Hyatt adds properties in Latin America
The hotel chain has opened a lot of hotels in the region this year and is committed to imposing them with its seal of quality
Hyatt lives a great present, the hotel chain has added properties in strategic cities of Latin America. To learn more about the firm's current affairs, we interviewed Luciano Julio, its regional vice president of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean.
What does the arrival of the Hyatt Centric Lima, which marks the entrance of Hyatt to Peru, mean for the company? What is the importance of this market for the chain?
The arrival of Hyatt in Peru with the Hyatt Centric San Isidro Lima hotel represents a very important milestone for us that is aligned with Hyatt's growth strategy globally and specifically within the Latin American and Caribbean region where we currently have 46 Hotels. We had been wanting to enter Peru for several years and we are very happy to have achieved this with a modern and central hotel.
The Hyatt Centric Santiago, the first hotel of this brand in Chile, was launched as a new hotel concept: lifestyle hotels. What are the implications of this concept? What are your differentials? The Hyatt Centric brand was designed for travelers who want to be at the center of the action. This is a traveler who either visits us for pleasure or for business wants to know more about the destination and seeks that your hotel is a platform for exploration and discovery to achieve it.
The Hyatt Centric hotels in Santiago, Lima, Guatemala and Montevideo are not only characterized by their location, but also by the lifestyle services such as their restaurants, bars and rooftops, and also by their services for meetings and business such as free Wi-Fi internet connection. Fi, wide and varied meeting rooms, audiovisual equipment and dedicated staff for events.
Hyatt Centric hotels become attractions for locals and points of interaction with the destination's lifestyle for visitors.
These days, it was announced that the Hyatt Place San Pedro Sula officially opened its doors, marking the 2nd Hyatt Place hotel in Honduras and the 5th in Central America. How do you analyze the current situation of the Central American market? The Central American market presents one of the biggest bets for Hyatt's growth in the Latin American and Caribbean region. To date, we have 7 hotels in Central America represented by the brands Andaz, Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Place. With presence already in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama, this coming year we are following the opening of Hyatt Centric San Salvador in 2019.
In what other markets are you thinking of investing? What are the priority countries within Latin America in terms of operations?
In terms of operations, Mexico continues to be one of our main focuses in the region since we have 16 hotels in operation and new openings expected for the next three years, such as: Hyatt Place Aguascalientes in 2019, Park Hyatt Los Cabos in 2020 and Park Hyatt Mexico City in 2021.
In addition, at the beginning of 2018 we opened our fourth hotel in Brazil, Hyatt Place Macae, in the oil capital of the country.
Another country of focus is of course Colombia, where we are on the way to opening three hotels in less than three years. In 2016 we opened Hyatt Regency Cartagena, the first Hyatt hotel in Colombia, and one month ago (August 29, 2018) we arrived in the Colombian capital with a luxury hotel in the heart of the Sarmiento Angulo Business City called Grand Hyatt Bogotá. And next year, we will open Hyatt Place Bogotá / Salitre near the Corferias and Agora Bogotá convention centers.
How do you analyze the current situation of the hotel segment in Latin America? How is the region today compared to other areas? The Latin American and Caribbean region is very solid in the hotel segment. We see a lot of growth and hotel development plans for the entire region as economies continue to grow where they were positive or stabilize where they were compressed.
How is the work with the OTAs? And with the traditional travel agencies?
We believe that booking directly provides the best experience, but we also recognize that OTAs play an important role in the market. They keep the Hyatt portfolio as their priority for some clients, such as infrequent travelers or those who have not yet developed loyalty to a hotel brand. We have productive relationships with many OTAs, and we agreed in 2017 new terms with partners such as Expedia and Booking.com to reduce distribution costs and improve flexibility.
With the arrival of new players such as Airbnb, which are shown as a competition for the traditional hotel industry, what are the biggest challenges to face? The arrival of new players is helping to expand tourism and travel, and reflects consumer demand for authentic experiences that Hyatt has already focused on for some time. Our customers choose Hyatt because we offer an unparalleled level of quality assurance and trust, and we remain focused on offering those unique experiences in all our hotel brands.
What are the differential factors of the brand in relation to other large international hotel chains? Hyatt has a different and differentiated strategy because it focuses on high-level travelers. Each of our brands is positioned at the top end of each segment in which we operate, whether luxury, select or all inclusive service. Our purpose - to take care of people to be their best version - provides a fundamental basis for building and executing our strategy.