Best Western International is an independently owned hotel chain with over 4,100 properties in over 100 countries around the globe. Best Western’s relationship with Usablenet began in 2007 when the “world’s biggest hotel family” ® turned to Usablenet to start their mobile journey.
Consumers visit an increasing number of websites, including OTA sites, before making a booking decision. To stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of mobile travelers, Best Western wanted to empower its customers with the ability to take care of their hotel needs simply and easily while mobile. The brand needed a mobile technology partner with a platform that could not only meet their immediate requirements but support their digital ambitions.
The first mobile site was launched in 2008 to enable travelers to book a room and check the status of a reservation from the convenience of their smartphone. The Best Western Rewards’ mobile site went live in 2011, giving 13 million Rewards members the ability to manage their profiles, review balances and redeem points for travel and merchandise. In 2012, Best Western introduced a new booking capability letting travelers reserve hotel rooms privately and securely through the company’s Facebook page. Apps for iPhone and Android complete the suite of mobile solutions, followed by the brand’s first iPad app in 2013.
“The mobile website is the backbone of our mobile strategy,” said Dorothy Dowling, Best Western International’s senior vice president of Marketing and Sales, in an interview with Eye for Travel in 2013. “The mobile website sets the standard for the look and feel in the mobile environment for our apps, ads and search campaign. The mobile site also powers many of the functional components of the apps.”
Best Western’s vision is multi-channel, multi-screen. On mobile, core journeys include finding and booking a room. Location services support “Find Near Me”, and third party integration with TripAdvisor to present ratings and reviews. A first-of-its kind partnership with Tripit led to enhanced functionality for the Android, iPhone and iPad apps. All Best Western apps allows users to book hotels, access itineraries and keep all their trip details in one place on their mobile device.
In 2012, Best Western announced a 145% year-over-year increase in traffic on mobile and 70% year-over-year jump in downloads of iPhone and Android app. In 2013, the mobile site won the Eye for Travel “Best Mobile Website” award which was judged on technology, usability, graphic design, strategy and results.