Published on August 18, 2007
In Thailand, the US-based company will launch a new hotel brand by the middle of next year aimed at the three-star segment, while moving up its two existing brands - Best Western to four stars and Best Western Premier to four-and-a-half to five stars.
The three-tier system aims to strengthen the company's market position and its ability to serve prospective customers in all major segments.
Glenn de Souza, vice president for Asian operations, said the hotel operator would focus on Asia with the strong ambition to increase its hotels from the current 106 with 20,000 rooms to about 200 with 50,000 rooms by 2010.
Best Western's 4,200-plus hotels in 80 countries around the world already attract more than 400,000 guests each night.
Thailand is one of the key locations in the region for the company's expansion plans, de Souza said.
"Starting our operation in Thailand six years ago, we want to increase our hotels here from 11 to about 18 by the end of this year and to 25 next year," he said.
About one-third of the Best Western hotels here are run by the company on five- to 10-year contracts, while about two-thirds of them are franchised.
In Asia, the company is increasing its hotels under management to about 50 per cent of the total.
David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International, said he wanted to make Best Western one of the best hotel brands in Asia by focusing on expanding its managed hotels in all major destinations, including Thailand, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.
"Best Western has an excellent growth rate in Asia. In 2006, the company's revenue from Asia was around US$1 billion [Bt34.7 billion], which is growth of about 18 per cent. We are also looking to expand into the Middle East in 2008," Kong said.
By early next year, Best Western will sign management contracts with 17 more hotels in Asia - 10 in Japan, four in Indonesia and three in Thailand. Those in the Kingdom are the Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi Airport, Best Western Premier Andaman Princess Resort & Spa, and Best Western Chiang Mai.
The Thai office has been promoted by Best Western as its headquarters for developing its brands in Asia, he said.
"Thailand enjoys a mature tourism industry with sustainable growth of 15 per cent year on year. The country is situated at the region's strategic location. The economic fundamentals in Thailand are quite stable," he added.
De Souza said the company expected to be managing about 15 hotels in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai and Kuwait, in three years.
It also targets managing 20 hotels in Indonesia, 13 in Malaysia and 20 in Japan in the same period.
The company has 32 hotels in China, of which it operates 18. It expects its managed hotels in China to increase to 60 by 2009.
It also has six hotel properties in India, which it targets increasing to 100 in 10 years.