BEST WESTERN BRINGS ITS POPULAR TRAVEL CARD TO NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL RETAIL OUTLETS THIS FALL
Wal-Mart, The Kroger Co. and Shoppers Drug Mart to Offer Hotel Gift Card Just in Time for Holiday Shopping Season
Best Western International announced today that it will soon be introducing its popular gift card at several additional North American retail outlets, providing consumers with a convenient and smart option for the upcoming holiday season.
Through an agreement with InComm, a leading technology provider and distributor of prepaid products, the Best Western Travel Card will be sold in the U.S. by discount giant Wal-Mart and The Kroger Co. – launching initially at Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Fry’s locations in California and Arizona beginning this week. In addition, the card also will be made available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada starting in mid-November. Together, the three North American retailers will offer the $50 card in more than 4,500 locations. They join U.S.-based Walgreens drug stores, who first offered the card in November 2005.
"Partnering with such powerful merchants as these, we are able to greatly expand the consumer reach for our travel card program, whose market is now approaching a critical time of year," said Dorothy Dowling, Best Western senior vice president of marketing. "With the holiday season just around the corner, the gift card industry is poised for yet another record-setting performance. We are thrilled to provide shoppers with the convenience and flexibility of the Best Western Travel Card, a gift that anyone will enjoy."
The Best Western Travel Card is used by guests to pay for both accommodations and related incidentals, such as room service and phone charges*, at more than 4,200 Best Western hotels worldwide. Available for purchase in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars and euros, as well as a variety of other currencies, the card is offered in any denomination between $25 and $1,000 U.S./euro (or equivalent in other currencies).
Consumers are expected to spend about $80 billion on gift cards in 2006, up from $66 billion in 2005, according to a study by The Tower Group. Surveys also show that about three quarters of U.S. consumers purchase or receive a gift card each year, and gift recipients report gifts cards among the most desired gift items every year. The average dollar amount spent on all gift cards remained well above $200 among those who purchased gift cards, according to Packaged Facts.
Best Western will continue to develop its retail travel card business, with additional merchants to be announced in 2007.
Since its debut in December 2002, more than 540,000 Best Western Travel Cards have entered the worldwide marketplace, generating nearly $36.7 million in sales. Until last fall, the card had been available only through corporate incentive programs, at Best Western member hotels, online at www.travelcard.bestwestern.com or by calling Best Western Travel Card Customer Service at 1-877-CARD-2TVL (227-3288) in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
About Best Western International
Best Western International is celebrating its 60th Anniversary as a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its members. Growing from a string of roadside motels starting in 1946 Long Beach, Calif., to THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN® with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries, Best Western is one of the industry’s most endearing iconic brands. For more information, please visit www.bestwestern.com.
InComm is an innovator in prepaid products and point-of-sale technology specializing in retail prepaid services, subscriber services and payment solutions that are changing the way consumers purchase. InComm provides the most robust product portfolio in the industry including wireless airtime, financial debit cards, gift cards, music downloads, ring tones, games, long-distance cards, online games, broadband, digital television as well as bill payment solutions. InComm partners with consumer brand leaders around the world to provide more than 145,000 retail locations the products and services their customers demand. Since 1992, InComm's patented technology has made the buying process easier for consumers while streamlining the selling process for product and retail partners. To learn more about InComm, visit www.incomm.com or call 1-800-352-3084. InComm is headquartered in Atlanta with offices in Canada, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
*Any eligible service managed or operated by a Best Western hotel.