Sunday, November 08, 2009

Branding Best Western

We just finished up monopolistic competition in class with a look at how firms differentiate themselves with branding. An article in today's paper looks at the branding problem at Best Western.

Cara Vickery posted a glowing online review of the Best Western Inn of Sedona after a three-night stay last month.

"I am somewhat of a snob when it comes to hotels," the Ohio woman said on TripAdvisor .com. "I was leery of a Best Western, but this exceeded my expectations."

Best Western President and CEO David Kong cringes when he hears raves like that. "It might be a compliment for the hotel, but it's not a compliment for the brand," he said. "How much business are we losing because the expectation is not set properly?"

The Phoenix-based chain, the world's largest by locations under one brand name, is weighing a controversial plan to erase traveler confusion and boost bookings and revenue.

Executives have proposed creating three tiers of Best Westerns based on their design and amenities to give travelers a better idea of what to expect at its 2,300 independently owned hotels...

Best Western's problem is that the reality is more diverse than the brand suggests. The proposed solution - three brands all including the name Best Western - looks like a non-starter to me. To differentiate the brand you need a new name for the higher end and perhaps another for the lower end. Otherwise, confusion will reign.



Blogger StormCchaser said...

Another Phoenician (at the time), Bob Hazard of Quality Inns, invented the tiered hotel branding strategy now used by all major chains except BW, and created Choice Hotels. However, each Choice brand has a different name - matching your thesis.

November 14, 2009 at 8:36:00 PM MST  

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