David Kong, CEO of Best Western Hotel Group, is set to retire by the end of this year. He served as the CEO for 20 years, which is the longest ever term served for any major hotel company.
This is truly inspiring considering his very humble beginnings. Kong had arrived in USA from Hong Kong and had begun his hospitality career as a dishwasher and busboy. With almost no money and no social connections, he had to work his way up through toil and hard work. Now he is a respected figure in the hospitality world and is seen as a mentor to many leaders of the industry.
Kong had joined Best Western in 2001 and was appointed CEO in the year 2004. During his tenure the company had gone through the lows of the 2008 recession, seen the highs of the 2019 travel boom and then experienced the drastic business slowdown during the pandemic period.
The company grew from one brand to 18 during Kong’s tenure. The company now covers every market segment and accomodation type including boutique and extended stay. The company’s cash reserves and net equity has also seen 10 times increase while Kong was heading the operations.
“This industry has empowered me to dream boldly about the future and to pursue those dreams without hesitation. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by exceptional teams throughout my career and through sheer passion and dedication, we have chased bold dreams and achieved what many might have considered impossible,” said Kong.