Best Western International, already the fastest-growing hotel chain in Asia, has its sights on becoming the largest hotel chain on the continent within three years.
Over the next six months, Best Western will sign 17 new hotel contracts in China, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand, among other countries, and is on pace to have more than 200 properties by 2010. The chain’s Asia presence has expanded from just six hotels in 2001 to 106 today.
‘As the world’s largest hotel chain, we bring scale, reach and a billion-dollar reservations system to our international partners,’ said David Kong, Best Western president and CEO. The brand’s global sales and marketing initiatives, quality assurance programs, and Gold Crown Club International loyalty program make it popular with Asian developers and hoteliers, he said.
While most of the chain’s North American hotels are considered to be in the mid-market segment, Best Western is positioning itself as a four-star chain in Asia. This is consistent with an overall growth strategy of increasing brand awareness in new markets by building high-caliber, highly-visible hotels - a strategy that is being implemented successfully in China and India.
Best Western currently has properties in 12 Asian countries, including:
* China. In five years, Best Western will have 50 hotels in the country, including two slated to open in Beijing before the 2008 Summer Olympics. * India. The chain recently signed a new master licensing agreement that is expected to bring 100 hotels and 10,000 rooms to India over the next decade. * South Korea. Best Western has 11 hotels and is the country’s largest and fastest-growing hotel chain. * Thailand. With 11 resort-style properties, Best Western is also the largest hotel brand in Thailand. Best Western’s Asia headquarters is located in Bangkok. * Japan. Seventeen hotels are under development in the country. When completed, the new properties will add nearly 3,000 hotel rooms to the system. * Indonesia. Four hotel contracts will be signed in the next six months. The brand recently established a development office in the country. * Vietnam. This country is targeted for growth; two hotels in popular tourist destinations-Nha Trang and Dalat-are under development.
The chain also is operating or developing hotels in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Israel and Bahrain, with plans to expand in the Middle East.
Best Western selects areas for development based on economic indicators, technological infrastructure and the education and income levels of the population.