UE helps Best Western Hotels to streamline digital experiences
Founded in 1967, and owned by Interchange and Consort Hotels, Best Western GB is the British arm of the global Best Western brand. All Best Western hotels are independently owned and run, giving each guest a stay unique from any other. And though independent, each property holds true to the Best Western GB commitment of offering quality accommodations with a warm local smile. Best Western GB needed a website refresh to better appeal to its growing audience of younger travelers.
“We’re seen as a very mid-market brand catering to slightly older travelers, and that isn’t true anymore,” said Chris Bowling, Senior Digital Manager, Best Western Hotels GB. “We wanted a fresh look to appeal to a younger audience as we now have a whole suite of Best Western brands that cover lodging from economy all the way up to 5-star.”
Best Western GB also had updated business requirements, stemming from its matrixed organizational structure and integrated network of 250 properties across Great Britain. This meant a heavy integration load with third-party systems, but it all had to be accomplished in a way that delivered a seamless hotel booking journey.
Travel industry competition made the upgrades even more essential, as Chris remarked, “They have huge budgets and are moving incredibly fast. If we’re not moving forward, they’ll get ahead of us.”
United Experts spent two months analyzing unique Best Western requirements and complex existing systems that needed to be integrated with the new digital solution. Afterward, United Experts created a unique system architecture built with strong emphases on performance, security, and reliability. Implementation proceeded by a joint effort of Best Western GB dev team in York, United Experts, and Spinbox.
The team had three key integration areas, first, its international booking system connected to the main Best Western International platform to automate the booking process. Then, it had to connect to the database managing the company’s loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, to sync the program’s discounts and benefits to Reward members’ booking experience. Finally, it had a team dedicated to data integrity for all 250 Best Western GB hotels that synced data nightly to the website, ensuring offerings and hotel information were always up to date.
Beyond integrations, it had sync done once per week to connect to the other 3,000 global hotels and synchronize seven to eight million images for all global properties.
Best Western’s implementation of Sitefinity is not just a CMS. It’s a full-blown DXP, mastering internal processes, managing data and connecting multiple critical systems.
Feedback on the site has been overwhelmingly positive, “I appreciate having a CMS that can handle all those complex integrations seamlessly and perfectly whilst having the ability for me and my team to go in and make changes on the fly. That’s a tremendous benefit,” said Chris.
Business results have been strong as well, “When we redeveloped the checkout process, we had an improvement of 30% in conversions from redoing the UX. That is a huge change.” said Rehan.
The refreshed brand and elegant user experience were also getting noticed, “We’re starting to see an influx of hotels wanting to join the brand,” said Chris. “We’ve crossed 300 so far, which is massive for us. And we’re starting to see more investor groups bringing 10 hotels at a time, 30 hotels at a time and that’s just something we could never done with our old brand image. This has the potential to really help grow the company.”