Skift Take

Hyatt is losing its partnership where Hyatt members could use their reward points to book stays at Small Luxury Hotels, a network of 560 boutique hotels. Hilton's move also highlights how tough it has been for independent hotels to compete to acquire customers on their own.

Hilton revealed Wednesday that it had signed an exclusive licensing deal with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), a group of 560 boutique hotels unaffiliated with the major hotel groups.

The deal will let Hilton’s customers book stays at these Small Luxury Hotel properties through Hilton’s site and app. The 180 million members of Hilton’s loyalty program will soon be able to earn and redeem points for stays at these properties, too. The companies didn’t provide a timeline for the integration.

Hyatt is a loser here. Small Luxury Hotels is ending its multi-year partnership with the smaller hotel group. World of Hyatt loyalty members could use their reward points to book stays at the group of boutique hotels. Last year, Hyatt lost a loyalty licensing deal with MGM Resorts to Marriott.

The Hilton deal’s commercial value wasn’t revealed.

The partnership comes at a time when independent hotels increasingly struggle to compete to keep their costs of acquiring customers and marketing costs with distribution players in line with the volume discounts and scale efficiencies that the giant hotel groups enjoy.

As Skift has noted, independent hoteliers have an uneven playing field when competing against the big hotel groups for direct bookings, which tend to be more cost-effective.

The move comes after InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said in November 2022 that it had added Iberostar Hotels & Resorts as a new brand through a comparable licensing deal that let IHG market that group of about 70 all-inclusive hotels and resorts.

It also comes as Hilton has had larger growth in its loyalty program over five years than rivals Marriott, IHG, Accor, and Wyndham.

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Tags: future of lodging, hilton, hyatt, small luxury hotels

Photo credit: A view of a terrace at Château Le Nessay, on the Emerald Coast of Brittany, France, which is one of the hotels that’s a part of the Small Luxury Hotels Private Collection. Source: Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Small Luxury Hotels of the World

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