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 September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.