Carlson Hotels Worldwide Selected Among Top 50 Franchises for Minorities by NMFI

Minneapolis, MN | November 13, 2008

Carlson Hotels Worldwide, one of the world's leading hotel companies that operates and franchises five hotel brands that span luxury to economy, was named by the National Minority Franchising Initiative (NMFI) as one of the top 50 Franchises for Minorities.

This is the second annual listing done by NMFI. Carlson Hotels was one of only five hotel companies included in the list. Carlson Hotels' brands include Regent Hotels & Resorts (regenthotels.com), Radisson Hotels & Resorts® (radisson.com), Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts (parkplaza.com), Country Inns & Suites By Carlson℠ (countryinns.com) and Park Inn® (parkinn.com).

"We are proud to be recognized by NMHI in their review of the nation's top franchising companies across all industries," said Nancy Johnson, chief development officer for Carlson Hotels Worldwide. "We are committed to diversity and inclusion and fostering relationships with a wide range of diverse groups including hotel developers, hotel managers, guests, and within the cities where our hotels operate. Diversity enriches thinking about our brands and brings greater innovation."

The NMFI picked 50 franchisors from over 300 companies that have in excess of 50 operating units. Each participating franchisor was required to submit its most recent Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and the marketing package that is sent to prospective franchisees, as well as a completed questionnaire. The questionnaire noted the number (both absolute and as a percentage of the total number) of operating units owned by minorities, as well as the number of minorities in senior management that earned over $60,000 per year.

Final selection was a function of many factors that included historical performance, brand identification, market dynamics, franchisee satisfaction, the level of initial training and on-going support and financial stability, as well as the results of the questionnaire. In many cases, actual franchisees were contacted to confirm initial observations. The companies were not ranked within the Top 50. The Top 50 companies were highlighted in a special Franchising Today section of USA Today.

According to Rob Bond, co-founder of the NMFI, "It is both surprising and rewarding to see how many companies not only talk the talk, but more importantly walk the walk. There are a number of companies that actually have a majority of minority franchisees within their system. Many others have a significant number of minorities within their senior management. This list is a great honor for those franchise systems selected. The analysis was rigorous and entirely objective. We are unaware of any other study that has published a similarly rigorous analysis."

"Our feeling," according to co-founder Everett Wallace, "is that this survey provides a solid starting point for prospective franchisees who want to focus on those systems that actively recruit and support minorities within their systems." For a more complete list of franchise systems that wish to increase their minority representation, prospective franchises should go to www.MinorityFranchising.com. The site lists over 500 companies interested in recruiting minorities, as well as other resources that are essential to the evaluation process.

The National Minority Franchising Initiative will conduct a similar survey next summer. The National Minority Franchising Initiative (NMFI) was created in 2000 to level the playing field and meet the needs of a largely under-represented market. The NMFI program represents an effective and cost-efficient tool for franchisors to increase minority representation within their systems.

For more information about all of Carlson Hotels Worldwide brands, visit online at www.carlsonhotels.com. For more information on development, please contact Janelle Russenberger, 800-336-3301 or jrussenberger@carlson.com.

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Carlson Hotels Worldwide is one of the major operating groups of Carlson, a global leader in providing marketing, travel and hospitality services. Other names among the Carlson family of brands and services are: Carlson Marketing, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, T.G.I. Friday's and Pick Up Stix restaurants. The company has been recognized by both Fortune and Working Mother magazines as one of the "100 best places to work for in America," Carlson corporate headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minn.

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