Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Hyatt to Launch Vacation Rental Platform, Homes & Hideaways

5 months ago

Hyatt said on Thursday it would shift its strategy in marketing vacation rentals. It plans to launch before year-end a short-term vacation rental platform called Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt.

Hyatt also said it intended to sell its vacation rental management business — Destination Residences Management — to a company called Lowe, which, through an affiliate, will run it under Lowe and Coral Tree.

The Homes & Hideaways project will spotlight U.S. vacation rentals managed by Lowe, such as a home by the sea in Hawaii or a ski chalet in Colorado.

To book these vacation rentals, customers have to be one of the 40 million members of the hotelier’s loyalty program.

Residences Exterior Grand Hyatt Vail Residences
The exterior of Grand Hyatt Vail Residences, one of the vacation rental properties that will be available through the new Hyatt offering. Source: Hyatt.

The move follows other plays in vacation rentals by major hotel groups, such as Marriott’s Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy and Accor’s OneFineStay.

Hyatt’s CEO elaborated on the company’s broader strategy on Wednesday at the Skift Global Forum (story below).

Hotels

Hyatt Hit With Class Action Suit Over Hotel ‘Junk Fees’ Despite Changing Policy

6 months ago

Travelers United’s choice to sue Hyatt over its “junk fee” practices fits into a broader storyline about travel junk fees being in the limelight ever since President Joe Biden referred to travel fees in his 2023 State of the Union address.

Travelers United filed the case in Washington, D.C., whose laws require transparent upfront pricing.

The lawsuit notes that “in or around August 2023” Hyatt began advertising accurate pricing information to consumers looking to book a hotel room. On Hyatt.com today, in Skift’s tests, the site displays rates plus resort fees upfront on a traveler’s first search. Hyatt appears to have changed its site to more transparently present resort fees within the past month or so.

But the advocacy group wants Hyatt to pay for the time it didn’t disclose resort fees upfront.

“Since at least 2020, Hyatt has been systemically cheating consumers out of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars each year by falsely advertising its hotel room rates,” the lawsuit claims (embedded below).

We asked Hyatt for a comment yesterday, but haven’t received a response.

Travel commentator Gary Leff blogged that “This is an industry-wide problem, not a Hyatt problem.”

Lauren Wolfe of Travelers United said yesterday the advocacy group plans to file similar lawsuits against other hotel groups.

Yet broadly, some consumers seem to take the the industry practice of drip pricing in stride. One study found that guests dropped their online ratings by only a small percentage after they faced “surprise” fees and booked anyway.

Hotels

Hyatt to Debut Its Extended-Stay Brand in Markets It Hasn’t Tapped Yet

7 months ago

Hyatt gave details on Wednesday about the first locations for Hyatt Studios, a brand it unveiled in April. The hotel operator will open the first Hyatt Studios just outside of Mobile, Alabama, and Marysville, California — targeting spots where its other brands aren’t present.

“We’ve learned that when Hyatt guests stay with a competing brand, they appear to do so for one of two reasons: the absence of a Hyatt hotel within five miles or the choice to stay at a lower chain scale,” said Dan Hansen, global head of Hyatt Studios. “By enabling guests to choose a Hyatt hotel in new markets, we grow brand loyalty without intra-brand competition and present more white-space options to developers.”

exterior of hyatt studios source hyatt
A photo illustration of a planned exterior for the new Hyatt Studios brand. Source: Hyatt.

The company’s “upper-midscale” extended stay brand anticipates opening its first new-build property late next year.

In the port city of Mobile, Hyatt is franchising the brand to 3H Group, founded by Hiren Desai. The port city has tourism, manufacturing, aerospace, and the corporate offices of retailers — all likely to have workers and visitors making multi-day stays and preferring non-budget lodging.

In downtown Marysville, Hyatt founded a franchisee in Presidio Hotel Development. The spot isn’t far from the capital of California, Sacramento.

lobby of hyatt studios source hyatt
The lobby of the new Hyatt Studios brand set to open in 2024. Source: Hyatt.
Guestroom hyatt studios hotel brand
A guest room. Source: Hyatt.

Tourism

Marriott’s India Operator Samhi Hotels Refiles Draft Papers, Cuts IPO Size

11 months ago

India-based hotel ownership and asset management platform Samhi Hotels has refiled draft papers with the Indian stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to raise an initial public offering (IPO) of around $120 million.

The Goldman Sachs-backed company that operates hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt and IHG in India, had earlier filed a draft red herring prospectus with SEBI in September 2019 to raise around $238 million.

Samhi had obtained the markets regulator approval in November 2019, to float the initial share-sale, but the company at that time did not go ahead with the launch.

Last week, while reporting the Yatra earnings, Skift had talked about the subdued sentiments in the Indian stock market, as a result of which many companies wanting to launch their IPOs were said to be in a “wait-and-watch” mode.

