The Rezidor Hotel Group’s Radisson SAS chain is rebranding as Radisson Blu, with the Radisson Blu
Hotel, Zurich Airport the first to unveil the new name.

Rezidor had been planning to change the SAS suffix for some time, a legacy of the group’s links with Scandinavian Airlines which effectively ended in 2006 following Rezidor’s IPO.

The new Blu name was apparently originally chosen as the project’s working title, but according to Gordon McKinnon, Rezidor’s executive vice president of brands, it “soon became apparent that it was actually the
most natural of choices”.

“It’s simple, it’s short, it’s relevant and we’ve applied it in a way that adds a certain modernity to the identity without taking it too far,” said McKinnon.

McKinnon added that the new name “promotes our specific brand heritage by preserving the graphic ‘blue box’ which has become the recognised symbol of the distinctive characteristics of the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa”.

The first hotel to adopt the new signage was the Radisson Blu Hotel , Zurich Airport, which this week also unveiled the world’s highest wine tower (click here for more details). At 16m the tower surpasses a similar offering at
Radisson’s Stansted Airport property.

Rezidor’s president and CEO Kurt Ritter said there would be a “gentle evolution” from SAS to Blu between now and 2010.

“We currently have more than 200 hotels in operation or under development, so the name change has been designed in such a way that it’ll avoid any unnecessary disruption but still create an impact,”
said Ritter.

Radisson’s Berlin property is likely to be the next hotel to see the name change in time for the ITB travel market in March. The change initially affects only the Radisson properties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as the hotels in the US and elsewhere under the Radisson name have different brand standards. However it is understood that in time certain of these properties may “upgrade” to the Radisson Blu standard.

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