Hotel Online  Special Report


 Scandic – Hotels with History; During 40 year History
the Scandic Concept Has Been Transformed
Stockholm, July 14, 2003 - This summer Scandic will be celebrating 40 years as a hotel chain, making it the oldest hotel chain in the Nordic Countries. What started its life as motels alongside Sweden’s main roads is now a hotel chain for everyone, not just motorists.

Sweden’s first motel, Esso Motorby in Laxå in central Sweden, opened on 14 July 1963, marking the dawn of a new era for hotels in the Nordic Countries. Before that the Swedish hotel and restaurant industry was largely dominated by the state owned hotel chain SARA and the Reso chain, owned by the cooperative movement. 

The oil company Esso wanted to develop its service stations on the new motorways being planned in Sweden at the time. Market research convinced the company to focus on motels, with the theme “Everything for the Motorist”. In 1963 a room cost SEK 17 and the restaurant menu comprised 90 well-designed dishes. For SEK 7.50 guests were served butter, bread, a main course and 3 smaller dishes.

The hotel chain expanded abroad, to Denmark and Norway, as early as the beginning of the 1970s and within only a couple of years Esso Motor Hotel was the biggest chain in Scandinavia. In the mid-1980s Esso sold its hotel business to an independent company and the chain was renamed Scandic Hotels.

1996 saw Scandic listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, making it the first pure hotel business in Sweden to be quoted on the stock market. In 1998, thanks to major acquisitions – Swedish Reso (1996), Finnish Arctia (1998) and Swedish Provobis (2000) – Scandic became the largest hotel chain in the Nordic Countries.  Two years ago Hilton Group Plc, based in the UK and with brands such as Hilton and Conrad Hotels, bought Scandic. 

In Scandic’s 40 years the hotel concept has been transformed and the sector has seen explosive growth. Design has become essential and hotels have to keep up with the latest trends, some of which were set by Scandic itself. Scandic was the first hotel chain in the Nordic Countries to introduce non-smoking rooms, TVs in every room, its own internal channel, fitness rooms in every hotel, and wireless broadband, not to mention taking the environment into consideration at an early stage. In addition, Scandic’s loyalty programme, Scandic Club, was one of the first hotel loyalty programmes to be launched in the world. 

Today there are 139 Scandic hotels in 9 countries. At the start of this year Scandic decided to Swan-certify (the official Nordic ecolabel) all 65 of its hotels in Sweden. This work is estimated to be complete by the end of 2004.

Quick facts about Scandic

Scandic is the leading hotel chain in the Nordic region with nearly 140 hotels in nine countries. We offer accessible travel: it is easy and it caters for the business traveller as well as the family travelling with children. Our owner is Hilton International, part of the London-based Hilton Group Plc. Together with Hilton Hotels Corporation in the US we offer more than 2,400 hotels all over the world.

Country: Scandic
Sweden 65 12,188
Finland 24 4,157
Denmark 20 3,109
Norway 19 2,809
Estonia 4 235
Germany 3 702
Belgium 3 424
The Netherlands 1 96
Lithuania 1 60
SCANDIC TOTAL 140 23,780

Time Line

  • 1963 Scandic's history starts with an innovative Motor Village concept under the name Esso Motor Hotel by the roadside at Närke in the middle of Sweden.
  • 1966 The second hotel is opened on the west coast of Sweden in Mölndal near Gothenburg.
  • 1969 We open our first roadside restaurant in Sweden.
  • 1972 The company expands abroad to Norway and Denmark.
  • 1973 The hotel chain is now the largest in Sweden.
  • 1983 The hotel chain is sold to a Swedish consortium with Ratos as part owner.
  • 1984 The company and the hotels are renamed Scandic Hotels.
  • 1985 Ratos becomes sole owner of Scandic Hotels AB.
  • 1986 The first hotel outside Scandinavia is opened in Koblenz, Germany.
  • 1991 The Kuwait crisis hits the hotel business.
  • 1992 The company gets a new management that steers it out of the crisis.
  • 1994 The "New Scandic" vision is introduced with a focus on values and value unity.
  • 1996 Scandic acquires the Swedish hotel business of Reso Hotels.
  • Scandic's share is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange on December 17.
  • 1997 Scandic signs ten new hotel agreements during the first quarter, most of them in Norway.
  • 1998 Scandic acquires Arctia, the third largest hotel chain in Finland, which is integrated into Scandic Hotels making it a Nordic-wide chain for the first time.
  • 1999 Scandic Hotels and SAS Eurobonus cooperation starts. 17 more hotels are acquired, 4 of them in Estonia.
  • 2000 Scandic acquires Provobis Hotels with 16 city hotels in Sweden.
  • 2001 Scandic is acquired by the London-based Hilton Group Plc for £620.2 and pulls out of the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The terrorist attack against the World Trade Centre in the US on September 11 hits the tourist industry badly.
  • 2002 Scandic is successfully integrated into the Hilton family, as is its loyalty programme Scandic Club into Hilton's HHonors.
  • 2003 The decision to earn the Swan ecolabel for all Scandic hotels in Sweden is made. Scandic's logo is modernised and a new Internet site is launched. 
The road to becoming the leading Nordic hotel chain Scandic's 40-year history started on the roadside at Närke in the middle of Sweden in 1963.

