The hotel formerly known as the Radisson is ushering in the new year with a new name: the USC Hotel. The change went into effect Jan. 1, following the expiration of a 20-year-long contract between USC and the Radisson Hotel Group.
USC purchased the Radisson Hotel from Pacific West Company in 2000 for $26 million, according to USC News. USC Auxiliary Services took over management of the hotel in 2010 and used areas of the hotel to house freshman until 2011.
Kris Klinger, assistant vice president of USC Hospitality and the USC Hotel, said he hopes the change will clarify the brand of the hotel.
“Most folks didn’t understand or realize that we owned it or ran it,” Klinger said. “Taking the Radisson flag off of it and making it the USC Hotel — there’ll be that alignment … folks will understand that it’s the USC Hotel, not a Radisson.”
It has become increasingly common for campuses to purchase their own hotels, according to The New York Times. In 2016, the newspaper reported a growing trend of colleges using hotels to promote a stronger brand image.
According to Klinger, guests of the 240-room hotel will notice cosmetic differences, such as USC-themed pillows and runners in certain bedrooms, but most of the changes won’t be obvious to the general public.
“There’s a lot more that needs to happen on the back end,” said Dirk De Jong, executive director of the USC Hotel. “All the various systems that are involved — the booking engines and online travel agencies … we’re not only serving the USC community, but everybody that wants to stay in this particular area.”
De Jong estimated that the University spent nearly 18 months preparing for the change in order to ensure a smooth transition. As of Jan. 2, guests can book rooms through the USC Hotel’s website, which is separate from the Radisson’s system.
In 2015 and 2017 it won the Radisson President’s Award, which “recognizes hotels that have consistently provided exceptional guest satisfaction, maintained excellent quality performance review scores and focused on product improvement,” according to the award description. It was also awarded the Radisson Renovation Award in 2014.
De Jong said cutting ties with the Radisson brand will allow the hotel to improve in ways that were not previously possible. He cited specialized USC concierge services as one example.
“If we go above and beyond what [Radisson’s] standard is, we kind of make the other Radissons in the nation look bad because they don’t provide those services,” De Jong said.
He also said the hotel may offer jobs to USC students, especially those interested in the hospitality industry.
Klinger said the transition won’t have an effect on hotel rates, but prices may still change.
“Every year, prices go up, cost of living … so that’ll impact what is charged to the guest in a small manner, but that’s affecting the hotel market in general,” Klinger said.
Klinger said rates may also increase due to the recent hotel-worker protests in Southern California, which have demanded a $25 minimum wage.
De Jong said nearly 60 percent of the hotel’s guests are affiliates of USC. While the USC Hotel will adopt a greater Trojan aesthetic, De Jong said he thinks guests not affiliated with the University will appreciate the school spirit.
“I think even those that don’t have a USC affiliation will still appreciate the fact that they are staying in a hotel right next to a major university because it gives them a sense of place,” he said.
While almost all of the changes have been implemented, De Jong said the USC Hotel will not have an updated sign in front of the building for at least a few months.
A previous version of the article contained an error. In the article, the name of the hotel was misspelled. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.