[photopress:BestWestern.jpg,full,alignleft]Best Western International has signed agreements with developers to increase the number of its hotels in China to 29 from the 17. The group did not provide a timetable for putting the 12 new hotels into operation.
Best Western is somewhat unusual in hotel chains. Easier to think of it as a co-operative then as a normal chain. In the co-operative there are nearly 4,000 hotels in nearly 80 countries.
Unlike other chains, which are often a mix of company-owned and franchised units, each Best Western hotel is independently owned and operated. Best Western does not offer franchises in the traditional sense. Rather the chain is operated as a nonprofit membership association, with each hotel acting (and voting) as a member of the association.
Best Western started as a network of independent hotel operators who began making referrals of each other to travelers. The name Best Western was a result of most of their properties originally being located in the Western part of the United States.
Best Western did once start an expansion effort using the name Best Eastern. This did not work well. Best Western is the name travelers know. Think of it as a very large co-operative although in the United States you have to refer to it as a franchise operation. This has been tested in court so in the USA it is a franchise, in China we can think of it as a co-operative. A co-operative that is getting bigger.
Source: Forbes and research.