Skift Take

Hotel loyalty is no longer just about earning points for hotel stays. Today, forward-thinking brands like Hyatt are extending loyalty “beyond the stay” through a savvy mix of strategic alliances, unique experiences, and new opportunities to earn from daily spending.

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We recently released our annual travel industry trends forecast, Skift Megatrends 2020. You can read about each of the trends on Skift, or download a copy of our magazine here.

Hospitality loyalty programs are in the midst of a dramatic shake-up. Traveler priorities are evolving as consumers seek out more varied options to earn and use rewards beyond the stay. Hotels, too, are adapting their loyalty offerings in response, offering new types of rewards and looking for ways to serve customers not just while they’re on property but as part of their daily lives. How will hotels continue to evolve loyalty beyond the stay? We recently spoke with Hyatt’s Amy Weinberg, senior vice president for the company’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, to learn more.

SkiftX: World of Hyatt launched almost three years ago. How has it evolved since?

Amy Weinberg: World of Hyatt was founded on a listening-based approach and contin-ually evolves as we seek to understand what’s most important to our guests. We know that when we get to know our members better, we are better able to deliver more personalized care and tailored content based on their needs and preferences.

Since launch, World of Hyatt has led the way with meaningful benefits and experiences that add more value to members’ lives. These differentiated offerings were built on competitive advantages like confirmable suite upgrades at time of booking and Free Night awards. We also leaned into Hyatt’s purpose — we care for people so they can be their best — to create newer benefits like Guest of Honor, allowing Globalist members to extend their in-hotel benefits to a loved one on an award stay. We continue to evolve based on direct member feedback, which is why we introduced Milestone Rewards, which recognizes members more frequently as they work toward the next elite tier. A very recent milestone was the introduction of four new brands: Thompson Hotels, Alila, Joie de Vivre, and Destination. This enabled us to reach new travelers, grow our footprint in 20 new markets, and provide existing mem-bers with more options to choose Hyatt.

SkiftX: There seems to be a growing focus within World of Hyatt on developing strategic collaborations that take place outside Hyatt hotels. What’s the thinking behind this shift?

Weinberg: Care extends beyond when our members are in our hotels. Our strategic alliances are a reflection of the dynamic lives they lead and our commitment to enhance how they live and travel. We see tremendous value in being where our members already are and where they want to be, and are committed to designing experiences and benefits for them.

Through our new American Airlines collab-oration, elite members have more ways to earn miles, points, and status when flying American or staying at Hyatt properties, and they are able to enjoy exclusive benefits across both programs. Additionally, our relationship with Lindblad Expeditions, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel, provides members with access to transformative experiences in hard-to-reach locations around the world while being rewarded.

Another way we are caring for members is our alliance with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which allows members to earn and redeem points and enjoy on-property benefits at more than 250 participating hotels, including new locations across both Europe and Asia.

SkiftX: Is there an opportunity for World of Hyatt to extend its appeal beyond travelers to new audiences (for instance, local resi-dents), or to fulfill new types of needs?

Weinberg: We recognize that in order to foster loyalty and use our scale to our advantage, we have to remain nimble and focus on delivering more personalized care and unique experiences that touch our members in all aspects of their lives — both in and outside of hotel stays.

One example of this is for members who have the World of Hyatt Credit Card, offering accelerated point earning on a number of day-to-day activities, including fitness memberships, dining, and transportation. This means as members go about their day, they can earn two points per dollar spent at the gym, grabbing coffee with a friend, and commuting to work. Through the card, members can also earn four points per dollar spent on Hyatt stays and experiences.

SkiftX: Wellness seems to be a growing focus for travelers and within hospitality. What are some ways you’re integrating wellness into World of Hyatt?

Weinberg: Our commitment to well-being is aligned with our purpose of care and our landmarks of well-being: Feel (your emotional and mental well-being), Fuel (power your body, inclusive of things like food and sleep), and Function (how you move and function in work, life, and play). We know members choose us for a variety of reasons — some may be traveling to immerse themselves in the destination and recharge, while others are looking to simply maintain their routine while on a business trip, and some want to experience something new while enhancing their mind and body.

One example is our FIND platform, which is embedded in our landmarks of well-being. The platform offers over 200 curated, member-only experiences around the world, where members are able to earn and redeem points for these experiences whether staying with us or exploring their hometown.

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This content was created collaboratively by Hyatt and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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Tags: hotels, hyatt, megatrends, megatrends 2020

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