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  • Value Added Tax in the GCC

    Details on the new VAT established in the region covered by the GCC, including implementation best practices and documentation requirements. By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA

  • Members Only: A Room for Robots in Hospitality

    Realistic uses for artificial intelligence are increasing, making way for machine-based assistance in accounting, marketing, customer service and more. This feature details current scenarios where robotics is used in the business environment, such as for accounting tasks.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: A New Year Equals New Possibilities

    Written By: Timothy G. Nauss, CHAE - We are officially in the year 2018. Now is the ideal time to reflect on the successes of the old year, and prepare to make this new year the best one ever. Just as we set goals for ourselves to make us healthier, happier and more successful, HFTP as an organization sets goals each year to better meet the needs of our members and the hospitality industry.

  • GDPR in Hospitality: Vendor Compliance Query Template Available to Industry

    As a professional association, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) created a group of hospitality industry experts to develop hospitality-specific guidelines to assist with preparation for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

Louisiana Motel 6 rebrands as Magnuson Hotel Baton Rouge East

Magnuson ·16 January 2018
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Hotel Baton Rouge East, Louisiana.The Magnuson Hotel Baton Rouge East is located off I-12, 7 miles from the University of Baton Rouge, and 10 miles south of the Baton Rouge Airport. The Mall of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Medical Center and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center are all nearby.Formerly a Motel 6, Magnuson Hotel Baton Rouge East will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming the full team at the Magnuson Hotel Baton Rouge East to the Magnuson family."About Magnuson Worldwide:Since its launch fifteen years ago, Magnuson Worldwide has become America's fastest growing hotel brand and a top 15 global chain, marketing over 1,000 hotels across six countries and three continents. Magnuson Worldwide's newly formed distribution partnership with Chinese operator Jin Jiang Hotels and Europe's Louvre Hotels is the world's largest hotel alliance, forming a consortium of over 8,000 hotels and 800,000 rooms worldwide, equal to the size of a top 2 global hotel chain.For more information:info@Magnusonhotels.comUS 509.747.8713UK (+44) 020 3051 2724.

Soaring Costs and High Competition Severely Affecting Boutique and Independent Hoteliers

Magnuson · 9 January 2018
Spokane,WA / London, UK -- Owners of boutique hotels are facing an uphill battle when it comes to revenue as costs continue to rise and competition within the industry remains fierce, according to leading brand Magnuson Hotels. Despite a growing trend for travellers to choose independent hotels for an authentic experience, owners of these businesses are facing significant challenges as they strive to compete with large, established chains, hampering revenue streams.According to experts at Magnuson, hardworking hotel owners are being forced to give away significant chunks of their profit just to be able to compete in the market. Whether it's through making payments to be part of a franchise, with the costs potentially outweighing the benefits, to the large sums of commission they must pay out to list rooms on digital booking platforms, the skewed landscape of the hotel market is hampering the potential of boutique options.Stephan Fortier, Business Development Manager of Magnuson Hotels, said, "The hotel industry is tough but the amount of money independent hotel owners are being forced to pay out frequently means they're finding it difficult to keep up. These small but successful businesses need to increase their brand awareness, digital accessibility, and online booking process to attract customers, but they require investment. The need to pay for franchise options and online travel agents puts further pressure on budgets, meaning hotels will potentially fall further behind over the long-run too"."With travellers regularly choosing to stay at boutique accommodation options for a better, local experience, it would be a real shame if these hotel owners were pushed out of the industry. They're a vital part of the sector that truly offers something unique to guests that chains simply can't compete with."Magnuson was created to offer independent hotels an alternative to the usually costly franchise model. Designed with affordability in mind, the Magnuson brand gives hoteliers the power, awareness, and expertise that chains benefit from. However, unlike other franchise options, the brand recognises the importance of retaining a hotel's identity and delivering the services that they need, noting there's no one size fits all approach to running a successful hotel business. Through forging close partnerships, Magnuson gives hotel owners the tools they need to retain and even grow their slice of the hospitality market even as competition intensifies.To find out more visit magnusonworldwide.com/.

Arkansas Studio 6 Little Rock rebrands as M Star Little Rock

Magnuson ·19 December 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the M Star Hotel Little Rock, Arkansas.The M Star Hotel Little Rock is located off I-430, just a short trip to all the area attractions. Market Street, the Little Rock Zoo, and the War Memorial Stadium are all within 5 miles. Outdoor activities at the Big Dam Bridge or the Kanis Park area are less than 10 minutes from the hotel.Formerly a Studio 6, M Star Little Rock will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming the full team at the M Star Little Rock to the Magnuson family."About Magnuson Worldwide:Since its launch fourteen years ago, Magnuson Worldwide has become America's fastest growing hotel brand and a top 15 global chain, marketing over 1,000 hotels across six countries and three continents. Magnuson Worldwide's newly formed distribution partnership with Chinese operator Jin Jiang Hotels and Europe's Louvre Hotels is the world's largest hotel alliance, forming a consortium of over 8,000 hotels and 800,000 rooms worldwide, equal to the size of a top 2 global hotel chain.For more information:info@Magnusonhotels.comUS 509.747.8713UK (+44) 020 3051 2724.

Michigan Best Western rebrands as Magnuson Hotel Birch Run

Magnuson ·12 December 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Hotel Birch Run, located in Michigan.The Magnuson Hotel Birch Run is located off I-75, a five minute walk from the Premium Outlet Mall. You will be 2 miles from the Expo Center and Wilderness Zoo. This Magnuson Hotel features an indoor pool and hot tub, along with a fitness center.Formerly a Best Western, Magnuson Hotel Birch Run will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming the full team at the Magnuson Hotel Birch Run to the Magnuson family."About Magnuson Worldwide: Since its launch fourteen years ago, Magnuson Worldwide has become America's fastest growing hotel brand and a top 15 global chain, marketing over 1,000 hotels across six countries and three continents. Magnuson Worldwide's newly formed distribution partnership with Chinese operator Jin Jiang Hotels and Europe's Louvre Hotels is the world's largest hotel alliance, forming a consortium of over 8,000 hotels and 800,000 rooms worldwide, equal to the size of a top 2 global hotel chain.For more information: info@Magnusonhotels.com US 509.747.8713 UK (+44) 020 3051 2724.

Indiana Howard Johnson rebrands as Magnuson Hotel Fort Wayne North

Magnuson ·21 November 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Hotel Fort Wayne North. The Magnuson Hotel Fort Wayne North is near the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum giving patrons easy access to a number of concerts and events. Plus shopping and dining options are numerous, with both the Northcrest Shopping Center and Glenbrook Square Shopping Mall a short walk away. And for families and students Indiana University Purdue and Fort Wayne Zoo are less than 2 miles from this Magnuson Hotel property.Formerly a Howard Johnson, the Magnuson Hotel Fort Wayne North will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming the full team at the Magnuson Hotel Fort Wayne North to the Magnuson family."

Florida Super 8 rebrands as Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown

Magnuson ·14 November 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown.The Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown is located close to Everbank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Guests can easily visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens or shop in the San Marco District filled with boutiques, cafes and nightlife.Formerly a Super 8 property, the Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Guests can start each day with a free breakfast, take a refreshing dip in the seasonal outdoor pool, and stay connected with free WiFi throughout the hotel. Other amenities include free parking, guest laundry facilities and the convenience of a 24 hour front desk.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming Kirtibhai Master, Jiten Master and the full team at the Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown to the Magnuson family.

Texas Clarion rebrands as Magnuson Grand Desoto

Magnuson ·31 October 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Grand Desoto.Located off I35 and 11 miles from Downtown Dallas and 22 miles from Arlington, the Magnuson Grand DeSoto is near the Dallas Convention Center, Cowboys Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.Formerly a Clarion Hotel, Magnuson Grand Desoto will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.The Magnuson Grand DeSoto offers guests free breakfast, free high speed internet access, and free parking. There is an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center, a relaxed restaurant and a lounge bar. The hotel also has a business center, guest laundry facilities, and meeting space.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming the full team at the Magnuson Grand Desoto to the Magnuson family."

