Best Western
October 21st, 2013 | David Eisen

Google partnership, extended-stay update, highlight Best Western convention

21 Oct, 2013 By: David Eisen

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Best Western International's 2013 convention here drew a record number of members, approximately 2300, who shared in the convention's theme of "People Who Care." The member organization also broke news on its new partnership with Google and updated information on its extended-stay product offering.

Two-plus years into Best Western's descriptor program, David Kong, CEO of Best Western, who will be with the company for at least another five years, Best Western's chairman of the board Julie Montmaneix announced, said descriptors "enabled us to differentiate and command an even higher average rate and occupancy." He cited a 116.5 revenue per available room index versus the rest of the midscale segement and a 98.5 RevPAR idex versus upper midscale.

Kong also pointed to the importance of Best Western Rewards, Best Western's loyalty program. "There is nothing more important in the business than achieving customer loyalty," Kong said. "It protects against OTAs and competition."

Kong said that there will be 18 million reward members in North America by the end of year and that revenue from BW Rewards was over $1.3 billion, pr approximately $600,000 per hotel. "It's our most important marketing program," he added. "Members pay a higher rate and stay longer."

Dorothy Dowling, Best Western's SVP of marketing and sales, described Best Western's new partnership with Google, which is in beta testing right now and offer Google's street-view technology to hotels, where guests can see the properties in 360-degree views. Dowling said Google approached Best Western about a partnership. "People do business with people they know and like; it's the essence of sales," she said.

To be part of the program, member hotels would need to pay $900. "It's a leap to 3.0," Dowling said.

Meanwhile, news also broke on Best Western's still-in-development extended-stay product, which was initially introduced last year. However, it's been revamped, explained Ron Pohl, SVP brand management and member services.

"We decided to rework the design," Pohl said. Initially, owners would be able to have portions of their hotel be extended stay. Now, though, 100 percent of rooms must be extended stay. The product will be under the Plus descriptor, with a name still being worked on. Other rethinks include a more communal lobby space and neat design touches include a focus on outside landscaping.

From a cost standpoint, Pohl said the extended-stay product would be around $90,000 to $100,000 per key.

As of today, no extended-stay deals have been announced, but Pohl said there is widespread interest, and was talking with developers at convention.

Topic : Best Western International
External Source : Hotel Management

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