Occupancy figures don’t reflect reality at independent hotels
“Letter of the Week” Caterer & Hotelkeeper

July 29, 2010

It was interesting to read your recent coverage regarding Deloitte’s take on hotel occupancy in the UK during the first half of this year. Any indication that customers are returning to the market after two very tough years should be welcomed.

Unfortunately, I think that the report could be interpreted as quite confusing. While it might be true that the general picture nationwide is a positive one, our research for the same period–focusing solely on the independent hotel sector-shows that occupancy has actually slumped to 57.76%, down from 65.61% in 2009.

Of course, the disparity is easily explained: by and large the UK independent sector is very poor marketed. More than two-thirds of properties outside the Greater London area are not visible on global distribution systems and do not have a significant online sales presence. As a result, they are worst-placed to benefit from any increase in consumer confidence. As these independents are not online, they are not reported commensurately in total UK occupancy figures.

As a result of the independents not being included, the Deloitte research is weighted upward by incorporating figures from the well-marketed groups such as the largest corporately owned hotel chains. These are the elephants in the room independent-the ones making all the noise and using their strength to stomp on the little guys.

Independents need to address this problem or risk finding themselves in terminal decline. Tom Magnuson , joint CEO, Magnuson Hotels.

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.

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