Hospitality platform Oyo too disclosed last week that it is reducing the size of its proposed initial public offering to between $400-$600 million, a steep reduction from its earlier plan of $1.1 billion.

The company would be using net proceeds from the IPO towards the repayment of debt of the firm and its subsidiaries, payment of interest and other general corporate purposes.

As of February 2023, Samhi Hotels has the third-largest inventory of operational keys (owned and leased) in India. The company has a portfolio of 3,839 keys across 25 operating hotels in 12 cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, National Capital Region, Pune, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

The company is also the largest owner of the Fairfield by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express brands in India. For the financial year ended March 2022, the company reported an increase of 90 percent in revenue to $40 million, as against $21 million in the previous fiscal.

Hotels

Hyatt Pledges to Open 5,000 Rooms in Mexico’s Tulum and Isla Mujeres

1 year ago

Top Hyatt executives said on Tuesday they planned to create hotels and resorts in two destinations on Mexico’s Caribbean coast — Tulum and Isla Mujeres — with about 5,000 rooms together.

Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotel Corporation, met with officials from the Quintana Roo state of Mexico the day before the start of the International Tourism Fair of Spain (Fitur) in Madrid. Some of the properties will be part of Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection of all-inclusive resorts. Hyatt also pledged to participate in social projects for its workers and employees.

The Mexican Government has been investing in infrastructure works at Tulum airport and Tulum’s main and historic boulevards and bridges. It has also been supporting the creation of the Mayan Train, a 948-mile intercity railway that will traverse the Yucatán Peninsula.

Officials and destination marketers have also created Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Quintana Roo 2030 to form a strategy with an appropriate balance of growth without overtourism or environmental destruction. One part of the plan includes the opening of new archeological zones.

Quintana Roo currently has 127,399 rooms across 1,331 hotels open.

Hotels

Qatar’s World Cup to Benefit Hyatt and Accor Most: Analyst

1 year ago

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 starts in five days, and Qatar is struggling to have enough lodging to house an expected 1.2 million football fans.

Qatar has only about 31,000 hotel rooms, according to benchmarking service STR, though Qatar Tourism says it has more hotels opening this month in time for the event — boosting its room count.

Many fans have looked beyond traditional hotels, booking more than 90,000 hotel rooms, tents, apartments, and temporary “portacabins” during the peak days of what’s called the biggest sporting event on Earth, Reuters reported. Three cruise ships from MSC Cruises turned into floating hotels are also welcoming visitors.

So which hotel companies stand to gain the most? Richard Clarke, the senior analyst for global catering, global hotels, and leisure at Bernstein Research, in a report on Monday, said Hyatt and Accor have the best on-the-ground positioning to take the most advantage of the top prices being charged during the event:

The Qatar World Cup has thrown up some interesting innovations for lodging, including the sustainable solution of using existing residential units rather than building new hotels, employing Accor as a manager of those residential properties to provide housekeeping and front desk services and the creation a dedicated booking platform rather than using existing OTAs [online travel agencies].

The upside for the World Cup for the hotel groups is likely 1-2 percent in the fourth quarter from the high price points (1000 percent mark ups) of their rooms during the event with Hyatt having the highest % of its estate in Qatar, but Accor likely benefits the most due to its unique deal.

The online travel agencies will likely benefit far less because of the existence of a dedicated booking agent, which has more choice for the event than the global platforms.

Richard Clarke, the senior analyst from global catering, global hotels and leisure at Bernstein Research.
Source: Global Hotels & OTAs: Who will win the World Cup? by Richard Clarke and team at Bernstein Research.

Expect some hotels in the capital city of Doha to charge entrance fees for anyone visiting its bars and lounges to watch World Cup matches, adding to hotel revenues.

Hotels

Hyatt Hotels to Debut Atona Brand in Japan That Distills and Updates Ryokan Concept

1 year ago

For centuries, Japan has offered ryokans, which are minimalist guest houses typically located near onsen, or natural hot springs used for bathing. Hyatt Hotels said Wednesday that it planned to launch a new brand, Atona, that will distill the elements of traditional ryokans while adding some modern comforts.

Hyatt has entered a fifty-fifty joint venture with Kiraku, a company that works to apply capital to help preserve the best of Japan’s cultural and natural assets.

Other companies have recently attempted to modernize and brand the ryokan concept, including Nobu’s hospitality division and Adrian Zecha, founder of Aman Resorts, whose brand is called Azumi.

Independently managed properties are expected to open in 2025. Kenya Hara will be the creative director of the new brand.

“We hope these ryokans will provide guests, both local and from abroad, a special place to experience the still unseen wonders of Japan, while also positively impacting local economies,” said Kou Sundberg, founder and CEO of Kiraku. For more on Sundberg, listen to this recent podcast.