Best Western International President & CEO David Kong Receives Prestigious Silver Plate Award; Signs Contract to Lead Best Western International Through 2018
Best Western International, the World's Largest Hotel Chain®, announced today that President and CEO David Kong will continue to lead the brand through 2018. The announcement comes on the heels of Kong receiving the Stephen W. Brener Lodging Hospitality Silver Plate Award.
Earlier this month at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Kong received the Stephen W. Brener Lodging Hospitality Silver Plate Award. Kong was recognized for his contributions to the resurgence of the Best Western brand and to the hospitality industry.
The Stephen W. Brener award has been given annually for more than 50 years to the most influential personalities, companies and organizations in the travel industry. Previous recipients include Hilton Worldwide President and CEO Christopher Nassetta and Randy Smith, chairman and co-founder of Smith Travel Research.
"I am gratified to accept this award on behalf of the entire Best Western family and our more than 4,000 hotels around the world," said David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. "It reflects our efforts to enhance the brand, achieve record financial performance and attract new developers and corporate clients. I look forward to many more years representing this historic brand as we continue to bring innovation to our operations for the benefit of our hotel owners and guests."
Kong was named President and CEO in 2004, and his new contract, which was unanimously support by the Best Western Board of Directors, extends his leadership through 2018.
Under Kong's leadership, Best Western has launched a number of cutting-edge initiatives, which have resonated with travelers and re-energized the brand. The launch of descriptors –BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER®- has instilled clarity and confidence for travelers and shifted market share to Best Western hotels. In 2012 the brand introduced its industry leading I Care CleanSM program, establishing itself as the leader in hotel cleanliness, and in 2013 it introduced its award-winning Best Western I Care® - Reflections program which allows hotel managers to receive and respond to customer feedback across multiple social media platforms more easily and efficiently.
Kong also led the creation of "Best Western for a Better World" to pursue a variety of charitable and humanitarian initiatives, including a partnership with World Vision to become the world's largest sponsor of impoverished children around the world. He is deepening the brand's relationship with the American Red Cross to provide disaster relief and has renewed Best Western's commitment to its scholarship programs for aspiring hoteliers.
"David brings strategic thought, innovation and energy to Best Western each day, and he has helped us unlock the brand's potential," said Best Western Board Chairman Julie Montmaneix. "The membership is honored to have him at the helm of the Best Western brand for another five years."
Kong is a hospitality industry leader with four decades of industry experience. He served as the 2010 chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and he was an appointed member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. He received the 2012 Arthur Landstreet Award from AH&LA and was inducted into the University of Hawaii's Hall of Honor in 2013.
About Best Western® Hotels & Resorts
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,200* hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers 11 hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Vīb®, GLō®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, BW Premier Collection®, and BW Signature CollectionSM by Best Western; as well as its recently launched franchise offerings: SureStay® Hotel by Best Western, SureStay Plus® Hotel by Best Western and SureStay Collection® by Best Western. Now celebrating more than 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and award-winning online and mobile booking capabilities. Best Western continues to set industry records regarding awards and accolades, including 64 percent of the brand's North American hotels earning a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award in 2017, Business Travel News® ranking Best Western Plus and Best Western number one in upper-mid-price and mid-price hotel brands, and Best Western receiving seven consecutive Dynatrace® Best of the Web awards for its leading hotel website. Best Western has also won nine consecutive AAA®/CAA® Lodging Partner of the Year awards, recognizing the brand's commitment to providing exceptional service and great value to AAA/CAA's nearly 58 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Best Western-branded hotels were top ranked in J.D. Power's 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study - ranking first in breakfast (food and beverage category) for midscale; and second in overall guest satisfaction. Over 32 million travelers are members of the brand's award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. Best Western's partnerships with AAA/CAA and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Through its partnership with Google® Street View, Best Western is the first major company of its size and scale to launch a virtual reality experience for customers, setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels.
* All Best Western and SureStay-branded hotels are independently owned and operated.
* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.