Even in today’s heavily franchised world, there is still plenty of room for independent properties to flourish. One brand that has operated in this space since 2003 and has grown to represent over a thousand hotels spanning three continents is Magnuson Worldwide. With tremendous year-over-year growth to its portfolio and a preferred network that puts it north of 800,000 rooms worldwide, I have always been curious to meet one of the two co-founders.
As luck would have it, I was able to connect with Tom Magnuson while in London for a speaking assignment. Here is someone who is nurturing independence, and one might even say that he is allowing this segment of the business to persevere in the face of what would seem to be insurmountable odds against the branded franchises. How does he stay in business? Let’s find out.
Give us a breakdown of the hotels associated with Magnuson Worldwide.
Magnuson properties are primarily in the USA, Canada and Europe – 85% of which are independents stemming from the company’s inception. However, the introduction of branded properties in 2010 has seen steady growth and now accounts for 15% of the company’s portfolio. Through a global marketing alliance with Louvre Hotels and Jin Jiang Hotels, Magnuson clients also enjoy access to the European and Asian markets through preferred networks. The alliance comprises over 8,000 hotels – a consortium the size of a number two global chain.
What are the key reasons for your success?
The key driver for success for Magnuson Worldwide lies in our personal approach to the success of the hotel owner. Our owners know their markets and where they want to go. We are here to support them with chain-level technology and services. We do not impose costly standardization via performance improvement plans (PIPs). Rather, we leverage our platform to drive success for each hotel owners’ unique situation and goals. Tied to this personal approach to success is our personal revenue management service, where each hotelier receives an experienced online revenue manager. Working with Magnuson Worldwide, hoteliers enjoy 24-hour access to pricing, promotion and review strategy.
What benefits do independents get from joining Magnuson?
The advantage of working with Magnuson Worldwide brands lies in our compact and simple-to-use structure. For a flat 5% fee, our hotels are supported by a complete platform including brand, corporate, national and local marketing support, as well as global distribution, personal revenue management and access to our e-learning platforms. The entire offering comes without the expense and standardization of franchise-level PIPs or the heavy price tag and additional bolt-ons traditional hotel franchises require.
What about your loyalty program?
Magnuson Rewards is a loyalty program offered at no additional cost to the hotel owners, where our members get paid and don’t receive points. Guests who book online receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card with no restrictions. Because of its straightforwardness, Magnuson Rewards is already seeing a 17% conversion rate, the same rate as online giants Amazon and Apple iTunes.