Neville Graham, the managing director of international member services at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, has been with the company since 2006, so he's been there and been an integral part of the evolution of the brand—from a single brand to now six separate brands and a white-label option.
In his current role, Graham oversees hoteliers and owners relationships in various international regions and is currently focused on the current relaunch of the various Best Western brands for Spain and Portugal.
At the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum, October 16-18, at Portaventura, in Tarragona, Spain, Graham will be part of a discussion on new hospitality concepts and the future of hospitality in the Med.
1. What is Best Western’s position in the Mediterranean and what are your priorities for the year(s) to come?
Best Western currently has more than 4,000 hotels worldwide with more than 1,200 of these hotels located in Europe, many of which along the Mediterranean, from Tel Aviv in Israel to Granada in Spain. In recent years we expanded the Best Western brand portfolio to six separate brands—Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier, Executive Residency by Best Western, Vīb and BW Premier Collection—and have supplemented our offering even further with our newest white-label economy franchise options—Sure Hotel, Sure Plus Hotels and Sure Collection Hotels. So we have many options available for developers and owners who would like to partner with us. Our priority for the Mediterranean region in the years to come is to increase our footprint across the spectrum of our product offerings.
2. How do you think the hospitality market has changed in Europe and/or the Mediterranean in the last year? Which markets are most promising and which are less interesting now?
The major influences on the hospitality markets in Europe and the Mediterranean have been terrorism and Brexit. There have been as many winners and losers in the region as a result. On the flip side, many markets and destinations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, those seen as ‘safe’ destinations, have enjoyed record-breaking performance in the last 18-plus months.
MR&H RELATED: 5 questions with LMEY Investments' Marc Sontag and Equant Analytics' Thanos Papasavvas
More Best Western: Company likes Facebook
3. What travel trends have you identified as the most influential, and how are they affecting your company’s products?
We have developed our Vīb brand as a direct response to the growing importance of the millennial traveller. The brand is our new hip, chic, boutique concept, which we believe re-imagines the Best Western hotel experience for today’s traveller who is seeking innovation, technology and style with an authentic, local flavour offered at a great value. These are things that are enjoyed not only by millennial travellers. Through product and market research, observing market trends and listening and learning from our global network of hotel owners, executives and developers, Best Western developed a new boutique concept designed for today’s style-seeking, connected traveller.
4. What is the main message you would like to share with the audience at MR&H?
The main message is that we are open for business in the Mediterranean. We decided to become a patron sponsor of this year’s event to raise the profile of Best Western Hotels & Resorts with all of the key stakeholders in the region. As mentioned, we have a suite of six Best Western brands, plus our three Sure hotel brands, all of which can work for developers and hotel owners alike to deliver revenue at a low cost, with a contract that requires significantly less risk for the owner in terms of length—just five years.
5. What are you most looking forward to at the event?
The ability to network and talk face to face to attendees about what Best Western is all about; that, for me, is key.
The Mediterranean Resort and Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) is October 16 to 18 at Portaventura in Tarragona, Spain.