Best Western Hotels and Resorts is a global hotel chain of 4,200 hotels, each one independently owned and run
Travel & Leisure, Hotel
Best Western Hotels and Resorts is a hotel chain that originated in America and subsequently spread around the world. The company has over 4,200 hotels worldwide, each one independently owned and run.
While proud of its individuality, Best Western hotels share some things: strict quality checks to make sure its hotels meet the standards expected of them; being aware of its surroundings, whether that is the local community or the local environment; fair value pricing and avoiding fictitious promotions that boast of big discounts that don’t exist; and making sure customers enjoy their stay, even if it is for a not-so-fun business meeting.
Best Western operates under a variety of brands including Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier, Best Western Signature, Vibe, Executive Residency, Glow, Sure Hotel, Sure Hotel Plus, and Sure Hotel Collection.
In 2017, Best Western was awarded the highest number of TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, with 122 of its 257 properties in the UK receiving the award based on quantity and quality of service.
Best Western International, the parent company that runs UK-based Best Western GB, was originally founded in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1946 by Merile K. Guertin, a Texan farmer who moved to California to market hotels owned by his sister before buying a number of motor courts and, in 1938, his first motel.
In 1946, Guertin launched an association of independently-owned hotels after making notes on his travels about motels that were only a tank of gas apart and issuing a guide for the increasing numbers of interstate travellers. Guertin began recruiting hoteliers who would recommend each other’s motels. In order to join, the owners had to adhere to the association’s high standards of quality and service.
Over time, the association grew into The Best Western Motels - the name was chosen because most of the early hotels were west of the Mississippi. By 1963, Best Western became the largest motel chain in North America, and established Best Eastern, although that name was dropped within a few years.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Best Western began expanding globally and this inspired a group of hoteliers in the UK who began working together in 1967 under the name Interchange Hotels of Great Britain, jointly marketing their hotels to maximise their budgets and increase sales. In 1978, they became affiliated with Best Western International. Today they have over 260 hotels in the UK.
Tim Rumney, whose career has included 20 years managing the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, has been the chairman of Interchange and Consort Hotels since 2009, the two companies having merged in 1999. Interchange and Consort Hotels is now the parent company of Best Western GB and Beacon Purchasing, a major consortium of purchasers for the hospitality sector. Rob Paterson was named CEO of Best Western GB in December 2017.
Best Western states that every one of its hotels is unique and has its own personality, offering customers a vast range of choices, from coaching inns to castles, modern or listed buildings, and mountain views or sea views. Best Western allows its franchisees to operate their business the way they want to, as long as they live up to the commitment to quality, value, and standards of service that remains the same across the whole brand.
Best Western caters for over 400,000 hotel guests every night and can help franchisees tap into a global loyalty programme with over 38 million members. With the advantage of having Best Western take care of their distribution platform—providing sales, marketing, and revenue management services to ensure maximum global exposure and optimised performance — and 24-hour customer reservation centres worldwide, franchisees can enjoy an average ROI of 10:1.
Joining Best Western also gives franchisees access to its award-winning worldwide reservation platform with access to a global distribution system (GDS), global consortia programmes, major online travel agency (OTA) partnerships, wholesale and affiliate marketing databases. They also gain access to Beacon, Britain’s leading hospitality purchasing organisation.
The cost of a Best Western franchise is relatively low at £47,000, while the total minimum investment amounts to around £420,000, with a reservation cost of £225,000. This is generally a third or half the cost of other major hotel chain franchise fees.
Best Western also offers competitive marketing and technology fees and a fee structure that allows franchisees to retain more of their revenue.
As franchises have a better than average chance of succeeding, most major banks are willing to loan up to 70 per cent of a franchisee’s costs, depending on their financial history. Most major banks will have a local franchise manager or a specialist franchising unit where you can discuss raising finance.
Best Western offers a full complement of training opportunities, including an owner orientation programme, general manager professional development series, instructor-led regional workshops about hotel management, operations, sales, marketing, revenue management, guest satisfaction, customer loyalty and more.
Best Western also has a website with educational content and partnerships with a number of industry educational institutions that can offer valuable learning opportunities.
Best Western advertises nationally to increase brand awareness and is in partnerships with a number of high-profile organisations to extend its marketing reach. It has an experienced marketing team that can help with local campaigns and partnerships.
Hotel franchises are generally considered one of the most profitable types of franchise on the market. A recent Knight Frank study reported that while 2018 saw slower growth, the number of rooms opening in the hotel sector has not slowed, and the stronger global economy, along with the competitive value of the pound, have continued to provide a boost to inbound tourism.
Although start-up costs are often substantial, there is potential for impressive turnover figures in seven figures and investing in a recognised and trusted hotel brand can benefit the franchise greatly.
Because Best Western hotels are independently owned and operated they can be sold when the owner retires or decides to move on from what can be a very demanding business. However, established, profitable hotels should not be expected to come onto the market often or cheaply. For example, a three-star hotel in Ayrshire that was part of the Best Western chain was offered for sale at an asking price of £2.2 million, while a four-star hotel in Lockerbie was asking for offers in excess of £2.3 million.
The total combined turnover of the UK’s hospitality sector surpassed £100bn in 2018, according to the Office of National Statistics - a rapid rise from £86bn in 2015 and showing a consistent growth of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent year-on-year.
The hospitality sector is the third largest employer in the UK (behind wholesale/retail trade and health/social work), with over 2.3 million employees, making it the third fastest growing sector for employment, jumping 21 per cent since 2013.
Part of this growth has been driven by the “staycation”, with more than a third of British adults choosing to holiday closer to home in 2017, according to a Barclays report on growth in the UK hospitality and leisure sector.
The first step on the path to joining Best Western as a franchisee is to contact the company. To find out more, or to request further information on franchising with Best Western, click on the ‘Send Enquiry’ button now.
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