The motor hotel had become a fixed part of the infrastructure in the United States and it was now adapted for the Swedish market. The Motor Village concept that consisted of a number of motel rooms and an inn had been conceived. Unseen media excitement ensued as nobody had seen anything like the idea before and it was regarded as extremely innovative.

The concept was developed further in 1966 when the business was expanded to Mölndal near Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. With 55 rooms, restaurant and inn, the product was very modern, introducing pine furniture, wall-to-wall carpeting, TV sets in all rooms, a pool and a gym. In competition with the standards of Swedish town hotels at the time, success was immediate.

Scandic Hotel Mölndal
Barnhemsgatan 23
se-431 31 Mölndal, Sweden

Over the next few years, the chain expanded quickly, and the first hotels in Norway and Denmark were opened as early as 1972. Just a decade later, in 1983, Esso Motor Hotel was sold to a Swedish consortium with Ratos as one of the partners. The chain was renamed Scandic Hotels the following year, and Ratos became its sole owner shortly thereafter. Scandic Hotels' first hotel outside Scandinavia was opened in Koblenz, Germany, in 1986. At the end of 1990, Scandic had 101 hotels, 79 of them Scandics and 22 Scandic Crowns. The start of the Kuwait crisis in 1991 wiped away more than 50% of hotel bookings in London overnight, and the effects were dramatic even in the Nordic countries.

To find its way out of the crisis, Scandic took several determined steps to enhance operation and increase bookings. Results followed quickly with 1992 as the turnaround year. Over the next four years, the number of hotels dropped from 104 to 84. This was the starting point of the new Scandic Hotels.

A lot happened in 1996. Scandic Hotels acquired the Swedish business of the Reso Hotels chain with 14 hotels, sold the Danish roadside restaurant chain Monarc and was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in December as the first hotel company in its history.

In 1998, another hotel chain was acquired. Arctia, the third largest hotel chain in Finland, became part of Scandic Hotels, raising the number of Scandic's hotels to more than 100 in the Nordic countries.

Cooperation with SAS Eurobonus and Finnair started in 1998–99. Further 17 hotels were acquired in 1999, four of them in Estonia. This acquisition increased capacity by 10% or 2,055 rooms.

The purchase in June 2000 of Provobis Hotels, a Swedish hotel chain with 16 city hotels, contributed to a further expansion of Scandic Hotels' portfolio. In addition to this purchase, four more hotels were bought during the same year.

A year later it was the turn of Scandic Hotels to be bought. On June 11, 2001 it was announced that Hilton Group Plc had bought the chain at a price of £620.2. Scandic Hotels AB pulled out of the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

The Hilton purchase made Scandic a part of the Hilton family with more than 2,400 hotels worldwide including names such as Hilton ., Conrad ., DoubleTree ., Embassy Suites ., Hampton Inns & Suites . and Homewood Suites.

Two new hotels were opened in 2002: Scandic Sydhavnen in Copenhagen and Scandic Alvik in Stockholm. Three Swedish hotels changed over from Scandic Hotels to Hilton; Hilton Stockholm Slussen, Hilton Stockholm Infra City and Hilton Malmö City (ex-Scandic Triangeln).

The loyalty programme Scandic Club was integrated into Hilton HHonors ., one of the world's strongest loyalty programmes. It offers Scandic's guests a host of extra benefits, not least because of its worldwide coverage.

The decision to earn the Swan, the Nordic ecolabel, to all of Scandic's hotels in Sweden before year-end 2004 was made in early 2003. Measures towards this end have already been started. The Swan, one of the world's toughest ecolabels, is another token of Scandic's long-term efforts towards ecologically and ethically sustainable society.

After 11 years, Scandic has chosen to modernise its logotype to better reflect its uncomplicated Nordic nature.

Scandic will launch a new web site in the latter half of 2003. This year we will also open our 19th hotel in Norway, Scandic Nedre Elvehavn with 153 rooms in the centre of Trondheim.

Today's Scandic is driven by Nordic common sense Scandic is the self-evident Nordic choice with its 139 hotels. The whole of our operation is driven by Nordic common sense and offers a relaxed hotel experience to the many people, regardless of whether they travel on business or in their free time.

The idea of providing easy accommodation along main travel routes still lives on. Today, hotels in central city locations complement it. The business idea is to "offer easy and accessible travel for all".

Ecological and ethical sustainability are two crucial principles in Scandic's operation. We observe and value these principles in everything we do. Scandic's guests are involved in taking responsibility for the environment and the world around us.

Nordic Common Sense is actually nothing new. It is simply a clearer focus on our Nordic roots. It is easy, it is value for money, it is openness to new ideas and it is consideration for other people.

Scandic's owner—Hilton Group Plc.

