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Published: Friday, 10/18/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Hotel gives up affiliation with Best Western

Grand Plaza manager says link-up was not working out

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The hotel at 444 N. Summit St. bore the Best Western Premier sign during its eight months as part of the international chain.  The hotel at 444 N. Summit St. bore the Best Western Premier sign during its eight months as part of the international chain.
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After eight months of an affiliation with Best Western International Inc., downtown Toledo’s hotel on the Maumee River once again finds itself without a dance partner.

Toledo’s 14-story Best Western Premier Grand Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, at 444 N. Summit St., has voluntarily deaffiliated from the Phoenix-based hotel chain in order to regain the independent status it enjoyed for 13 months before joining Best Western in February, according to the hotel’s management company.

Clay Martin, director of marketing for Matrix Hospitality Group, which manages the riverfront hotel for its owner, Paradise Hospitality Inc. of Fullerton, Calif., said, after operating under the Best Western Premier banner throughout the spring and summer, it was felt that the new affiliation was not working out. “The best way to put it is we didn’t feel [Best Western] was the best fit for Toledo,” Mr. Martin said.

“We felt the hotel would have greater success as an independent,” he added.

Officials at Matrix, which is based in New Orleans, said much of the hotel’s business has been centered on local corporate groups and high-end catered social events. As such, affiliation with a national chain has been less essential, Mr. Martin said.

Formerly, having a national “flag,” or affiliation with a big chain, was key to a hotel’s success. It guaranteed the hotel would be in the chain’s nationwide reservation system. But with Internet travel sites such as Expedia Inc., Travelocity, and Hotels.com, travelers can find a hotel without a national system.

“The Internet has opened up a whole wide world of opportunity, so we’re very excited,” Mr. Martin said.

He added that the 28-year-old hotel will revert back to its previous name — the Grand Plaza Hotel — effective immediately. No date has been set for the removal of the Best Western Premier signs, Mr. Martin said.

The 241-room hotel, which got a $10 million upgrade in 2008, plans to retain all of its staff and will not change any services or amenities.

Officials of Best Western International could not be reached for comment.

Since opening in 1985, the downtown hotel has been called the Hotel Sofitel, the Marriott Portside, the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, the Crowne Plaza, the Wyndham, the Toledo Riverfront Hotel, the Crowne Plaza again, and the Grand Plaza.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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