Thomas and Melissa Magnuson, co-founders of the world’s largest independent hotel chain, Magnuson Hotels, began their business out of their basement on Spokane two decades ago. Today, Magnuson Hotels is headquartered in London, UK, and Spokane, Washington stands as the world’s largest hotel affiliation group, with over 65,000 hotels and 700 airlines on its worldwide booking platform.
Like every other hospitality business in the world, the Magnuson family of hotels faces the gripping uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve known Tom, Melissa, and their amazing son Frankie for many years now. But, putting friendship to the side, for the moment, I think it’s important to point out that what the world and the hospitality industry needs now are the “go-to” people with a proven capacity for perseverance. Or in short, we need to look to those we can depend on.
Tom Magnuson issued the following message to the thousands of hoteliers and their tens of thousands of employees a couple of days ago.
In the last few weeks, I’ve talked to hundreds of people in the industries being impacted by this dreadful pandemic. In my life, I’ve never witnessed more uncertainty and worry. Here in Greece, the people huddle in their homes waiting the next footfall. The once buzzing streets outside our office are now deserted. An eerie quiet has replaced the vibrance that is Heraklion in normal times. In Italy, where we have many friends, COVID-19 has transformed one of Europe’s most positive societies, into a strong-willed nation struggling for dear life to hold on.
Now my homeland in America is beginning to bow under the weight of what some experts say will be a second Great Depression. Top leadership has failed in many respects. Markets are in freefall. And the people are struggling to come to grips with the enormity of the situation. Tom Magnuson’s message resonates because it is the ONLY message any real leader can offer to those who depend on his or her guidance.
We will work together, with what we have, in order to go forward past this catastrophe. This is the kind of promise we must make, one that we can keep. In all honesty, I cannot fathom the weight of responsibility Tom and hoteliers like him are bearing right now. My friends in the industry here are so worried about their employees, their families, and for the dreams, they’ve built. I know Tom is worried too, though he is not the kind to show it. I also know that quitting will never get his partners past this.
On a personal note, Tom Magnuson has never failed me or my family in business or in friendship. He’s one of those “go-to” people we’ve been lucky to know in our lives.
So, for those reading this, we are here as well. The urgency of this situation demands all hands take up the task. Please let me know if you have news that we can put out there, that will help those staggered by this calamity. Please send us your good news, no matter how seemingly insignificant. We made Argophilia Travel a localized effort some years ago, but now is not the time to limit ourselves and our power to share good voices.