Best Western, the brand that for many years was perceived as a motel franchise, is now bringing new life to its operation as it returns to New Zealand and moves into the motor inn and hotels market.

And the good news for the brand is that it has appointed a resident general manager for New Zealand and the South Pacific based in Christchurch. Around the world, Best Western has dumped its old image and many of its traditional properties and has taken a stronger role as a true multi-national marketing co-operative.

The co-operative approach means its members own the organisation and the marketing office answers to its members. This is a re-invention of the old brand with a totally new business model where it doesn’t manage or own any properties.

Already it has established nine properties in New Zealand and although the biggest market gap has been in Christchurch, there is a new five star launch just taken place there where the core business is corporate clients.

With this and four properties already set up in the Pacific. Its now a smart local operation under the Best Western and Best Western Plus banners.

What has been interesting is that formerly Best Western in Sydney had been running the New Zealand operations and as many other industries have found, that’s a bit of a stretch. Hence the local appointment of Kevin Gough

Changing the organisation and its image has been quite a path especially for the home base of 2,200 properties in the United States and Canada. But the approach taken is being closely and successfully followed in this part of the world.

In New Zealand, the new life being breathed into Best Western and its Plus operation has brought a new logo and new life along with its new added brand. Fortunately it still has a brand of high recall and its chequered past has all but been forgotten. While other hotel operations have tended to brand diversify, Best Western has stuck with its original name and its relevant single brand name has made it quite powerful and internationally trusted.

New Zealand may well be a one man band at present, but it is looking to expand its local management with more sales and marketing thrust and there is a possibility of its international group conference being held in New Zealand in the not too distant future for its 4000 international properties.

Kevin Gough is no newcomer to the hotel industry. He has spent the past 40 years in tourism and started out with TNZ. His last three roles have been with the Top 10 Holiday Parks, the Golden Chain Hotel group and of course Best Western.

“Finding success as a hotel owner means finding the right partner and with our Best Western membership, there’s increased profitability and owners can keep their independence and personality,” he said.