Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
umors have been swirling in certain circles
that Google is interested in buying TripAdvisor.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has been active on
the branding front, converting acquired
brands to the Hyatt House brand. The
company is being aggressive on the distribution front, as well, becoming a founding member of Room Key, a site created
by hotel companies to take market share
back from online travel agencies (OTAs).
Contributing editor Harvey Chipkin spoke
with Jack Horne, Hyatt’s senior vice president of sales for North America, about
these and other issues.
partly due to loyalty programs, which
are becoming more competitive and attractive to consumers.
from John and Mary Q. Citizen.
All this for a mere four flights.
Q: What will distinguish
Hyatt House from other
extended-stay and all-suite
A: The focus is on the residential feel.
Our lobby is more expansive than most,
with amenities like oversized furniture
for guest comfort and a game room.
Travelers did not get Summerfield as an
extended-stay product, and we had only
35% who stayed five nights or more. We
would like to get that number to 40%
or even 50% at
Hyatt House. The
brand will be sim-
ilar in quality to
Hyatt Place. The
difference will be
the average stay
at a Hyatt Place is one to three nights.
Q: Where do you see your growth
A: We like to grow as we have in San
Diego, where we have a Park Hyatt, an
Andaz and a Hyatt Place. We want our
brands in every market, if not on every
street corner. Our goal lies more in enhancing standards rather than increasing numbers. We have invested $300
million of our own money in hotels in
which we have equity, like Atlanta, Chicago, New York, San Antonio and San
Francisco. We want to set an example
for our owners. The number of international travelers to the U.S. is
soaring, and we want to get
domestic properties up to the
standards of Hyatts abroad.
We will say to the owners:
“Look, we’ve done it. Can you
do it?” And some already are.
For one thing, we are hoping
to have a Grand Club, our
lounge concept, installed into
all Grand Hyatts in the U.S.
Q: You’re converting the Hyatt Summerfield Suites and Hotel Sierra properties
to the Hyatt House brand. What’s the
status of those conversions?
A: The goal is to have all the hotels converted by the end of the year.
Acquiring Sierra Suites gave
us the distribution we needed
in many locations. Summerfield never resonated with
loud during the
ITB Berlin show
last month, but
not spoken, apparently, by anyone who really
But as one
analyst whispered to TC, it would be very
surprising if Google wasn’t at least looking at TripAdvisor.
Q: Where will the growth be geographically?
A: Of course we are looking at China
and India, but we are underrepresented in Europe. We have nothing in
places like Ireland or Spain or Rome.
The opening of the Park Hyatt in New
York in 2013 will
brand domestically. We would
like to get Park
Hyatt back into
and San Francisco.
In addition to dancers in traditional
dress, artwork and banners highlighting
the attractions of each of Mexico’s states
and regions and cigar rollers plying their
trade, interesting food items were up for
grabs in the convention center in Puerto
Vallarta during last week’s Tianguis Turistico trade show.
Ceviche, warm tortillas, fancy pas-tries, cookies and candies tempted
TC. But one item in particular
caught our eye at the Oaxaca
It looked like a platter of
dried shredded beef or pieces of crisp bacon.
What’s this? TC asked,
hand almost to mouth.
Turns out it was stir-fried
It would have been rude to
dump the delicacy back onto the platter, so TC closed our eyes and swallowed
Next stop was the Jalisco booth, for a
shot of tequila.
Not exactly your typical midmorning
coffee break, but hey, travel is all about
Who knew that the traveling
public cared so much about
which airlines fly to
Washington Reagan National
The Transportation Department is sorting through
proposals by seven airlines to
add a grand total of four daily
roundtrips to the capital’s close-in airport. The competition for the available slots has triggered petition drives
and letter-writing campaigns among
fans of the applicant airlines: Alaska, Air
Canada, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun
Country and Virgin America. When last
we looked, the docket contained more
than 1,600 documents, most of them
‘Summerfield never reso-
nated with travelers. They
did not get Summerfield as
an extended-stay product.’
Friends & Colleagues
ASTA has named Pamela
Bonin director of market
development. Bonin will be
responsible for developing,
coordinating and implementing ASTA’s membership marketing efforts as
well as working with key
and prospective ASTA partners in order to develop
stronger and more strategic
Conde Nast Traveler and
She will also maintain
a role as editor at large at
Budget Travel, advising on
Q: You are a founding member of Room
Key. Do you think it will be able to win
back market share from the OTAs?
A: Room Key is just another alterna-
tive distribution channel, targeting lei-
sure. The jury is out on whether we can
get market share back from the OTAs
through Room Key, but it does give us
another channel. Meanwhile, booking
on our brand sites is growing. That’s
Q: Hyatt does a lot of meetings busi-
ness, which took a big hit in the reces-
sion. Is that coming back?
A: It is coming back, but the cost of get-
ting that business jumped from 12% in
2008 to 17% in 2011. The reason is that
so many companies cut their meeting
staffs and turned it over to third-party
planners, which take a piece of the ac-
tion. All we can do is hope we can raise
rates enough to compensate for that.
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Nina Willdorf, former editor in chief at Budget Travel
magazine, is joining the
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the online travel agency on
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Prior to her stint at Bud-
get Travel, Willdorf was an
editor at Travel + Leisure,
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magazine, and she has con-
tributed to Glamour, New
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Greaves India has named
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