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Best Western adds 58 hotels worldwide in fourth quarter

Best Western<.> International, the World`s Largest Hotel Chain(TM), added 24 new hotels in North America and…

Best Western<.> International, the World`s Largest Hotel Chain(TM), added 24 new hotels in North America and 34 new international hotels to the brand in the fourth fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30. The 58 hotels bring the year-end total to 252 opened under the Best Western flag.

Consistent with 2001 goals, the company`s North American development team continued to add hotels in key markets where the brand was underrepresented. In the fourth quarter, those additions included: San Jose, Calif.; Anaheim, Calif.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Hilton Head, S.C. and Nashville, Tenn.

Overall for the year, Best Western signed 111 new hotels throughout North America. Twenty-six of those hotels opened in Texas, 10 in California, seven in Virginia, five in Florida and four in Colorado. In Canada, 11 new hotels joined the membership.

In addition to the continued success in adding new hotels, 98.9 percent of all North American Best Western members renewed their affiliation with the brand. At year`s end, 2,289 hotels were flying the Best Western flag in North America.

Despite the prevailing economic uncertainty, our development team did a phenomenal job attracting new hotels, said Mark Williams, vice president of North American development. Even prior to Sept. 11, our entire industry was facing lower occupancy and many hotel owners scrapped their more aggressive development plans.

Best Western continues to be a very attractive brand for hotel developers because we maintain lower affiliation costs and offer equivalent, if not superior services to that of our franchised competition, Williams added.

International expansion of the Best Western brand continued to flourish in Asia and Europe, according to Suzi MacDonald, vice president of international operations.

Thanks to the efforts of our international development team in Asia and Europe, key first-time ventures this year included the Best Western Rosedale on the Park in Hong Kong, the Best Western New Seoul Hotel in Seoul, South Korea and the Best Western Hotel M in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, said MacDonald.

During the 2001 fiscal year, 141 international hotels were brought into the system. France led the way with 20 new hotels, Great Britain secured 16 hotels, Australia added 13 new hotels and Germany and Italy both added 11 apiece.

During the fourth quarter, five hotels were flagged as Best Westerns in Italy, where the company is the most represented hotel brand in the country. Additionally, four new hotels were added in Australia.

The overall number of properties and rooms is down from last year, however, that is a result of the company`s increased quality initiatives. Globally, 91 hotels were removed from the system in 2001 as a result of not meeting enhanced quality assurance requirements.