HONOLULU — The team at Phoenix-based Best Western has been working on a logo refresh for the past two years, which they premiered — along with a new mid-scale concept — to nearly 2,000 attendees at the 2015 Best Western Convention held in Honolulu last week.
“We need a new logo to signal to our consumers that something’s different,” began David Kong, president and CEO of the portfolio of brands that include Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier, Best Western Plus Executive Residency and Vib. “Our logo has served us well but it doesn’t represent who we are today.” The new logos, which sport a 3-D feel with hand-drawn lettering and centerpiece globe, will be rolled out with new signage early next summer. In addition, the company name will become Best Western Hotels & Resorts to reflect the diversified portfolio of brands.
The team also premiered a mid-scale concept called GLō — a new-build hotel offering a boutique experience in secondary markets. Other prototypes in the mid-scale segment “tend to be cookie-cutters. Some may even say they are boring. There is an opportunity here,” said Kong. “What’s interesting is nobody has an affordable boutique concept in the mid-scale segment. We believe there is a huge market for a fresh and hip concept for the broad mid-scale segment.”
True to its name, the hotel “glows” with LED lighting and a Light Brite wall and even showerheads with built-in LED lights. A multi-use lobby flows into an integrated breakfast area that can be transformed into additional lobby space when needed. The prototype features a cost-effective floor plan where guestroom baths are centre-loaded, saving 40 to 50 square feet in construction costs; the average queen-sized room is 287 square feet and averages $65,000 per key.
Best Western’s also ready to premiere its next generation of mobile apps and an entirely new website. “With our new mobile website and apps we have built simple, seamless online experiences designed to increase bookings, create guest loyalty and set expectations for an exceptional guest experience,” said Dorothy Dowling, SVP of Marketing and Sales. “With our mobile-first mindset we are reinventing our guests’ mobile experience from top to bottom and providing a state-of-the-art platform to connect with Best Western.” The new mobile site will optimize the display and content based on the size of the device, while an integrated GPS will highlight nearby attractions. Dowling also revealed that Best Western recently inked a deal for distribution on booking.com and will be a sponsor of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Meanwhile, innovations in training will help new employees learn Best Western’s customer-service standards. SVP of Brand Management Ron Pohl demonstrated a new virtual customer interaction technology with facial recognition, which lets trainees practice their customer-service skills in a simulation environment so they can be ready to greet guests.
Stay tuned for an expanded conference report in the upcoming issue of Hotelier magazine.