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Believe in travel: Celebrating 20 years of transformational journeys – ET HospitalityWorld

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This year, my family is celebrating 20 years of investing and leading our company – Preferred Travel Group. Over the past two decades, a common theme has emerged: by working collaboratively, we can enhance travel for ourselves, our customers, our partners, and even the planet. So far this year, we have seen that travellers are eager to explore lesser-known cities and push themselves out of their comfort zones. Our 600 Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ member properties across the globe are recognising this demand, and I am continually amazed by the innovative ways properties are creating curated and unique luxury experiences for guests.

Our ideology starts with the simple words: “Believe in Travel,” and it’s part of our DNA as a company. For me, this isn’t only a professional ideal; it is part of who I am. Travel is in my blood, and connecting people with unique locations is something the entire Preferred family is passionate about and collectively celebrates.

Our culture has become obsessed with seeking out experiences that are enviable and “social media-worthy,” often checking off a ‘bucket list’ item. This desire for unique experiences has become central to travellers’ preferences. So, what’s next? We often talk about delivering ‘experiences’ daily, but what about our ability to deliver transformation?

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According to the 2024 American Express Travel Trends Report, transformation is the fastest-growing segment of the hospitality industry, outpacing services and experiences, and now represents a $208 billion market opportunity in the U.S. alone. What does this mean globally, and what can it mean for all of us? How can we tap into this distinct and desirable economic opportunity?

The AMEX Global Travel Trends Report also noted that while everyone’s motivation for booking a trip is unique—whether it’s a quick solo weekend to recharge or an “off the beaten path” adventure—the trips that are trending are those centered around transformation. Forbes reports that Millennials and Gen Z will make up 45 percent of luxury sales by 2025, and this demographic is leading the demand for transformative EVERYTHING, especially travel.

Transformative travel includes experiences that foster self-awareness and reflection, leaving an imprint on your heart and soul. For example, I remember walking into my guest room to see a framed picture of my dogs with a note from them wishing me a safe trip and to come home soon. Or finding a teddy bear perfectly placed on the bed with a handwritten note from the housekeeper. These small gestures create human connections, and human connection is contagious.

When guests experience personalised, curated moments that resonate emotionally, it changes their mindset, how they feel, and how they treat themselves and others. There is a significant opportunity within the travel industry, and we want to stand out from other brands by focusing on these transformative experiences. Our guests stay at our hotels because they seek something unique and meaningful.

Companies that will succeed in the hospitality industry think intentionally about experiences. Change or transformation is deeply personal. If we can understand our customers’ desires and be the architects of their transformative experiences, we can achieve widespread success both individually and collectively as a brand. I believe profits go hand in hand with this idea. If you believe that the purpose of business is for humans to flourish, then delivering on these values to the guest will change behaviours, and profits will follow.

It’s easy to promise transformation, but it’s much harder to deliver. At Preferred Hotels & Resorts we want to collectively set ourselves apart and do this together to help unlock travel’s potential for good in our lives and our society while driving value, loyalty, and revenue to our hotels.

The author, Lindsey Ueberroth is CEO of Preferred Travel Group. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ET HospitalityWorld.

  • Published On Jun 11, 2024 at 01:54 PM IST

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