PHOENIX — BWH Hotel Group has announced that David Kong, the industry’s longest-running president and CEO, will be retiring at the end of 2021. Kong joined Best Western Hotels & Resorts in 2001 and three years later was named CEO.
Kong led the growth of the BWH Hotel Group from one to 18 brands, setting successive records of RevPAR growth from 103 in 2004 to 112.4 in 2021 and maintaining the highest guest- and hotel-satisfaction ratings.
“This industry has empowered me to dream boldly about the future and to pursue those dreams without hesitation. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by exceptional teams throughout my career and through sheer passion and dedication, we have chased bold dreams and achieved what many might have considered impossible,” says Kong. “I feel very fortunate to have played a role in building BWH Hotel Group into the brand it is today. I have always wanted to move on at my peak. With our caring culture, our extraordinary hoteliers, executive team and corporate staff, I have no doubt the best is yet to come for BWH Hotel Group.”
“David brought a sense of family to life at Best Western,” says Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “Everyone affiliated with Best Western has a similar family feel and I think David did a great job of nurturing that even as he was navigating and leading a very significant transformation for the company.”
“What he has been able to do with Best Western is really create the consistency of the highest level of performance,” says Chip Rogers, president and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association. “David has created an environment at Best Western that encourages its owners to be their best and to create the best products.”
“David not only led the company through its most devastating time yet, but he inspired hope, encouraged those around him to not be defined by their hardships, and showed others the light inside each of them to continue fighting and enduring,” says Ishwar Naran, Board Chairman, BWH Hotel Group. “Throughout the darkness of the pandemic, David led with caring, empathy and a steadfast resolve to overcome. He set an example of leadership through crisis that will be remembered for generations to come.”