Loyalty, Guest Relationships Most Important to Hyatt
During Hyatt Hotels Corp. third-quarter 2018 earnings call on October 31, CEO Mark Hoplamazian discussed the company's progress in driving guest engagement.
He defined guest engagement as developing direct relationships with guests that extends past a just one specific stay. He also mentioned that it was key that engagement occur with the guest on their terms, not the hotel's.
"We believe this approach has differentiated our brands and will continue to do so in ways that will allow us to strengthen guest loyalty over time," Hoplamazian said.
In particular, he called out the World of Hyatt program as the company's "most powerful vehicle" for direct guest engagement. According to Hoplamazian, the recent changes they've made to the program have led to an increase "increase in World of Hyatt member room night penetration of approximately 250 basis points on a year-to-date basis. Additionally, new member enrollments are up 45% versus prior year."
As an example of how the company offers its members enhanced and differentiated offerings, Hoplamazian announced that beginning in mid-November, World of Hyatt members will be able to earn and redeem points for eligible bookings at Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) due to an exclusive alliance Hyatt brokered with the company. SLH owns several hundred independently owned luxury hotels around the world with a presence in key European markets that have fewer Hyatt hotels. Hoplamazian, also emphasized that Hyatt's acquisitions of Miraval and Exhale are another added benefit for members – a benefit that members asked for.
"Our focus in this area [wellness and well-being] is based on listening to our guests and responding to what they've indicated as an area of increased emphasis in their lives," he said. "We believe our unique position in this area within the hotel industry affords us the ability to engage with our guests in ways that build deep and meaningful connections that drive loyalty over time."
Additionally, Hyatt is "committing a significant portion of our share of proceeds from last year's sale of Avendra toward the enhancement of our digital capabilities for the benefit of our entire system of hotels."
According to Hoplamazian, growth in Hyatt's digital direct booking channels is outpacing all other channels and the company is on track to add new features and functions to its mobile platform during the next 12 months in order to drive even higher levels of digital engagement with its guests, which it expects will further enhance direct booking activity.
Hyatt's CEO concluded by saying: "I touched on a number of ways in which we are driving guest engagement as a means of building loyalty and driving direct bookings. It's an area of significant focus for us as a means of further differentiating our brands, building relevant scale, and strengthening our competitive position."