Best Western Board Chairman Shares Keys to Success

DannyPatelDanny Patel learned the hotel business from the ground up, starting at a family-owned hotel in Huntsville, Ala. In 1990, he purchased his first hotel in Montezuma, Ga., and launched PeachState Hospitality, a successful family-run hotel development and management company. Although his company’s brand affiliations include IHG, Marriott, and Carlson, Patel enjoys Best Western’s membership-driven model. That’s why he’s serving as the 2014 chairman of the brand’s board of directors.

What was your first Best Western property? In 1994, I had an opportunity to do a new-build Best Western in Hazlehurst, Ga. So, I began a relationship with Best Western, and I’ve been a continued member since then. So far, I have developed nine hotels, and I currently own two, all new construction.

What initially attracted you to the brand? The main reason I’m serving on the board of directors is because of the business model and structure of this company. This is a company with a worldwide staff of close to 1,400 employees, and all of our associates are working for the member value and to enhance the member equity, which includes occupancy and ADR. The beauty of this company is that it’s membership driven. Our founder, M.K. Guertin, launched this company 68 years ago as a networking opportunity from one hotel to another. It’s the only brand that has a presence in 110 countries with a total of 4,200 locations worldwide because of our model.

What are some of the benefits of being a member? All members have their own rights. Most anything and everything we do, we launch a ballot. Members have a voice on each and every item. The second thing is the financial model. We’re not in the franchising business; we’re in a membership business. Our financial model is very straightforward—it’s basically per room cost. So for the member side, it’s saving so much money on our royalty and marketing fees. That’s one of the good advantages we have. With a franchise company, you become a franchisee. Here, once you become a member, you are basically a stockholder of this company.


What keys to success would you share with industry newbies? It’s all about family values, believing in what you do, and working hard. The United States is a country that will offer you everything, you just need to see your face in the mirror, challenge yourself, and move forward to it. It’s also important to have a strong track record with your bank. Your work ethic is very important. That’s how I became successful.

What does the future hold for Best Western? We are working closely with President and CEO David Kong to take this company to the next level. We have a very strong future. Yes, we have a long way to go, because we are a nearly 70-year-old company, and we have some older properties in our portfolio, but we have launched several programs, such as the Design Excellence program, so it’s changing every day.

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