Best Western GB has announced the name of the first three hotels in the UK to join the new BW Premier Collection of properties.
In the UK, the first hotels within the BW Premier Collection will be the 81-bedroom Winchester Royal hotel, Winchester; 152-bedroom Richmond hotel, Liverpool; and 67-bedroom Bank House Hotel, Golf & Spa, Worcester. A fourth hotel, which specialises in conferences, is expected to be named shortly.
Rob Payne, interim chief executive of Best Western GB, said that BW Premier Collection is aimed at hotels in the four- to five-star market that wish to remain independent, but want to tap into the global distribution network that the company offers.
"The hotels will not be members of Best Western, but will be associate hotels in city centre or destination locations which have a rating of 4.2 or above on TripAdvisor," he explained. "It is important that that they retain their identity and won't take on the Best Western branding. The only evidence that they belong to the brand will be a small plaque on the outside of the property.
"The first three hotels we have signed up all meet the requirements of today's travellers, who increasingly demanding to stay in unique properties."
Payne added that the launch of the BW Premier Collection is part of a wider move by Best Western GB to improve the public's perception of the group's 275 hotels across the UK, which are often negatively impacted by the ‘motel' image of the brand, which stems from the US.
"We are committed with the owners and general managers of all of our hotels to improve quality and by understanding and dealing with any shortfalls," he said.
"Perceptions as a result are changing - as highlighted by Best Western's success in being voted by consumers as the best mid-scale brand in the UK at the British Travel Awards 2014."
Payne said Vib was currently in the process of being given a more European focus to what is an American-led brand that is "vibrant, funky and modular" in style.
"We are talking to owners who would like to bring the brand to the UK, either as a new-build property or office conversion."
Payne was appointed to his current role for a six-month interim period following the sudden resignation in March of Richard Lewis as chief executive of Best Western GB. He said he would love to continue in the role. "Who wouldn't want to lead Best Western GB? It is a cracking opportunity working alongside brilliant people and great hotels," he added.
A graduate in international politics and marketing from Keele University, Payne joined Best Western and its partner business Beacon Purchasing in November 2014 as chief commercial officer. He was previously director of marketing at Bupa Care Services.
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