|Los Angeles, California, April 30, 2003 - Preferred Hotels® &
Resorts Worldwide, a prestigious brand of 120 distinctive, independent
luxury hotels and resorts is celebrating 35 Years of Excellence; the newly
elected Chairman of the Preferred Advisory Board, Mr. William "Bill" Otto,
spoke with local journalists and member hotels in Los Angeles today to
discuss the past, present and future of the organization. Mr.
Otto continues to serve as President and CEO of Marcus Hotels and Resorts,
the full-service lodging division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS)
based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"I'm excited to accept the position of Preferred Board Chairman during this critical time for both Preferred and the hospitality industry," said Otto. "The growth and expansion Preferred has seen over the last 35 years has been consistently strong.
Founding member Ed Shaunessy's innovative idea inspired many independent hotels who might have otherwise pursued joining a chain to compete in the global marketplace. In today's challenged travel market, Shaunnessy's original plan will continue to be Preferred's foundation, a commitment to exceptional standards and service for each and every guest, which will help to continue future growth of the organization."
In 1968, Edwin P. Shaunessy, General Manager of Toronto's Park Plaza Hotel, made a phone call to the owner of New York's Plaza hotel on behalf of one of his very best guests. This guest conveyed that during his frequent stays at the Plaza Hotel, he never received the Park-view room despite his repeated requests. In the true spirit of customer service, Shaunessy placed the call. Upon his arrival at The Plaza, Shaunessy's preferred guest received a room with a view of Central Park along with a fruit basket and personal note from the owner. From this one customer service experience, Shaunessy saw an opportunity to help the independent hotels compete with the ever-growing chains that had been placing increased pressure on his own property and other hotels like his. By setting up a referral network composed of fine hotels in various cities for their top clients, the properties could elevate the perception of each hotel in extended communities, thereby leading to increased business for all involved. That year, Shaunessy approached 12 independent hotel owners for the first meeting of Preferred Hotels. They developed membership standards, initiated a directory of members, elected Shaunessy as Chairman and laid the groundwork of the organization.
Preferred as We Know It Today:
In the 1980s, when large chain hotels began their proliferation in the
marketplace, Preferred increased the services available to its membership
to include reservations services, sales support and cooperative marketing
programs in an effort to leverage the independent hotels in their competition
against large hotel companies. Preferred evolved even further
in the late 1990s to its current status as a branded distribution organization,
becoming a for-profit stock corporation with ownership participation by
the individual hotel owners, who have direct input through the elected
Preferred Advisory Board. Preferred also retained the service of
a third-party inspection organization to help ensure that guests would
consistently enjoy the highest standards of personal service and hospitality.
Their award-winning Standards of Excellence* quality assurance program
is recognized as one of the most thorough in the industry. Each member
hotel receives an annual unannounced audit of 1,600 standards and practices.
The Future of Preferred:
Under the leadership of Managing Director Rob Cornell and with the support of Bill Otto and the Advisory Board, one of the primary goals of the organization is to leverage the positioning of the brand and its member hotels among the 2.5 million pages on the Internet, which drives an ever-increasing amount of hotel bookings. The organization has engaged outside resources and partners to help the individual hotels by providing them with the very latest technology. Internet photo libraries, email marketing campaigns, measurement tools and other valuable resources are all new items available to Preferred members. Some independent hotels might not be able to afford certain technology capabilities on their own, but under the Preferred umbrella, these tools are cost-efficient ways for a hotel to increase and monitor its presence on the Internet.
"Now more than ever before, there is strength in numbers," said Otto. "There is not only a benefit to working together, but in this current economy, it's a necessity. For example, if a hotel needs to purchase and distribute an HTML email campaign to reach consumers, we are providing them with the tools to do so in a cost-effective and timely manner."
The organization is also in the midst of completing an overhaul to the Preferred Website, which will be unveiled at the end of the year. "Our goal with the Web site is to provide consumers with a first-rate Internet tool that will properly reflect the first-rate experiences found at our unique luxury hotels," said Cornell. "We would like our visitors to not only use the site to make a hotel reservation, but as a travel resource where they can learn all about the hotel and the surrounding area."
About Preferred Hotels® & Resorts Worldwide: Founded in 1968, Preferred Hotels® & Resorts Worldwide (www.preferredhotels.com; GDS code: PH) is a global brand of 120 of the world's finest individually owned and managed luxury hotels and resorts. Preferred prides itself on the distinctiveness and diversity of its properties, in terms of location, ambiance, décor and culture. Every member hotel, however, shares the same dedication to service and must qualify for membership by adhering to Preferred's Standards of Excellence(tm), an exhaustive quality assurance program that includes an annual, third party unannounced audit of 1,600 standards and practices. Honored with the "Best Practices Champion Award" by Cornell University, Preferred's Standards of Excellence ensures that guests consistently enjoy impeccable personal service and hospitality at every Preferred hotels or resort. Headquartered in Chicago, the company has sales offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan, Frankfurt, Munich, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. Preferred Hotels® & Resorts Worldwide is a wholly owned subsidiary of IndeCorp Corporation, an organization dedicated to providing independent hotel brands with the resources needed to compete effectively with global hotel chains and preserve the diversity and distinctiveness of the world's independent hotels.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
|Also See:||Willows Lodge, Woodinville, Washington Honored as Preferredís 'Hotel of The Year' / Aug 2002|
|Three Independent Luxury Hotels Complete Preferredís Standardís of Excellence Quality Assurance Program - St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, Colorado; Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Ft. Meyers, Florida; and Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California / March 2003|