Travel agents are a key component in Best Western’s new rebranding program, which segments the brand's properties into three descriptors, Troy Rutman, director of external communication at Best Western, told Travel Agent.
Travel agents are critically important for Best Western, Rutman said: "This year, with the launch of Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier descriptors, we’ve tasked our sales team to go out and meet with more agents face to face for training and collaboration."
Rutman noted that Best Western offers an online education program specifically for agents.
"The goal of the program is to educate our partner agencies about the descriptor program and the differences among Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier hotels," Rutman said. "This program will help agents better determine which type of hotel is right for each client – depending on the type of trip he or she may be taking. If an agent completes this online training program, they’ll earn a free night with us."
He also noted that while commission levels and sale incentives for travel agents and agencies working with Best Western are confidential, the company has a "very competitive" compensation structure with potential for bonuses. Best Western also works with chains and consortia, and considers them important channels and relationships.
The new descriptor program categorizes hotels as Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier. The labels will enable better navigation of Best Western’s large and diverse hotel portfolio, making it easier for travel agents to know which type of Best Western hotel to book for their clients.
The descriptors mark a significant change for the brand, which has its 65th birthday coming up in April, Best Western noted.
• Best Western hotels are midscale properties that offer guests value without the cookie-cutter experience. They are rated two- or three-diamond from AAA/CAA.
• Best Western Plus hotels are upper midscale hotels that offer a more premium experience and rated by AAA/CAA as three-diamond properties.
• Best Western Premier hotels are currently open in Miami, Napa, Calif., suburban Dallas and Lancaster, Pa., with more than a dozen more expected later this year. They are upscale hotels that offer luxury accommodations.