Best Western International is planning to strengthen its presence in China, as it seeks to take advantage of a growing budget hotel market in the country.
Best Western China CEO William Dong told the Wall Street Journal that the company plans to open 13 hotels, from now through to the end of 2015 in second and third-tier Chinese cities.
The company, which currently has 39 hotels in the country, is competing with several other Western hotels in the budget hotel sector, such as Novotel and Ibis, which are owned by Accor.
It is also facing competition from domestic brands, which are sometimes preferred by travellers over foreign competitors.
Best Western, which identifies itself as an economy and mid-level brand, is focusing on the growing middle class of Chinese travellers, who are seeking to avoid unpredictability, lack of hygiene, and poor amenities, which are present across many hotels in mainland China.
Dong noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign has discouraged government business from being done at five-star hotels, a move which has proved to be a boost for economy-level hotels.
The hotel chain has also modified its design to focus less on entertainment and business spaces, and has increased the room sizes by nearly 50% and made conference spaces multifunctional with partitioned walls.