Global President and CEO, BWH Hotel Group As we have seen throughout history, crises have the ability to reveal a truth – in people, in organisations, and in ourselves.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has wreaked havoc on our industry and global community with a human and economic toll that is truly catastrophic. Throughout this pandemic, our industry has stood shoulder-toshoulder, weathering this unrelenting storm together. Additionally, hoteliers across the globe have shown their spirit of caring in profound ways from providing a safe home away from home for frontline workers, supporting their local communities, and caring for the wellbeing of their guests and associates. From the earliest days of the pandemic, our industry came together to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our guests and hotel teams. BWH Hotel Group, in concert with leading global health organisations and the scientific community, launched the ‘We Care Clean’ program. This program ensures an even higher level of cleaning standards and operational best practices at each of our properties across the globe. We Care Clean addresses everything from guest room and common area cleanliness, to streamlined processes that minimise contact between guests and associates while maintaining industry-leading customer service. I am grateful to our hoteliers for embracing this program at their hotels. Despite their own professional and personal hardships, their top priority throughout this crisis remains the safety of their guests and employees. As a global hotel company, the pandemic has had a significant impact on our development efforts. Many hotels have remained closed due to governmental restrictions and a loss of business. There is also a great deal of uncertainty in the current environment which is causing hotels to become more hesitant in their decision making. While there is a pressing need to recover from historic declines, hotels are also in many ways risk adverse. Nevertheless, we see great opportunities in the years ahead as hotels evaluate their situations. For example, independent hotels may be more inclined to seek the resources of a large hotel brand (for example, sales and marketing tools and staffing, a robust loyalty program, and strong booking engine) to help recover their losses. Likewise, hotels already branded may seek to reaffiliate with more proven brands that can assure them of their business recovery. Despite this year’s challenging environment, as a brand we opened 350 new hotels globally and invested in two new construction projects which broke ground as new Vib properties – our urban, upscale boutique brand. BWH Hotel Group also continues to receive top industry recognitions. Our brand was recently named the Best Midscale Hotel Chain in the 2020 Travel Weekly 32 HM The Business of Accommodation
“We have walked through the darkness, but we are seeing the first ray of dawn.” David Kong, BWH Hotel Group
Asia Readers’ Choice Awards. This marks the sixth year we have achieved this remarkable recognition which celebrates leading hotel brands that continue to raise the bar for hospitality in the region. Additionally, SureStay Hotel Group was ranked No. 1 in the economy segment by JD Power, with Best Western Premier ranking No. 1 in the upscale segment the year prior. We were also pleased that Best Western and Best Western Plus secured the top two spots in this year’s Business Travel News (BTN) reader survey, reflecting our brand’s appeal to today’s business travellers. The pandemic has sparked innovation as brands have found new ways of connecting and adapting to evolving expectations. For example, COVID-19 has accelerated certain trends such as online training, touchless payment systems, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Our brand has rolled out new online training courses for employees, general managers, and hotel staff, and held our first-ever Virtual Convention. The convention was an overwhelming success, with more than 4,000 attendees from around the world and our highest satisfaction results ever recorded. As we begin the new year, we have cause for much hope and optimism. Individuals around the world are already receiving the vaccinations and we expect even wider distribution in the months to come. This pandemic may have temporarily impacted our ability to visit new and beloved destinations, but it did not diminish our inherent love of travel. We look forward to the months ahead with optimism as the pent-up demand to travel is unleashed. While our industry’s journey to recover will be uneven, we should all remain hopeful and confident in our future together. We have walked through the darkness, but we are seeing the first ray of dawn. n
BWH broke ground on two new Vib branded construction projects in 2020
SNAPSHOT: BWH HOTEL GROUP Number of hotels and rooms (Globally): 4,069 hotels and 372,189 rooms Number of hotels and rooms (Asia-Pacific): 182 hotels and 43,519 rooms Number of hotels and rooms (Australasia): 96 hotels and 5,709 rooms Year first hotel opened (Globally): 1946 Year first hotel opened (Asia-Pacific): 1993 Year first hotel opened (Australasia): 1975 Year the company was founded: 1946 Brands in the organisation: 18 (16 in Australasia) Head office locations: Phoenix, Bangkok and Sydney
THE BUSINESS OF ACCOMMODATION IN ASIA-PACIFIC