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Thomas Higgins: President and CEO of BWI

The Board of Directors at Best Western International, THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN® has appointed Thomas W. Higgins as the hotel chain’s new president and chief executive officer.

Higgins, a 30-year lodging and travel industry veteran with extensive operations, marketing and business development experience, comes to Best Western from Days Inn Worldwide, where he most recently served as president and CEO. Days Inn is a division of Cendant Corporation.

Before he joined Days Inn, Higgins was with Sun Country Airlines, Minneapolis, one of the nation’s largest air charter companies where he held the position of chief people officer. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of LaQuinta Inns, Inc., San Antonio, where he developed improved property management, pricing and marketing strategies. He also had oversight for the nationwide renovation of more than 225 LaQuinta Inns. Higgins has also held executive positions with Motel 6 and General Mills’ restaurant division.

“Tom is a dynamic leader with a proven track record. He has a solid hotel background that includes travel industry experience which will be of great benefit to both our brand and our members as we move forward,” said Ken Smotherman, Best Western board chairman. “During our extensive nationwide search we narrowed the list to a dozen extremely qualified and very talented individuals, but Tom was the board’s unanimous choice. We are delighted to have him on the team,” he added.

“Best Western is a solid and highly-regarded brand that has always been a formidable competitor among the other mid-market hotel chains,” said Higgins. “Initially my charge is to learn as much as I can from both the management team and our Best Western members. There are a lot of things this brand has done very well over the years and it’s truly a privilege to be a part of this great global hotel chain,” he adds.


Best Western is THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN® with more than 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels in over 80 countries and territories. It is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its members.