SYDNEY - The Best Western Australia National Convention themed ‘Building on the Best’ was held in Alice Springs from August 10 - 13. Attended by 200 delegates the Convention was opened by Maree Tetlow, Managing Director of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission who thanked Best Western Australia for choosing Alice Springs as the destination, which was won by tender process. She went on to say how the Convention was going to boost the local economy by an estimated $500,000 as a result of planned functions and activities, accommodation, post touring and delegate spending.
Best Western Australia CEO Rodger Powell said the theme came from the fantastic results Best Western Australia had achieved in 2002/2003, in particular moving into the number one position as the most recalled accommodation brand in Australia (according to AEC consumer research). “Last year the theme was ‘It’s time’ to become the best mid market brand in the country and now that we have achieved that, we need to look at how to build on that even further.”
The Convention also gave Best Western Australia a chance to support the local community while in Alice Springs by working with Alice Springs Town Council to erect a playground for the Kurrajong Area Residents Association.
Attending the Australian Convention was Tom Higgins, CEO of Best Western International. The leader of the world’s largest hotel chain addressed Australian property owners and managers outlining the global development strategy that identified Australia as a key gateway to the hotel brand’s continued success and growth.
Mr. Higgins informed delegates that in total, Best Western plans to add more than 300 hotels around the globe within the next 12 months and Best Western Australia aims to contribute more than 50 properties, making up 17 per cent of the international hotel chain’s projected growth. Best Western also expects continued growth throughout Asia, Europe and North America.
The Convention also attracted a range of speakers from leading Australian businesses and industry organisations, including TTF Australia.
TTF Chief Executive and Best Western Australia Director, Christopher Brown presented the State of the Nation stating it was essential to convince people to get out and travel and not let the terrorists win. He reported that regional tourism provides over 200,000 jobs and tourism nationally provides jobs for over 500,000 people.
Also speaking Ric Leutwyler, Best Western International’s Vice President of e-commerce & Intermediary Marketing, discussed the dramatic growth of the Internet as an accommodation booking medium and how hotels can capitalise on this trend.
Keynote speaker Tom O’Toole, the Baker from Beechworth was inspirational while Bradley Beer from BMT & Assoc. demonstrated how to understand the hidden financial benefits of property depreciation, replacement cost estimates and how to achieve closer asset management. Mr Beer presented Kevin Lang, Best Western Elkira Motel, NT with a cheque for over $80,000 - the money he had saved through BMT.
Other presenters included Michael Ossipoff (Director Capability, Telstra), Glenn Dobson (Director of KONA Results Coaching), Andrew Denman (Strategic Relations Manager - American Express), Carey Ramm (CEO AEC Group) and Rae Phillips (MD, Inspire Success).
The Best Western Australia Awards for Excellence for 2002 were presented on the last night of the Convention.
“The Convention was very valuable, as new members to the chain the Convention really helped us gain an understanding of Best Western and the tools and services available, as well as providing us with some useful industry information and plenty of tips to build our business. The setting, especially the Dinner Under The Stars was breathtaking and we are looking forward to next years convention already,” said Andrew and Sandra Richman - Best Western Tall Trees Motel - Canberra.
Best Western is comprised of over 4,000 hotels, motels, resorts and apartments spread throughout 80 countries. In Australia, Best Western proudly offers an extensive range of approximately 250, 3 - 4 1/2 star motels, hotels, apartments and resorts.