Best Western enters Phuket resort market
PHUKET: Two Phuket resorts will soon join the Best Western international hotel network of some 4,100 properties worldwide, in a rebranding and marketing scheme being finalized this month. The first property, the 180-room Phuket Ocean Resort at Karon Beach, will be rebranded as the Best Western Phuket Ocean Resort. The second property is a new 199-room property on Bang Tao Beach, scheduled to open October 1, which is expected to operate under the name Best Western Premier Bang Tao Resort and Spa. Best Western Hotels has signed Memorandums of Understanding with both property owners and expects to finalize the agreements next week. Under the agreements, the two hotels will be marketed under the Best Western line of hotels. Visiting Best Western International Service Support Manager Songkran Kowinwipat told the Gazette that Best Western’s sales and marketing clout was attractive to Thai hotel owners wishing to improve their marketing globally while retaining management control of their properties. “Thai hotel owners have built up these hotels from scratch, so they have an excellent knowledge of them,” he said. “Many would like the type of sales and marketing that international hotel chains have, but are reluctant to have foreigners as general managers. “Foreign GMs are often only on two-year contracts, which sometimes makes them take a rather short-term approach to operations. This doesn’t appeal to Thai hotel owners who are in it for the long haul. “At Best Western, we don’t install foreign GMs, but instead leave management control in local hands. But we do have a strict set of minimum standards that need to be maintained for a hotel to continue carrying the Best Western brand name. This type of arrangement is particularly attractive to many Thai hotel owners.” K. Songkran also revealed that he will be traveling to the Khao Lak region of Phang Nga this weekend to seek similar agreements with hotels operating there. In addition, Best Western is looking at upscale properties on Koh Samui and in Chiang Mai. The chain, whose flagship in Thailand is the 406-room Best Western Fortune Hotel in Bangkok, opened a regional office in the capital just two years ago. The group, which bills itself as “the world’s largest hotel chain”, has seven luxury properties in China and six in South Korea. The group’s ambitious expansion plans in Asia include having 100 properties in China by 2006.
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