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Preferred Hotels & Resorts prepare for expansion and growth in Australia

Preferred Hotels & Resorts executives were recently in Sydney as the group looks to expand its member hotels in Australia.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts executives were recently in Sydney as the group looks to expand its member hotels in Australia.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts recently hosted a media lunch at the picturesque The Place (Bridge Area) at Level 1 of the historic The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, formerly the General Post Office which began operating in 1874. The Sydney hotel is currently Australia’s only member within Preferred Hotels & Resorts and a member of its top-tier ‘Legend’ collection.

Preferred Travel Group had flown in its executive staff from its US and Asia Pacific offices, including: Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO; Cheryl Williams, Chief Revenue Officer, Jonathan Newbury, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific; Stephanie Dowling, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations; Walter Navarro, Senior Manager, Public Relations & Marketing – Southeast Asia & Pacific; James Koh, Regional Director South East Asia & Pacific – and joined by Carolyn Holmes, Director, Global Sales – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific (based in Sydney).

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Lydnsey Ueberroth, CEO, addresses guests. Credit: Katrina Holden

CEO Lindsey Ueberroth welcomed guests. 

“I always like to start with what I call our brand promise, and it’s part of our company ideology – we believe in travel and we truly believe that travel can change people’s lives,” she said. 

It is 20 years since Lindsey’s family acquired the Preferred Hotels & Resorts group, forming Preferred Travel Group as a corporate entity and the parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beyond Green, Historic Hotels of America, Historic Hotels Worldwide, and PTG Consulting. 

Preferred Hotels & Resorts now has 600 member hotels located in more than 80 countries, with future growth planned – particularly in the Australian market. 

Its top-tier ‘Legends’ collection members, says Lindsey, represents the highest level of luxury in remarkable destinations. This collection comprises landmark hotels in iconic cities and destinations. 

“I’m excited to announce that we just crossed the 100 member threshold of  this collection and it also happens to coincide with the 20th anniversary of my family owning Preferred Hotels & Resorts. It’s been around for 55 -plus years but my family has had the privilege of being custodians for the past two decades.”

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Lunch setting at The Place (bridge area) on level one at The Fullerton Hotel Sydney. Credit: Katrina Holden.

Speaking about the demand for unique and transformational travel experiences, Lindsey said that Preferred Hotels & Resorts (and the properties that are part of it) really have an opportunity to own that space. 

“When you think about the traveller who’s looking to stay with us, that’s what they’re looking for: something unique, curated, authentic and transformational,” she said. 

She also spoke of the growing trends she is saying which includes the travellers’ shift towards ultra-personalised. 

“By nature of being independent, we can do that. We don’t have a manual that says this is how we have to do it,” she said. 

There’s a continued demand, she said, for the ultra-luxury segment. 

“Last year, Preferred Hotels & Resorts welcomed 50 new member hotels, with 15 of those being new builds. This year, we’ve already welcomed 20 new member hotels – with a nice healthy pipeline for the back half of the year,” she said. 

Pointing to the group’s plans for the Australian market, Lindsey said that part of the reason for the visit is due to its interest to grow in Australia. 

“We definitely have growth plans in this market, so you will start to see growth within Preferred Hotels & Resorts… obviously with key feeder markets like Sydney and Melbourne, then we want to have great resorts and properties in secondary and tertiary markets.”

“We think we’re very well positioned in this market to attract new members because we’re also seeing a trend in hotels ‘de-flagging’ – with hotels deciding they don’t need to be part of a big chain and there’s confidence in going independent. We’ve seen this around the globe,” she said.  

Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ loyalty program, titled ‘I Prefer’ now has five million members. The Fullerton Hotel Sydney was recently awarded the winner of the ‘I Prefer Hotel of the Year’ award. 

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‘The Golden Pineapple’ dessert at The Fullerton Hotel Sydney. Credit: Katrina Holden.

This week, the organisation will mark ‘Preferred Pineapple Week’, honouring the meaning and origins of the group’s pineapple logo. 

“The pineapple is the international symbol of hospitality. It dates back to Christopher Columbus travelling the world and it was put in a stake in front of homes to welcome travellers. It was also considered very rare and exotic,” said Lyndsey.

General Manager of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, Rob Weeden, spoke of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the historic General Post Office building, commencing in September. 

“Our owners are incredibly conscious of the conservation of our history and our contribution to this city,” said Rob. 

Rob also revealed that there are plans for 50 new keys of luxury rooms in the heritage wing, with a goal to be ready for stays in 2025.