Hyatt expands wellness offerings with Exhale buy
Hyatt expands wellness offerings with Exhale buy
29 AUGUST 2017 8:58 AM

Officials at Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the acquisition of spa brand Exhale for an undisclosed sum, and said the brand is complementary of their earlier wellness purchase, Miraval.

CHICAGO—Hyatt Hotels Corporation continues to chase its recent strategy of investing in “adjacent spaces” to their hotel business by buying spa and wellness brand Exhale.

Exhale currently has 25 locations across the United States and Caribbean, according to Hyatt officials, and the deal marks the second wellness brand purchased by Hyatt this year, following the January purchase of Miraval.

No price was announced in the deal.

Steve Haggerty, Hyatt

Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy, franchising and select service at Hyatt, said the company intends to be thoughtful about how it incorporates Exhale at its hotel properties, but he believes the brand is flexible enough to be offered in a number of ways.

“The core customer base we’re focused on has a focus on wellness both at home and when they travel,” he said.

Ultimately, he said that will come together in the way that is most beneficial to “all constituents … including hotel owners.”

“We’re trying to be thoughtful,” he said. “We’re bringing it back to how to serve customers to get loyalty that’s ultimately beneficial to everybody.”

He said the objectives following the purchase include capital expenditures to expand standalone storefronts to “serve the customer at home” then looking across the hotel portfolio for opportunities to “effectively pull offerings from Exhale and deliver them in a hotel environment.”

Annbeth Eschbach, Exhale

Both Haggerty and Annbeth Eschbach, CEO and founder of Exhale, described the company as complementary but different from Miraval.

“Miraval is a destination, and Exhale is more urban,” Eschbach said. “We serve our customers every day, while Miraval is a place you go away to. And even though the business models are different, we share the same dedication to wellbeing and mindfulness, and we are both really respected, award-winning brands.”

Coincidentally, Eschbach said she felt that Miraval and Exhale had the potential for a complementary relationship even before Hyatt purchased them both, and the two companies had some preliminary conversations about that.

Haggerty noted that, despite Exhale’s earlier interest in Miraval, Hyatt came to the two companies independently.

“We look at both as components of an overall strategy to deliver wellness to customers and associates and differentiate our company on that dimension,” he said. “That’s really the strategic play. The fact they’re so complementary is a nice outcome.”

Eschbach said in the past her company has had “great success on hospitality-based locations” and is excited about the potential to grow its platform with Hyatt’s help.

“When we (had) our conversation (in putting the deal together) what we learned was very compelling,” she said. “Hyatt’s vision to extend beyond traditional hotel stays and super-serve guests is exciting.”

Hyatt officials noted several other ways the purchase will play out in the company’s larger ecosystem, including plans to “offer Exhale locations and programming as part of the World of Hyatt platform in the future” and tying it in with the Oasis home-rental marketplace, which the company recently bought a stake in.

Haggerty said the company is still looking at how to implement the loyalty piece, but the company enjoys some freedom in that regard because there won’t be the same expectations for the loyalty program as there would be if they purchased a hotel brand.

“Anything we do is going to support the value proposition of World of Hyatt,” he said. “We start with serving customers’ needs.”

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