Skift Take

Hyatt Hotels looked at the lifestyle hotel sector and decided to go with an efficient and energetic brand story, because a lot of travelers are just too busy to get worked up over "design hotels" anymore.

At its core, the new Hyatt Centric lifestyle brand is designed for multi-tasking business and leisure travelers with things to do and places to go.

That pretty much defines a lot of modern travelers these days who know what they want, which includes the hotel getting out of their way. When Centric was announced this week, it disposed with a lot of the brand quirkiness indicative of other recent lifestyle hotel launches.

Smart and streamlined, Centric is not really designed for a specific psychographic or demographic. Millennials? Sure, whatever. There’s not a lot of talk about “baristas and mixologists curating activated spaces,” thankfully. Instead, there’s a “barman.” He, or she, makes drinks and talks to people, like they’ve always done. There also might be a DJ or there might not, because in the end, who really cares? Seriously.

This brand is for people who aren’t necessarily looking for a brand, and who don’t want to be labeled.

Hyatt Centric enters the market in the upper upscale tier, one notch below Hyatt’s innovative Andaz luxury flag. These are full-service hotels with destination restaurants owned by established hospitality partners. For room service, the brand’s signature “knock ‘n drop” system delivers meals in to-go packaging to guests at their door.

Hyatt is saying it’s going to open 15 Centrics this summer with a collection of newbuilds, conversions, and adaptive reuse projects. One primary thing that does define the brand, the hotels are all going to be located in central (hence “Centric”) areas of major business and leisure tourism destinations.

Hyatt Centric openings announced to date are: Paris, Miami, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Long Beach, Park City, Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Key West.

In Florida, the two Hyatt Centrics are rumored to be the upcoming Hyatt South Beach, located right at the end of Ocean Drive, and Hyatt Key West, perched right off the end of America. Hyatt is using images of the recently modernized Hyatt Union Square in New York on the Centric website, too.

Presently, there are not a lot of renderings to look at, and Hyatt says it isn’t going to announce specific hotels and locations for another 60 days, so it’s difficult to discuss design. The range of existing Hyatt property photos on the website emphasize crisp lines and hotel designer David Rockwell-inspired furnishings. Rockwell made a name for himself, in part, drawing up the early Andaz properties.

In terms of the vibe, the new brand video provides an apt sense of pace regarding Hyatt Centric’s busy guests, referred to interchangeably as “Modern Explorers” and “wish-listers.”

“We call them Modern Explorers because these are travelers who are very curious, very independent, and very time crunched,” says Kristine Rose, VP of brands, Hyatt. “They have a wish list and they really want to make the most out of all of their experiences and reasons for traveling.”

Rose says the sweet spot for Hyatt Centric room counts is around 200 keys to maintain an “intimate cosmopolitan vibe.” She talks fast and gets to the point without a lot of waiting around, kind of like the brand. We discussed “The Corner” in the “lounge-centric” lobby where people can mingle in various residential-style environments. Centric is also pet friendly.

But really, the whole lounge-centric, pet-friendly lifestyle hotel formula has been established, and there’s not much wiggle room for new brands to come in and define any new territory. Hotels like Hyatt Centric and all of the other fresh faced players are the future of hospitality, and hotel companies are naturally clamoring to grab as much of the market segment they can as quickly as possible.

From a consumer standpoint, with so much demand and supply, differentiating one brand from another is becoming less of a focus than five years ago. Many active travelers are hustling to the point where they just want to get in and get out, so a hotel needs to combine smarts and style without a lot of fuss, because today, less is definitely more. That’s becoming a primary differentiator among travelers as we move into the 2015 hotel bull market, and Hyatt jumped on it.

“We’re launching 15 hotels in just a few months so this brand is not a brand that’s just on paper,” says Rose. “It’s a brand we’ve been crafting for the last two years in partnership with our guests and our owners in many different locations, and this will be a culmination of all that intelligence.”

Greg Oates covers hospitality and tourism development. Email him at [email protected].

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Photo credit: Nearing completion, Hyatt South Beach Miami is rumored to be one of the first Hyatt Centric hotels. Hyatt

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