Benedicts becomes part of US hotel chain
“Letter of the Week” Irish News Belfast
July 1, 2010
AWARD-WINNING Belfast boutique-style hotel Benedicts has joined US group Magnuson Hotels in a move it believes will allow it to compete with bigger global brands and attract more potential customers.
Launched by Thomas and Melissa Magnuson from their front room seven years ago, Magnuson is the biggest independent hotel chain in the US, representing more than 1,200 properties. Membership of the franchise offers Benedicts Increased exposure worldwide and will raise its visibility online. “It’s a great move for us,” Gary Gaynor of Benedicts, which boasts 32 luxury bedrooms, a 140-capacity first floor restaurant and a 2,000 sq ft bar, said.
Independent hoteliers in the north have been coming under increasing pressure after research showed average occupancy rates have dipped to around 50 per cent in 2010. But Magnuson is promising a lifeline to beleaguered hotel owners who want to compete with the big brands but are keen to retain their brand-free independence. “Within just three weeks we can take a local hotel and make it global,” Mr.Magnuson said.
“The Key to taking on big chains is to make yourself seen and we understand that independent hoteliers often dont feel equipped to do this.”
“We haven’t come to the UK to tell people how to run their businesses.”
“There is a diverse nature of hotel stock, run by passionate, entrepreneurial people who have built up their businesses over many years, and we want them to maintain the independence that makes them unique.”
Hotels will be able to make rooms visible to travel agents worldwide as well as on more than 2,000 websites, such as Expedia and Travelocity. Benedicts, which is located in Shaftsbury Square, opened in 1988.
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.