Hilton Group Plc is an international enterprise with two main lines of business: Hilton International who owns the rights to the Hilton trade mark worldwide, with the exception of the United States, and Ladbrokes which is one of the world's largest gambling and betting companies.

The Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1967 at which time its market value was just below £1 million. Today, the Group is one of the largest companies at the Exchange and a part of the FTSE 100 index. Its current market value is approximately £2.5 billion with an annual turnover of some £5.5 billion and more than 77,000 employees worldwide.

Scandic Hotels' turnover in 2002 was £461.5 million with an operating profit of £34.5 million.

Scandic's products

Hilton HHonors .
HHonors is Hilton's guest loyalty programme, adopted by Scandic in April 2002. HHonors is the only worldwide loyalty programme where members can earn both points and airline miles on the same stay. Since the programme was introduced in 1997, the number of members has steadily increased from year to year, today totalling some 6.5 million. Since the switch from Scandic Club to HHonors, the Nordic members have had the extra benefit of continuing their old benefit scheme while at the same time obtaining new benefits through HHonors.

GetAway by Scandic
Getaway by Scandic is the umbrella name for the packaged individual products aimed specifically to the leisure traveller. It may be anything from just booking a room to a packaged entity including travel, accommodation and activities. The main idea is time for yourself and for each other.

Scandic offers a meeting place for thousands of people every day. As the leading conference organiser in the Nordic area, Scandic offers meeting facilities from two people up to several thousand participants. The common denominator for all meeting places, regardless of size, is their relaxed atmosphere. Group and conference reservations make it easy for a conference customer to book several meetings with one phone call. Scandic offers smart packaged solutions for conferences.

Bonus Cheque
One of Scandic's popular products is the Bonus Cheque that gives companies discount prices on hotel stays. A book of 12 cheques entitles to a discount of approximately 17% on normal room prices. Every cheque is valid for one night's stay in a single room, including breakfast. A surcharge applies at some hotels. The cheques are not personal but may be used by anyone with the same company, enabling the company to use the cheques as it wishes. HHonors members receive all their benefits exactly as usual.

Scandic's new, remodelled breakfast concept, simply called Breakfast, will be launched in autumn 2003. The number of ecological and light products will be increased. The ingredients for all products will be published to make it easier for those with allergies or other special requirements to make the right choices. The breakfasts at all Swedish Scandics carry the KRAV ecological product certificate.

Sigge – the children's friend at Scandic
Sigge is a mascot and the children's friend at Scandic. He is the main theme in Scandic's concept for children. Sigge makes sure that every child receives a surprise gift at check-in and that there is a playroom at the hotel. In addition, he often gives a special treat at the restaurant. Sigge has a girlfriend, Siggelina, and a good friend, the Professor.

Scandic for sustainability

Ecological sustainability
Scandic's work for ecologically sustainable society started in 1994. Since then, more than 9,000 employees have received ecological sustainability education and more than 9,500 environmental rooms have been built. In 2001 the breakfasts at all Swedish Scandics received the KRAV ecological product certificate, and presently we are in the middle of a process to earn the Swan ecolabel to all Swedish hotels, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2004. Since the start of the environmental programme, the chain is estimated to have saved more than 7.64 million euro through more efficient use of resources alone. Scandic has received several national and international awards for its environmental efforts, IH&RA's Environmental Award 2002 among them.

Ethical sustainability
Scandic's efforts towards ethically sustainable society, introduced in 2001, go by the name "Scandic in Society". The initiative includes education in ethically responsible business for all employees. The results of dialogue meetings by the hotels evolved into local "Society Programmes" with measures to ensure our responsibility for positive societal development. Some examples of practical measures are cooperation with WWF, Christmas meals for lonely people and language studies for immigrant employees and job applicants.

Other Scandic concepts

"We must never jeopardize the safety of a guest or colleague,” says Scandic's security policy, which constitutes one of the cornerstones of our company philosophy. All employees starting work at Scandic participate in interactive security training, and all hotel employees participate in a fire and evacuation exercise at least twice a year. Further tools include a security manual at all hotels and continuous self-assessment of security issues.

"Omtanke"—consideration for other people—is a key concept for Scandic's employees. It not only encompasses our interaction with guests and colleagues, but also the way we treat the world around us, such as the "Scandic in Society" programme.

Nordic common sense
Scandic's operation and decisions within the organisation shall always be based on Nordic common sense. Scandic shall provide services that are accessible and give value for money to the many people, a relaxed experience that works for everybody. Nordic common sense is easy. It is value for money. It is open-mindedness. And it means we care about others.


Martina Frisk
Media Coordinator, Hilton . Scandic
[email protected]
Phone +46 709-73 50 70

Hälsingegatan 40 Box 6197, S-102 33 
Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: +46 8 517 350 00

Also See: Seven Pandox-owned Hotels Change Brand / Jan 2002
Roland Nilsson, President & CEO of Scandic Hotels, Named 'Leader of the Year,' Within the Swedish Business Community / Nov 2000

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