By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
DALLAS, Tex. — Ron Pohl, Best Western's, senior vice-president and chief operations officer, told CLN at BW's Annual Convention, that the new Sadie and Aiden brands have great potential in Canada for hotels looking to reposition.
“Both brands have so much potential in Canada,” Pohl said last Tuesday at the Best Western North American Convention and Global Conference, held at the Gaylord Texan Convention Centre in Dallas. “Our target market is conversions. There is a lot of concern about how long this rally is going to last. For new construction, the cost of land has escalated, even in secondary and tertiary markets.
“The costs of land and labour are going up, and because of all the development and new construction, getting something approved, permitted and in-ground takes 12-14 months.
“There are so many great hotels in Canada — midscale and up — they're a step above and most of them include F&B. Travellers are looking for that food and beverage component,” he added, then paused. “That should be revised — [they're looking for] beverage and food,” he said.
Sadie Hotel is Best Western’s
new, upscale boutique brand that offers guests an exciting and inviting experience.
Locally inspired and unique amenities and services keep guests engaged with one
another. Best Western calls Sadie its boldest brand, and notes that it is being introduced in all the hot spots,
such as Miami’s South Beach, Los Angeles, Manhattan, New Orleans, and more.
Hotel, on the other hand, is described as a charming, exciting upper midscale boutique brand
with an inviting style interwoven throughout each hotel. Aiden’s chic and sophisticated personality
will be reflected in each community that it’s in, bringing a sense of
adventure and fun to guests. Aiden connects to today’s travellers by creatively
using space and technology, while eliminating typical hotel requirements, according to the Best Western description.
Best Western president and CEO David Kong explained why the company is introducing the two new brands to the 2,500 delegates at the annual convention. “To win conversion
projects, we need to be able to tell a good re-positioning story. How will we
help the owner increase their occupancy? How will we help increase the average
rate? How will we enhance the asset value?” asked Kong.
“Boutique and life style hotels are
exciting products with broad appeal. They have continued to grow at a rapid pace.
They are also able to command a higher rate. Why? It’s because they provide a
different experience and consumers are willing to pay a premium to stay there. That’s
why boutique and lifestyle hotels run a higher RevPAR.
“In terms of what chain
scale segments we should focus on, we are in the midscale, upper midscale and
upscale segments already. They have the most number of hotels and, therefore,
hold the biggest potential for conversion. These segments also have the largest
number of independent hotels,” Kong added.
Certainly, Canada has a larger percentage of independent hotels than the U.S. In 2014, HVS/STR reported that in the U.S., 57.7 per cent of hotels were affiliated with a brand, while in Canada, that number was just 24.0 per cent. In the U.S., 69.1 per cent of rooms were affiliated, while in Canada that number was 49.9 per cent.