Industry NewsBrandsWorldHotels ‘Crafts’ Continued Growth With Eye On North America

WorldHotels ‘Crafts’ Continued Growth With Eye On North America

BWH Hotel Group continues to boost its global presence in large part on the strength of its WorldHotels Collection. The luxury soft brand recently added 13 new properties and entered Canada for the first time.

The 51-year-old WorldHotels Collection—which includes more than 170 locations globally—was acquired by BWH Hotel Group in 2019 to give the company an offering at the high end of the market. The company has since earmarked North America as a key region for growth.

Ron Pohl—who was promoted to president of international operations and president of WorldHotels in March—noted there is plenty of opportunity for the brand to expand in North America.

“It’s a brand that has been known quite well internationally, primarily in Europe and Asia, but never really had a strong presence here in North America. So to me if you can bring a brand into the U.S. and Canada and you don’t have markets tied up, that’s a huge opportunity to grow and to start to create customer awareness,” said Pohl, a longtime BWH Hotel Group executive who had been SVP and COO prior to assuming his current role.

Of the brand’s 13 new properties, nine are in Canada and one is in the United States. Pohl noted the brand’s entry into Canada is the result of a deal with the Prestige Collection, a longtime partner of Best Western.

With the addition of 12 hotels this year, the WorldHotels brand now has roughly 30 hotels in North America. But Pohl emphasized the brand is positioned well for future growth.

“We’ll continue to explore opportunities on how we’re going to get that up between 40 and 50 hotels by the end of 2023, which I think is completely attainable,” he said.

Of the new hotels, The Inn at Mendenhall, Pennsylvania was added as part of the Crafted Collection in the United States. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Canada the new properties include Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke and Prestige Harbourfront Resort Salmon Arm, both of which are part of the Luxury Collection; and Prestige Treasure Cove Resort Prince George and Prestige Lakeside Resort Nelson, both of which are part of the Elite Collection. The additions to the Crafted Collection include Prestige Beach House Kelowna; Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort; Prestige Cranbrook Rocky Mountain Resort; Prestige Kamloops Hotel; and Prestige Mountain Resort Rossland. In addition to the WorldHotels Collection, BWH Hotel Group includes Best Western Hotels & Resorts and SureStay Hotel Group. Of the company’s some 4,700 hotels, Pohl noted that roughly 1,800 are currently outside the United States, a number he intends to grow.

“My personal goal is to have as many hotels outside of North America as we do within North America, so I think the opportunity is there,” he said. Overall, WorldHotels has now added close to 30 hotels to its global portfolio in the last year. Many of those have been within its Crafted Collection, which now has 22 properties and has helped fuel the growth of the brand, according to Pohl. “We’ve found that Crafted is our fastest growing of the brands within WorldHotels,” he said.

Pohl further elaborated on its momentum.

“The days of cookie cutter [hotels], at least from a leisure segment, are gone. People want unique places to travel, they want unique experiences, and they want different experiences. So the focus with Crafted to really identify these types of hotels and bring them into the brand has been very successful,” he said.