If you ask Lindsey Ueberroth how she got her start in the lodging industry, the president and CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts would say she grew up in it. With a flight-attendant mother and a father who worked in travel, she describes her family as “great consumers of hotels.” While lodging officially became the Ueberroth family business 12 years ago with the purchase of the Preferred Hotel Group, it was earlier this year that the company turned its focus toward consumer-facing endeavors and rebranded as Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Ueberroth shares what this process has meant for her as a leader.
What were the key drivers behind this new direction for the company? We were looking at what we saw in overall consumer and traveler trends, and we wanted to start catering to how travelers are booking their trips today. They’re really looking more for experience-based travel. So we decided that we needed to clarify our brand messaging and make it more apparent to travelers what we stand for as a brand and what the independent hotel experience is about. We also really want the person booking to say, “This hotel is perfect for me and for the event that I’m attending.”
Did you have to adjust your management style to the new company strategy and brand architecture? There hasn’t been much of a change in my overall style, but my focus has absolutely had to shift. I’ve been very diligent about my focus and how I communicate it to our internal team and our hotels, because you don’t want to go through a change and find yourself slipping back into old habits. I may also be a little more intense than I have been in the past, but that’s because we’ve invested so much into this transition. So the focus has been very different, and I’m trying to remind everyone that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
What in the future of Preferred Hotels & Resorts has you the most excited? The way we are going to evolve as a company to communicate what an independent hotel experience is to the traveler. We’re going to try new things with social media that we haven’t done in the past. We’re revamping our loyalty program. But I’m most excited that there’s more to change come, and we are nimble enough to do it in a short enough time period that people definitely take notice. It’s wonderful to have a plan and see these new things roll out. The change is exciting in itself.