Exclusive interview: Michelle Woodley, President – Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Preferred Hotels & Resorts are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. We asked company President Michelle Woodley to tell us more about the anniversary and the importance of the celebration.


This year we are recognising our 50-year heritage as one of the original players in the independent hotel space.
Since our foundation in 1968 by 12 North American hoteliers, we have grown to represent more than 700 hotels in over 85 countries, making Preferred Hotels & Resorts the world’s largest independent hotel brand. Our success is largely due to an unwavering focus on our positioning as the champion of the independent hotelier and curator of exceptional hotels that deliver authentic and inspiring travel experiences.

How do you see demand and supply evolving in terms of the type of accommodation?

While the hotel development pipeline is still booming, the rise in popularity of residential- style lodging has made a huge impact on the industry and how travellers search and book accommodation. As such, hotel groups are investing more in their residential product offering to enhance services that apartments and residences cannot deliver such as F&B, spa and experiences. Almost all hotel chains have now launched or are in the process of launching at least one product line in this segment. Our Preferred Residences Collection provides travellers with the highest level of living with luxury in the world’s most desired locations. The collection has doubled in size in less than two years and now counts more than 80 properties offering transient vacation experiences that combine the space, privacy, and exibility of a home with the luxuries and convenience of a hotel stay.

What differentiates Preferred Hotels & Resorts from its competitive set?

We have always been committed to supporting independent hotels and regional hotel groups. We believe in the inspiration of travel, and we selectively work with hotels that can deliver authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences to true travellers while maintaining high standards that are in line with our own. The crucial points of difference between our brand and the hotel chains are that we truly understand independent hotels, that our relationships with hoteliers are mutually beneficial partnerships, and that our hotels are independently operated, owned, and managed. In fact, we provide many of the services that a chain provides – group, corporate, and leisure sales, integrated marketing solutions, comprehensive revenue management, global connectivity through reservations services, progressive distribution technology, and a guest loyalty programme to name a few – at a fraction of the cost. Further, each member hotel is distinctly unique and locally relevant – from business-orientated city hotels, to mountain resorts and private island retreats; therefore, we do not use a “one-size- ts- all” membership model.

Photo: Michelle Woodley, President, Preferred Hotels & Resorts