Feb. 21, 2002–Best Western, The World's Largest Hotel Chain(TM), has developed aggressive expansion initiatives for the 2002 fiscal year.
The company's development team is focusing on key international gateways and 35 North American cities that are underserved by Best Western. In total, the hotel chain plans to add more than 300 hotels around the globe.
Last year, the Best Western flag flew for the first time in Hong Kong, South Korea and Yugoslavia. In 2002, the international team heading Best Western's development labors will continue to seek new areas of representation and will continue to focus attention on Asia, South America, the South Pacific and Western Europe.
Targeted additions will be led by Australia, where Best Western officials hope to bring in 30 new Best Westerns, 22 in South America, followed by France with 20, 15 in Great Britain, 14 in Asia and 10 each in New Zealand and Germany. In all, Best Western officials anticipate adding 189 international locations.
Despite the slowdown in the hospitality industry worldwide, we believe Best Western is well positioned as a strong value brand in the development market, said Suzi MacDonald, vice president of International Operations. This year we are optimistic that we will continue to add significant hotels, with unique offerings in key gateways and popular destinations around the globe.
One such destination is a 285-room conversion property located in Xiamen in Southeast China, said MacDonald. We are also looking at adding a 295-room, new construction hotel in Beijing this October.
In North America, development numbers have been consistent year-over-year with the overall goal of signing new Best Westerns in markets where the brand has been traditionally underrepresented. The development team has attracted more high-profile properties that are scheduled to open this year.
Some of the hotels scheduled to open this year include:
— Best Western Hospitality House, New York, N.Y.; 35 two- and three-room all-suite hotel.
— Best Western Thunderbird, North Miami Beach, Fla.; 180-room, full-service, beachside hotel.
— Best Western South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.; 138-room hotel.
— Best Western Hotel Chateau Bleau, Coral Gables, Fla.; 118-room, full-service hotel.
— Best Western IPG Florida Homes, Orlando, Fla.; 100 single-family homes, each with its own pool, located near Walt Disney World, designed as an extended-stay product.
— Best Western The Westshore Hotel, Tampa, Fla.; 237-room, full-service hotel near Tampa Airport.
— Best Western Polaris Suites, Columbus, Ohio; 70-room, newly constructed, all-suite hotel.
— Best Western Chateauneuf Laval, Montreal, Quebec; 70-room, full-service hotel.
— Best Western Charter House Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba; 91-room, full-service hotel in downtown Winnipeg.
In total, the North American team plans to sign 155 new Best Western hotels. Plans call for 30 percent of all projects to be new construction and the remaining 70 percent will be conversions.
With the start of a new year and economic and travel forecasters predicting the beginning of a recovery, we are forging ahead with our plans, said Mark Williams, vice president of North American Development for Best Western International. We are planning to increase the number of North American additions by about 20 percent over last year.
Best Western International is the world's largest hotel chain. As of its fourth fiscal quarter ending Nov. 30, the company had 4,053 hotels in 80 countries and territories. Best Western is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its members.