Barry Ferguson’s hotel is first Scots signing for US marketers
May 16, 2010
A US-based hotel marketing business has made its first signings in the UK, adding a historic hotel part-owned by ex-Rangers and Scotland skipper Barry Ferguson, to its books.
Magnuson Hotels was launched seven years ago by Tom and Melissa Magnuson from their family home in Washington state. It offers free membership to hoteliers, generating income through a commission for each booking the company delivers.
The UK launch comes on the back of research by Magnuson – a former board member at hotel rival Best Western – which suggests that 70 per cent of Scotland’s 900-odd independent hotels are “invisible to potential customers”.
Some 20 UK establishments have already signed with the firm, including the 128-year-old Popinjay in Rosebank in the Clyde valley – Magnuson’s first Scots member.
The hotel on the Hamilton to Lanark road was bought last year by a consortium, including footballer Ferguson, 32, who currently plays for Birmingham City.
Magnuson Hotels aims to have between 100 and 150 UK hotels, each with 20-plus rooms, on its books by August and has plans to expand the business into mainland Europe.
The business model allows members to retain full control of their hotels and rates, while benefiting from global distribution systems and an increased online presence.
Co-founder and joint chief executive Tom Magnuson said: “We certainly haven’t come over to the UK to tell people how to run their businesses.
“What makes Britain great is the diverse nature of its hotel stock, but we know that these businesses are under increasing pressure from the better-marketed large chains, who are forcing down prices.
“The key to taking on big chains is to make yourself seen, and we understand that independent hoteliers often don’t feel equipped to do this.”
Hotel consultant Charles Scudamore, director of TRI Hospitality Consulting, said: “Best Western has a very dominant position in this marketplace. The arrival of Magnuson will provide competition.”
About Magnuson Hotels, the fastest growing hotel chain in history.
In only seven years, Magnuson Hotels headquartered in Spokane, WA has become the world’s largest independent hotel group, representing nearly 1500 hotels and a combined affiliate base with assets in excess of $5.5 Billion. One of the top 10 global hotel chains, Magnuson Hotels was the #1 Hotel Company of Inc. Magazine’s 2009 annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest growing privately owned U.S. companies. With a four year reservation sales growth of 595%, Magnuson Hotels is listed in the top 100 U.S. business services companies.