Dear Hyatt, the U.S. doesn’t need another Courtyard by Marriott chain. Please.
Hyatt is piloting a program at a handful of Hyatt Place properties that eliminates free breakfast, long a cornerstone of this brand. Based on customer feedback, Hyatt may roll out this program across more U.S. properties.
For example, the Hyatt Place Dallas-North/by the Galleria now wants to you “enjoy breakfast your way” and will add $10 to your room charge if you eat breakfast.
And while $10 for a family of four isn’t much, that price is sure to creep up and strikes me as a petty and unreasonable “resort” fee. I’d also say $10 is a lot for a solo traveler, considering what most U.S. Hyatt Place properties offer for breakfast.
View from the Wing obtained the following statement from Hyatt:
A small number of Hyatt Place hotels in the U.S. are currently piloting different breakfast options, including a complimentary continental breakfast and a pay-for breakfast with more extensive options. Guests with reservations made at these hotels before February 1, 2018, as well as guests at other Hyatt Place hotels throughout the country, will continue to enjoy the free hot breakfast. Following this pilot, we will look at guest feedback to determine the best breakfast offering for Hyatt Place hotels in the U.S.
Hyatt Place would joint Starwood Aloft and Courtyard by Marriott as limited-service properties without complimentary breakfast (arguably you could throw in Hilton Garden Inn to the category).
Globalist (top tier) members will continue to receive complimentary breakfast.
Hyatt May Get Away With It, But…
These “limited-service” properties are not as cheap as they used to be and complimentary breakfast is absolutely a factor that many make when reserving a hotel. In fact, Mommy Points notes that free breakfast is one of the most important factors for 65% of family travelers.
It is possible that Hyatt can get away with this cutback. Hyatt Place hotels will still offer oversized rooms and free parking. But I think eliminating free breakfast will backfire.
Pizza in Motion astutely questions a number of issues like brand consistency and quality control. People have lower expectations with a free breakfast. Will Hyatt now be forced to upgrade the breakfast offerings at Hyatt Place hotels? Won’t that simply erase the incremental revenue from charging for breakfast? How will Hyatt police who eats at the buffet…will a new staff member be necessary to check vouchers?
At my last Hyatt Place stay, the eggs were cold and breakfast sandwiches, waffles and potatoes not refilled. That won’t cut it.
A couple week ago I found myself in the small town of Burlington, NJ on business. While I go out of my way to be loyal to Hyatt, there was no Hyatt nearby (the closest one was a Hyatt Place in Mount Laurel, about 20 minutes away). Instead, I stayed at a Best Western a few minutes away.
It was $85 while the Hyatt Place was $130. While no means luxurious, the hotel offered a fairly spacious room, swimming pool, exercise room, and a complimentary hot breakfast. A block away, the same was available at a Holiday Inn Express for $100.
We often see Hyatt Place hotels $15-20 more than like competitors. Why would status-less travelers really ever pay more and pay for breakfast on top of it?
I never understood the Courtyard by Marriott brand. I figured, why pay the same to stay at a hotel without breakfast than one that has breakfast? What makes a Courtyard by Marriott so great? Nothing, as far as I can tell.
I fear that if Hyatt Place goes down the same path, it too will become an odd hybrid: limited service property without the one amenity that draws roadside, business, and family travelers. That won’t be a winning combination.