BWH Hotel Group plans to open eight properties in Thailand this year — one WorldHotels brand in Phuket and seven Best Western hotels — while increasing its room rate across the globe.
Olivier Berrivin, vice-president of international operations Asia-Pacific at BWH Hotel Group, said Thailand has been recovering strongly this year, especially properties in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya.
Scheduled to open in the third quarter this year, La Green Resort in Phuket will be the second property under WorldHotels in Thailand, offering 300 rooms, said Mr Berrivin.
Other projects this year include new locations in Bangkok, namely Best Western Chatuchak, Best Western Ratchada Hotel, Best Western Nada Don Mueang Airport Hotel, and Best Western Click Sathorn 11.
The other hotels are slated for Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and in southern Thailand.
He said expansion of the WorldHotels collection in Thailand could happen in Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi, as well as converted properties in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.
China is the group’s major market in Thailand and it reopened this year, which should lead to a big volume of mainland tourists visiting the country in the third quarter, said Mr Berrivin.
BWH wants to continue to attract a diverse range of clientele, he said.
The company is also poised to increase its room rate by 5% from last year as the current rate surpassed the level charged in 2019, said Mr Berrivin.
In 2022, properties under BWH Group increased the room rate by 15% year-on-year, while the occupancy rate nearly equalled the 2019 level, said Larry Cuculic, president and chief executive of BWH Hotel Group.
He said the company will encourage hotel owners globally to continue increasing the room rate and compete in their markets this year.
Regarding economic challenges, Mr Cuculic said he expects only a slight downturn, not a recession, with inflation gradually subsiding to have a minimal impact on the hospitality industry.
Ron Pohl, president of WorldHotels and president of international operations of BWH Hotel Group, said room rates and occupancy rates reached record highs for some properties following the pandemic.
Speaking at the WorldHotels Annual Conference 2023, Mr Pohl said there’s a growth opportunity in Asia-Pacific stemming from pent-up demand during three-year pandemic.
WorldHotels plans to open 15-20 hotels in the region this year, with 40 total hotels in the global pipeline. At present, WorldHotels operates 170 hotels globally.
He said from this year, new hotels will be required to adopt a loyalty programme called WorldHotels Rewards. BWH Group already operates Best Western Rewards, which has 55 million members.
BWH operates 16 properties in Thailand under three brands: one WorldHotels Collection hotel, 13 Best Western Hotels and Resorts properties, and two Sure Stay Hotels.