Best Western has become the first US hotel chain to plant their flag in Myanmar. The company is planning to take over management of the Green Hill Hotel in Yangon, the largest city and hub of nearly all commerce and tourism activity. The property has 189 rooms and is located outside of the old city portion of town, though it is reasonably close to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the city’s top tourist sights. The core of the city is located further south, towards the river and the ferry terminal.
Best Western sees the deal as an opportunity to increase the value of the hotel in many ways. Glenn de Souza, VP of International Operations for Asia and the Middle East sees quite a bit of potential:
We are confident that Best Western International’s proven track record in the Asian hotel market, along with our highly skilled management and staff, will enable the Green Hill Hotel to not only increase occupancy and average rates, but also broaden its geographical guest mix.
The hotel scene in Yangon (and all of Myanmar, really) is quite a mixed bag. There are very few high quality properties or even what would be considered 3-star hotels in the rest of the world. Those which do exist are often priced at the very high end of what it reasonable for the quality of the product offered. The other options are generally less expensive (though not always cheap) but the offerings are less than spectacular, even at the lower price point. Combined with the significant recent increase in tourism and getting a decent room at a fair price in Yangon is quite a challenge. It seems that Best Western hopes this move will allow them increase the prices. That’s great for the hotel operators but not necessarily so for visitors. Then again, if the quality of the rooms increases as well then maybe not so bad.
Plus, I suppose this means an opportunity to earn and redeem points eventually.
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