Ex­tra­or­di­nary Holiday Mo­ments

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Charlotte Rogers Im­age © Pre­ferred Hos­pi­tal­ity Group

The ti­tle of Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer is a big deal – it’s a heavy bur­den for any­one to carry. With the vi­sion, di­rec­tion, suc­cess, and ac­tions of a com­pany rest­ing squarely on the CEO’S shoul­ders, the po­si­tion should come with a “Warn­ing: Stress” sign. Not hav­ing met many CEOS, I ex­pected them all to be over­tired, caf­feine ad­dicts, rac­ing through life try­ing to keep their fin­gers on all the pulses.

Meet­ing the CEO of Pre­ferred Ho­tels and Re­sorts, Lind­sey Ue­ber­roth, was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. The pris­tine calm of Ue­ber­roth’s de­meanour meant that our chat went off with­out a hitch, and I got a look in­side the life of a mod­ern-day Su­per­woman.

It was a sunny af­ter­noon at Boschen­dal Farm, a Pre­ferred Ho­tels & Re­sorts mem­ber in the wineland re­gion of the Western Cape. The il­lus­tri­ous ho­tel brand was cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary with a global road trip, vis­it­ing a se­lec­tion of their very best prop­er­ties. We all sat down to an im­pres­sive pre­sen­ta­tion on the im­mense scope of Pre­ferred’s net­work– a truly global com­pany. Lunch was served, and over glasses of wine, we all got to know the charis­matic leader of one of the most im­pres­sive in­de­pen­dent ho­tel port­fo­lios in the world.

Born in Tarzana, Cal­i­for­nia, Ue­ber­roth ex­plained that her early life was filled with travel. “My fa­ther has al­ways been in the travel and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness, so as a re­sult, we ended up mov­ing [to] and liv­ing in some re­ally unique places.” She went on to ex­plain that she at­tended high school in Hawaii, and af­ter that she chose For­est Wake Univer­sity in North Carolina as her alma mater. “At that stage in my life, I did not know that I would want to be in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, but I did grow up in it. Ev­ery holiday was spent trav­el­ling – vis­it­ing the ho­tels just as much as the lo­cal sites. Hos­pi­tal­ity was in my blood, I just didn’t know to what ex­tent.”

Ue­ber­roth ex­plained that her fa­ther, John, was very clever in in­volv­ing her in the busi­ness. He would take her to busi­ness meet­ings and on busi­ness trips, ask­ing her opin­ion more and more as she got older. Af­ter the year 2000, John in­creas­ingly started ac­quir­ing trav­el­re­lated busi­nesses and Ue­ber­roth found her­self “ac­ci­den­tally” work­ing for her fa­ther. “I did Change Man­age­ment, and that’s re­ally what he needed help with, and that be­gan my first foray into the travel busi­ness.”

The ho­tel busi­ness was a dif­fer­ent story. “My fa­ther was ap­proached by Pre­ferred, which used to be owned by the ho­tel mem­bers, and af­ter 9/11, they were look­ing for some­one to buy or take over the com­pany. My fa­ther was very smart and said, ‘It would be re­ally cool if you’d come to a few meet­ings with me.’ And I fell hook, line, and sinker for the com­pany and for what it did.”

The role of men­tor­ship has played a par­tic­u­larly large role in Ue­ber­roth’s ca­reer, and it’s some­thing that she is proud to say Pre­ferred Ho­tels and Re­sorts has taken on­board too. “My dad is def­i­nitely at the top of the list of my men­tors. I tell fa­thers this all the time: They can make all the dif­fer­ence in a daugh­ter’s life. My fa­ther al­ways taught me that I could do any­thing that I wanted.”

When asked about whether hav­ing a men­tor was im­por­tant in her in­dus­try, she replied, “It’s crit­i­cal. I have lots men­tors and they sup­port me in dif­fer­ent facets of my life, and I think that hav­ing a busi­ness men­tor is par­tic­u­larly great.” Pre­ferred Ho­tels and Re­sorts does not have an of­fi­cial men­tor­ship pro­gramme, but it is “worked it into the com­pany cul­ture”, ac­cord­ing to Ue­ber­roth, and one of her right-hand men is proof of that. Sau­rabh Rai, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent for South Asia, the Mid­dle East, Africa and Aus­trala­sia, started at the com­pany in 2008 “at al­most base-level” and, through men­tor­ship from more se­nior staff mem­bers, now sits in one of the high­est po­si­tions at Pre­ferred Ho­tels.

Ue­ber­roth cham­pi­ons young tal­ent at Pre­ferred Ho­tels and Re­sorts and says that her com­pany val­ues loy­alty, and makes sure to grow tal­ent within the busi­ness struc­ture.

To com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary, Pre­ferred Ho­tels & Re­sorts has launched a Golden An­niver­sary of­fer. Through­out 2018, guests will be re­warded with the best avail­able rate, plus a USD$50 ho­tel credit or a com­pli­men­tary 50-minute ac­tiv­ity at more than 250 par­tic­i­pat­ing ho­tels around the world.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Pre­ferred Ho­tels and Re­sorts port­fo­lio, please visit www.pre­ferred­ho­tels.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.