During a media briefing with Hubert Joly at Carlson's Global Business Conference in Orlando today, Joly was asked whether Carlson had plans to either develop or acquire a lifestyle or economy brand to fill in the only segment blanks left with its other five brands (Regent, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn and Country Inn & Suites, from top down). "We have a file with an upscale brand that's ready to go, but we've decided after some debate not to launch this year and to focus on getting our core brands right," he said. "And in this market, to launch a new-build brand would be hard. We're almost ready to go and we will have more innovation."
I assume by upscale he was referring to a potential lifestyle offering in answer to the question. I also wonder if it might be possible to pluck more than just top executives from European partner Rezidor, which recently launched its own lifestyle brand, Hotel Missoni, which debuted last year in the U.K. It's a partnership with the Italian fashion house of the same name. I have no idea if it would be possible for the collaboration to extend to a third partner in North America, but it's an interesting thought.