Hyatt Centric VP of Global Brands Heather Geisler spoke with Hotel News Now about the brand’s recent global development news and plans to expand in more gateway cities.
CHICAGO—Hyatt Centric has a keen eye for growing in gateway cities across the globe, but it’s more about growing with intent for the brand, according to Heather Geisler, VP of Global Brands at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
“We aren’t all about size for the sake of size,” Geisler said in an email interview. “We’re about growing with focus to serve the high end of our market and the places that matter most to our target guests—and we’ve followed that philosophy … as we expand the brand, we’re doing so in an appropriate and thoughtful pace.”
Hyatt Hotels Corporation introduced the full-service lifestyle brand in 2015 with the commitment of targeting a new customer mindset—the savvy explorer who wants to be in the middle of action, Geisler said. These travelers like to visit more exotic destinations across the globe, which is where the brand will be developed.
In June, the brand announced new developments in Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and Portland, Oregon, along with previously announced projects in Dakar, Senegal; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Melbourne, Australia, according to a company release. The global properties are all expected to open between 2018 and 2020. The three stateside properties are scheduled to open in 2020.
The brand’s portfolio currently has 22 open properties across seven countries including the United States, Japan, Spain and France, and 18 total hotels in the pipeline.
All Hyatt Centric properties are centered in “the heart of the destination, making it easy for guests to get out and explore,” Geisler said.
Based on consumer insights, she said Hyatt Centric knows more than one-third of consumers are willing to pay more to obtain experiences versus purchasing a product.
“Our continued research on where our millennial-minded guests are traveling help inform our development strategy,” she said.
When developing a new location for the brand, she said the key to a successful project is making sure there has been significant research done beforehand to ensure “we have the appropriate brand for the opportunity regardless of the continent.”
In the past several years, Hyatt has developed properties in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, which Geisler said has given Hyatt Centric the confidence and knowledge to operate its first hotel in the area, the 152-room Hyatt Centric Dakar. It is scheduled to open in fall 2018.
Geisler said she is confident that each of the properties currently under development will be “reflective of their respective destinations in terms of design and in line with the current Hyatt Centric portfolio.”
She said when considering development types, the brand looks at all options—new development, adaptive reuse or a mix of both—but one thing has to be top of mind: “Will this project enhance the Hyatt Centric brand?”
To stay competitive as new supply and brands are continuously popping up, she said Hyatt Centric is exploring new opportunities that integrate the concepts of exploration and discovery into a guest’s experience at the hotel.
“Music (and) food and beverage are all immersive, dynamic ways to discover a new location and we continue to elevate partnerships in these areas that will create socially shareable moments for our guests.”