Mary Gostelow connects with Preferred in London

The Londoner hosts this year's Regional Meeting for Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Connecting through travel has never been more vital, said CEO Lindsey Ueberroth at the Preferred Hotels and Resorts’ regional meeting at The Londoner, 20-21 September 2022. The 250 delegates were mostly from Europe but supplemented by keen members from the USA, Africa, the Middle East and, especially strong, India. To highlight the value of connectivity, Lindsey was supported throughout by her father, Preferred Chairman John Ueberroth, and her mother, Preferred Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Gail Ueberroth. The family-feel is one of the strengths of the Preferred consortium.

Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO Preferred Hotels and Resorts |

It’s worth noting, indeed, that the family-aspect was a decider when impressive first-time member Juliet Njogu and her husband – back in Kenya – chose this particular consortium. The two bankers identified luxury hotels as a lucrative niche investment. Having benchmarked with such names as The Hoxton, and turned down the many courtships they received from major brands (‘all too controlling’), they opted for independence. Their 83-key The Social House, with Peruvian among its food offerings, is in Nairobi’s elite Lavington area. Opened during the pandemic, its current above-satisfactory occupancy is roughly 50-50, travellers en route to safaris and affluent Kenyans.

A panel discussion at this year's event. The theme was 'Believe in Travel' | Photo credit: Clément Dénarié/LinkedIn

Two packed days of meetings saw big emphasis on sales, and on sustainability. A significant motivator stressed sales empowerment and trusting others to carry transactions through. A peripatetic futurist somehow squeezed the entire real and virtual world of luxury hospitality into her allotted 30 minutes.

STR’s Aoife Roche showed COVID-19 is already not the dominant issue, at least outside Asia, in curtailing travel.

Kate Orszulik, from The Considerate Group, opened many eyes when reporting there are over 180 ESG certification programmes, of which only four appear to be hospitality specific.

Hoteliers shared such initiatives as doorknob hangers encouraging guests to plant a tree, and recycling unused bread into flour to be used in making yet more loaves.

In the exhibition area, Clean The World had tubs of ingredients to produce hygiene kits for the vulnerable. Along the production line we went: take an airline-size plastic bag, put in a dental kit, and one each from succeeding tubs, write an encouraging card, seal the bag and toss into a waiting receptacle.

The Londoner, Edwardian Hotels

The Londoner did a magnificent hosting job. For the gala dinner they barely had 90 minutes transforming the ballroom from meeting to eating. Tables for 10 had centre-pieces of at least 25 white candles, different heights, some glass-sleeved and all lit. Arriving, pick up a two-fold name card identifying table number. At tables, laid-out A5 menu cards were personalised – pre-chosen, veggie or non-veggie. Find your place, and stand your two-fold card to help others.

Awards, announced during the dinner, honoured such outstanding hotel teams as Alpina Grand Gstaad, for social media. Leadership awards went to Valentina De Santis, CEO of Lake Como’s Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Passalacqua, and to Stafford Collection CEO and GM The Stafford, London, Stuart Procter.

As it was immediately following the Royal Funeral, Charles Oak, GM of The Londoner, had a more-than-usual full house. The 350-key property, owned by Jasminder Singh and family, is celebrating its first birthday with renewed emphasis on community. It is bringing in pop-up workshops for such significant Bond Street names as Tiffany to show design and execution. All free to the locale.

Image credit: Preferred Hotels & Resorts/LinkedIn

Stuart Procter, Stafford Collection CEO and GM The Stafford, London with his award.

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily girlahead.com, a weekly newswire Mary Gostelow’s Inner Circle, and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, all part of Almont Global.

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