Hyatt has rolled out a partnership with SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) to expand the footprint of their loyalty program. It was the smartest solution to their biggest problem, the number of properties.
World of Hyatt Loyalty Program is Best
Changing the name from Gold Passport to World of Hyatt was probably close to the low point of the program. Following that, however, the beloved program has remained best among the rest. Their increased requirements for elite status were a step too far, but Hyatt corrected this and made it easier to obtain and maintain.
They offer four confirmable suite upgrades up to six nights each (Hilton was rumored to be trialing something similar), no other program currently does. Hyatt offers a concierge to every Globalist at no more than 60 nights (some available at 55) and no revenue requirement unlike Marriott’s 100-night requirement and $20,000 in spending just to be one of 300 assigned to their ambassador.
Most hotel programs offer increased earnings for elites and promotions throughout the year, but Hyatt also offers milestone awards including free night certificates, again, alone at the top of the heap.
Hyatt’s Footprint Is a Problem
Hyatt is often considered a peer to IHG (who hates their elites), Hilton, and Marriott but is just a fraction of their size with less than 1,000 hotels in the chain. Comparatively, IHG and Hilton are both hovering around 5,000 properties while Marriott (with SPG) sits at more than 7,000 hotels.
The issue is that Hyatt just doesn’t have enough properties in enough places. Until last year, Hyatt had no properties in the entire country of Spain, they now have Mallorca (Park) and Madrid (Centric) but that’s still insufficient for a country as large as Spain. The chain doubled its presence in Itlay from just the Park Hyatt Milan to now two properties with a Hyatt Centric near Venice. The chain has a single hotel in all of Ireland and six in the UK, all of which are in London.
In the US, where 55-night road warriors are more common than other parts of the world, locations are even more sparse. For example, in some markets like its home market of Chicago nearly 20 properties are available, oddly in Pittsburgh, you’ll find eight yet similarly sized Kansas City, MO has just three, the same for Cleveland, OH. Depending on where that hotel is located, it could be a 30-minute drive to customer meetings from a Hyatt Place across town, if one is even available.
SLH Partnership Shores Up Hyatt Shortcomings
The announced partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World was initially a very small addition. Hyatt status privileges (both earning and redeeming points) helped, but just a few dozen properties were included in the World of Hyatt program. Over time, the partnership has grown to more than 200 hotels, a boom of more than 25% increase in their footprint and more importantly, nearly all of those properties are premium.
One challenge of growing the brand and increasing footprint meant that more of the “select service” Hyatt Place properties would dot the map instead of full-service hotels. But it’s more expensive to build new properties and sites must be more exacting than with select service hotels.
The SLH partnership has room to run too. After the first few dozen were added some more joined the World of Hyatt program. Then another 50 or so, and so on until 200 have joined form a total of 500 SLH boutique properties. When coupled with current properties in development, the new Two Roads Hospitality hotels purchased and the rest of SLH (which have the option to participate or not) the chain could double the size of what Hyatt was before the partnership began.
It’s been good for SLH properties too, otherwise, the limited rollout of just a few dozen would have remained that small or worse, shrank. Because those properties have seen positive results as being a part of the World of Hyatt system, even more have joined.
Hyatt’s partnership with SLH has been successful both for Hyatt and the individual properties in SLH. Providing a mostly premium addition of hotels has been a huge advantage to Hyatt loyalists, helping the brand to overcome its largest shortfall, physical presence. I hope that Hyatt and SLH expand their partnership to the entire SLH line.
Come see Matthew and me at FTU Chicago.
This is your last opportunity to book. Matthew and I will be speaking next weekend in Chicago. The weekend of sessions is available for just $249 bit if you sign up with my affiliate link here you’ll save $35 with the code LASTMINUTE by midnight on May 30th (PST). Both days include lunch, coffee, and iced tea, and a pizza welcome dinner the evening prior (May 31st) to the first 75 who sign up.