It has been a challenging year for the hotel industry but also the opportunity to stand strong as a brand and respond with grace and compassion. David Tarr tells us about Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, their outreach to staff and the community, as well as future projects guests can look forward to.
What has been your focus the past few months and how will this influence your strategy for 2021?
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have prioritized listening to our key stakeholders – colleagues, guests, World of Hyatt members, customers, and owners – and we are very focused on welcoming our guests, colleagues, and customers back with safety and wellbeing in mind. As such, in April, we launched the Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, which enhances existing rigorous cleaning procedures and operational protocols. As part of this commitment, we created the role of Hygiene & Wellbeing Leader at each property globally who is responsible for overseeing implementation of the new protocols and procedures. We are also working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council to achieve GBAC Star accreditation at all Hyatt hotels globally, and were the first hospitality company to require this accreditation.
We have also taken great care to reimagine traditional hotel experiences and find new ways to care for our guests. This includes everything from using spaces in new ways to investing in our digital platforms and contactless technologies to minimize contact but maximize care. Leisure travel has represented the majority of business over the past few months and we have provided many more opportunities for guests to choose Hyatt with the recent openings of Grand Hyatt Nashville, Hotel Kansas City, Mar Monte and The Last Hotel, all part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, and Hyatt Centric properties in Alexandria, Virginia, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Portland.
Have you made any changes to current projects?
Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, we remain focused on growing with intent and expanding our footprint globally in locations that matter most to our guests, World of Hyatt loyalty members, customers and owners. We had a strong pipeline prior to COVID-19 and we are confident in our long-term growth strategy. In addition to pursuing new development opportunities, we are very focused on conversion opportunities which may be available in higher-than-normal volumes given current business conditions.
Are there any markets you are watching for possible opportunities?
We have announced several new projects that are set to open in the next few years and include brand entry into many new markets. Following the opening of Thompson Washington D.C. in early 2020, the Thompson Hotels brand is positioned for significant expansion across the Americas with the development of Thompson properties in Texas – including Thompson Dallas and Thompson San Antonio, which are both set to open in fall 2020 – Georgia and Mexico. Additionally, we look forward to the opening of the first new-build Alila resort in the Americas, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas, in early 2021 and the development of Grand Hyatt St. Lucia, the first Hyatt-branded hotel in St. Lucia.
Can you tell us about some of Hyatt’s initiatives for the community, their staff and first responders?
At Hyatt, our purpose to care for people so they can be their best has guided every decision throughout COVID-19. At the onset of the pandemic, we took quick action to listen to our stakeholders and gather key insights. When it became clear that the hospitality industry would be severely impacted by the pandemic, we launched the Hyatt Care Fund to provide assistance to colleagues globally with pressing financial needs. We also revised our cancelation policy to allow more flexibility and extended this cancelation policy to July 2021 to provide guests and World of Hyatt members with peace of mind as they book future travel.
Globally, many hotels have provided accommodations for healthcare workers, donated meals to first responders and displayed messages of hope and positivity for community members. We’ve also collaborated with hospitality organizations and participated in industry-wide initiatives, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Hospitality for Hope initiative, and extended our Friends & Family discount rate to all healthcare workers for stays through June 2021. Looking ahead, we are working closely with medical experts from organizations like the Cleveland Clinic as part of our Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to guide our path forward.