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Carlson Companies

Operates hotels and travel services.

Headquarters: 701 Carlson Pkwy.
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Employees: 100,000+
CEO: Trudy Rautio
Privately held

Website: http://www.carlson.com

Career Site

Carlson is a global, family-owned hospitality and travel company with a strong portfolio of leading brands. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Carlson encompasses more than 1,340 hotels in operation and under development; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global leader in business travel management

Ranked among the largest privately held corporations in the United States, Carlson Companies is based in Minneapolis. Carlson-related brands and services employ over 100,000 people in more than 150 countries.

The company's travel and restaurant brands include Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza, and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

In May 2014, Carlson sold the TGIFriday's restaurant chain to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In 2013, sales under the Carlson brands worldwide (including franchised operations) totaled $37.1 billion. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group had $7.5 billion in revenues in 2013 and opened 45 new hotels. Carlson Wagonlit Travel had systemwide revenues of $26.9 billion in 2013.


The history of Carlson Companies is a classic business success story in the American free enterprise system. Starting in 1938 with an idea and a $55 loan, entrepreneur Curtis L. Carlson (1914-1999) founded the Gold Bond Stamp Company in his home city of Minneapolis. Carlson knew that grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and other independent merchants could use stamps to distinguish themselves from their competitors. During the 1950s and 1960s, in fact, Gold Bond and sister company, Top Value Stamps, helped revolutionize the way retail goods were marketed. Trading stamps proved to be right for the times and swept the nation in a wave of dramatic growth.

In the late 1960s, when the trading stamp market reached its peak, the Gold Bond Stamp Company expanded into the hospitality industry. In the 1970s, the company acquired dozens of additional businesses, including the highly successful T.G.I. Friday's restaurant chain in 1975 and internationally renowned Ask Mr. Foster travel agencies. To reflect its diversification, Gold Bond changed its name to Carlson Companies in 1973.

In 2000, the company acquired the Park Hotel and Park Inn brands.


- Health
- Dental
- Vision
- 401(k) retirement savings plan
- Flexible spending accounts
- Vacation and holiday plan
- Purchased time off
- Leave of absence
- Tuition reimbursement
- Elective life insurance
- Short- and long-term disability insurance
- Free, 24/7 employee-assistance program
- Legal assistance
- Adoption assistance
- Domestic-partner coverage

Updated May 30, 2014