Over the past few years, major hotel groups have extended their reach and consumer base by launching soft brands consisting of independent properties promoted under a separate flag.
It’s a segment of the industry that is expected to continue seeing significant growth as companies look to enter new markets.
Among such soft brands, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ BW Premier Collection launched in 2014 to increase Best Western’s footprint domestically and internationally. The collection includes upscale and luxury hotels such as the most recent additions: Copamarina Beach Resort in Puerto Rico and The Resort at the Mountain in Oregon.
BW Premier Collection properties are also currently operating in U.K., Italy, and Sweden.
“With the BW Premier Collection, independent hotels in these markets can join and benefit from Best Western’s global distribution channels and increase our product offers to our guests in these markets where we are currently under represented,” says Michael Morton, VP of owner relations, Best Western International. “In North America we are targeting the top 50 primary markets such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando.”
BW Premier Collection operates using a pay-for-performance business model, which offers a different approach in the hospitality sector from other soft brands.
“Hoteliers will only pay a commission on business booked through Best Western channels or partnerships,” Morton explains. “Our competitors charge a percentage of total room revenue regardless of the origin of the reservation. Why should you pay a brand for business you generated through your own distribution channels?”
To be a member of the BW Premier Collection, hotels are required to have AAA/CAA 3-Diamond hotel rating or above (or equivalent rating internationally), and a TripAdvisor 4-Customer Experience rating or above.
BW Premier Collection hotels are never members of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. Instead, they pay a fee to access the company’s distribution system and be part of the Best Western Rewards loyalty program.
Ultimately, soft brands like BW Premier Collection present Best Western Hotels & Resort’s audience with a greater freedom to explore new properties around the world outside of the hotel’s network.
“One of the reasons for creating the BW Premier Collection was to grow the number of resort and destination hotels under the Best Western family of brands,” Morton says. “This not only increases Best Western’s global reach, but is also a tremendous benefit to our Best Western Rewards members, giving them a greater variety of hotels and destinations where they can earn and redeem their points.”