Asia’s first Vīb hotel set to open its doors in in Bangkok
Olivier Berrivin, Managing Director, International Operations – Asia, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, says that 2017 was a significant year in terms of growth as the business signed 19 projects in the region. Most of them were located in Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia. We started by asking about how the business is developing in Asia.
We’re now signing more management agreements compared with franchise contracts, which is a clear indication that we’ve achieved a strong level of credibility with developers and owners. We’re currently offering 13 brands – the vast majority of our properties are in the midscale segment but we also have brands in a wide range of categories, from economy all the way up to upscale with our Best Western Premier and BW Premier Collection brands. This allows us to offer products that t every type of market.
WE WILL INTRODUCE THE BW SIGNATURE COLLECTION INTO ASIA FOR THE FIRST TIME
Can you detail the key hotel openings for Best Western Hotels & Resorts in Asia in 2018?
The main focus market in 2018 is clearly Vietnam and we’ve signed several significant projects – most with more than 500 keys – in various parts of the country that have strong potential for economic growth. Our “Plus” (upper-midscale) and “Premier” (upscale) brands are the most requested by developers and this trend highlights the country’s potential for such hotels. We’ve also signed a conversion property in Thailand (Tawa Rawadee Resort in Prachinburi province) that gives us the opportunity to introduce our BW Signature Collection into Asia, thanks to a partnership with a strongly established property. In Japan, we have opened new hotels in famous destinations including the country’s two biggest cities, Tokyo and Osaka.
Do you have any plans to introduce any of your recently launched brands – Vīb, Glō, Sadie Hotel and Aiden Hotel – into Asia?
Asia’s first Vīb hotel, the 91-key Vīb Sanampao, will open in Bangkok in a couple of months and will become the flagship of that brand in the region. We’re currently negotiating a couple of potential Glō projects and I expect to have one on the map by 2019. Both Sadie and Aiden will give us the chance to better position ourselves in a more concrete way in the upper-midscale and upscale segments. These two brands are mainly targeting conversions of existing properties which have a unique style and “ flavour” in their respective markets, so we’ll select them carefully to remain faithful to the original concepts. As previously mentioned, the agreement for Tawa Rawadee Resort in Thailand’s Prachinburi province gives us the opportunity to introduce our BW Signature Collection to Asia for the first time.
What are your future development plans for 2019 and beyond in Asia?
Our focus is to keep developing our core brands and increase our footprint, ideally with more managed properties, and to establish us as one of the top five hotel operators in the region. Obviously, our new brands, like SureStay and BW Premier Collection, provide us with more opportunities to establish ourselves in markets and segments that we couldn’t previously approach as we lacked the right concepts.
How important is ITB Asia as a platform to meet buyers?
For us, ITB Asia has become much more than a standard regional sales event where you meet buyers and negotiate contracts. It’s also a strong brand development platform as plenty of property developers and hotel owners attend the show, giving us the opportunity to showcase our new brands and concepts, resulting in strong development leads. We also take the opportunity to meet our existing partners, solidify our relationships and develop new ones with players that offer products and services that match our current and upcoming needs in a constantly changing market.
Photo: Olivier Berrivin, Managing Director, International Operations – Asia, Best Western Hotels & Resorts