President and CEO
David Kong is a hospitality industry leader with deep experience in the industry. Since he was named President & CEO of Best Western® Hotels & Resorts in 2004, Kong has led the company to significant financial achievements including an average RevPAR index of 110 over the past five years as well as unprecedented performance in guest loyalty and hotel satisfaction. Best Western has a global network of 4,200 hotels in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, with annual hotel revenue of almost $8 billion.
Kong is known in the industry as a strategic thinker and innovator. Under Kong’s leadership and vision, Best Western recently launched a completely reimagined brand identity that modernizes the brand’s image and clarifies its offerings. The new logos signal exciting changes at Best Western including the investment of $2 billion in property improvements and broaden the brand’s appeal with a contemporary and relevant look. The company now offers seven hotel brands including two new concepts – GLō℠ and Vīb®. Additionally, in 2016, Kong introduced a revolutionary new white label franchise model in the hotel industry – SureStay℠ Hotel Group.
With Kong’s background and involvement in sales and marketing, Best Western has achieved more industry recognition than any other brand including winning 50 HSMAI Adrian Awards in 2016 and being recognized as AAA’s “Partner of the Year” every year since 2008. In addition, the brand’s loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, was ranked as a top hotel loyalty program for four years in a row by U.S. News & World Report.
Among many other awards received, Kong was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) in 2014.
Kong completed the Executive Development Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Travel Industry Management School at the University of Hawaii.
Dorothy Dowling is senior vice president, marketing and sales and chief marketing officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. The 30-year hotel industry veteran directs all marketing and sales strategies, overseeing the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing activities, advertising, public relations and e-commerce.
Since joining Best Western in 2004, Dowling has implemented a number of measures to increase market share and contemporize the iconic Best Western brand. She re-branded the company’s loyalty program to Best Western Rewards®, increased its membership by 13 million and more than doubled its revenue contribution percentage to hotels. The program has since earned recognition as the top loyalty program by Loyalty 360, the third best loyalty program by U.S. News & World Report, and received the American Express Loyalty Award.
Under Dowling’s leadership, Best Western has strengthened its strategic partnership with AAA/CAA. Best Western has been named AAA Lodging Partner of the Year every year since 2008. In 2014, Best Western also won AAA recognition for Best in Marketing and Best in Sales.
During Dowling’s tenure, Best Western introduced its Descriptor Program, which established three distinct hotel types, and made significant investments in its sales programs. As a result, in 2014 the readers of Business Travel News selected BEST WESTERN® as the No. 1 Midprice Hotel Company and BEST WESTERN PLUS® as the No. 1 Upper Midprice Hotel Company. Best Western beat out brands such as Hampton, Holiday Inn and Fairfield to take the top spot as the favorite for business travel.
Senior Vice President
Ron Pohl is senior vice president of brand management for Best Western Hotels & Resorts and serves on the company’s executive committee. Pohl oversees North American and Asia Operations and Development. In addition, he directs other key departments, including: Customer Care, Owner Relations, Revenue Management, Education and Training, Design and Supply, Member Services, and International Quality Assurance.
Pohl joined Best Western in 2007 as vice president of operations. In that role, the 30-year hospitality industry veteran significantly improved revenue management systems, implemented new and innovative education and training resources, restructured departments to improve efficiency and enhance hotel support, and launched the industry-leading Best Western I Care® program. These positive changes have significantly contributed to record-high brand performance in the areas of RevPAR index and customer and owner satisfaction.
Prior to joining Best Western, Pohl spent more than 20 years with Boykin Management Company, a respected hotel management firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. During his tenure with Boykin, Pohl spent 10 years as a full-service hotel general manager and earned awards for sales leadership, website development and outstanding customer service. He served in a number of senior-level positions in the areas of marketing, sales and revenue management, working his way up to regional vice president, and ultimately senior vice president of operations.
Pohl’s diverse hotel background comes from working with an array of hotel brands, including Choice, Hilton, Marriott and Radisson, and independent resorts and condo hotels. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and previously served on the board of directors for the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, as well as advisory committees for Marriott and Doubletree hotels.