It is no secret that franchise operations can be a very expensive proposition for the franchisee; it can be hard to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs. Still, many consumers are most comfortable in the world of brand names and they make their purchasing decisions based on branding alone. So what can a small, independent hotel operator do to attract guests without breaking the bank? Tom Magnuson, founder and chief executive officer of Magnuson Hotels, Inc. has an answer, one that reflects technology in the 21st century: independent hotel owners can become part of the Magnuson Hotel network and gain access to Magnuson’s worldwide online reservation booking system.
It can be challenging to get an independent hotel into the public’s eye, and even more daunting to compete with the national advertising campaigns of the big chains. Independent hotel owners turn to Magnuson to deliver brand recognition without the high cost of franchising their properties. And there is little doubt that travelers respond to a hotel’s association with a known brand and familiar logos, still, it’s the technology that Magnuson has put in place that really carries the day for hotel owners.
Magnuson Hotels identifies itself as, “the World’s Largest Independent Hotel Group,” and backs up the tag with a list of properties that includes 600 hotels across the United States and Canada. Independent hotel owners can identify their property with one of three Magnuson brands: Magnuson Grand Hotels, for upscale properties; Magnuson Hotels, for hotels that offer services and accommodations in the mid-range; and M-Star Hotels, for properties that provide economy lodgings.
Tom Magnuson’s company is determined to utilize the newest internet technologies to help affiliated hotels realize higher profits with lower costs. At the heart of the Magnuson operation is a global online reservation system that reaches out to travel agents and websites and makes it possible for member hotels to maximize their search engine visibility.
Each property that becomes part of the Magnuson group is assigned a “full service personal market specialist,” who evaluates the competition and helps to put in place a rate schedule that maximizes income for the hotel. In addition, Magnuson uses internet technology to connect the hotel to hundreds of online, electronic sources for reservations, including travel agencies, online booking channels and airlines..
In addition to the electronic reservation system, Magnuson provides member hotels with complimentary access to Smith Travel Research data to track how their property compares to others in the market. It should come as no surprise that Smith Travel Research relies heavily on internet technology to gather and compile historic data for the hotel industry. It seems to be a natural part of doing business in the modern hotel industry.