In 2012, Radisson Edwardian Hotels did a little rebranding. The privately owned group became Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels, London, separating itself from Radisson in North America and Radisson Blu in both Europe and North America. We spoke with Declan Lott, executive v.p. of sales, to find out more about the brand’s 14 hotels in England, 12 of which are located in London.
“We don’t renovate our hotels to be exactly the same within. They take on the life and soul of the area that they’re in. If you stay at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street in Covent Garden, the feeling is not that you’re staying in a global brand, you’re staying in a small boutique property that is at the heart of Covent Garden and has the feel and life of a Covent Garden hotel. It’s the same in Mayfair, Oxford Street, Bloomsbury Street, etc.,” Lott says.
“What makes us rather unusual in London is that it’s one family that actually owns all  of the hotels in London, and then we have another owned hotel in Manchester (the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester, the only five-star hotel in Manchester) and we have a managed hotel south of London. Because we are a complete ownership company, it’s much easier for us to renovate our hotels and manage our hotels on a day-to-day basis.”
The Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels, London is the largest privately owned hotel group in London, with 13 Radisson Blu Edwardian-branded properties and the 5-star stand-alone The May Fair. And if you’re wondering which property might be best for your clients, the brand has four representatives in the U.S., as well as a VIP desk in New York City, which was set up eight months ago and is dedicated to helping the travel agent community.
“We encourage agents to book through whatever is their preferred booking mechanism, and after they do that to contact our office, whether they need somebody upgraded or need VIP services,” Lott explains. “In London, the value of having the connection with the head concierge to get reservations at the right restaurants, to get the best table at those restaurants, and acquiring theater tickets is extremely important. We will put those agents in touch with our concierge.”
With so many new happenings in London, this service comes in handy for agents and there clients. Lott finds that travelers tend to want to do two or three traditional things in addition to new activities, but they’re not quite sure what those new activities are. That’s where the VIP desk and concierge service comes in to help agents recommend activities for their clients.
Where to Book Your Clients
Another aspect that agents should know about the brand is that it appeals to travelers from a variety of markets, from families to the fashion crowd.
“As we have 12 hotels in London, four-star boutique and five-star hotels, our market segment does go across pretty much all market segmentations..some hotels business will come from some specific industry. For instance, The May Fair hotel focuses primarily on the financial services market, but we also have a lot of fashion and entertainment business and high-end leisure business. The hotel has some of the largest rooms in London and is the host hotel for London Fashion Week (starting this week), also the host hotel for the [BFI London] Film Festival, and pretty much anything happening in and around the entertainment industry in London.”
If you’re booking a family, Lott also recommends The May Fair, which offers 28 family rooms that are 550 sq. ft., eight of which have double bathrooms; the five-star Radisson Blu Edwardian, Hampshire in Leicester Square, with its interconnecting rooms and studio suites that have pull-out sofas; and the four-star Radisson Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt in South Kensington, which also has a large collection of family rooms.
For couples, Lott recommends the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street in the heart of Covent Garden. The property offers 137 rooms and suites and is in the heart of what Lott refer to as “quintessential London,” with cobblestone streets, small boutique stores, vintage clothes stores, and small, independent restaurants.
“For couples, that’s one of the nicest places to be in London,” he says.
Lott notes that one of the trends they are finding with travelers is a shorter lead-in time. Usually families book by December for the following summer, or in January for June and July, but now the company is seeing families booking in April and May for travel in June and July. “When there is such a short lead-in time, I think the travel agent community needs to really know who is it they can reach out to to get those accommodations that they need, and that is one of the reasons why we have our offices here in the U.S. The other thing we’re finding is that with travel arrangements being done so last-minute, both the traveler and the agent community are coming to us more to make our own recommendations on things. More and more people are happy to leave it with us to make the arrangements for restaurants, theater, half-day private viewing at an art gallery or museum,” he says.
He also finds that the lines between business travel and leisure travel are blurring, especially in the top-end of the market. “It is not unusual now for someone who is going to London for a 3-day business stay to go for five and six days and use the weekend for their spouses and family to come over. There’s a new need for travel agents to be conscious of that, and in some cases provide different accommodations for the weekend depending on what the client is looking for and their budgets,” Lott says.
Rates for a queen superior room at The May Fair start at $393 per night. Rates for a standard room at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street start at $326. For more information, visit radissonblu-edwardian.com or themayfairhotel.co.uk.