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BW is Changing the Way Consumers Shop for Hotels



Best Western To Become First Hotel Brand To Have All Its North American Hotels Use Google 360-Degree Virtual Tour Technology

PHOENIX (December 19, 2013) Best Western International announced today that it is changing the way people shop for hotels by working with Google to be the first hotel brand to launch Google Business Photos for all its hotels in North America. The brand will have all its 2,200 hotels in North America photographed for Business Photos by the end of 2014.

By adopting Google Business Photos, which are premium-quality 360-degree virtual tours powered by Google Street View technology, Best Western hotels will provide travelers with an interactive experience when they are searching for a hotel. With just a few clicks guests will be able to virtually walk through the hotel and explore the lobby or restaurant or go inside a guest room. Travelers will see Google Business Photos at Google Search results, Google Maps, Google+ and Google Hotel Finder whether they’re using their computers, smartphones or tablets.

“Best Western’s leadership and owners acted strongly and decisively on two superior market insights: consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium. It made perfect sense for Best Western, as a digital leader, to invest in this partnership with the leading online search company to offer the best experience possible,” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.

Google Business Photos are changing the way that consumers connect with businesses, institutions and travel destinations. They allow consumers to interactively engage with products and services before they make a purchase or take a trip. Google approached Best Western to beta test the virtual tour product earlier this year because of the brand’s reputation as an industry innovator, as well as its expansive footprint across North America. Google Business Photos are available in 27 countries and the company is working to expand into more countries.

This announcement continues Best Western’s track record of innovative digital projects and offerings with companies such as Facebook, TripIt and TripAdvisor that continue to enhance the digital Best Western experience. Recent Best Western digital honors include:

• Compuware’s Best of the Web award winner for the hotel category two years running
• TravelClick’s 2012 eMarketer of the Year award winner for digital integration
• Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Platinum award winner for the Travel Hero digital marketing campaign
• best mobile website in the travel industry winner
• The first hotel brand to reach 500,000 Facebook followers
• Named No. 1 hotel brand in L2’s Digital IQ Index, beating out 48 other brands

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 20 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.

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*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate.

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