Noteworthy Independent Hotel Chains

Tom Magnuson, founder and CEO of Spokane-based Magnuson Hotels says, “Magnuson Hotels was established as a low-cost alternative to the franchise model, which can be very expensive…. We offer complete brand power to our member hotels without the costs and requirements of the major hotel brands.”  Magnuson Hotels says that the independent hotel operating system has signed 400 new affiliate agreements within the last 24 months and is nearing the 1000 hotel mark.  The five-year old company provides independent hotel owners with low-cost access to a worldwide reservations system, hotel supplies and medical savings networks.  The company’s fee structure is based on the number of reservations it delivers to its affiliates who are not bound by long-term contracts.  Customers make their reservations via the Internet and Magnuson’s Hotels computerized reservation system which is linked to 650,000 travel agents.  Additionally, Magnuson offers its affiliates guaranteed priority national and international placement on Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline and TravelWeb; priority search-engine visibility and targeted advertising on Yahoo, Google, Bing and AOL; and group tour sales and representation via the National Tour Association and other group-tour Web-sites.

Magnuson estimates that 60% of the hotels affiliated with his company are AAHOA members.  Magnuson’s fee structure:

  • Fees are based on reservations delivered
  • No long-term agreements; get online within three weeks
  • No franchise fees, royalty fees, required renovations, computer system requirements

Hersha Hospitality’s Independent Collection

“We wanted to be a company that built out a collection of independent hotels and then talk about it- as opposed to the other way around,” said Nareen Kakarla, executive vice president. “….It’s a meaningful trend in gateway cities for travelers to want to experience independents so long as they are comfortable and everything works and are unique to the brand experience.”  According to Kakarla each property is locally inspired to offer authenticity as well as a luxury experience.

The company’s three new independent hotels are the NU Hotel in Brooklyn, the Duane Street Hotel in the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan and the Independent in Philadelphia.  Two more are in the works in Manhattan: the Union Hotel in Greenwich Village and the 48 Lex in midtown, which will open in 2010.


Please take note that Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC has just published the book “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry.” It contains 359 pages, 25 illustrations and 16 chapters devoted to each of the following pioneers: John McEntee Bowman, Carl Graham Fisher, Henry Morrison Flagler, John Q. Hammons, Frederick Henry Harvey.  Ernest Henderson, Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Howard Dearing Johnson, J. Willard Marriott, Kanjibhai Patel, Henry Bradley Plant, George Mortimer Pullman, A.M. Sonnabend, Ellsworth Milton Statler, Juan Terry Trippe and Kemmons Wilson.  It also has a foreword by Stephen Rushmore, preface, introduction, bibliography and index. Visit to order the book.

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