Why putting your own twist on hotel design could increase customers

Magnuson ·30 October 2017
If you're still on the fence about acting on your own vision when it comes to hotel design, these five reasons might change your mind.Stand out from the crowdWhen hotel chains are largely following the same cookie cutter style, it pays to be different. When travellers are trawling through pages of hotels that all look the same, yours will stand out from the crowd for being unique. With some great photographs, you can drive up traffic looking at your hotel, giving you a better opportunity to convert those heading to your area into customers.Consumers want experiencesThere's a bigger trend here that you can capitalise on. Consumers in general are buying less items and are more interested in having experiences. A hotel with a twist plays perfectly into this growing mentality. It's a particularly powerful way to attract millennial consumers who are truly embracing experiences. And with spending power that tops $65 billion annually, the millennial market is well worth tapping into.Travellers want a local vibeWhen travelling, consumers are increasingly demanding an authentic vibe across the whole of their holiday. Overall, tourists are less satisfied with staying in a hotel that looks exactly the same as one in their home town than they have previously been. Letting your local knowledge influence aspects of the design can be an excellent way to get more customers through your doors.Reach a new audienceIf your clientele is typically similar looking but you're wanting to grow into new markets, a style overhaul could be just what you need. Assess the type of tourism your area attracts and figure out what their priorities are to pull in new customers. It could mean going for a bold, playful design for young families or a muted, comfortable look for professionals.Improve word of mouth bookingsIf your hotel is just like hundreds of others it's not going to be worth talking about. But if you've got something a bit quirky about your design, guests will be informing their family and friends. Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth, it's just as valuable as marketing campaigns.

How to manage your hotel's online reputation

Magnuson ·25 October 2017
Those hotels that fail to manage their online reputation can seriously harm the number of reservations they're achieving. It's not an area that you can afford to skip on. The sheer number of holidays and reservations made online should give you an indication of why your digital reputation should be among your top priorities.If you don't have a clue about where to start managing your online reputation and how to use it to secure customers, we've got the practical tips that you need.Google your hotel - The first step that you should be taking is to Google yourself. It'll give you an idea of what potential customers are seeing about your hotel and give you a baseline to build your success from.Respond to feedback - In might seem like a time-consuming task but it's one that can have a very positive impact. Review sites like Trip Advisor draw in a huge number of people every day so ranking well is crucial. Where good feedback is left, a simple, professional thank you message will be appreciated. If you've received critical feedback it's crucial that you respond. You don't want to appear that you're making excuses but you should directly address any issues outlined, including how you're going to make improvements.Encourage reviews - As well as responding to reviews, you want to encourage them. Up to date reviews could tip the scale in your favour if someone is deciding whether to make a booking. It can be as simple as mentioning it when your guests check out or you could offer an incentive to really boost numbers.Engage on social media - Social media has become a core marketing strategy for hoteliers and is an effective way to build engagement, staying in the minds of potential guests. While you can have a friendly persona on social media platforms it's typically best to keep it professional, viewing it as an extension of your other customer service aspects.Refresh your listings - When you come across a listing for any business that's outdated it can be frustrating and off putting. Regularly go through the online listings for your hotels to ensure it has fresh pictures, data, and more. It'll show that you're a business that take a proactive approach.

Rate comparison tools an essential in hotel industry, says Magnuson Worldwide

Magnuson ·24 October 2017
Hotels with ambitious plans to grow their revenue and attract new customers should be investing in a leading rate comparison tool, according to a premium hotel network brand. Magnuson Worldwide, an experienced firm that's helped hundreds of hotels achieve their potential, is urging independent hotel owners to consider making a rate comparison tool part of their core process to take on large chains.For boutique hoteliers, finding the resources and manpower to continually compete against chains can be a challenge. Magnuson Worldwide has pointed out that utilizing leading industry tools could be just what independents need. Through assessing the rates of rivals, a rate comparison procedure can ensure that rooms are always attractively priced for potential customers, taking local and national events into consideration. Rate tracking can not only keep rooms filled but gives hotels a chance to take advantage of opportunities when rates could be increased, maximizing revenue potential.James Manion, Director of Brand Services of Magnuson Worldwide, said, "Growing hotels really need to look at whether they're setting the most attractive rates while increasing earning potential. But trawling through different sites manually is time consuming and ineffective. This is an area that can truly benefit from some technology investment. Automatically keeping hotel rates set at an appealing, profitable level, it's one less task for hotels employees to manage. With the right rates being set across a hotel at any given time, hotels can see their profits soar and develop a loyal customer base."Rate setting is just one of the areas that Magnuson Worldwide help the businesses within their network. Deploying high quality, global technology across its partners, the innovative hotel network can boast helping its members increase revenues by 25% on average. Through effective rate setting, coupled with other principal technology designed to streamline process and daily operations, Magnuson Worldwide helps to unleash potential and meet ambitions within the highly competitive hospitality industry.

5 travelling trends to consider for your 2018 marketing campaign

Magnuson ·17 October 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- When it comes to marketing a hotel business you're in for some tough competition. Being aware of the wider market trends can help you get ahead of the curve by understanding exactly what holidaymakers are looking for. We've identified the five areas you should be considering now for 2018.1. Foodie tourismPerhaps inspired by mouth-watering snaps on Instagram, foodie tourism is on the rise. It's a simple aspect to demonstrate within your marketing efforts. If you offer great food within your hotel, you could draw in more customers by shouting about it. If food is an area that you struggle with as an establishment, why not try partnering with some of your local restaurants, takeaways, and street food vendors to give travellers what they want.2. Local travelMore people are realising they don't have to travel long haul to have unique and inspiring experiences. It gives you an opportunity to entice travellers that live only a few hours away and are often considering shorter breaks. The trick here is to really enhance what your immediate local area has to offer. It could be beautiful walking trails to attract travellers from a nearby city or a little-known history gem that people will want to see for themselves.3. Solo travellersA few years ago, you might not have seen many solo travellers but the eagerness to try new things and seize the moment means you can expect more lone travellers showing up at your hotel in 2018. For these travellers, safety is often a concern so show off the steps you take to ensure the best possible level of protection for your guests. Having a community area where solo guests can mingle and strike up new friendships is a bonus too.4. Taking controlGone are the days when you have to head to a travel agent to book a holiday. Today's travellers are keen to take full control to create the holiday of their dreams. What does this mean you should be emphasising in your marketing campaign? How simple you make the whole process. Consider your online booking system and how easy it is for customers to navigate. If you can go the extra mile to offer personalised services you'll be one step ahead too.5. Mixing business and pleasureWhile some business people have always mixed business and pleasure, it's set to become an even bigger trend. Employees that are travelling for work still want to experience the local culture and see some of the sights that make the destination stand out. To attract these customers, you'll need to demonstrate that your hotel not only has the business essentials, such as good internet connection and workspace, but is well placed for spending an hour or two exploring the area in the evening.To find out more visit magnusonworldwide.com/.

Magnuson says 'evil OTAs' a fabrication by hotel franchise industry

Magnuson ·16 October 2017
Manchester UK -- In comments to a panel called Make Love Not War - Embrace OTAs for a Brighter Future at the Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester UK, Magnuson Worldwide CEO Thomas Magnuson stated that the 16 year-long demonization of online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com had been originally manufactured by the hotel franchise industry.Responding to panel moderator Michael McCartan, Managing Director of Duetto's question "Is the war between hotel owners and OTAs over?" Magnuson stated "The OTAs are not the baddies. What most people do not realise is that the negative characterisation of OTAs as having too much power and charging excessive commissions had been originally manufactured by the hotel franchise industry. After the slowdown of 9/11, hoteliers took to the new online travel agencies and were amazed how much business they delivered. After the OTA booking volumes increased so quickly, franchises were rocked when hotel owners asked "why do I need a franchise when I could use Expedia?"Magnuson added that the 'evil OTA' label was subsequently perpetuated to draw attention away from much higher franchise costs including an average 12.5% gross fees, large scale standardisation costs borne by hoteliers and the cost of rewards/frequent guest programs which now count for 30% of franchise revenues."There are far bigger concerns for hoteliers than OTA commissions," added Magnuson. "OTAs are as critical to each hotelier's success as the electricity company, they are just one component of an effective platform strategy."Panel participants included Michael McCartan, Managing Director, Duetto; Thomas Magnuson, CEO & Co-Founder, Magnuson Hotels; James Osmond, COO, Triptease; Ryan Pearson, UK Area Manager, Booking.com; David Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer, glh Hotels.

