World of Hyatt VP Amy Weinberg Talks Summer Travel, World of Hyatt Program

May 1, 2018

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True to reputation, new World of Hyatt Senior Vice President Amy Weinberg is utilizing data insights and analytics to learn more about Hyatt’s most loyal guests. In preparation for summer travel, Ms. Weinberg and World of Hyatt revealed the top five most redeemed Hyatt properties during the summer months as well as the five hotels with the highest year-over-year increase in award night redemptions from June-August 2016 vs. 2017.

I had a chance to speak with Ms. Weinberg about how she plans on utilizing this data and was able to ask a few more World of Hyatt program questions.

Top 5 Properties With the Most Redeemed Award Nights During Summer Months

  1. Hyatt Regency Boston
  2. Grand Hyatt Kauai
  3. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach 
  4. Grand Hyatt San Francisco 
  5. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

The top of the list was a surprise for me, as I would’ve never guessed Hyatt Regency Boston was the most popular Hyatt property for free summer nights. It does have a great location, but Boston doesn’t strike me as a top summer travel destination for the majority of World of Hyatt members.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai is no surprise, as I’ve heard time and time again it’s the favorite property among many Hyatt patrons, and who doesn’t love Hawaii in the summer?

Top 5 Properties With the Highest Year-Over-Year Increase in Summer Award Night Redemptions

  1. Hyatt Regency Montreal – 67.1% YOY increase
  2. Park Hyatt New York – 64.7% YOY
  3. Hyatt Place Chicago/Downtown – 57.1% YOY
  4. Hyatt Place Seattle/Downtown – 55% YOY
  5.  Hyatt Centric Times Square New York – 39.9% YOY

Montreal, New York, Chicago and Seattle are all definitely better travel destinations in the summer than winter, but it’s interesting to see such growth in established travel markets. Montreal may be the outlier and I believe a hidden gem (as Ms. Weinberg also stated) where the secret may be getting out.

I asked Ms. Weinberg what conclusions she drew from the two lists and how she planned on utilizing the information. “This (data) is an opportunity for us is to help members explore and to continue to learn where members are finding themselves,” Weinberg told me. “We are also using this to help other members understand opportunities that exist with us. The list shows customers are traveling with us in two ways: some planned far in advance that has logistics (Hawaii), while other properties on the list are great opportunities to sneak away for a kind of staycation.”

Weinberg continued, “We need to know if we are using this data to adequately engage members and help them recharge and relax and help them understand what’s an easy escape, while continuing to highlight our aspirational end.”

Hyatt’s made it clear over the last 18 months that it’s focusing on more than just a comfortable hotel stay when it comes to guest experience. With the acquisitions of Miraval and Exhale, the company now has a distinct wellness brand in its portfolio and has been making constant strides to ensure guests are cared for on multiple fronts. Along these lines, Weinberg concluded, “we are definitely investing beyond the traditional.”

World of Hyatt Current Events

As a loyal Globalist member, I took the opportunity to ask a few program-specific questions and give a bit of recurring feedback that I personally experience and readers routinely bring to my attention.

Knowing she had over 12 years of work experience with the Starwood Preferred Guest program, I began by asking what she was most pleased with in the World of Hyatt since beginning her new job last October.

“We have some elements that really set us apart from the others,” she said. “The Guest of Honor benefit and confirmable suite upgrades are envied on the external side. Members are also really embracing the portfolio and love giving me feedback in a desire to better the program.”

I envy Ms. Weinberg for having such vast experience in a competing program, as it gives her a unique insight into the hotel loyalty industry. With that in mind, I asked her what she would tell a business traveler trying to decide between Marriott (SPG), IHG, Hilton and Hyatt.

To that, she answered, “The care that we afford our members as a program stands above the others in the way that we bring together value for the high end traveler. We focus on helping you to be your best through Miraval and Exhale and letting members take care of those important to them through Guest of Honor. We engage members more holistically than the competition.”

Even with the newly focused approach, the World of Hyatt program has some hiccups. I asked Weinberg for feedback on two of the most prevalent frustrations I hear every week from readers and experience myself: properties making it difficult to redeem points and short expiration dates on upgrade certificates and free night certificates.

“I hear the same feedback and we converted it into an evolution point of letting free night certificates expire at 180 days instead of 120 days. We also take it very seriously when we hear members complain about a hotel not being transparent. I don’t think that is a systemic issue, but welcome the feedback from members whenever they see this so we can further study it.”

I hope the expiration dates continue to evolve, at least to allow suite upgrade certificates to expire with your status level.

I ended our conversation by pleading my case to have the Diamond (Globalist) welcome amenity re-instated. While not getting a guarantee it would return, I feel confident Weinberg and her team have heard the message time and time again that it is missed.

Bottom Line

I expect with the properties on the above lists, free night availability may face some stiff competition. You’d better book your summer hotel nights with points sooner rather than later if you plan on visiting these locations. The Hyatt Regency Montreal, a Category 2 property requiring only 8,000 points per night, looks like a beautiful hotel and it certainly captured my attention while I researched for this post.

By the end of 2018, most major hotel loyalty programs will be almost unrecognizable from where they were just a few years ago. We’ve already seen Ms. Weinberg and World of Hyatt make a few elite-friendly changes, and I suspect more may be in the works. I hope with the changes to Hilton Honors and the announcement of the combined SPG/Marriott program, Hyatt takes a chance on attracting new elites with a few more benefits.

Featured image courtesy of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.

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