“We all recognise India as a potential market and a land of opportunities”

BWH (Best Western Hotels) is an iconic hotel brand that boasts over 70 years of legacy and experience. It comprises three hotel companies – WorldHotels, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, and SureStay Hotels. The global network has approximately 4,700 hotels in over 100 countries and territories worldwide. With 19 brands across every chain scale segment, from economy to luxury, BWH Hotel Group suits the needs of developers and guests in every market. In a freewheeling talk, Ron Pohl, who has been instrumental in repositioning existing offerings and launching new brands to diversify the company’s portfolio, highlighted the company’s growth and development plans.

How has the acquisition of WorldHotels made a difference?
The acquisition of WorldHotels in 2019 expanded the company’s global offerings and reach, adding brands in the upper upscale and luxury segments in key destinations. WorldHotels has more than 250 luxury independent hotels and resorts in its collection, across 175 global destinations. These hotels sit under one of four brand tiers: Luxury, Elite, Distinctive, and Crafted. As more customers are turning to lifestyle and boutique hotels, Elite and Crafted are our two most popular brands, with Crafted being more boutique.

How do you plan to attract new hotels/greenfield projects to your portfolio?
Systematic development is key to our growth. I feel it’s very important for developers to recognise the difference that we offer at WorldHotels. For any project, we analyse the business. We have a worldwide sales team, a revenue management team, and a digital marketing team that conducts this analysis. A report is prepared and presented to the developer/owner, showing how we think we can impact their business, both in terms of revenue and cost savings. Most of the new development today is happening in Asia. We have a number of hotels there which are new projects. We are also just signing greenfield projects in the Middle East. I would advise new projects to seek our involvement at the earliest so that we can guide them properly.

What attracts guests to your hotels?
I think everybody is looking for something a bit more different. Most guests like to visit unique hotels, and we have quite a few hotels that have a unique offering. For example, our b’mine Frankfurt Airport hotel has a CarLift that transports guests and their cars right up to their room from the 1st to 10th floor,” said Ron Pohl. (I am scheduled to experience this property after IMEX).

What about your loyalty programme?
Our WorldHotels rewards programme is quite popular. The biggest advantage for guests is that it is also connected to the Best Western Rewards programme, where we have over 50 million members. In the future, we will merge both to create one unified programme.

How do you look at India as a market?
I have been several times to India, and we all recognise India as a potential market and a land of opportunities. We’ve been in the Indian market for around 17 years, and I think we are a great fit for the culture of the country. In fact, I relish your authentic Indian food. In India, we have a master licensee, Sorrel Hospitality, led by Atul Jain and his team, who are doing a great job. As I mentioned earlier, our unique experiences inspire travellers. For example, we have a hotel that’s less than 500 metres from the Golden Temple. We foresee great potential in secondary and tertiary markets and want people to opt for extended stays.

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