Best Western Hotels
- Times Reported
Best Western International, Inc., operator of the Best Western Hotel brand, operates about 4,000 hotels. The chain, with its corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, operates 2,163 hotels in North America alone. In 2002, Best Western International launched an upscale brand for some properties located in Europe and Asia known as Best Western Premier. (The other hotels in the chain were known as Best Western.) In 2011, the chain's branding system-wide changed to a three-tiered system: Best Western, Best Western Plus, and Best Western Premier, which offers progressively improved dining, recreation, and room features and amenities. The hotel descriptor categories are now used by Best Western hotels around the world. Since it no longer operates under a single brand, Best Western concurrently modified its slogan in 2011 from "the world's largest hotel chain" to "the world's largest hotel family."
Each Best Western hotel is an independently owned and operated franchise. Best Western does not offer franchises in the traditional sense where both the franchisee and franchisor are operating for profit. Instead, Best Western operates as a nonprofit membership association, with each franchisee acting and voting as a member of the association in the manner of a marketing co-operative.
The name "Best Western" was a result of most of their properties originally being in the United States west of the Mississippi River. From 1946 to 1964, Best Western had a marketing partnership with Quality Courts, the forerunner of the chain known today as Quality Inns, whose properties were located mostly east of the Mississippi River, not in direct competition with Best Western. This partnership made sense geographically, but was not successful in the long run, and was eventually abandoned. In 1964, Best Western launched an expansion effort of its own operations east of the Mississippi using the moniker "Best Eastern" for those properties with the same typestyle and Gold Crown logo as "Best Western." By 1967, the "Best Eastern" name was dropped and all motels from coast-to-coast got the "Best Western" name and Gold Crown, a move that would further enhance an already successful marketing brand into the "World's Largest Hotel Chain" by the 1970s.