Monday,  May 25, 2020  1:22 am

Preferred Hotels & Resorts brings summer showcase to Toronto

Preferred Hotels & Resorts brings summer showcase to Toronto
THE PREFERRED LIFE. From left (of Preferred Hotels & Resorts): Rose Brown, director of global sales, Canada; Rick Stiffler, VP of leisure sales
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts hosted their annual Summer Showcase in Toronto last Wednesday (June 12), giving more than a dozen properties in Preferred’s one-of-a-kind collection an opportunity to meet with some of Toronto’s top-selling travel professionals.   

“Our summer showcase is a great way to educate the travel agency community about our hotels and build relationships,” Rick Stiffler, vice president of leisure sales at Preferred Hotels and Resorts told PAX at the event, which was held at the Atrium at Ricarda’s in downtown Toronto.

“Our summer showcase is a great way to educate the travel agency community about our hotels and build relationships,” said Rick Stiffler.

The well-attended gathering represented one of two showcases Preferred held in Canada last week (a Montreal edition was held the following Thursday night)

“One thing that’s really nice about Preferred is that we have a wide variety of hotels to choose from, depending on the traveller,” Stiffler said.

Preferred Hotels and Resorts, a family-owned company, represents a diverse portfolio of more than 750 independent hotels across 85 countries. It celebrated its 50th anniversary just last year.

The company’s hotels are divided into five different collections: Legend (“the ultimate in luxury”), L.V.X (“upscale luxury with local flair”), Lifestyle (“a brilliant life and style”), Connect (“global value, quality and comfort”) and Residences (“live inspired”).

“They’re all very different properties that offer very different experiences,” said Rose Brown, director of global sales in Canada for Preferred Hotels and Resorts. “It’s not cookie-cutter.”

SPEED DATE. Travel agents roam the room at Preferred Hotels & Resorts summer showcase.

The Travel Agent Next Door's Pablo Keselman, a travel agent of 32 years, echoed that sentiment.

“I’ve been booking Preferred for a number of years,” Keselman told PAX at the event. “The properties are unique, you always discover a new one. The variety is there.”

New additions

It’s been a big year for Preferred Hotels & Resorts as it welcomed 25 new member hotels into its global portfolio earlier this year.

“We believe in travel, getting out there and experiencing the world,” Stiffler told PAX.

From beautiful heritage buildings in cities like Sydney and London to contemporary beachfront properties in New Jersey, Preferred prides itself on offering “one-of-a-kind experiences that embody the spirit of independent travel.”

Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ newest additions include:

  • The Fullerton Hotel Sydney (Sydney, Australia): Located in Sydney’s Central Business District on Martin Place, this 416-room hotel resides in the city’s landmark Victorian-era General Post Office building. Opening in October. 
  • Sea Containers London (London, United Kingdom): Located on the South Bank of the River Thames (near world-famous landmarks such as the Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall, and the London Eye), this 359-room hotel boasts maritime design exemplified by a copper-clad exterior wall evoking the hull of a 1920s cruise ship. It also includes its own 56-seat cinema.
  • Wave Resort (New Jersey, United States): Opened just last May, this Pier Village-based beachfront resort offers 67 deluxe rooms with lounge areas and private walk-out terraces.
  • The Kitano Hotel Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan): This intimate family-owned property embodies the Japanese spirit of “wa” (harmony) through its 72 thoughtfully-appointed guestrooms and refined service style. Located in central Tokyo, the hotel is steps away from the Imperial Palace and the National Theatre, which is considered to be the heart of traditional Japanese Arts.
  • Narcissus Hotel & Residences (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia): Located in downtown Riyadh, this hotel offers 280 private apartment-style rooms and suites that blend classic opulent elegance with contemporary comfort. Must-see attractions, such as Al Bujairi Heritage Park, the National Museum, and the Kingdom Centre Tower, are nearby.
  • Hotel Henri (New York, United States): Steps away from Madison Square Park, the Empire State and Flatiron Buildings, Hotel Henri offers 118 guestrooms with design touches that evoke the backstage ambience of a Broadway theatre, with stylish lighting and graffiti-inspired artwork.

Other new additions can be found in Brazil, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

“Our Preferred Residences is a collection you’re going to see grow a lot,” Stiffler said, noting the nearly 100 hotels currently in the company’s Residences collection.

“The Airbnb market continues to grow while tapping into the leisure and luxury market,” Stiffler said. “Our Residences give travel advisors an option in that realm.”

Loyalty & Pride  

Loyal travellers who stay at Preferred's properties can tap into a variety of benefits through the company’s ever-growing I Prefer Hotel Rewards program, which now involves nearly 700 participating hotels in addition to a database of some 3.5 million registered travellers.

“We grow every year,” Stiffler said. “We’re one of the few independent brands that offers points.”

Free to join, the program extends points redeemable towards free nights and other on-property expenditures, elite status, and other complimentary benefits to guests.

“Advisors like our loyalty program because their customers redeem points for monetary gift certificates to be used at our hotels,” Stiffler said. “The program doesn’t eliminate an agent’s commission on a hotel booking by point redemption.”

Stiffler noted that a new I Prefer advisor program will soon be unrolling, which will allow agents to accumulate points for I Prefer bookings.

Preferred's hotels are "all very different properties that offer very different experiences,” said Rose Brown, director of global sales in Canada for Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

Finally, as June marks the start of LGBT Pride celebrations everywhere, Preferred Hotels and Resorts has proudly renewed its Preferred Pride program.

A program that began nine years ago, the initiative caters to the LGBT luxury travel market through the delivery of one-of-a-kind, authentic hotel experiences.

Hotels in the program, for example, are offered diversity training on best practices in serving the LGBT community from check-in to check-out.

And giving back plays a part, too, as exemplified by a current promotion in New York City (homebase for this year’s World Pride festivities) whereby 13 Preferred hotels will donate $20 to the Human Rights Campaign for every booking made via the program.   

“We’ll be doing that for the entire month of June,” Stiffler said.

For more on Preferred Hotels & Resorts, click here

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