BWH Hotels President and CEO, Larry Cuculic

In the 22nd edition of the HM Industry Leaders Forum, HM invited leading hoteliers, tourism professionals and suppliers across Asia Pacific and the world to their insights into the hotel landscape and their outlook for the year ahead.

Here, BWH Hotels President and Chief Executive Officer, Larry Cuculic, discusses embracing sustainability and promoting responsible travel.

More than ever, the hospitality industry exemplifies resilience, growth and purpose. At BWH Hotels, a steadfast, strategic approach to our brand and guest experience allowed us to adeptly navigate the global challenges of the last few years and celebrate a highly successful 2023. Now, we are bringing that mindset into 2024 and being especially intentional with our global impact as a leading hospitality group.

Regarding development, we are continuing to prioritise our international presence, driving a new era of growth in the Asia Pacific region with 16 hotels opening last year across Thailand, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, and Vietnam. We are also thoughtfully expanding our portfolio in other key destinations. Last year, we added properties in Africa, Europe and the Americas that deliver the trusted, exceptional service travelers have come to appreciate. It has been particularly exciting to watch the growth of WorldHotels as it enhances our global roster to include the luxury segment. Hotel Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain and Villa Fontaine Grand Haneda Airport in Tokyo are two recently opened properties that offer the standout hospitality for which WorldHotels is known.

We assessed where we could make the most impact internationally in 2024, and Latin America emerged as a focus. While BWH Hotels is a strong driver of development in the region, there is additional potential to maximize our portfolio and meet the increasing demand in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Peru, which are expected to see thousands of rooms added to their markets. We currently offer 76 properties within Latin America with 30 slated for development over the next two years. Aiden by Best Western will debut its first hotels in key areas of Latin America in 2024, including Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City, and Georgetown, Guyana. Travelers can also look forward to WorldHotels’ first property in Mexico, slated to open in Zapopan, Antares in Guadalajara in 2025.

While portfolio development provides numerous benefits, we recognise how essential it is for the hospitality industry to address worldwide challenges and establish sustainability practices to further support the communities we serve. In 2023, BWH Hotels created a new global sustainability initiative called “Because We Care”, which focuses on three important pillars: Earth, People and Community. We are celebrating the significant efforts our hotels are taking to embrace sustainability and promote responsible travel.

Further enhancing conservation efforts across North America, BWH Hotels partnered with Green Key Global, a leading sustainability certification organisation for the hotel industry, which will enable properties to take their sustainability efforts to new heights and implement a standardized program. In 2024, BWH Hotels will begin installing electric vehicle charging stations in collaboration with Tesla at select hotels in North America – with plans to expand internationally – for the added convenience to travelers and positive environmental impact.

BWH Hotels has a 77-year legacy of outstanding hospitality that will continue because of the thoughtful approach and dedication of our team, partners, and new and returning guests. We look forward to another successful year in this exciting, ever-evolving industry.