Asia and the Middle East will drive Best Western’s global growth in the coming years, with a multi-brand expansion strategy already in full swing.
Speaking to Travel Daily at ITB Asia last week, Best Western Internationals Vice President International Operations for Asia & Middle East, Glenn de Souza (pictured) revealed that the company’s regional portfolio will increase from 178 to more than 200 hotels by mid-2012. While this is still far fewer than the company’s 2,000+ properties currently operating in North America, the growth rate is much faster. In addition, products being offered in the Asian region will differ from the traditional franchised Best Western hotels in the US and Europe.
“Asia and the Middle East will be our strongest region in the next five years,” de Souza told Travel Daily. “We will be focusing on developing our high-end Premier products, as well as the new Best Western Plus which we launched earlier this year. Our hotels will be larger, with an average of 180 rooms compared with just 70 in the US and Europe. We’ll also be reclassifying some of our hotels in line with our new branding strategy.”
De Souza added that Best Western was planning to become more of a management company in Asia, moving away from the franchise model that formed the basis of the company’s growth in the past.
In the East Asian region, de Souza confirmed that Thailand was a key area of expansion for the Plus and Premier brands, with four new properties underway in Bangkok, all of which will open before the end of 2012. In Indonesia, the company is developing 11 new hotels, including a 150-pool villa resort in Bali, while in Malaysia the company is looking at developing a Best Western Premier in Kuala Lumpur, as well as two properties in Melaka and one in Ipoh.
In total Best Western has a pipeline of more than 11,600 hotel rooms in Asia and the Middle East. This comprises 810 rooms in China, 199 in Japan, 340 in South Korea, 1,757 in Indonesia, 538 in the Philippines, 1,028 in Malaysia, 605 in Thailand, 200 in Vietnam, 2,122 in Bangladesh, 120 in Sri Lanka, 1,485 in India, 1,419 in Saudi Arabia, 250 in Bahrain, 96 in Kuwait, 432 in Oman and 232 in Iraq.