Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced last week the relaunch of its urban, upscale boutique brand, Vīb, putting its money where its mouth is by investing US$20 million (including land) to create the prototype property in Tempe, Arizona, marking its first corporate owned and managed property.
The brand already has 10 properties in its global pipeline, including Cape Town, South Africa; Denver, Colorado; and the Greek island of Crete. They will join hotels already open in Bangkok, Thailand; Antalya, Turkey; and Springfield, Missouri.
Larry Cuculic, new president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, told HOTELS the development team is actively looking to grow Vīb with this new prototype in markets that are similar to Tempe, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado. “We have received significant interest from developers, and we are eager to work with operators who understand the brand and the value of becoming part of BWH Hotel Group,” he said.
Development costs is approximately US$175K per key and concept is a new-build opportunity. Within the boutique segment, BWH Hotel Group’s Aiden brand provides conversion opportunities.
“Vīb fills a void perfectly from a developer perspective because it provides an opportunity to build a hotel that’s more cost effective – developers can leverage the prototype we have designed to drive savings and build a hotel in a market where the barriers to entry may be higher,” Cuculic said. “And while the hotel box may look the same on the exterior with a prototype, it’s the energetic and unique Vīb experience inside that makes all the difference to the guest.”
The brand positioning is in keeping with emerging trends – emphasizing flexible workspace, unique food and beverage offerings, locally infused design and a vibrant experience. It is being designed for developers interested in urban and dense suburban areas.
Vīb Tempe features a lobby design that morphs from workspace by day to more of a social spot in the event. The public space can also flex to provide an extended lobby with flexible furnishings suitable for large events and functions. Its F&B offerings include being the home to Arizona’s first Cousins Maine Lobster restaurant, while the lobby bar offers crafted cocktails, light dining and espresso beverages. The Tempe hotel also features a rooftop lounge.
The 102-room prototype hotel is projected to have a stabilized occupancy of 75% with an ADR of US$150, according to Cuculic.
So, why the brand reboot? Cuculic said that originally Vīb was designed for urban markets and larger cities, like San Francisco and New York, with smaller rooms to fit the limited square footage available in these markets. “After debuting a few Vīb properties across select markets and gathering key learnings, we realized Vīb would likewise do well in primary, secondary, and suburban markets,” Cuculic said. “To meet the new strategy and evolving expectations of travelers within these markets, we adjusted room sizes.”
Standard king-sized rooms are now larger than 250 square feet and rooms with a double queen are approximately 300 square feet. Vīb also now offers suites to accommodate larger families traveling or guests who want more space. “Additionally, we removed the gaming pods that you might find in other Vīb properties and created a larger, more cohesive, and flexible lobby space that invites guests to collaborate and socialize with peers or family and friends,” Cuculic added.