Novo Luxo chats with Simone Mariote, Vice President of Sales at Preferred Hotels & Resorts in Latin America, the world’s largest independent hotel brand.
Novo Luxo – What best defines Preferred Hotels & Resorts? What do all have in common and is it important to note? What does a Preferred hotel offer guests?
Simone Mariote – One of the things I like to emphasize is that each Preferred hotel is unique, has its own characteristics, its unique charm, and its special way of enchanting. You will never find two Preferred Hotels that are the same, they are all different, and with the goal of enchanting, surprising and surpassing the expectations of their guests.
NL – During the 50 years, what were the main changes, innovations and achievements? What does a hotel need to have to become a Preferred property?
SM – There have been many changes in those 50 years. The company was born with 12 hotels as a US non-profit company which, as it grew, felt the need for a more solid management when they opened the market and jumped to just over 100 hotels. With the company opening, they bought two other brands, increasing the portfolio to around 300 hotels. For 14 years, it was acquired by the Ueberroth family who, with great care and dexterity, made the brand jump to 700 hotels. In addition to the increase in the number of hotels, there was a massive investment in hiring, opening new offices, especially in Asia. A loyalty program was also created, and new collections were established, ranging from super-luxury hotels to Lifestyle and LongStay hotels, catering to various levels of customer demand.
NL – Speaking of international level, where is the stronger presence of Preferred and why?
SM – Preferred is an American company, concentrating in the United States the largest number of hotels, but in recent years it has grown a lot in Asia and the Pacific, where it now has more than 160 hotels. In India, for example, Preferred has more than 40 hotels and is considered one of the country’s largest hotel chains. The presence of Preferred in Europe is also quite expressive, with about 200 hotels and strong participation in the main European capitals.
NL – Still international, what are the best travel destination options and find the best Preferred hotels?
SM – Difficult question, but in cities traditionally longed for by travelers from all over the world like Paris, London, New York, Rome, Barcelona and Madrid you will find several Preferred hotels, properties with very different styles, locations and prices, needs from the most demanding travelers to the most fun. In addition to these traditional cities, Preferred has hotels in more exotic destinations such as Galapagos, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar, Seychelles, Amalfi Coast, Saint Tropez, Mallorca, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Jakarta, Queenstown and many others.
NL – What are the best hotels of all brand collections?
SM – Some best hotels are: The Dominick (formerly Trump Soho) and Baccarat Hotel in New York; Montage Laguna Beach, Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur – both in California; Upper House in Hong Kong; Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como; Finca Cortesin on Costa del Sol, Spain; Alpina Gstaad in Switzerland; Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico, Leela Palace and The Imperial in New Delhi; The Beaumont in London, among others.
NL – What are the main differentials between a Preferred hotel and a competitor? How to offer excellence in service and how to stand out from other brands?
SM – Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the largest independent hotel chain in the world, representing more than 700 hotels and resorts in 85 countries. With its five collections, Preferred connects travelers to a unique experience of luxury hospitality meeting expectations for every occasion. Hotels in the portfolio maintain a high standard of quality and an unparalleled level of service required by the brand’s integrated quality program. iPrefer℠, Preferred Residences℠, Preferred Family℠, Preferred Pride℠ and Preferred Golf ™ loyalty programs offer specific benefits to travelers seeking differentiated experiences.
NL – What are the Preferred news for 2018? What can we expect from Preferred Hotels & Resorts?
SM – 2018 is an emblematic year for Preferred as it celebrates its golden anniversary and a series of actions were planned for the celebration, which is being marked by a series of events and campaigns. We begin the celebrations by inviting everyone to post on their social media a photo using the hashtag #PreferredCelebrates50, and, in parallel, will reward guests with $ 50 credits, either to pay for the stay or to use at the hotel. In May, the Network’s Annual Convention takes place, which will mark its 50th anniversary and will be attended by its member hotels from all over the world. The convention will be held at the brand new Hotel Pendry San Diego in California.
NL – For Preferred Hotels & Resorts, what does luxury mean? How does the brand see luxury in the future and how will it affect the Preferred universe?
SM – Luxury is experience, anticipation of the needs, it is surprising with the details, it is a meal with unusual flavors, it is the waiter who already knows what your favorite drink is, but that surprises you with a new creation, is a butler who undoes your bags, the boutique that comes to you for you to do your shopping in the comfort of your hotel room. The luxury of the future will no longer be linked to having, but to living, to seeking the new, the unusual. Preferred embraces these changes, and looks forward to offering new experiences to its guests.
Source: Preferred Hotels & Resorts – images: release (May, 2018)