Best Western is set to roll-out the company’s new budget white label brand called SureStay in Australasia.
The brand was unveiled by Best Western in the United States in September 2016 and is lauded as a “revolutionary new white label franchise model in the hotel industry, [which] will operate as a separate subsidiary while plugging hotel owners into the company’s infrastructure and distribution channels”.
Best Western Australasia Head of Commercial, Steve Richards, said the brand would be an affordable option for hoteliers and the response has already been positive.
“SureStay is a great option for hoteliers looking to target the economy traveller through Best Western without the higher costs of full membership,” he said.
The brand has seen rapid success in the United States, with at least 30 hotels approved to join the network in North America alongside one in Bangkok, Thailand, and current projections have 100 hotels set to open by the end of 2017.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiastic response we are receiving from hoteliers interested in opening a SureStay hotel,” said Best Western Hotels and Resorts President and Chief Executive Officer, David Kong.
“The introduction of SureStay has not only brought an innovative solution to franchisees in the economy and midscale segments, but with Best Western as its backbone and driving force, SureStay will play an integral role in shaping the future of hospitality.”
Under the SureStay umbrella in the United States, there are three distinctive brands – SureStay, SureStay Plus and SureStay Signature Collection – and at this stage, Best Western has not revealed with brands will be available in the Australasian market.
“With SureStay, we are seeking to create a core group of hotels that will differentiate themselves from others in the market, focusing on delivering high quality and outstanding service,” Kong said.
“We believe SureStay creates a win-win-win situation – the consumers win through superior customer care, the hotels win through superior ROI and the brand wins through a new revenue stream.
“Best Western members are firmly behind this concept as they understand the benefits and potential of this strategy. We are gratified by the warm reception and excitement surrounding SureStay, and feel we are off to a tremendous start.”
The launch of the new brand down under comes as the company reported a strong start to the year to March 31 in Australasia on the back of rapid international tourism growth combined with excellent corporate and government demand.
Richards said leading the charge were international guests buying BWA’s ‘Hotel Pass’, sales of which rose 35% over the previous year, the best for a decade. He said this result is “well ahead of the inbound market and down to the global strength of the Best Western brand, which is now in 100-plus countries”.
He attributed the brand’s success with international travellers to quality accommodation in key leisure markets, a softer Australian Dollar, a strong government tourism body and increased air capacity.
Richards said Best Western’s focus on the business market has also paid dividends with a 10% lift in corporate agency sales while Best Western Rewards (BWR) achieved 9% regional growth and increased guest loyalty.
He revealed BWR now has more than 30 million members globally.
“It’s been another huge year with lots going on at Best Western – we’ve broken revenue records, revamped our distribution technology network, overcome certain challenges and improved the overall quality of our properties,” Richards said.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard and together we have built a solid platform for future growth.”
Other performance highlights include the addition of seven new properties, including the first Best Western Plus in New Zealand, growing member revenue by 9%, the record-breaking Free Breakfast campaign and the ‘Not Just a Hotel’ brand refresh.
Growing the Australasian network, which currently numbers 125 properties, is a major priority and Richards says there are “more than 50 potential properties in the current pipeline”.
“We are looking at a mix of properties and are confident of adding a number of quality hotels to our network in the coming months.”
Upgrading technology also remains a high priority and Richards said the Australian operation will migrate to the global Bestwestern.com internet platform in a major operation planned for August.
This follows the transition of all local properties to a two-way reservation system over the past year – a move resulting in immediate growth and one that huge opportunities for leveraging data.
“There are many opportunities and the future looks bright,” Richards said.