Q&A Brenda Collin, managing director, Preferred Hotels & Resorts UK, Ireland, The Nordics & The Netherlands
What is your role and how long have you held it?
For almost five years I have led Preferred Hotels & Resorts London office as managing director for the UK, Ireland, Nordics and The Netherlands.
My day-to-day focus is to ensure that our 42 member hotels across these regions have easy access to our global infrastructure and 36 sales offices worldwide to drive incremental revenue to their businesses.
Another key aspect of my role is to develop the portfolio across the aforementioned regions, improving the brand’s visibility and increasing our European footprint to meet the growing demand from our trade partners and loyal guests for independent one-of-a-kind hotels.
What type of hotels are members of the group? What are the main benefits of soft hotel brands compared to chain hotel groups?
The vast majority of our global portfolio is made up of independently-owned and managed hotels, lodges and resorts but we also represent small to medium size hotel groups and luxury hotel collections that require global representation, distribution, sales and marketing services.
There are many benefits to hotel owners and operators choosing to work with a soft brand like Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Our brand is recognised for delivering an exceptional return on investment in addition to tailored support to hotels as part of their membership while allowing them to retain control of their asset and to deliver an authentic offering that is connected to their surroundings and the local culture, which is a desirable feature for today’s luxury travel consumer.
We believe in the inspiration of travel and as such, we work with hotels that can deliver exceptional experiences and services to our industry clients, agencies and guests.
What are your regional expansion plans for 2018?
We are continuously looking to increase the number of properties we represent here in London due to the continued rise in demand from our domestic and international clients, but we are also focusing on the UK in general and aiming to establish first-time presence in a number of key British cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.
This year, we expanded our portfolio outside of London with the addition of Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St. Andrews, Merchants Manor Hotel & Spa in Cornwall, and The Tamburlaine in Cambridge.
In 2018, we plan to add approximately ten new member properties that meet our experience-based collections’ criteria, which will be supported with the recruitment of additional sales associates based out of our London office.
Next year Preferred Hotels & Resorts celebrates its 50th anniversary. What are your company-wide plans?
Yes, we are very excited about our anniversary and will be celebrating 50 years of championing the independent hotelier and independent hotel experiences with a series of industry and consumer offers – including surprise and delight concepts, a social media campaign and exclusive offers for our loyal iPrefer members throughout the year.
iPrefer Hotel Rewards is Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ points-based loyalty programme designed to cater to the specific interests and needs of travellers and travel planners who regularly choose the independent hotel experience and want to be rewarded for their loyalty.
We launched the iPrefer mobile app earlier in the year to provide a more convenient way for travellers to manage their membership and subsequent hotel stays, and will be launching other iPrefer initiatives in 2018.