The goal of the new soft brand collection from Hyatt Hotels Corporation is about giving guests unique, high-end experiences that extend beyond hotels.
CHICAGO—When evaluating the world of soft brand collections, officials with Hyatt Hotels Corporation said they didn’t want just another collection of hotels. Rather, they wanted a collection of stays.
Maryam Banikarim, global CMO for Hyatt, said the newly announced Unbound Collection by Hyatt comes from the recognition of consumer demand for more experiences. Guests want experiences more than they want things, she said.
But in creating the new soft brand, Banikarim said, the company wanted to look beyond having a hotels-only collection. There’s more that can go into Unbound than hotels, she said, such as a river cruise down the Nile.
“We don’t want to be limited,” she said. “It’s broad what you can put in there.”
Developing the collection
To start, Hyatt has named the first four hotels that will be in the collection: The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas; the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris; the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Carmelo, Uruguay; and the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai, Hawaii.
The Hôtel du Louvre is one of the oldest hotels in Paris, Banikarim said. The Coco Palms Resort was the location of one of Elvis Presley’s films, and The Driskill Hotel is reportedly haunted.
“These historical stories and modern-day stories—they’re the sort of thing we’re interested in,” she said.
Though Banikarim could not comment on how many more properties are in the brand’s pipeline at this point, she did say Hyatt is in talks with a number of independent properties in Europe. The collection will have a mix of existing properties and new builds.
The Unbound Collection is a growth opportunity for Hyatt, Banikarim said, but the move isn’t just a growth play. At the same time, the company isn’t taking the route of only iconic hotels, she said.
“We wanted somewhere in between,” she said.
Curating guest experiences
Banikarim said the company developed the concept behind the collection by thinking about how consumer behavior is changing.
After conducting a global segmentation study, Hyatt found the same person travels differently based on the occasion, such as leisure, guided and business trips. That means there’s a need for people to have interesting experiences, Banikarim said, and this collection creates a flexible model for opportunities beyond hotels, citing the aforementioned river cruise.
When choosing which hotel properties to include in the collection, Banikarim said Hyatt considered the social currency that would come with the properties. People love to share their travel experiences on social sites, which creates that social currency and word-of-mouth support, she said.
“We wanted to leverage this notion of social currency,” she said. “We want to partner with hotels (that) could generate word of mouth.”
Banikarim said the hotels included in the collection will be 4- to 5-star properties in the upper-upscale and luxury segments.