|Headquarters||Phoenix, United States|
|Number of locations||4,000+ (Worldwide)|
|Revenue||US$206 million (2006)|
|Operating income||– US$5 million (2004)|
|Net income||– US$3.5 million (2004)|
|Total assets||US$70 million (2004)|
|Total equity||US$15 million (2004)|
|References: Data from Hoover's factsheet|
Best Western International, Inc., operator of the Best Western Hotel brand, is the world's largest hotel chain, with over 4,195 hotels in over 100 countries. The chain, with its corporate headquarters in Phoenix, operates more than 2,000 hotels in North America alone. Best Western has a marketing program involving placement of free Wi-Fi access hotspots in its hotels.
Since 2002, Best Western International has begun creating an upscale brand for some properties located in Europe and Asia: Best Western Premier. By 2011, the chain's branding was modified; the basic Best Western name is now complemented by Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier properties offering progressively improved dining, recreation, and room guarantees. The hotel descriptor categories are now used by Best Western hotels around the world. Since it no longer operated under a single brand, Best Western concurrently modified its slogan in 2011 from "the world's largest hotel chain" to "the world's largest hotel family."
Unlike other chains, which are often a mix of company-owned and franchised units, each Best Western hotel is an independently owned and operated franchise. Best Western does not offer franchises in the traditional sense where both the franchisee and franchisor are operating for profit. Instead, Best Western operates as a nonprofit membership association, with each franchisee acting and voting as a member of the association in the manner of a marketing co-operative.
In 1964, Best Western took the first step towards global expansion when Canadian hotel owners joined the system. Best Western then expanded to Mexico, Australia and New Zealand in 1976. Best Western continued to expand throughout the world and is now one of the fastest growing hotel brands in the Middle East and Asia.
In the 1980s, it featured an advertising jingle similar to that of Empire Today's "800-588-2300" jingle, sung as "1-800-528-1234, Best Western!".
Best Western charges a rate that is based on an initial cost plus a fee for each additional room. Best Western also publishes a list of standards that each hotel needs to maintain.
The hotels are allowed to keep their independent identity. Though they must use Best Western signage and identify themselves as a Best Western hotel, the hotels are allowed the option of using their own independent name as part of their identity (for example Best Western Adobe Inn).
In the US, the properties can either be traditional roadside motels, motor inns, or full-service hotels. There are also many smaller "mini-chains" that are owned by the same management within Best Western; for example at one time the Best Western Midway Hotels found in the Midwestern United States. Outside the United States, the properties are mainly hotels. More than 90 percent of Best Western hotels in Europe have three or four-star ratings.
Best Western began in the years following World War II. At the time, most hotels were either large urban properties, or smaller family owned roadside hotels. In California, a network of independent hotel operators began making referrals of each other to travelers. This small and informal network eventually grew into the modern Best Western hotel chain founded by M.K. Guertin in 1946.
The name "Best Western" was a result of most of their properties originally being in the United States west of the Mississippi River. From 1946 to 1964, Best Western had a marketing partnership with Quality Courts, the forerunner of the chain known today as Quality Inns, whose properties were located mostly east of the Mississippi River, not in direct competition with Best Western. This partnership made sense geographically, but was not successful in the long run, and was abandoned. In 1964, Best Western launched an expansion effort of its own operations east of the Mississippi using the moniker "Best Eastern" for those properties with the same typestyle and Gold Crown logo as "Best Western." By 1967, the "Best Eastern" name was dropped and all motels from coast-to-coast got the "Best Western" name and Gold Crown, a move that would further enhance an already successful marketing brand into the "World's Largest Hotel Chain" by the 1970s.
Best Western's "Gold Crown" logo was introduced in 1964 and would continue with a few minor revisions over the next 32 years until it was replaced by the current blue and yellow logo in 1996.
Best Western used to call itself a cooperative membership association, and as such could be seen as a co-op. Around 1985, it abandoned the "cooperative" terminology after courts insisted on calling it a franchisor despite its nonprofit status. The most dramatic example of this was Quist v. Best Western Int'l, Inc., 354 N.W.2d 656 (N.D. 1984), in which the North Dakota Supreme Court decided that Best Western was a franchisor and had to comply with the appropriate laws and regulations.
Best Western UK
Best Western UK began in 1978 when Interchange Hotels of the United Kingdom consisting of independent hoteliers from key locations in the UK elected to trade under the brand name Best Western United Kingdom, effectively an affiliate of Best Western International in the US. Now there are around 280 Best Western hotels within the United Kingdom.
Best Western Australia and New Zealand
In 1981, Homestead Motor Inns of Australia affiliated with Best Western. This move put 'International' after the Best Western name. The company has since been known as Best Western International.
In early 2007, Best Western Australia took over the rights to operate Best Western properties in New Zealand from the previous company, the Motel Federation of New Zealand. This was a bold but beneficial move for the brand as it made way for better quality properties to be brought into the brand. Currently, Best Western Australia has 205 properties in the group (11 in New Zealand and 194 in Australia).
Best Western Burma
As of 21 May 2013, Best Western International has announced that it will take over management of the Green Hill Hotel in Yangon, Burma. The acquisition will give the hotel Best Western's brand name and place presence in Burma as Best Western's first hotel establishment in the country.
- "David Kong". Best Western. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- MKG Worldwide Hotel Brand Ranking Retrieved on March 2010, eHotelier
- "Contact Us." Best Western. Retrieved on February 21, 2010.
- "Quist v. Best Western International, Inc., 354 N.W.2d 656 (N.D. 1984)". North Dakota Supreme Court. 1984-07-18. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Calderon, Justin (24 May 2013). "Best Western opens first Myanmar hotel". Inside Investor. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "Best Western to open its first hotel in Burma". USA Today. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
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