a pool with a deck chair and a deck chair
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2018 belonged to Marriott, but 2019…

2018 was a massive year in the hotel business. Room occupancy was up, mergers closed and data breaches – yeah, there were a few. So which hotel group will 2019 belong to – and why? As many businesses set up “out of office” messages at the close of 2018, one chain seemed poised to kick 2019 off with a major bang. Will Hyatt be the most interesting hotel program to watch this year? It just might be…

Hyatt credit cardRevamped Hyatt Loyalty Program

Hyatt announced a unique twist on the World Of Hyatt loyalty program at the close of the year. In short: members will receive new benefits for every 10 nights they stay. Whereas common 40, 50 or 60 night targets are out of sight for many, there’s more to gain at the lower end, but also at the top. At 10 nights guests will receive Discoverist status, at 20 they’ll receive club lounge passes and at 40 nights things like $100 gift cards and new elite levels kick in, in addition to clever suite upgrades.

In addition to more frequent travel perk recognition, new hotel property partnerships bring increased opportunity to cash in loyalty points in exciting destinations. The World of Hyatt US credit card from Chase remains one of the strongest hotel card propositions and the ease of moving Chase Ultimate Rewards Points into the World Of Hyatt program at excellent rates brings consistently good value. The question remains: will it be enough to dissuade loyalists from the never ending sea of status match and fast track opportunities offered by competitors?

a pool with a deck chair and a deck chairWildly Expanded Hotel Portfolio

Hyatt may have been accessible in many major business capitols of the world, but “aspirational” destinations were severely lacking in recent years. With the acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality, including top boutique hotels like Alila, Thompson and Joie De Vivre, that’s instantly changed. Alila offers many of the most desirable boutiques in enviable locations throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.

In addition, the partnership with Small Luxury Hotels brings greater reach in holiday destinations throughout Europe, South Africa, The Middle East and Beyond. Basically, you can earn World of Hyatt points, redeem points and enjoy Hyatt perks at places you want to vacation, not just places you work in 2019, and that’s exciting. No brand has gained as many unique properties this year. Will the process be as smooth from a technology integration stand point as hoped? Only time will tell…

two glasses of alcohol with ice cubes on a bar counterGoing Beyond Traditional Hospitality

Love it or loathe it, wellness is here to stay. Hyatt’s ownership of Exhale, which includes spas, yoga and fitness classes will be an interesting space as the worlds of travel and wellness further collide. Yoga classes were a central part of the World Of Hyatt credit card launch in Manhattan this last year and as hotels seek to make use of ground floor and under utilized spaces, it’s hard not to expect further brand fusion.

Of the major brands, Hyatt has been the slowest out of the starting gates in terms of celebrity chef partnerships and experiential opportunities for guests.  Marriott’s “Moments” program and celebrity chef and mixology partnerships have proven wildly popular, and Hyatt could be an interesting entrant into the space. Will Hyatt seek to bolster food and beverage programs with high profile collaborations? It will certainly be an interesting hotel program to watch in 2019…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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