How to make the most of your hotel investment

Magnuson ·16 October 2017
The first thing to do, is work out your investment budget. It'll help you understand the limits and possibilities of what can be achieved, as well as ensuring you have a top figure in mind when you approach suppliers and contractors. The second key area that should influence your hotel investment plans is your typical customer. What a hotel geared towards businesspeople would benefit from investing in and one that's aimed at young people road tripping will be vastly different. Understanding what your customers or the market segment you want to attract want is crucial.Fortunately, there are some areas that you can invest in that will appeal to a broad range of groups. Choosing to improve your value proposition with these investments could lead to improved customer satisfaction and more reservations being made.WiFi - There's no denying that WiFi has become a huge necessity for many people. If connectivity throughout your hotel isn't great, it's well worth spending the time to come up with a better approach. It'll appeal to pretty much anyone travelling, from families with young children through to business travellers.Bedding - If your bedding is a little worn and the linen isn't looking as fresh as it used to, it's definitely time to invest. After all, guests book your hotel to spend the night, they want to be as comfortable as possible. Breathable fabrics, plump pillows, and warming colours are the way forward.Look outside - It's easy to think that it's just your rooms that matter but that's not the case. Your outside is what customers see first. Cleaning up and renovating your building is a great way to give it a fresh look. If you have a tidy, attractive outdoor space for guests to relax you'll attract more clients too.Check in with your guests - This might be an ongoing invest but once it's an established practice it'll become a streamlined process. Don't wait for your guests to tell you if there's a problem, instead, check in with them during the stay and see where you can help. It's also the perfect opportunity to get to know your market better. It'll cost you in terms of man power but it's a worthwhile investment.Something special - If customer satisfaction is important to you - and it should be! - adding something special to each room can really help. From a glass of wine as they arrive to some light snacks, it can really make you stand out when hoteliers are continually competing. It's likely to be something that they mention as they chat to family and friends or leave a review too.

Why matching your hotel brand to your customer persona is important

Magnuson ·11 October 2017
Of course, hotels don't want to limit their customer base by targeting a niche area but those that don't have any indication of who their ideal customer is risk losing direction. When hoteliers have a decision to make, having a clear customer persona in mind can help ensure that the verdict reached was based on informed information. Customer personas are important and they should inform your branding choices too.There are many reasons why the customer is integral to branding. But, most importantly, you want your brand to appeal to those you're aiming to attract. If you fail on this front, the hotel isn't going to entice the customers they're after. The branding of the hotel should signify everything from the price range to the style of the rooms. If you're branding suggests you're a minimalist, high end boutique hotel but your customer persona is actually young families looking for a wallet friendly option, you won't see the reservations you're expecting and risk disappointing customers that have made a booking.

Hotels Should Already be Planning Their 2018 Summer Marketing Campaign, According to Industry Experts

Magnuson ·10 October 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- High season might have just drawn to a close but hotels should already be planning their marketing campaign for 2018, hospitality expert Magnuson Worldwide says. In a highly competitive sector, independent hoteliers are often too busy focusing on other areas to really put the time and resources necessary into effective marketing strategies. But they have the power to transform a hotel and deliver greater success.The summer months bring a huge number of opportunities for boutique hotels looking to expand their current customer base, with many local areas playing host to events and festivals. However, when competing against chains, it's difficult for independent establishments to get noticed in the crowd of other well-known brand names. Magnuson Worldwide is urging hoteliers to consider the influence and impact their marketing could have now, getting strategies ready to launch for when tourists make their reservations for the 2018 summer months.Alysha Smith, Global Head of Marketing for Magnuson Worldwide, said, "With so many other aspects to running a hotel, marketing can often be left on the back burner when it should be viewed as an essential element. Digital technology is giving hotels, whether they're small, independently run or huge chains, so many ways to connect and attract potential customers from all over the world. Building up a following and brand awareness can really take a hotel to the next level, boosting their revenue and prestige."For many boutique hotels, allocating the funding for marketing activities and finding the people with the right skills can be a challenge. It's an area that Magnuson Worldwide recognized as crucial when developing their supportive offering to the industry. Every hotel that becomes a member of the exciting network benefits from the instant brand recognition that Magnuson Worldwide brings, thanks to its dedicated marketing team and national advertising campaign. However, the service provided by the leading network goes one step further. Understanding the need for targeted, local marketing too, each Magnuson Worldwide partner receives a 20% rebate of their annual fees to invest in local advertising budgets to drive up bookings.

Magnuson says hotel franchise direct booking drive is "war profiteering" at franchisee expense

Magnuson · 6 October 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- In panel comments this week at London's Hotel Distribution Event, Magnuson Hotels CEO and co-founder Thomas Magnuson stated the recent push by major hotel brands to use frequent guest rewards programs to drive direct bookings may be ineffective and costly to hotel owners.Asked to comment on how hotel franchises are coping with the rising cost of online booking and customer acquisition costs, Magnuson stated, "I'm very concerned about the war profiteering of the brands' consumer rewards programs and 'go direct' efforts. What is presented as a strategy to reduce OTA costs ends up costing a 100 room hotel 1/3 of their franchise fees, up to $100,000 per year." Magnuson added that this amount is twice that of usual reservation fee costs.Magnuson referred to a recent study published by CBRE that says in self-managed and franchised hotels, the greatest share of franchise fees received was from hoteilers paying to use chain brands' frequent guest loyalty programs (30.7%).Magnuson questioned the effectiveness of the initiative, adding that "While most of the major brands have made big news about direct booking campaigns, there has been a 40% drop in direct bookings in the last five years."The panel was moderated by Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst and also included Simon Teasdale, Managing Director, Lapithus Hotel Management and Genevieve Materne, Regional VP of Distribution Strategy, EAME SW Asia & Asia Pacific, Hyatt International.

Oak Inn rebrands as M Star Hotel Atmore

Magnuson · 5 October 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the M Star Hotel Atmore. Formerly the Oak Inn, the M Star Hotel Atmore is in downtown Atmore off Main Street, 46 miles from Pensacola, Florida. Wind Creek Casino is 11 miles from the M Star. The property is close to many appealing outdoor activities at Westside Park, Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve and the Little River State Forest.Amenities at the M Star Atmore include free breakfast, free high speed wireless internet, free parking, and a seasonal outdoor pool.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming Dipan Patel, Anand Patel and the full team at the M Star Hotel Atmore to the Magnuson family."

How to identify your customer personas

Magnuson · 5 October 2017
A customer persona is simply a fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on information you've gathered about your existing customers and market research. It considers who they are, as well as their goals, behaviours, and motivations. Any business can have more than one customer persona and, as a hotel, you're likely to be targeting several different segments. The more details you put into each customer persona the better they are for supporting your business aims.Creating customer personas doesn't have to be complicated and it's well worth investing time and resources into this business element.Begin with research - To create accurate customer personas you first need to understand your current customers. This means you need to gather information, such as through a survey. A mixture of quantitative and in-depth qualitative data should be used.Segment data - The information that you've collected should then be segmented, creating different customer personas. You could for instance have a data set for those travelling for business purposes or young families.Identify patterns - With the data segmented into core customer areas you can identify wider patterns within each persona. This could be a demand for low rates, for instance.Use your personas - With customer personas in place you need to make sure you use them effectively. They should be in your mind when you're making any business decisions, from the price point to what areas you invest in.

Magnuson Worldwide teams with Ctrip, China's largest tourism group to access 300 million member base

