Best Western and Sweden Hotels merge to compete against industry rivals

Best Western and the hotel lounge in Stockholm, Sweden

Best Western Hotels & Resorts has acquired Sweden Hotels, Scandinavia's largest hotel group. Together, the chains will manage a network of 135 hotels in Sweden and 180 hotels in Scandinavia under the new name, Best Western och Sweden Hotels.

According to Breaking Travel News, Best Western and Sweden Hotels are attempting to "create a stronger platform to drive industry development in terms of distribution, digitalization, customer relations and purchasing." As part of their strategy, the companies will collaborate to make privately owned and individual hotels more successful and to offer guests a more personal and local alternative.

“The acquisition of Sweden Hotels is a strategically important deal and a logical development for us,” Johan Kukacka, CEO of Best Western in Scandinavia said in a statement. “As Sweden’s largest hotel chain, we will be even better positioned to successfully develop the chain in the future, and to deliver even stronger results for our hotels.”

Through the merger, Sweden Hotels can utilize Best Western's digital program, distribution system and loyalty program. “The merger with Best Western means we are now able to provide the hotels with even better support in terms of distribution, marketing, purchasing and sales,” Jenny Bänsch Larsson, COB of Sweden Hotels, said.

In early March, Best Western CEO David Kong told Reuters that the company was looking into partnership, merger and acquisition deals to strengthen their competitiveness against quickly growing rivals, like Marriott International, which currently manages more than 6,000 properties in 122 countries. AccorHotels also saw significant growth in 2016 through its many partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. Through its acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts in July, Accor gained management of 230 new hotels and 120 new locations--at a rate of one new hotel opening every 36 hours. The company also partnered with Banyan Tree, Rixos, China's Huazhu Group,Mercure, Novotel and ibis and bought a stake in Germany's 25hours Hotels.

The company also expanded into the homestay market as well through its acquisition of onefinestay, Squarebreak, Travel Keys and 26 Brazil Hospitality Group hotels. Kong said that Best Western is also looking into alternative lodging, such as homestays similar to Airbnb. "Airbnb has 8 to 12 percent of the demand share. They are taking away business," Kong said.