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This week the Best Western brand is repositioning itself as Best Western Hotels & Resorts, introducing a new master brand logo, and announcing the launch of a new hotel brand in its portfolio.
“Much of this rebranding and repositioning that we are adopting today is the combination of the journey over the past several years. When you think even about the company name, it is really asserting our position within the market and claiming the space in a really visible, transparent way to our customers,” says Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Best Western.
Best Western’s last brand refresh was in 1993. Yet as the brand gears up to celebrate its 70th birthday next year, Dowling points out that the company’s evolution was a necessary process in staying relevant to today’s traveler.
The renaming of Best Western International to Best Western Hotels & Resorts was a deliberate choice, Dowling explains, to better communicate the diversity of product within the Best Western portfolio and better communicate that to its customer base. There are now seven brands under the Best Western Hotels & Resorts umbrella: Best Western; Best Western Plus; BestWestern Plus Executive Residency; Best Western Premier; Vīb; BW Premier Collection; Best Western; and the newly launched GLō.
With the evolution of Best Western comes new products and an updated range of accommodation. As such, the company carved out a space for what it’s calling GLō, a midscale boutique hotel that is essentially a budget-conscious suburban lifestyle hotel.
Ron Pohl, senior vice president of brand management, Best Western, says that construction on GLō properties is slated to begin mid-2016, and the goal is to have more than 50 GLō hotels in Best Western’s development pipeline within the next three to five years. Though it will have properties across several continents, GLō’s biggest prospects lie in Asia, where Pohl predicts its strongest potential is a result of the plentiful opportunities to build in secondary markets.
Pohl is quick to point out that GLō is not meant to be leveraged in a way that targets a new customer base; instead, the hotel will introduce a new, varying way to experience the Best Western brand while still delivering on the brand’s core principles.
“At the center of our rebranding are needs to create white space between each of our seven brands as well as more accurately speak to the diversity of ways that travelers can experience Best Western hotels,” Pohl says.
GLō is one of three new bands Best Western has rolled out in the last year. In May it launched its group of independent properties BW Premier Collection, and in October announced Vīb, a lifestyle brand aimed at urban millennials.
The need for differentiation among the company’s seven brands is delivered in part by the logos, also introduced in conjunction with the name change and the company’s newest hotel.
“A portion of this white space will be created through strong branding, which is why we’ve prioritized the introduction of individual logos for all seven brands,” Pohl says.
The new logos carry over the colors used in Best Western’s past identities, but the shapes and use of the distinct hand drawn lettering are among some of the features that Best Western hopes will set each logo apart.
While that’s not guaranteed, what is sure is that the brand has jettisoned the crown that has been part of the logo in some manner since 1962.
The rebranding efforts, as Dowling sees it, is less about changing products and more about curating the message of relevancy. Though that message may be shaped by millennials, it is one that translates across all ages.
“All consumers are evolving their needs because we are all living in the same world and have the same expectations,” Dowling says.