Magnuson · 3 October 2017
London UK/Spokane, WA -- CTrip, the largest Tourism Group of China, and the 3rd largest global online travel service, has added Magnuson Worldwide's 1,000+ properties to its distribution network. Magnuson Worldwide is the world's largest independent hotel group, with its hotel locations spread across six countries and three continents.CTrip, with over 300,000,000 members, provides Magnuson Worldwide a new customer base, servicing the growing outbound Chinese traveler. CTrip's partnership with Magnuson Worldwide allows the company to expand its hotel supplier network and room inventory into additional global markets.Representing an expected 3.1 million visitors from China to the States, Magnuson Worldwide provides these travelers with four distinct brand offerings, all competitively priced to meet any visitor's requirements:Magnuson Grand - Upscale hotels and resortsMagnuson Hotel - Mid-priced to upper scale hotels and resortsM Star Hotel - Economy and upper economy hotelsMagnuson Independent HotelsAccording to TravelDaily's interview to Ctrip's CEO, Jane Sun, on Sep. 5, 2017, "Globalization is a very important strategy of Ctrip in future. Ctrip has gain tremendous experiences from Chinese market. Moving forward, Ctrip will focus on international business development.""Our partnership with Ctrip gives our hotels access to a vast international customer base, and grants these travelers access to Magnuson Worldwide's quality properties located across North America, South America, UK, PAC, and Western Europe. We are completely committed to this expansion," stated Thomas Magnuson, CEO and co-founder of Magnuson Worldwide.About CTrip:Ctrip.com International Ltd. (CTRP) was founded in 1999 in Shanghai, China. The company is a leading provider of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management. Ctrip's market cap has grown by more than 30 times since its listing on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in 2003. In 2014, the company's gross transaction value reached USD24.5 billion and total commission revenue reached USD1.3 billion.For more information, visit http://english.ctrip.com/ or email e_service@ctrip.com

Does branding matter to hotels?

Magnuson · 2 October 2017
When a customer first sees something about your hotel, the branding plays a role. Whether it's a website landing page, your social media platforms, or an insightful blog, your branding should underpin everything that you do. It'll form the basis of the potential customer's opinion of you. From a glance, they'll assess how expensive you are, your core values, where you sit in the market, and whether you're right for them.There's a lot riding on how your target market perceives your brand. If you fail to make the right impression it can mean missing out on customers that would have been a good fit simply because they thought you were offering something different.A customer looking for a budget friendly option might choose not to investigate your offering further if you're branding suggests that you're all about luxury. Likewise, a business traveller can be put off branding that indicates you're targeting the young family market.As with any business proposition, branding is hugely important to a hotel business. With the right positioning in place you can attract multiple consumer segments but it's often a tricky balancing act and one that deserves time and attention.

Magnuson says Airbnb's 22% UK market share "new opportunity for independent hoteliers."

Magnuson ·29 September 2017
In an address this week at London's Hotel Tech Live, Magnuson Hotels CEO and co-founder Thomas Magnuson stated that recent disruptions to the UK hotel inventory are presenting new opportunities for struggling independent hotel owners.Magnuson stated if Airbnb, founded in 2008, were classed by the industry as a hotel chain today, it would represent more than 22% of the UK hotel inventory.Magnuson reports that Airbnb's recent addition of 175,000 listings to the existing UK supply of 625,780 rooms represents a shift in consumer tastes away from hotel brand standardisation."While some see this as a case of weaker demand chasing more rooms, we see this market transformation as a breakthrough opportunity for independent hoteliers. Independent hoteliers can benefit from the investment Airbnb is making toward educating the world that uniqueness is desirable by consumers."

Is A Loyalty Programme Essential In Today's Competitive Market?

Magnuson ·25 September 2017
If you want our short answer to this question it's: Yes!The global economy and the ability for customers to browse multiple businesses effortlessly from their phone means the world of business is more competitive than ever before. From big chain hotels to their independent counterparts, every hotel needs to entice customers to come back and stay again. How do you do that? With a loyalty program that inspires them.With so many options on the market consumers can flit from one brand to the next. It's a business challenge that's evident across a range of sectors, not just the hospitality industry. But that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. To be a success, you want to develop a loyal customer base that will think of you first when choosing to book another reservation.That's no easy task when there are multiple others offering room rates that can rival yours.The solution here is to give them a reason to choose you again. A loyalty program that recognizes their custom is more likely to get customers coming back for more. We know how challenging it can be to run a successful loyalty program if you're a single, boutique hotel. After all, many travellers want to head to new destinations rather than coming back to the same place again and again. So perhaps look at joining a larger network loyalty program so that you can have the best of both worlds.

