PHOENIX, AZ – The Best Western brand delivered a record-setting US$1.16 billion in reservations revenue to its hotels in fiscal year 2008. During 2009, Best Western will focus on enhancing its property-level customer care training program, “I Care,” to increase guest satisfaction scores, reduce customer complaints, and grab market share during the soft economy of the coming year.

The World’s Largest Hotel Chain(R) ended 2008 with 4,018 hotels in 80 countries – on par with 2007 numbers – including 2,251 in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, and 1,767 internationally. The current number of hotels is a result of stepped-up brand quality assurance efforts in 2007, resulting member retention in 2008, and continued growth in India, China, and the rest of Asia.

“More than ever, Best Western’s 400,000 nightly guests depend on our brand promise of quality and value,” said David Kong, president and CEO. “In order to deliver on this pledge in 2009, our hotel owners will continue their relentless focus on customer service.”

With regard to product mix, 2008 was a year of firsts for the brand, which broke ground on its first Atrea upper-midscale business hotel in San Antonio, Texas and its first LEED-certified hotel, the Best Western Inn and Suites at Dinosaur Ridge in Golden, Colorado. Best Western also opened its first hotel in New York City’s Chinatown, the Best Western Bowery Hanbee Hotel. In Canada, Best Western Fredericton Hotel and Suites in Fredericton, New Brunswick was the first in its city.

Outside North America, Best Western broke ground on its first hotel in Dubai, the Best Western Residences. The brand also opened its first hotels in Colombia (Best Western Cyan Suites in Medellin) and Suriname (Best Western Elegance Hotel in Paramaribo) and secured plans for its first hotel in Haiti. In addition, the Best Western Premier Hotel Krakow was the first of its kind to open in Poland.