PHOENIX, Ariz. — Last November, Best Western became a partner with Ctrip (China's Expedia) and June 20 to 28, hosted seven travel and business writers and two Ctrip executives on a FAM trip to Vancouver and a number of U.S. cities, according to information provided by Best Western’s public relations department.
The goal of the FAM was to increase Chinese media's awareness and familiarity with the Best Western brand, highlight Best Western North American properties and its extensive distribution, and encourage Chinese tourism to North America as well as to the Best Western brand globally.
Guests included senior reporters from China Business News, Xin Min Evening News, Oriental Morning Post, Shanghai East Radio Company, China National Radio, Tencent and CTCNN.com.
In addition to showcasing Best Western’s properties and Vancouver as a destination, Best Western also highlighted its Preferred Chinese Hotel Program with Ctrip. For a Best Western hotel to be a preferred hotel for Chinese travelers, it must meet a minimum criteria of offering free WiFi, accept Union Pay credit cards, provide an electric tea kettle in-room for hot water, and offer breakfast items that include congee or oatmeal, eggs and green and black tea.
Additional amenities a hotel can offer include a Chinese language TV station, Chinese language newspaper, slippers and toothbrush and toothpaste in-room, guest services material translated into simple Chinese, and employ Chinese-speaking staff.
The FAM began with a two-day stay in Vancouver at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chateau Granville Hotel & Suites & Conference Center. General manager Anastasios Theodoropoulos, director of sales Philip Bryant, sales and marketing manager Ruvika Peries and the rest of the team pulled out all the stops for this group. The Chateau Granville, a preferred Chinese hotel, created a beautiful Chinese breakfast menu of pastries, congee with hard-boiled egg, barbecued pork and peanuts, and fresh berries and tea.
Tourism Vancouver provided travel information in Chinese and with the Experience Pass, the group took a cruise of the harbour, the tram ride up Grouse Mountain and visited the Vancouver Aquarium. The group also had dinner at the Boathouse and at the Sand Bar on Granville Island.
The consensus of the group? They loved Vancouver.
After Vancouver, the group visited Seattle, Wash.; Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.; and Sedona and Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz.