Skift Take

We like to think of this as Hyatt's payback for AccorHotels stealing away onefinestay last year.

When news broke last week that AccorHotels was combining three of its rental brands — onefinestay, Travel Keys, and Squarebreak— into a single unit, Skift wondered: What about Oasis?

Today, we finally have our answer: Paris-based AccorHotels is no longer an investor in the “home meets hotel” platform, also known as Oasis Collections. Instead, Hyatt has stepped up to the plate.

Last week, Hyatt made a strategic, minority investment in Oasis, bringing the company’s total fundraising to $35 million. Just how much Hyatt has invested in Oasis was not disclosed, but Oasis CEO and co-founder Parker Stanberry noted it was a “significant minority position.”

Hyatt’s Plans for Oasis

Stanberry told Skift that Hyatt initially approached Oasis about an investment “a few months ago.”

“You’ve seen some statements they’ve made before about their interest in entering adjacent spaces and serving their upscale customers. This wasn’t a big surprise,” he said. “It was a very natural fit…more natural than previous investors, given the location of the companies, the consumer base, the types of brands that Hyatt has. It just seemed like it was great combo of us offering something they didn’t have at all, but which spoke to a similar guest experience and a similar customer. It felt natural, and with them coming in, Accor is no longer invested. They are consolidating under their onefinestay brand and have bought a couple of players in the space. It seemed like a better fit to take it into this direction with the new partnership.”

Oasis and Hyatt said the new investment will allow Oasis to expand its portfolio to additional cities in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The investment is expected to also allow Oasis to eventually be integrated into Hyatt’s distribution and loyalty systems going forward.

Stanberry added that he sees an “easier path” for synergies in terms of loyalty and distribution with Hyatt in comparison to its investment relationship with AccorHotels, too.

“I see an easier path there with Hyatt,” he said. “I don’t think they or us see this as a purely financial investment. It’s definitely a collaboration. There are plans in the works for integration into their offerings that we’ll probably have some news on fairly soon.”

Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy for Hyatt, said in a statement that the investment “in the fast-growing private accommodations space reflects Hyatt’s established strategy to super serve the high-end traveler by offering new experiences beyond traditional hotel stays.”

“Travelers who book Oasis Collections homes are looking for something different than a traditional hotel experience. They’re leisure and often business travelers who seek more space for a longer time, but also want the peace of mind, personalized service and amenities they expect when staying with Hyatt,” Haggerty said in the statement. “We look forward to expanding our knowledge about private accommodations from our partners at Oasis Collections and, while we are at an early stage, we believe this category has the potential to serve new stay occasions for our customers and to add meaningfully to Hyatt’s growth over time.”

What Makes Oasis Unique

Oasis launched in Buenos Aires in 2009 when Stanberry saw a need for attractively priced alternative accommodations in local neighborhoods. While Oasis does operate in a somewhat similar way to other alternative accommodations platforms, it’s different in terms of the levels of service and amenities it provides to guests. Unlike Airbnb, for example, Oasis has employees in each destination who welcome guests at the full condo and home listings, and who also act as 24/7 sources of local insider knowledge. Guests also have access to a series of private members’ clubs in each destination, which replicate popular lobbies in lifestyle hotels.

Oasis & AccorHotels

With AccorHotels’ 2016 investment, as well as an additional $2.5 million in funding from an undisclosed investor that arrived in February of this year, Oasis has grown to more than 2,000 properties in 22 cities worldwide.

Stanberry told Skift in March that he was pursuing a strategy of targeted growth, even as the marketplace becomes increasingly more crowded and more competitive.

He also said, at the time, that AccorHotels’ investment approach was to let its brands like Oasis operate independently.

“We all are quite independent, whether they own 100 percent or they own 30 percent or they own 49 percent, there’s not a sort of unified operating platform or anything,” Stanberry said, referring to onefinestay, Oasis, and Squarebreak. “We are each operating totally separately and we talk to each other and brainstorm things. We work with Accor on some specific synergies and projects.”

Those synergies, however, never seemed to come to fruition, and AccorHotels’ recent decision to buy Squarebreak and Travel Keys and combine them with onefinestay left Oasis out of their future rental brands plans.

Hyatt’s Previous History with the Sharing Economy

AccorHotels originally took a 30 percent equity share in Miami-based Oasis in 2016 and months later, it purchased luxury rental platform onefinestay for approximately $168 million.

Interestingly, however, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts had previously invested approximately $15 million in onefinestay in 2014.

Following Hyatt’s investment in onefinestay, the two entities piloted a program together in London whereby onefinestay guests could store their bags or temporarily use the guestrooms at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill while they waited for their onefinestay vacation rental to be available for check-in.

In July 2015, former onefinestay CEO and co-founder Greg Marsh described the Hyatt pilot program to Skift, saying: “The game here is about exploring. The opportunity here is recognizing this is a new type of activity and trying to understand it and meeting guests’ needs as best we can.”

When AccorHotels purchased onefinestay last year, Hyatt was forced to sell its shares of onefinestay to AccorHotels.

Following news of AccorHotels’ acquisition of onefinestay, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian issued the following statement:

“We wish our friends at onefinestay continued success. We have learned a lot about their business and this segment in our work together. As the hospitality industry continues to change and evolve, so does Hyatt. Our ‘test and learn’ approach, including our investment with onefinestay and our exploration of other alternative accommodation platforms, underscores our focus on understanding our guests and providing them with distinctive, powerful experiences. Hyatt remains committed to a thoughtful growth model that benefits guests, owners and shareholders.”

A spokeswoman for Hyatt also added, at the time: “The great thing about Hyatt’s business model is that we have flexibility to be nimble, to learn by experimenting and collaborating, to make decisions, and to explore different accommodation models, among other things.”

With Hyatt’s newest investment in Oasis, it’s clear the company is doing just that.

Stanberry said he hopes the new partnership with Hyatt will help Oasis reach its goal of being in 50 markets by 2019 and expanding into the Asia-Pacific market, as well as increasing brand awareness for Oasis and accessing an even larger customer base.

During Hyatt’s second quarter 2017 earnings call with investors, Hoplamazian mentioned Hyatt’s investment in Oasis in his prepared remarks, and noted that the company is “also evaluating other opportunities that are complementary to our hotel business and will resonate with our customer base and add to our growth story.”

And when asked about the possible synergies to be developed between Hyatt and Oasis, he said, “I would say, ‘stay tuned’ to that. We are evaluating the best way for us to create visibility to and engagement with our World of Hyatt guest for those kinds of offerings. We do intend, over time, to create a channel through which World of Hyatt members can have alternative offerings in the style and manner of what Oasis does in their existing portfolio.”

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Tags: accor, hyatt, oasis, oasis collections, onefinestay

Photo credit: Oasis co-founder and CEO Parker Stanberry. Today, Stanberry announced Hyatt's investment in his company. Oasis

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