The importance of using social media to engage with travellers

Magnuson ·22 September 2017
Travel is one of the biggest things people share on social media. Instagram is filled with exotic holiday snaps, people post their experiences on Twitter, and there are thousands of videos showing new locations. Publishing your own social media content and commenting on others is a great way to get your brand on the radar of travellers that have money to spend. It's a marketing strategy that can have a really big impact on your reservations, particularly if you're eager to tap into the millennial market.So, how do you build engagement with travellers through using social media?Post your own interesting content - The key here is to not post content that is overly salesy. You want people to find your social media updates interesting and shareable. Images of your local area, commenting on events, or giving holidaymakers tips are simple ways to do this.Create a two-way conversation - This is a hurdle that many businesses fall down on. Don't simply post your own updates and ignore all others. Respond to the feedback that you get and post your own thoughts on your followers' posts - it'll show a personal side that customers love.Be visual - As a hotel, you should be considering what people want to see when they're looking at travelling. Written content is fine but it's visual content that will really got noticed so invest time in curating photographs and videos.

Magnuson Hotels celebrates the launch of Magnuson Rewards with exclusive OTA conversion offer

Magnuson ·21 September 2017
Magnuson Hotels, America's fastest growing brand and the world's largest independent hotel group, announced today a launch offer for their new Magnuson Rewards loyalty program aimed at capturing and converting guests visiting on bookings made via online travel agencies (OTA).Magnuson Rewards members receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card for every 10 nights they stay at participating properties when booking direct. For a limited time, guests that register directly at a participating hotel during their visit will get all the nights from that stay as credit. (Even if the booking was made via an OTA.) Those members will just need to book direct in future to redeem the Amazon.com gift card.Magnuson Rewards is yet another Magnuson Hotels' initiative designed to drive global distribution direct to hotel owners; aiding their partners in bypassing the fees, charges and conditions of OTA's. Partner hotels pay nothing to participate and members benefit from transparent terms and conditions.Most traditional hotel brands and franchises offer some type of loyalty program but the cost of managing these programs is typically financed by fees ranging from 2 to 6% of reservation revenue. For a 100-room midscale hotel at 65% occupancy, these costs could add up to over $100k per year! With Magnuson Rewards, our partners enjoy all the upside without any extra overheads."Magnuson Rewards members get paid, not points." says Amanda Fox Rosowski, Loyalty & CRM Manager at Magnuson Hotels. "Our guests don't need another pot of points they'll never use. They want something real that is easy to earn and easy to redeem. What could be simpler than an Amazon.com gift card for every 10 nights direct?"

The 3 tips hoteliers need to know to expand their reach

Magnuson ·20 September 2017
Get social - Social media is a proven way to reach out to new customers and stay in their minds. Different platforms give you the ability to reach out to various segments too. If you share the right type of content you have a good chance of your posts being shared, quickly spreading beyond your current influence. Don't forget that as a hotel, you should be showing off visually too, from your own facilities to the surrounding area, which gives your updates a better chance of going viral. Mobile presence - Don't underestimate the importance of mobile accessibility in the modern world. In many countries, portable devices are used more frequently than desktops to access the internet and concerns around placing bookings through smartphones and tablets is going too. A mobile response design will ensure your able to engage with a range of customers and helps to boost your Google ranking too. Join a network - You might be worried about joining a network if you value your individuality but it doesn't have to mean giving up what makes you unique. A network makes it simpler for businesses to access a wider customer base while respecting that what make them different is often what attracts travellers. Hotels in a network benefit from connecting with customers that have stayed at other hotels under the brand, giving them an opportunity to attract new customer groups.

Colorado Comfort Inn rebrands as Magnuson Grand Pikes Peak

Magnuson ·19 September 2017
London UK/Spokane WA -- At Magnuson Worldwide, America's fastest growing hotel brand, we are proud to announce the branding of the Magnuson Grand Pikes Peak. The Magnuson Grand Pikes Peak is 2 miles from Pikes Peak, providing guests breathtaking views of the mountains and surrounding area. Seven Falls Waterfalls, Pike's Peak Cogs Railway and Garden of the Gods National Park are all within 7 miles of the Magnuson Grand.Formerly a Comfort Inn, the Magnuson Grand Pikes Peak will upgrade its market position to attract travelers via an affiliation with Magnuson Worldwide's international portfolio of over 1,000 hotels and state-of-the-art, global distribution platform.Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Worldwide says: "We are delighted to be welcoming Huu Le and the full team at the Magnuson Grand Pikes Peak to the Magnuson family."

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