David Kong is a hospitality industry leader with more than four decades of experience. Since he was named President & CEO in 2004, Kong has led the company to its highest RevPAR Index of 110 in 2012 and 2013 as well as unprecedented performance in guest loyalty and hotel satisfaction. Best Western has about 4,200 hotels in over 110 countries with annual hotel revenue exceeding $6 billion.
Kong is known in the industry as a strategic thinker and innovator. His comprehensive brand strategy included initiatives such as stratifying the brand into three tiers, raising standards and establishing marketing partnerships with high profile organizations such as Harley-Davidson and Facebook. Brand Keys has named Best Western as the best midscale hotel chain in customer loyalty for the past four years straight.
Under Kong's leadership, Best Western has set out to be a leader in the Internet, mobile and social media space. Compuware named bestwestern.com the best hotel web site in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, EyeForTravel and Compuware named Best Western's mobile site as the industry's best, Travel Click named Best Western "E-Marketer of the Year" and L2 named Best Western the best in E-Commerce in the hotel industry.
With Kong's background and involvement in sales and marketing, Best Western won 30 HSMAI Adrian awards and 22 Travel Weekly Magellan awards in 2013 - the most won in the industry. AAA has recognized Best Western as "Partner of the Year" for the past five years in a row. U.S. News & World Report rated Best Western Rewards as the second best hotel loyalty program in 2013.
Kong spearheaded international development with expansion focus on Asia, South America and the Middle East. With over 200 hotels in Asia, Best Western has been recognized by TTG Asia with the "Best Mid-Scale Hotel Chain" award every year since 2007.
His career at Best Western includes serving as executive vice president of international operations, senior vice president of marketing and development, as well as senior vice president of strategic services and operations. Kong has also held leadership positions with KPMG Consulting, Hyatt Hotels, Omni International and Hilton Hotels.
A long-time, active member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), Kong served as its chairman in 2010, its centennial year. Kong continues to be active on the CEO Council and Government Affairs Council. In 2010, Kong was appointed to the United States Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and served for three years.
Kong received the 2013 Stephen W. Brener Silver Plate Award at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference for his contributions to the resurgence of Best Western and services to the industry. Kong was also inducted into the University of Hawaii's Hall of Honor in 2013.
Kong has won other prestigious awards including: the Education Institute's highest award - the Arthur Landstreet Award; the AH&LA Lawson Odde Award for hospitality leadership; the J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association; the Award of Excellence presented by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association; and the Lifetime Hotelier Leadership Award presented by Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Kong completed the Executive Development Program at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Travel Industry Management School at the University of Hawaii.
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