Best Western International will add approximately 380 hotels to its system in 2004 despite challenging economic conditions “Our global growth strategy remains unchanged, which is to identify regions both throughout North America and internationally where the Best Western brand is under represented,” says Tom Higgins, Best Western president and CEO. In North America, Best Western has projected adding 160 hotels to the system in the coming year through a combination of conversions (60 percent), and new construction (40 percent), according to Mark Williams, vice president of North American Development for Best Western. “We continue to see a strong demand for hotel developers looking to affiliate with a brand that offers consistency and value,” added Williams.
Several U.S. cities have been identified as excellent growth opportunities for Best Western which includes: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Rochester.
Canadian provinces targeted for expansion include: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. As of the end of 2003, Best Western had 165 hotels and 15,272 rooms in Canada.
Additionally, the Caribbean continues to be a prime market for Best Western where it currently has six hotels open.
International expansion will account for an estimated two-thirds of Best Western’s planned growth.
“Internationally, we continue to develop cautiously and intelligently,” adds Higgins. “Asia, Europe, the South Pacific and South America are all regions that continue to provide good expansion opportunities for the brand.”
In South America, Best Western is gearing up to add 20 hotels according to Suzi Yoder, vice president of International Operations. “In just a year’s time after opening our development office in Sao Paulo we have already made significant progress adding Best Western hotels in Brazil, Panama and Paraguay,” Yoder said.
Four hotels have already been added to the system in 2004. They include: the Best Western Casablanca Golf Resort at Iguazu Falls, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; the Best Western San Marino Hotel, Salvador, Brazil; the Best Western Norte Palace Hotel, Florianopolis, Brazil, and the Best Western Mara Inn, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.
Best Western, (THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®), ended the 2003 fiscal year with 4,110 hotels in 83 countries and territories. Best Western International is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its member hotels.