Just last week, BWH Hotel group announced the retirement of Group President and CEO David Kong. As the industry’s longest running CEO, his 20-year journey has given him a front row seat to massive technological changes within the hotel industry. With that in mind, HT asked Kong if he would share what technology changes within the industry as a whole and within Best Western Hotels & Resorts were most memorable during his tenure as CEO.
What are you most proud of when it comes to technology innovation at Best Western Hotels & Resorts during your tenure as CEO?
I am proud to have cultivated a culture of innovation at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, and throughout the years we have embraced technology to enhance the guest experience.
In 2005, we became the first hotel brand to provide free high-speed internet access at every hotel. Since then, we have remained at the forefront of technology innovation. We were among the first to test the use of Alexa to fulfill guest requests. We rolled out a texting platform that enabled us to send pre-arrival welcome messages, provide guests with texting capabilities to communicate with us during their stay, and allow us to send post-departure communications. We were the first brand to use Google’s virtual reality (VR) technology to showcase VR tours of our hotels on our website. We also revamped BestWestern.com, moving from a responsive design to an adaptive design that empowers our guests to use any device to book with us effectively.