Preferred Hotel Group
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2014)|
|Headquarters||Chicago, IL, USA|
|Number of locations||Nearly 40|
|Key people||John Ueberroth Chairman of the Board
Gail Ueberroth Chief Marketing Officer&Vice-Chair
Lindsey Ueberroth President&CEO
Senior Vice President, Marketing & President of Preferred Golf
|Services||sales, marketing, distribution, quality assurance, and technology solutions|
|Owner(s)||John Ueberroth, Gail Ueberroth, Lindsey Ueberroth, Casey Ueberroth|
|Divisions||Preferred Hotels and Resorts
Summit Hotels and Resorts
Sterling Design Hotels
Summit Serviced Residences
Preferred Hotel Group comprises more than 650 independent hotels and resorts in over 85 countries, bringing competitive advantage to hotel owners and operators through brand prestige and global operating scale. It provides strategic group, corporate, and leisure sales, integrated marketing solutions, comprehensive revenue management, global connectivity through reservations services, progressive distribution technology, and individualized guest support to its members. To consumers, Preferred Hotel Group is a one-stop, trusted resource for finding and booking experiences at the world’s best independent hotels. With corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, the company maintains nearly 40 sales offices worldwide.
Preferred Hotel Group was founded by 12 North American hoteliers in 1968, originating as a referral organization for hotels, under the name Preferred Hotels Association. By the organization’s 10th anniversary in 1979, the company had begun international expansion with 14 European hotel members as well as its first member in Asia Pacific.
In 1981, the association rebranded under the name Preferred Hotels Worldwide to recognize its status as an international organization. At this time, it also introduced new criteria for prospective hotels, ending the personal referral system used in the past. In 1990, Preferred Hotels Worldwide changed its name again, this time to Preferred Hotels & Resorts to better reflect the composition of its member hotels. With this change also came the introduction of a new Quality Assurance Program that required hotels to go through an annual inspection by an independent third party. The organization’s existing committee-run structure also transitioned at this time to a professional staff, all working towards the goal of creating new business for its hotel members.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts went through some major changes and developments from 1990 to 2000, such as converting to a for-profit stock corporation and creating a new holding company called IndeCorp (Independent Hotel Corporation), a move that was designed to provide shared resources across multiple brands of independent hotels and resorts, adding company strength to sales, marketing and technology resources.
In 2004, a well-known travel industry executive, John Ueberroth, became the largest shareholder of IndeCorp and was named CEO and Chairman of the Board, along with his wife Gail Ueberroth who was named Vice Chairman/Chief Marketing Officer and his daughter Lindsey Ueberroth, who was named Executive Vice President. By 2005, Casey Ueberroth had joined the family business as Area Managing Director for the western United States. Under the leadership of the Ueberroth family, the company changed its name to Preferred Hotel Group. In 2014, Preferred Hotel Group entered its 10th year of private ownership and leadership by the Ueberroth family with Lindsey Ueberroth as President and CEO, John Ueberroth as Chairman of the Board, Gail Ueberroth as Vice Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer, and Casey Ueberroth as Senior Vice President, Marketing. The success of Preferred Hotel Group stands as a testament to family enterprise at its best, an increasingly rare model in today’s business environment.
Unlike the hard-flag hotel chains, Preferred Hotel Group does not own, operate, or manage any of the hotels within its portfolio. All of the hotels, resorts, and serviced residences within the Preferred Hotel Group portfolio are independent entities. With each of its member hotels offering a unique personality, setting, design and array of amenities, Preferred Hotel Group offers travelers a limitless variety of destinations and hotel styles to choose from, ranging from luxurious game reserves to five-star city-center hotels to tree-house style jungle retreats. While no two properties are identical, they all adhere to the Preferred Global Standards of Excellence — quality standards that are measured by yearly anonymous on-site inspections carried out by professional third-party experts and real-time quality assessment scores pulled from dozens of social media sites worldwide.
The company's member hotels are regularly rated among the top in the world. In January 2014, Forbes Travel Guide included 13 Preferred Hotel Group member hotels to its five-star list and 37 hotels to its four-star list.
Since the Ueberroth Family purchased Preferred Hotel Group, the company has introduced several innovative programs that were firsts for the independent hotel space:
Preferred Hotel Group’s points-based iPrefer guest loyalty program, which launched on August 15, 2013, extends points redeemable for cash-value Reward Certificates, elite status, and special benefits to travelers when they stay at hundreds of participating hotels worldwide. iPrefer was the world’s first points-based loyalty program for a global independent hotels, a development that the company’s President and CEO called a “game changer” for the hotel industry at large.
Preferred Family is a collection of 260 family-friendly hotels and resorts worldwide that are certified to accommodate travelers of all ages. In 2012, Preferred Hotel Group launched PreferredFamily.com, an easy-to-use, trusted resource for parents and grandparents who want to plan a family vacation without having to navigate various sites. Features include innovative search functionality, discussions on current news and travel trends, and itineraries for adventures in popular cites to showcase that global travel can be relaxed, accessible, convenient, and enjoyable for the whole family.
Launched in 2007, Preferred Golf is a collection of more than 65 of the world’s most celebrated golf resorts. In 2013, Preferred Golf introduced the Preferred Golf Fantasy Challenge—an international virtual golf experience that allows members to compete for weekly prizes. Preferred Golf is a membership program that requires an annual fee, offered at two levels ($75 and $295), which provides access to member-only packages, free rounds of golf, VIP service, and other promotions.
Launched in 2011, Preferred Pride is a collection of more than 120 gay-welcoming hotels and resorts worldwide. Hotels must be either TAG Approved (Community Marketing’s Travel Alternative Group) or belong to IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association). Both organizations are universally recognized for setting the standards for LGBT travel. In April 2014, the program introduced a new blog to offer LGBT travelers and their families the latest news on what to do, where to stay, and how to celebrate in key destinations around the globe.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Launched in 2006, Great Initiatives for Today’s (Tomorrow’s) Society (GIFTTS) is a company-wide program designed to recognize and reward member hotels that serve as exemplars of corporate social responsibility within the hospitality industry in one of four categories: community service, philanthropy, sustainability, and education. Good works are recognized at the Preferred Hotel Group Global Conference with winners in each category, and individual hotel volunteerism efforts and social contributions are communicated through the company’s social media channels throughout the year. In addition, Preferred Hotel Group has a global employee program that recognizes and celebrates volunteerism by company associates, an effort that is supported by Preferred Hotel Group ownership and extends two complimentary philanthropic days every year to allow associates to take the day off to give their time back to the community or a cause. As part of GIFTTS, Preferred Hotel Group has partnered with Clean the World, a company that recycles and redistributes hotel soap products to third world countries. Dozens of hotels around the world participate in the effort, and in 2013, Preferred Hotel Group member hotels recycled and donated a total of 186,000 pounds of soap and 140,000 pounds of bottled bath amenities, tripling the total donations from the previous year.
In the News
Preferred Hotel Group, its brands, its programs, and its member hotels are frequently featured in the media by prominent international publications and networks. Among the outlets to spotlight the company in recent months include The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, National Geographic Traveler, MarketWatch, HOTELS, The Strait Times, Sunday Mirror, The TODAY Show and more. To view the most recent press mentions, visit the Preferred Hotel Group Press Center.