Best Western Hotels & Resorts revealed SureStay Hotels—a new "white label" franchise model for the hotel industry. SureStay will operate as a separate subsidiary while plugging hotel owners into the company’s infrastructure and distribution channels.
With three brands—SureStay Hotel (economy), SureStay Plus Hotel (lower midscale) and SureStay Signature Collection (midscale soft brand)—Best Western aims to provide options in the marketplace for franchisees who are disillusioned by a lack of variation in contracts.
“In North America, there are currently 17,000 branded hotels, and another 12,000 unbranded, in the economy and midscale segments. The white label approach allows Best Western to tap into this tremendous potential without compromising its brand image,” said David Kong, president & CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “Currently, many of these hotels have little to no consumer relevance. Their brands have very little potential to drive superior revenue, and the owners are incurring high franchise fees from brands that don’t provide the necessary support, service or value.”
SureStay was developed under the AAHOA Fair Franchising Principles, granting owners early termination provisions with no liquidated damages, allowing them to have a voice through advisory committees and allowing procurement outside of brand channels. All three brands will be marketed under the SureStay umbrella, with no consumer reference to Best Western Hotels & Resorts. This will allow Best Western to leverage its existing infrastructure while creating a new revenue stream, tapping into the vast opportunities that exist today in the economy space, without compromising the company’s established position in its current segments.
SureStay hotels will have access to Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ preferred OTA commission rates, its scale and global distribution, desktop and mobile websites and 70 years of industry expertise. Owners will be provided a cloud-based PMS and benefit from a robust digital platform featuring Google 360 virtual reality tours and enhanced SEO and SEM support. The hotels will receive individualized corporate consulting to help manage reviews and social media platforms and property-level sales coaching. In addition, they will receive the support of a global sales team focused on commercial and leisure clients.
To qualify for SureStay, hotels will need to achieve and maintain a TripAdvisor score of 3.5 or higher. They will also need to adhere to the SureStay Service Promise.
“With SureStay, we are seeking to create a core group of hotels that will differentiate themselves from others in the market, focusing on delivering high quality and outstanding service,” Kong said. “There is no PIP for SureStay hotels. Rather, we are working to create consumer relevance and confidence through unprecedented quality and care. We believe this will really resonate with consumers in these segments.”
We’re throwing a Smilebration to celebrate 70 years of hospitality. Look for games/promos thru Nov & help celebrate! pic.twitter.com/AQfwPbXi4y— Best Western (@BestWestern) September 11, 2016
The first 100 hotels to join SureStay will receive incentives including waived royalty fees for five years, a regional manager to kick-start their sales-and-marketing efforts and hotel-level training support. Additionally, 100 percent of the marketing and technology fee (5 percent) will be re-invested to help hotels succeed.
SureStay opens up a migration path for Best Western hotels who do not wish to pursue its design program. Nearly 20 SureStay letters of intent have already been signed since a soft launch to Best Western members earlier this month. Initial projections for SureStay’s growth have 150 hotels online within three years and 800 by 2026.
“We believe SureStay creates a win-win-win situation – the consumers win through superior customer care, the hotels win through superior ROI and the brand wins through a new revenue stream,” Kong said. “Best Western members are firmly behind this concept as they understand the benefits and potential of this strategy. We are gratified by the warm reception and excitement surrounding SureStay, and feel we are off to a tremendous start.”