put travel pressures to bed

Bolin Marketing will promote new rapid check-in and custom-comfort bed features at Radisson Hotels & Resorts in TV and print ads set to launch this fall, client executives said last week.

The upgrades are the result of an 18-month brand-assessment study for the hotel chain, which is part of Minneapolis-based Carlson Cos. Radisson has embarked on a five-year plan to give guests more control of their hotel experience; in this case, visitors can check in without hassle and adjust the firmness of their mattresses.

The Minneapolis independent shop won Radisson's $5-10 million account late last summer following a review and, in September, launched a campaign tagged, "Stay your own way." That line will remain in upcoming advertising, the client said. (Radisson's 2003 measured media spend was $8 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.)

Radisson's Express Yourself process starts Sept. 1. Guests can check in online before their arrival. The system developed by Carlson's technology teams sends a pre-arrival e-mail to guests who have reserved a room through any of Radisson's booking venues; it invites them to log on to www.radisson.com and note personal preferences for room type or location. Front-desk staff will have packets for ready to hand over to guests.

The Express Yourself option will be tagged at the end of 30-second brand spots from Bolin that will break simultaneously with the program and run on CNN and the Airport Network. The campaign includes print and direct marketing with the Gold Points loyalty program.

In the fourth quarter, Bolin will begin marketing Radisson's Select Comfort Sleep Number beds, which users can adjust to their ideal level of comfort.

"With the other [competing] hotel beds, their product is higher quality, but none offer a choice," said Yvonne La Penotiere, Carlson's evp, brand marketing.

Direct marketing to members of Carlson's Gold Points frequency program and to Select Comfort's "Comfort Club" members, collectively about 3 million consumers, will back the program through the end of the year. TV and print will follow early next year, when half of Radisson's 90,000-bed inventory is slated for upgrade under an exclusive arrangement with Select. All 430 of Radisson's properties should have the beds installed by July 2006.

TV work from Bolin is still in the early stages. One proposed spot features a weary business traveler who enters a hotel room and tosses his briefcase onto the bed, revealing the mattress to be nothing more than a hard slab. Another ad highlights a woman rolling over in her hotel bed and falling into a deep crevice.

A proposed print execution shows a guest snoozing and holding a Sleep Number remote control with the headline: "Your Sleep Number has just been found."

Radisson's efforts will be boosted by Select Comfort, which will display Radisson signage in its stores.