Best Western wants to follow Lidl’s example as it aims to shake off ‘budget perception’

Hotel chain Best Western has undergone a major rebrand as it looks to move into the luxury sector. Sarah Fussey, marketing director for Great Britain, has told Marketing Week that the hotel brand is taking inspiration from Lidl as it aims to shake off its budget perception.

Best Western is planning to launch a number of five star hotels through its new premium BW Premier Collection brand as it aims to tap into the $149bn international luxury hotel sector. The entire Best Western International business, which includes the UK market, will also be renamed to Best Western Hotels & Resorts and carry the simplified BW logo.

It is also launching Glo, a boutique hotel brand – aimed at the “Airbnb, backpacker generation” according to Fussey – which will start off with sites in South East Asia before expanding into Europe. It is the third sub brand Best Western has launched over the last year alongside Vib, a technology-centric urban hotel concept and the Premier Collection.

The brand and logo changes will come into effect across the brand’s 275 UK properties from spring 2016, marking the first time Best Western has updated its logo on these shores since 1993.

But despite Best Western now having up to six sub brands, Fussey denies that the changes are confusing.

“This will simplify things for customers as we can now signpost customers to the most relevant hotel experience based on their interests,” she told Marketing Week.

Taking Best Western upmarket

The changes, which will be communicated in a multimedia campaign running from early Summer 2016, are part of the brand’s attempts to modernise and shake off negative perceptions.

BW Premier Collection bank-house-hotel-grounds-and-hotel-07-83994
The pictured Bank House hotel is part of Best Western’s new premium Premeir Collection brand

“We’ve really updated our portfolio and got rid of the hotels that aren’t up to standard,” Fussey added. “By acquiring five star hotels we can shake off the negative perception that might come from the brand and some of the 2 star sites we used to own.

“The media is now taking us more seriously and our competitors are not just Premier Inn but the Hilton too. We’re seeing a trend of our business customers also staying for leisure opportunities and that’s a sign of how far we’ve come.”

Yet despite talking up the decision to move to five star sites, Fussey believes travellers are no longer as interested in star ratings and are looking for experiences instead.

She concluded: “We want to re-establish what high end means ; a hotel doesn’t have to have a five 5* rating in order to offer a  5* experience.

“I guess it is comparable to the supermarket sector as customers got fed up of the big warehouse stores and opted for Aldi and Lidl for their variety and more personal experiences. We want to reintroduce the Best Western brand very much like the discounters have done and also appeal to both ends of the market.”

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