Jeff Zidell is stepping down from his position as Head of Loyalty at Hyatt, a position he has held for nearly nine years. What will this mean for the future of the World of Hyatt?
Zidell presided over the golden years of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. He was the brainchild behind lucrative promotions like “Faster Free Nights” that may have been expensive at the time but made many the strong Hyatt loyalist I am today, despite the chain’s limited footprint around the world. I certainly include myself in that tally.
Zidell was also very approachable. He responded to emails, answered phone calls, and was one of the most engaging and conscientious leaders in the world of loyalty. I sat next to him one year at the Freddies and had a very nice conversation. When my old UPGRD blog was looking for sponsors, he put me in touch with his contacts. That was the kind of guy he was.
The World of Hyatt was a bitter transition. Not just in the way the program was announced, but in the way it was received. Many have abandoned loyalty to Hyatt and the hotel chain is now desperately offering Globalist status for only 20 stays to try to lure back corporate customers. The program remains valuable to those willing to spend some serious bucks, but is a poor value proposition for most others. It is no wonder the carrier took home no prizes in the Freddies last month.
Will his departure mean a change in policy? Unlikely. In fact, I’d rather have him at the helm than just about anyone else. It is highly unlikely we will see any givebacks at Hyatt as a result of his departure.
Zidell will leave a mixed legacy at Hyatt. He was the leader behind building a fair, valuable, customer-friendly hotel loyalty program in Gold Passport. He was also leader while that wonderful program was dismantled into a program that has alienated consumers and repelled long-time loyalists.
Gina Tallarico, Hyatt’s VP of Marketing, Planning, and Implementation, will step in to fill Zidell’s role on an interim basis. I wish her the best in running the program. Most importantly, I wish Zidell the best and thank him again for what he did to make me a Hyatt loyalist.
> Read More: It’s A Small World (of Hyatt) After All