Branding made simple

If you are an independent accommodation property owner that is thinking of becoming a member of a well-known brand you will know that it is not an easy decision to come to.

You have almost driven yourself crazy asking questions about each and every franchise or accommodation industry membership opportunity that you think might be suitable for you and your accommodation property. You have asked yourself what to do and what not to do; asked how to attract a more consistent flow of guests to your business; how to make your hotel irresistible for your guests while making financial savings; how to stand out in a competitive market; and how to effectively market online.

But will joining a brand actually improve your business?

Best Western Logo
amg43-MKG-Branding-BW-HerveyBay Quarterdecks
The Best Western Plus Quarterdecks Retreat in Hervey Bay
amg43-MKG-Branding-BW-115 Grill and Brewhouse
Best Western Premier Hotel 115 Kew, Melbourne

We asked Barry Fleischmann of Best Western Australia to clarify whether becoming a Best Western member truly offers the promise of a warm, friendly partnership and what value or benefit there is for an independent owner.

Best Western Australasia is part of Best Western International, the world’s largest hotel family with over 4000 hotels in 80 countries worldwide. Every night approximately 400,000 guests sleep in a Best Western hotel, equating to over 145 million guests annually. Today there are more than 200 Best Western hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Mr Fleischmann says that for a start, “Joining Best Western brings your property into the world’s largest hotel family while maintaining its local appeal and individual expression. You would benefit from a built-in loyal customer base and tap into long-standing national accounts. You would be able to access new markets domestically and internationally, and you would receive operational support to grow and maximise your profitability.”

What makes Best Western so unique beyond its strength and size? We suggest that because they are a private membership organisation and not a publicly traded company, their focus is entirely on taking care of their members rather than the demands of third-party investors. Their properties range from 3½ to five stars: hotels, motels, apartments and resorts are each independently owned and managed, while meeting worldwide standards of quality, service and value.

As an independent operator considering a branding decision, you must deem that finding an organisation that understands your needs and is able to smoothly integrate your property into their system, while maximising a return, is of vital importance. At Best Western they tailor their approach to each situation, and they work to ensure that the ultimate benefits of being part of their global brand are maximised.

Becoming a Best Western member seems to ensure that you retain your independence but gain the advantages that come with being a member of a global brand. The benefits include: increased consumer awareness that follows international brand recognition as well as the specialised industry knowledge and training offered in-brand, which alone is guaranteed to improve your business practices.

Bear in mind the budget power of pooling with other property owners for services that you cannot afford, and the reduction in overheads by taking advantage of Best Western. The reassurance that, as a non-profit making company, Best Western invests all profits back into its members and not external shareholders. Furthermore, the on-call expertise, advice and support that you will have on tap from a team of committed professionals who will encourage you to achieve higher standards and identify areas of improvement is priceless.

Best Western also provides state-of-the-art technology solutions and key local market intelligence for their members. Additionally, they offer one-on-one revenue management services aimed at increasing the average rate and occupancy to uncover a world of new bookings.

According to Mr Fleischmann, Best Western is “entering the most exciting phase our organisation has ever seen!”

“After taking five years to significantly elevate the standards of our entire brand, we have created a new Best Western. Our improved quality assurance program is now among the most consistent in the industry, aiming to be the hospitality leader in Australia and throughout the world. These changes are the reason our guest satisfaction scores have more than doubled and why the bookings delivered through Best Western channels are up nearly 200%.”

This mounting success was corroborated by independent research by firms such as BDRC who have analysed every major hotel brand in Australia. The evidence shows that Best Western is continually improving in both corporate and leisure industry rankings. Additionally, the recent creation of the Plus and Premier designations help consumers identify their upscale properties.

According to Mr Fleischmann, “These categories are lifting the image of the brand and forging a new direction in growth. The Best Western Plus Quarterdecks Retreat in Hervey Bay, Queensland is an example of our Plus category while the Best Western Premier Hotel 115 Kew, Melbourne is an example of our full-service Premier category. Moreover, the commitment by all our members to deliver caring guest service is ensuring a very bright future for Best Western.”

So perhaps you like what you see here? Perhaps like a bolt from the blue it is love at first sight? Or the idea has grown on you over time? Like any new relationship you need to take time to get to know the brand. Like dating, you need to spend time together and ensure that the attraction is mutual, has depth and potential longevity.

Consider this business relationship as you would a marriage: it needs to be built on open and honest communication.

Main Image: Barry Fleischmann

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