BEST WESTERN TIMELINE & STORY
Below are some highlights from the history of Best Western International.
2011 Best Western celebrates its 65th birthday introducing BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® descriptors to the North American market. The World’s Biggest Hotel Family® tagline is introduced in the United States and Canada.
2010 Best Western passes ballot approving three descriptors – BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER®.
2008 Best Western launches new Atrea prototype.
2008 The Gold Crown Club® International Program celebrates its 20th Anniversary and is renamed Best Western Rewards®.
2007 Best Western begins using online surveys to keep track of customer satisfaction, one of the first steps in leading the industry in superior customer care.
2007 The hotel chain is named a Preferred Lodging Partner of AAA/CAA, and begins a multi-year partnership with Harley-Davidson®.
2006 Best Western celebrates its 60th Anniversary with the 1946 Room Rate Promotion, where lucky guests are provided with a special one-night charge of $5.40 – the approximate value of overnight accommodations six decades ago, when the company got its start.
2005 Best Western begins averaging $1 million in bookings per day through bestwestern.com.
2004 Best Western launches the hotel industry’s largest High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) initiative with the fastest implementation. In just eight months, the company establishes free wireless or hard-wired HSIA in some portion of the public areas, and at least 15 percent of rooms, at all of its North American properties.
2004 Best Western becomes the first-ever Official Hotel of NASCAR®.
2003 Best Western introduces the Best Western Premier® descriptor in Europe and Asia.
2002 Best Western China launches, beginning a decade of intense development in that country.
1995 Best Western introduces its first listings on the Internet. Full information on 150 member properties, including photographs, becomes instantly available via personal home computer.
1995 Best Western opens its first property in Israel, establishing its presence in the Middle East.
1995 Best Western expands into Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
1994 Best Western establishes its presence in India.
1993 A brand identity study recommends the adoption of a new Best Western logo and identity. On Nov. 30, the members approve the adoption of a new logo and officially retire the Gold Crown logo.
1993 Best Westerns open in Japan, Venezuela, Russia and Lithuania.
1992 Best Western expands into South America with its first property in Brazil. Development also begins in Turkey.
1990 Best Western welcomes Greece into the family.
1988 The Gold Crown Club® International Program for frequent travelers launches. Within a year, it acquires more than 200,000 members and sales of more than $40 million.
1987 Best Western welcomes Norway into the family.
1986 Best Western welcomes Portugal into the family.
1985 Best Western welcomes Spain into the family.
1984 Best Western welcomes Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands into the family.
1982 Best Western welcomes Denmark and Italy into the family.
1981 In August, a satellite reservations center is established inside the Arizona Center for Women (ACW), a minimum-security correctional facility in Phoenix. This innovative venture, employing inmates as reservations sales agents, answers the chain’s business need for a flexible workforce. The program brings numerous awards and worldwide attention to Best Western.
1981 Best Western welcomes Austria, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany into the family.
1980 Best Western membership rises to 2,654 hoteliers worldwide.
1979 Best Western accommodates 15 million guests and generates $1 billion in room sales.
1978 Best Western welcomes Great Britain and Ireland into the family.
1977 To meet the demands of rapid growth, a multi-million dollar Best Western International Headquarters complex is designed and built in northeast Phoenix.
1977 The phrase “World’s Largest Lodging Chain” becomes a part of Best Western’s corporate identification and advertising theme. The tagline later changes to “The World’s Largest Hotel Chain“.
1976 Best Western Mexico launches, bringing more than 100 properties in Mexico and Central America into the fold.
1975 Best Western begins to expand overseas, entering Australia and New Zealand.
1974 Best Western decides to drop its referral organization image, eliminates the word “motel” from its name and begins directly competing directly with other full-service lodging chains.
1972 Properties are required to accept six major credit cards. Reservations that are charged are considered “guaranteed” and rooms have to be held for the entire night. Properties have the right to bill for “no-show” clients.
1966 The entire membership, Best Western and Best Eastern, unites under the Best Western name. a seven-person Board of Directors is elected by regional members to provide leadership and make policy decisions. Guertin retires.
1966 The organization moves it’s headquarters from Long Beach, CA, to Phoenix, AZ. The Board decides to relocate because of savings involved in centralizing operations and the potential for further expanding membership services.
1966 A major expansion of Best Western services is announced. Changes include establishing a new reservations center offering toll-free service for business commuters, travel agents and vacationers through arrangements with American Express; increasing membership standards; opening sales offices in Washington D.C., Montreal, Phoenix and Seattle; establishing tie-ins with airlines and representatives from other transportation industry organizations and investigating stronger infiltration of tour and business meeting markets.
1964 The group of motels east of the Mississippi River is incorporated as Best Eastern Inc.
1963 Best Western is the largest motel chain in the industry with 699 member properties and 35,201 rooms.
1962 Best Western has the only hospitality reservations service covering the entire United States.
1962 Best Western begins using the crown logo with a rope border to identify member properties.
1951 In a guest editorial published in American Motel Magazine, Guertin speaks of the importance of advertising properties to the general traveling public. This is considered a very revolutionary approach in the lodging industry.
1946 Best Western Motels is founded by M.K. Guertin, a hotelier with 23 years of experience in the business. The chain begins as an informal link between properties with each hotel recommending other lodging establishments to travelers. The “referral system” consists of phone calls from one desk operator to another.