Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 20

Best Western's new frontier The SureStay opportunity will be a significant departure from Best Western's membership business model, in which members vote on decisions impacting the brand and the brand cannot implement significant changes without a majority vote. Instead of having a one- to four-year average contract with Best Western, SureStay owners will follow a traditional franchise model with a 15-year agreement and royalty payments. Royalties are being waived initially and other incentives will be offered. A HOTELIER WITH A KNACK FOR USING BEST WESTERN CLOUT TO GROW ITS BRAND Kong, who became CEO in 2004, has earned a brand-building reputation at Best Western by launching initiatives that resonated with travelers. Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier came to fruition under his stewardship and the former, especially, has blossomed after quickly taking root among the business traveler class. The company's board of directors cited his ability to grab market share three years ago when extending his contract until 2018. "David brings strategic thought, innovation and energy to Best Western each day, and he has helped us unlock the brand's potential," Board Chairman Julie Montmaneix said after Kong's contract was extended. "The membership is honored to have him at the helm of the Best Western brand." But it does appear that some of Kong's thinking has shifted regarding the economy brand. In 2012, during the muted recovery, he was asked whether he agreed with the analysis that the hotel business was moving to the have and havenot model: that guests would either be bargain hunters or want luxury, which could squeeze mid-priced chains such as Best Western. Kong, who was born in Hong Kong and started in the hotel industry as a busboy, noted in an interview with Travel Weekly that the mid-priced hotels had actually outperformed the luxury and upscale hotels in terms of profits and that Best Western was seeing double-digit growth. At the time, Best Western Plus, which had been launched in 2011, had already surpassed 850 hotels since plenty of Best Western hoteliers saw more potential profits in a slightly upper-scale market, and that market has continued to grow. There are more than 1,000 of the upper-midscale Best Western Plus hotels now, which have been rated as the best hotel for business travel by Business Travel News the last two years running. Kong credits the service, standards and support that the Plus version offers for its exponential growth. "We have some brand requirements, things like... toiletries, towel size and weight, sheets, bed cover," he said in the 2012 interview. "When people walk into a Best Western Plus, people know right away that this hotel offers more than the regular hotels." Now he hopes Best Western will be able to deliver the same type of success for hotels competing in the economic spectrum by offering SureStay proprietors muscular marketing and 20  | OCTOBER 2016 | TODAYSHOTELIER.COM advantageous fees and commissions while offering guests a quality-service bargain. THE HOTELIER: WHAT DOES SURESTAY DO FOR ME? First, however, Kong wanted to reassure existing members or those entrepreneurs seeking a Best Western membership that in no way would the SureStay chain diminish the value of the well-established brand. Instead, a critical aspect of Best Western's strategy is to offer SureStay as a "white label" brand - similar to what Del Monte does with its off-brand vegetables for Walmart - which the public will not associate with Best Western and its offerings of mid-level, upper-mid-level and premium hotel rooms, Kong said. For instance, the SureStay hotels will use a "copy" of Best Western's revenue engine, but there will be no combining of guest databases, and the Best Western brand will not be used for SureStay in consumer-facing channels such as bestwestern.com, Kong said. There will be no Best Western logo inside the hotels. "We did not want to risk compromising our reputation and brand image," he said. "We want to give our customers more options and more price point choices, but we didn't want to do it through the Best Western label." http://www.bestwestern.com http://www.TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - October 2016

Letter From the Chairman
Letter From the President & CEO
News Bytes
AAHOA Spotlight
Best Western’s New Frontier
Government Affairs
The Uneven Playing Field: Hotels & Airbnb
Finding Opportunity in the Old
Development & Renovation
Living Legends: Wisdom From Industry Trailblazers
Finance Q&A
The Latest Tech Tools for Hospitality
Guest Experience
AAHOA Events
AAHOA Founding Members
AAHOA Vendor Partners
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover1
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover2
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 3
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 4
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 5
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 6
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 7
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Letter From the Chairman
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 9
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Letter From the President & CEO
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 11
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - News Bytes
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 13
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Spotlight
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 15
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 16
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 17
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Best Western’s New Frontier
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 19
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 20
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 21
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 22
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 23
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Government Affairs
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 25
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 26
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 27
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 28
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 29
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - The Uneven Playing Field: Hotels & Airbnb
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 31
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 32
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 33
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 34
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 35
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Development & Renovation
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 37
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 38
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 39
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 40
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 41
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Living Legends: Wisdom From Industry Trailblazers
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 43
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 44
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 45
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 46
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 47
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 48
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 49
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Finance Q&A
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 51
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 52
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 53
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - The Latest Tech Tools for Hospitality
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 55
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 56
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 57
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Guest Experience
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 59
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 60
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 61
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Events
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 63
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Founding Members
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 65
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Vendor Partners
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 67
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 68
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 69
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 70
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 71
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 72
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 73
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 74
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 75
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 76
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Classifieds
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 78
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 79
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 80
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 81
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 82
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 83
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 84
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 85
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover3
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover4
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - outsert1
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - outsert2
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 91
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 92
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