By Katherine Price – The Caterer Magazine
Magnuson Hotels is relaunching its offer to the independent UK hotel market with its new Magnuson Cloud platform, which will manage revenue, distribution and marketing for members. The consortium, owned by Thomas and Melissa Magnuson, was set up in the US in 2003 and launched to the UK market in 2010, initially offering commission-based membership.
The Magnusons said they have adapted their offer for the 2021 UK hotel market based on what they have learned over the last 10 years, having relocated their global headquarters to London. The consortium has also changed its membership model, which now has fees of around 3.5% of gross room revenue for independents using the platform without branding, while the branded platform has a 6.5% fee. “The model in the UK has changed because the breadth of our support and our technology and services has changed,” co-founder and chief executive Thomas Magnuson told The Caterer.
The new Magnuson Cloud platform combines a web-based price management system, channel manager, central reservation system, direct global distribution, automated revenue management and pricing functions.
During 2020, the Magnusons said their US properties outperformed the average hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) by three times. “We continued to see the struggle of trying to be heard in the marketplace as an independent owner-operator and trying to secure the proper support and resources from a major chain… Our technology and services have been very effective for others and we’re here to help,” said Thomas.
The platform has been configured to the UK market, including through offering a distribution network to help hoteliers drive consistent revenue by targeting local government, public safety, transportation, business travellers, construction and medical sectors to help hotels rebuild their business base post-pandemic, while also connecting to OTAs on their own negotiated commission rates, The Magnuson Cloud and revenue teams also cover hyper-dynamic pricing and forecasting.
Magnuson isn’t the only group targeting independents – Accor confirmed in December that its growth strategy would place greater emphasis on independent hoteliers under financial and operating pressure due to the pandemic, while Radisson launched its Individuals soft brand targeting the same market. Fellow consortium Best Western and its plans for growth were the subject of a Channel 4 docuseries in 2020.
Thomas and chair of the company Melissa emphasized the ethos of the company is a non-standardised approach to achieve the optimum for each individual property. Melissa said: “Hotel owners know what’s best for their property, market and employees … we do not ever come into a hotel property with the dreaded ‘property improvement plan’ … We do have quality standards, but we don’t dictate how they come about that, so that saves hotel owners a lot of money.” “Chances are most hotels don’t need to do any renovation, they’re run great. They may have been pricing incorrectly or been too dependant on OTAs for a particular business segment,” added Thomas.
He continued: “We look for owner-operators who want to partner for success. It takes two to make a success. We’re looking for owners who have good-looking properties who are willing to be open and try something different. We talk to so many owners; they know where they want to go, but they don’t know how to get there. Somehow they’ve hit a barrier. We’ll help you get where you want to go.”
Magnuson has 65,000 member properties worldwide, of which 15 are in the UK, including the Holt Lodge hotel in Wrexham; Yeovil Court hotel in Somerset; Riverdale Hall in Bellingham, Northumberland; and the Great Western hotel in Aberdeen. It has three branding opportunities for hotels: Independent Collection, Grand and Magnuson.