The year was 1963. On 20 May, the Esso Motor Hotell opened its doors in Laxå and welcomed its first guests. Fast-forward 50 years and the hotel chain has enjoyed strong growth, making its mark on both the Swedish and the international hotel industry along the way. In 1984, Esso Motor Hotell changed its name to Scandic Hotels, a chain that now has 155 hotels and around 30,000 rooms across Europe. All 155 Scandic hotels across the continent will be celebrating the anniversary of this sprightly 50 year-old at the weekend.
The Esso Motor Hotell chain took its inspiration from US motels. Optimism was rising in Sweden and the future was bright. Going on driving holidays became increasingly popular, creating demand for hotels along the major highways. The hotels were designed for guests arriving by car and were equipped with modern comforts and new innovations such as a TV in each room.
The nature of hotel stays has changed a great deal over the past 50 years. Many more people stay at hotels now than when the hotel chain started out. Initially the majority of guests were business travellers. Leisure travel was limited. Today more and more people stay at a hotel at least once a year and a large number of Scandic hotels are centrally located in towns and cities.
“The launch of the Esso Motor Hotell marked the start of a new age in the Swedish and Nordic hotel industry and we made it possible for more people to stay at a hotel. Now one in six hotel nights in Sweden are spent in a Scandic bed,” states Anders Ehrling, CEO of Scandic Hotels.
Through its environmental commitment, Scandic has set a whole new international standard. Scandic was the first hotel chain to introduce the system of asking guests to place the towels that needed washing on the floor instead of replacing all of them. That same year, 1994, the hotels dropped disposable packaging for soap, replacing it with soap dispensers and reducing both energy consumption and environmental impact in a single stroke. Scandic’s consistent sustainability work ever since has brought down water consumption by 18 percent, energy consumption by 26 percent and CO2 emissions by 68 percent.
With similar determination, Scandic has also helped to increase accessibility at hotels. It was the first hotel chain to appoint a Director of Accessibility to work on improving accessibility for disabled guests at its hotels.
“We’re going to continue setting the standard for the hotel industry in Sweden and around the world,” continues Anders Ehrling. “This spring, we’ve begun an extensive upgrading programme for our roadside hotels. At the same time, we’re investing a great deal in developing our food and beverage offering. We’re already seeing hotels playing an increasing role in people’s daily lives as temporary workplaces, but also as leisure destinations.”
As people spend more and more on accommodation, expectations are rising when it comes to the hotel experience. When Laxå opened, its bathrooms were considered the height of luxury, but nowadays many people have a luxurious bathroom at home. New groups, such as families, account for many hotel stays, driving up demand for a varied range of activities.
Millions of guests have spent millions of nights at Scandic since 1963. Now Sweden’s largest hotel chain is looking to the future, making up the beds for new guests and new stays.
For further information, please contact:
Margareta Thorgren, VP Group Communication Scandic, tel: +46 72 170 92 53
Every day, Scandic’s 7,500 team members work with one single goal in mind – to make you feel welcome. As the Nordic region’s most sustainable hotel chain we’re always focused on the environment, social responsibility and accessibility. With around 160 hotels in eight countries, 30,000 hotel rooms and a turnover of EUR 923 million, Scandic is the largest hotel chain in the Nordic countries. We want to be more than just a hotel – Scandic is a place where people meet, work and get inspired.