Best Western President & CEO David Kong Receives Prestigious Silver Plate Award
Kong Signs Contract to Lead Best Western International Through 2018
PHOENIX (June 20, 2013) – Best Western International, the World’s Largest Hotel Chain®, announced today that President and CEO David Kong will continue to lead the brand through 2018. The announcement comes on the heels of Kong receiving a prestigious industry award.
Earlier this month at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Kong received the Stephen W. Brener Lodging Hospitality Silver Plate Award. Kong was recognized for his contributions to the resurgence of the Best Western brand and to the hospitality industry.
The Stephen W. Brener award has been given annually for more than 50 years to the most influential personalities, companies and organizations in the travel industry. Previous recipients include Hilton Worldwide President and CEO Christopher Nassetta and Randy Smith, chairman and co-founder of Smith Travel Research.
“I am gratified to accept this award on behalf of the entire Best Western family and our more than 4,000 hotels around the world,” said David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. “It reflects our efforts to enhance the brand, achieve record financial performance and attract new developers and corporate clients. I look forward to many more years representing this historic brand as we continue to bring innovation to our operations for the benefit of our hotel owners and guests.”
Kong was named President and CEO in 2004, and his new contract, which was unanimously support by the Best Western Board of Directors, extends his leadership through 2018.
Under Kong’s leadership, Best Western has launched a number of cutting-edge initiatives, which have resonated with travelers and re-energized the brand. The launch of descriptors – BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER®- has instilled clarity and confidence for travelers and shifted market share to Best Western hotels. In 2012 the brand introduced its industry leading I Care CleanSM program, establishing itself as the leader in hotel cleanliness, and in 2013 it introduced its award-winning Best Western I Care® - Reflections program which allows hotel managers to receive and respond to customer feedback across multiple social media platforms more easily and efficiently.
Kong also led the creation of “Best Western for a Better World” to pursue a variety of charitable and humanitarian initiatives, including a partnership with World Vision to become the world’s largest sponsor of impoverished children around the world. He is deepening the brand’s relationship with the American Red Cross to provide disaster relief and has renewed Best Western’s commitment to its scholarship programs for aspiring hoteliers.
“David brings strategic thought, innovation and energy to Best Western each day, and he has helped us unlock the brand’s potential,” said Best Western Board Chairman Julie Montmaneix. “The membership is honored to have him at the helm of the Best Western brand for another five years.”
Kong is a hospitality industry leader with four decades of industry experience. He served as the 2010 chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and he was an appointed member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. He received the 2012 Arthur Landstreet Award from AH&LA and was inducted into the University of Hawaii’s Hall of Honor in 2013.
ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS, BEST WESTERN PREMIER hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 67 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 15 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, race car driver Michael Waltrip, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. In 2012, Best Western won a record number of awards, including AAA’s Hotel Partner of the Year, CAA’s Partner of the Year, TravelClick’s eMarketer of the Year and Compuware’s Best of the Web Gold awards.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.bestwestern.com.
*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate.