Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Woodley

Michelle Woodley

President, Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Michelle Woodley is President of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. In this role, she oversees multiple departments across the company including sales, marketing, IT, revenue management, and customer relations. She also works closely with CEO Lindsey Ueberroth on financial planning and talent management, supports the development of other strategic areas of focus within the organization, and serves as a company spokesperson.

During her 15 years with the company, Ms. Woodley has held various leadership positions with cross-functional responsibilities including Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy, Senior Vice President of Distribution & Revenue Management, and Executive Vice President, the role she held prior to her promotion to President in January 2018.

Ms. Woodley has used her expertise to help the company successfully execute on major global initiatives designed to foster longevity of the Preferred brand such as two comprehensive rebranding initiatives, the launch of multiple brand websites, the introduction and institutionalization of a Revenue Management Certification Program, the technology conversion of the company's global central reservation system and call center services, and the creation of the I Prefer Hotel Rewards program.

In 2018, several months after she was named President, Ms. Woodley received recognition by Hotel Management as one of the most influential women in hospitality.

Before joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts in 2002, Ms. Woodley spent five years as Vice President of Distribution for Swissotel and Raffles Hotels & Resorts, charged with overseeing the strategic direction and operations of the company's electronic distribution and database solutions. She held various senior positions in operations, marketing, and distribution with Swissotel from 1990 to 1997.

Ms. Woodley has been an active board member in industry organizations throughout her career. She is currently on the Americas Board of Directors of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and also serves on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation. She served two terms as president and two terms as vice president of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), and she was a founding member of the Open Travel Alliance (OTA) and served two terms on their board of directors as treasurer.

Ms. Woodley is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Please visit http://www.preferredhotels.com for more information.

Ms. Woodley can be contacted at +1 312-238-9880 or MWoodley@preferredhotels.com

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.