Ready to Shine: Best Western Prepares to Welcome its First Glo Hotel in Canada

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Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ boutique-inspired brands, Vib and Glo, have begun coming to market following their respective launches in 2014 and 2015. “It’s been a long time coming for us, so we’re excited about getting a few of these open,” says Ron Pohl, SVP and COO.

To date, Vib has celebrated its first hotel opening with the 2017 launch of Vib Antalya in Turkey, as well as its first North-American property, which opened mid-August in Springfield, Mo. Meanwhile, its suburban sister brand boasts several projects in various stages of construction.

Now, Canada’s first Glo property is set to launch in Kanata, Ont. in the coming weeks, with an opening date slated for late September/early October. And, if the timing is right, the hotel will not only be the brand’s first in Canada, but in North America as well. “There are several races going on with this [brand]. Aside from the Kanata property, we have one in DeSoto, Texas; Ashville, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Brooklyn, N.Y. [which] are all looking at opening in that September/October timeframe and are having a playful challenge with each other to see who can get open first,” explains Pohl.

Glo Kanata Ottawa West will feature signature brand design elements, including a glowing blue exterior “blade” — which extends into the interior of the hotel as what Pohl describes as a “Lite-Brite wall” — and space-maximizing room layouts.

“Probably the most creative element of this hotel is the layout of the guestroom and the bathroom,” says Pohl. “What we’ve done is adjoin the bathrooms front-to-back, rather than side-to-side, so when you enter the guestroom it’s a big, open rectangular space — it’s not confined at the entranceway…By doing this centre-loaded bathroom and creating a more open field, we can take 10 feet off the actual size of the guestroom without the customer sensing that it is a smaller guest experience.”

The property follows the brand’s prototypical design, which Pohl characterizes as being unique within the mid-scale or upper-mid-scale segments, which often take a more cookie-cutter approach due to cost restraints. “[Glo] is a contemporized approach to the midscale and upper-midscale segment that isn’t offered to customers today,” he says. “It’s attractive to all segments of customers, it’s just a different product offering that is a step above the cookie-cutter approach that is typically out there.”

Development of Canada’s first Vib property is also underway in Calgary, with construction set to start in 2019 and an expected opening date in early 2020.

As Pohl notes, there are currently 32 Glo and 17 Vib hotels in Best Western’s North-American pipeline. Although Glo Kanata and the Vib in Calgary are currently the only Canadian projects in the pipeline for these brands, Pohl notes that there are several markets in Canada where the company would like to see Vib and Glo properties in the future. “This is just the beginning and [we’re] very focused on Canada,” he explains. “And, we’ve added additional development folks (east coast and west coast) in Canada to support the growth of these brands.” Pohl points to Toronto and Vancouver’s downtown cores as prime locations for future Vib properties and lists airport markets, Edmonton and suburbs of Toronto as areas where the Glo product would perform well.

“As we work with developers, they’re very excited to see the product open [in Kanata] and we know that there will be a lot of additional opportunities in Canada for this product,” Pohl adds.

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