Best Western was founded in 1946 by hotelier M.K. Guertin as an informal referral system for member hotels. During those years, hotels in California and other western states were generally family owned, roadside motels or larger urban hotels. This service, which was literally nothing more than a phone referral service where one desk operator talked to another about recommended hotels and motels, would eventually grow into the Best Western hotels we know today.
By 1962, the company had the only hospitality reservation system in the US which covered the entire nation.
By 1963, there were 700 member hotels, making them the largest chain in the industry.
In 1964, Canadian hotels were admitted into the association.
In 1977 the company began using the phrase, “world’s largest lodging chain”.
In 1980, Denmark, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland joined the association.
In 1995, the company launches BestWestern.com website. By 2005, there are booking $1 million in reservations per day online.
In 2002, Best Western International launched Best Western Premier in Europe and Asia. In 2011, the company began to list their hotels under three different tiers; Best Western, Best Western Plus, and Best Western Premier.
In May of 2013, Best Western announced that it will take over management of the Green Hill Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. This acquisition will give the hotel Best Western’s brand name, as well as establishing Best Western as their first hotel establishment in the country.
Today, Best Western is made up of over 4200 hotels worldwide with nearly half of those in North America. Estimated annual revenue worldwide in 2012 was $6 billion. Headquarters for the company are located in Phoenix, Arizona.