Best Western to Add 400 New Hotels

PHOENIX, Feb. 19, 2002—Best Western expects to hold its position as THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN® with a robust global expansion plan in 2003.  Over the past few years, Best Western’s development team will continue its growth strategy by targeting key international and domestic gateways as well as geographic locations where the brand is under represented.  The addition of a new development focused website will also aid efforts.
Coming off of a successful year despite difficult economic conditions, the brand added 282 hotels to its global portfolio in 2002.  In 2003, the company plans to add 400 new hotels worldwide.
In North America, Best Western anticipates adding another 155 properties.  That number breaks down to approximately 35 percent new construction and the remaining 65 percent focusing on conversions.
Hotels expected to become active Best Western properties in 2003 include: Phoenix West Inn in Phoenix, Ariz., 126 rooms; Marina Inn in Dana Point, Calif., 137 rooms; Oakland Park Inn in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 106 rooms; Robert Treat Hotel, Newark, NJ, 169 rooms, the Albany hotel in Albany, NY, 132 rooms; Country Squire Resort in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada, 68 rooms and the Clermont hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio with 128 rooms.

“Best Western’s goal is not to over saturate crowded markets with excessive new build projects,” said Mark Williams, Best Western’s vice president of North American Development.  “Instead, we will develop new hotels where it is economically sound to do so.”
“Our growth strategy has been converting independent hotels and regional chains that desire a national brand affiliation,” he added.  “Best Western offers tremendous value in terms of services versus costs which has made those efforts that much easier.”
Internationally, the brand just welcomed its first hotel in Bulgaria in January.  The Best Western City Hotel is located in the country’s capital city Sofia, in the heart of the business district.  The brand new, four-star property features 36 guest rooms, onsite restaurant and meeting facilities.
Additions such as these will be targeted in 2003 for a planned total of 245 new hotels.  Heavy emphasis will once again be placed on Asia and South America according to Suzi MacDonald Yoder, Best Western’s vice president of International Operations.

“We will continue our aggressive plans for development in China and hope to add at least eight new properties there this year,” said Yoder.  “Specifically, we’re targeting cities such as Harbin, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Beijing and Shenzhen.”
A total of 20 new hotels are slated for Asia.  In addition to Asia, Best Western is committing significant resources in South America.  Uncertain political and economic conditions in the region forced a more conservative approach for the area in 2002.  However, company officials feel confident they can add at least 24 branded properties on the continent this year with a heavy focus on Brazil.
In other regions, Best Western expects to add 25 hotels in Australia bolstered by recent personnel additions to the country’s business development team.  Other significant expansion is expected in Great Britain with the addition of 18 hotels in 2003.
To augment development efforts, Best Western’s team added a new section to the global website at www.bestwestern.com/memdev.  The site highlights advantages to becoming a Best Western, benefits of membership, associated fees, hotel design prototypes for potential developers, target market breakdowns and regional contact information.
Best Western International is THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN® with more than 4,000 hotels in 80 countries and territories.  It is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its member hotels.
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