Friday October 12th, 2012 - 6:15AM
LAS VEGAS–Part of the optimistic forecast presented at the Best Western International Annual Convention & Global Conference here was news that the membership association's pipeline has reached the 300-property mark.
The conference drew 2,500 owners as well as hundreds of managers and corporate staff to the Venetian Resort & Casino for the three day meeting. Of the 300 hotels in the pipeline, 81 are in Asia, not surprising, given all the economic activity in that region, pointed out president & CEO David Kong. Best Western's growth has always been a mix of conversions and new construction. Seventy percent of the activity in North America is conversions. Similarly in Europe, almost all the activity is conversions. By contrast, in Asia and Canada, where financing is more readily available, most of the growth is in new construction. Looking to the short-term future, Kong said he sees financing starting to open up in the U.S. as well.
Phoenix-based Best Western currently has a portfolio of 4,200 hotels worldwide with 2,030 in the U.S. The portfolio is divided among three descriptors: Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier.