Best Western Hotel and Resorts’ Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dorothy Dowling led the company’s second “Today’s Women in Leadership Forum” leading into its North American Convention last week.

BEST WESTERN HOTELS and Resorts’ 2019 North American Convention, held last week, started with the company’s second annual “Today’s Women in Leadership Forum.” Before it was over, the company also announced its newest brand, SureStay Studio.

The convention was held in National Harbor, Maryland, Oct. 2-5.

Promoting leadership

Launched in 2018, the women’s forum promotes the role women play both inside their organizations and out, and delivers relevant content for today’s women in business. Best Western’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dorothy Dowling led the latest event.

“We are at a pivotal moment in the gender diversity conversation and I believe every man and woman in a senior leadership role has an obligation to join the conversation, share their stories and empower the next generation of female leaders,” said Dowling, who also founded the forum.

Speakers at the forum included keynote speaker Dr. Lalia Rach, sales expert Tammy Gillis, Jane Gould with Disney Channels Worldwide and improvisor and keynote speaker Judi Holler.

The latest entry

The economy extended-stay SureStay Studio brand will be part of Best Western’s SureStay Hotel Group that was formed in 2016 and now has more than 260 properties worldwide. The new brand is aimed at meeting new trends in travel demand while staying affordable to owners.

Best Western also announced its new SureStay Studio economy extended stay brand during the conference. It will be part of Best Western’s SureStay Hotel Group that was formed in 2016 and now has more than 260 properties worldwide.

The launch includes a prototype of new construction and conversions. Franchisees will have access to the company’s reservation and revenue management systems.

“The economy extended stay segment is hot right now! As one of the most profitable segments in the industry, we’re seeing growing demand from both developers and travelers,” said Best Western’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer Brad LeBlanc. “SureStay Studio is a value-engineered prototype offering developers strong ROI.”

Kong said the company, which also recently launched boutique brands Aiden and Sadie and acquired the upscale brands of WorldHotels, is deliberately diversifying beyond the midscale segment. Like other companies, the point is to provide a variety of options to protect Best Western’s customer base.

“The industry has six different chain scale segments with different price points for different customers. But in each chain scale, there are at least four variations of hotels. For example, traditional, extended stay, boutique or lifestyle and even soft brands,” Kong said. “So, now we have at least 24 boxes that need to be filled to offer the prices points, types of hotels, and experiences that travelers and developers want. As you can see, we need to have brands in most of these boxes to protect our market share and to grow our market share.”

Last year the company introduced two new boutique brands, Aiden and Sadie.