Best Western added 69 hotels to its worldwide portfolio in the third fiscal quarter ending August 31 bringing the company’s total number of hotels to 4,065 in 82 countries and territories. Of the new additions, 31 were North American and 38 were international hotels.
Key international properties included the first ever 173-room Best Western in Yugoslavia, the Best Western Hotel M in Belgrade. Best Western hotels were also signed in Montevideo, Uruguay and Budapest, Hungary. In North America, Best Western welcomed hotels in Freeport, Grand Bahamas; Aurora, Colo.; Houston, Texas and Winston-Salem, NC.
Company development forecasts for 2001 focused on expanding the brand’s presence internationally. Fiscal year-to-date, Best Western has added 12 hotels in Asia, 68 in Europe and 6 in South America where its efforts have been most concentrated.
“As globalization is a key driver in today`s marketplace, a well recognized brand name is a powerful asset,” said Suzi MacDonald, vice president of International Operations for Best Western. “By the same token, consumers are looking for both value and a quality experience. Our brand continues to thrive because it offers developers the opportunity to retain the individual local flavor of their property while adding the strength of being associated with the world`s largest hotel chain.”
In North America, Best Western is following its development plan of adding hotels in areas where the brand was underrepresented and to increase the number of new-builds. Newly constructed properties accounted for 45 percent of the Best Western hotels signed in the third quarter.
“We continue to see tremendous opportunities to develop Best Westerns in strategic markets,” said Mark Williams, vice president of North American Development for Best Western. “To date, we have added hotels in California, Texas, South Carolina and New York.”
“Hoteliers and developers continue to seek out membership in our brand due to our quality standards, a highly successful advertising campaign and the lowest fees in terms of benefits versus affiliation costs,” Williams added.
According to Williams, annual membership renewals are running at 99 percent. “Not only is the brand continuing to grow by the addition of new hotels, but we are also retaining our high quality, unique members,” Williams said.
During the third quarter, the company also launched the first phase of its new global minimum standards program-BestRequests?.
BestRequests? amenities and services include:
Available continental or hot breakfast, free local phone calls (up to 30 minutes) and long distance access, data port connections in all guest rooms, iron and ironing boards, hair dryers, coffee/tea makers in all rooms, 50 percent designated non-smoking rooms, complimentary toiletries available upon request (razors, toothpaste, shaving cream, sewing kits), bottled or canned water available on-site, photo copies available on-site during business hours, king-size beds in minimum of 10 percent of rooms, clock in all guest rooms, in-room music, upgraded shampoo size and at least one English speaking TV channel at international locations.
BestRequests? are now offered in all Best Western hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean beginning Oct. 1 and will be implemented internationally by Jan. 1, 2002.