The Professor: How Ted Teng Preaches Uniqueness Among Hoteliers

Pictured are John McMahon's tablemates from this summer’s Duck Dinner

When I was in college, I always looked up to my professors. They were wise beyond their years and needed to be dynamic speakers, as they had to keep 30 students awake and attentive for an entire class.

When I first met Ted Teng, president and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World, he reminded me of my college professors. In this month’s cover story, we see that Teng is both a student of the past and a visionary of the future: he thinks big and is an advocate for the independent luxury hotel, but he thinks beyond just Leading Hotels of the World — he cares about all independent hotels. 

As chain hotels figure out that authenticity is what sells, they attempt to crumble the exact cookie-cutter mold they created. On the other hand, Teng and Leading Hotels of the World see the opportunity to be positioned perfectly for today’s affluent traveler.

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Teng also realizes that you must be different in order to stand out of the pack. With nearly 400 hotels — or, let’s say, students — Teng preaches the uniqueness of all. Even with the selling of the collection Teng takes a different approach. For instance, twice annually he holds his Ted Teng’s Duck Dinner with elite travel advisors and the Leading staff. Each table seats eight to 10, drawn at random with no speeches or sales pitches on the agenda; it’s simply a night of networking and conversation. All attendees become classmates for an evening of sharing knowledge led by Teng, our professor. 

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