Finding a light in the dark


Uncovering revenue in unexpected places


Keeping up with the rapidly changing landscape across the market in which we each conduct business is a full-time job that requires a laser focus and a conscious effort to keep our strategic approaches simple, nimble, and geared towards staying current and successful in this fast-changing industry. It’s critical that we all have the right people and tools to help us accomplish those goals. Like many companies in the hospitality space, Preferred Hotels & Resorts focuses on its talented team and member hotels around the world, supporting their successes through the ever-changing market landscape. As we all ramp up business in this new era for travel, a key area of focus is how we differentiate ourselves from the competition to deliver market-leading results.

It’s truly important that we practice what we preach and ensure that our ideologies are at the base of what we do. For example, our brand ethos of “Believe in Travel” is the main pillar of the work we do, the experiences we like to provide, and the culture we like to keep within our company and through our relationships with hotel partners.

Ensuring rate parity, inventory availability, flexibility, and embracing new and or changing strategies are key components of ensuring no dollar goes to waste (or passes you by). For example, at Preferred Hotels & Resorts, we have worked diligently on growing the I Prefer Hotel Rewards program to drive repeat guests and incremental revenues to our hotels through loyalty redemptions and incremental stays. In addition, we have carefully monitored booking trends across channels and geographic locations to take advantage of opportunities and offer unique solutions, such as geo-targeted offers with a destination focus in addition to market-centric, experiential programs that drive high-value leisure bookings. All markets are leading with leisure and while business travel is slow to grow, we are ready for a meaningful re-bound. As many in the industry are noticing, group travel has ramped up more quickly than expected, which has caused many of us to increase head counts from pandemic-level staffing numbers to ensure we stay close and connected with our customers. For Preferred Hotels & Resorts, this has resulted in quick turnaround on leads and deepened partnerships with our hotels to help our clients navigate through lack of availability in high-demand markets with alternative solutions. When it comes to providing solutions to help clients and hotels be as successful as possible, it’s paramount that we all act as trusted partners.

Using data mining tools – such as PowerBI, Cognos, or Tableau, for example – to analyze data and understand core metrics at a more granular level can help determine marketing tactics or the selection of special offers to appeal to those customers at certain times. For example, by understanding the typical length of stay for travelers booking certain rates by geographic location, we can tailor marketing efforts to better reach those guests, thus giving ourselves the greatest chance at securing additional bookings. And while scenarios such as this one require a data-mining tool, beyond typical standardized reporting options, there are countless tech-based solutions that can help us better monitor trends and preferences to better position us to capture revenue that would otherwise be lost.

Having the right data to make better business decisions and drilling down on new or recurring trends by market is essential to our success.

As another example, external tools such as Agency360 can help decipher agency and corporate performance in the GDS and can be hugely helpful as we are seeing a return of business through this channel. Also, other reporting from tools such as AirDNA or Transparent can help clarify the impact of residential bookings in the market and impact the number of leisure bookings to an individual hotel. Also, RMS technologies can help us to better understand trending by rate category, which drives future tactics. All of these forecasting tools can help improve our overall fiscal projections.

Having the right data to make better business decisions and drilling down on new or recurring trends by market is essential to our success.

Now more than ever, technology and talent are needed to interpret and implement tactics. A “black box” approach that only embraces technology can lead to consequential miscalculations and erroneous tactics. Similarly, defraying technological investments can lead to a lack of awareness of the very opportunities that can bring market-leading results to our hotels.

Overall, having the right data and the right technology are a given, but having a healthy balance of data, technology, and people are the keys to winning!

Cheryl Williams is the chief revenue officer for Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest independent hotel brand. Her dynamic, creative leadership style, coupled with a consistent record of accomplishment, has been developed over more than 20 years of varied and progressive industry experience, both on-property and in group executive positions. In her role at Preferred, she is tasked with overseeing and fine-tuning the group’s sales, revenue optimization, marketing, e-commerce, loyalty, distribution, events, and customer relations teams, working with departmental and regional leaders already in place to ensure global alignment and to support the successful execution and evolution of the company’s growth plans. For more information, visit


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