Hyatt announced the acquisition of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a luxury booking platform for boutique hotels and it aligns well with the company’s strategy. Here’s why.
What Is Mr. And Mrs. Smith?
Much like Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a marketing program for boutique hotels. Hyatt will pay £53MM (about $66.61MM USD) for the brand and expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2023. IHG currently has a licensing deal with Mr. and Mrs. Smith which is expected to end.
“We are excited by this planned acquisition and to explore bringing guests and World of Hyatt members even more global luxury offerings across hundreds of geographies – including over 20 countries where there are currently no Hyatt hotels such as Fiji, Croatia, Iceland and Anguilla,” – Mark Vondrasek, Hyatt
The hotels that participate in the program are not exclusive to the brand but offer some of the most interesting stays in the world.
“Founders Tamara and James Lohan alongside their impressive team have built the ultimate global direct booking collection of truly unique stay experiences including rooms located in treehouses, within caves, and underwater suites. Importantly, we see a lot of synergy between our collective ethos of care, and we look forward to working together to bring our shared focus to new, memorable stay experiences for guests and World of Hyatt members – and introduce new guests to Hyatt hotels around the world.”
How This Fits In With Hyatt’s Other Acquisitions?
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are not hotels and resorts owned or managed by the brand but rather marketed by the company. Like SLH, guests can book these stays outside of Mr. and Mrs. Smith but that’s not particularly unique. For example, many Park Hyatt properties are marketed by Fine Hotels & Resorts, Virtuoso, Affluent Traveler Collection, and of course, Hyatt Privé.
Hyatt’s acquisition of ALG and its partnership with SLH intersect with this purchase. For example, SLH does not offer all of its properties to Hyatt members for the acquisition and redemption of points, but hundreds are available. This allows Hyatt to remain “asset-light”, the brand’s current strategy.
ALG is a large travel agency for lack of a better term that to this day continues to sell competing properties from other brands including Marriott, Hilton, and IHG, and seemingly every brand under the sun. In fact, to this day, ALG still operates charter flights with about 350,000 seats on sale this year taking travelers to hotels other than Hyatt.
While both brands have premium hotels as part of their collection, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is focused exclusively on the top end of the market. Hyatt is able to bring premium customers to hotels it doesn’t own but can market and this is likely on the heels of the success of its partnership with SLH.
What This Could Mean For The Future
Hyatt is shaping the company as a travel provider and is dead set on the top end of the market and premium customers. SLH could be a future target to combine with Mr. and Mrs. Smith and bring the operation in-house.
I proposed a few weeks that Hyatt purchase Rosewood. The sentiment: Hyatt wants to align with more premium customers and can grow faster through acquisition with a proven brand than it can organically. Hyatt needs to utilize its marketing base of loyal fans for premium products.
My suggestion wasn’t completely off base but it does reflect that Hyatt is looking for the same value but finding it elsewhere. What’s interesting is that Hyatt is trialing markets and adding business opportunities where it can be found. If we use the marketing partnership with SLH as a model, it found success and went after a business it could buy and continue its success. The brand dabbled in all-inclusives and bought AMR for example, then another 2,000 rooms in the space just a few weeks ago.
If even a fraction of Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s 1,500 partner hotels are eligible for Hyatt members, it will help the brand deliver more locations with a more dynamic type of property and a premium customer base. That will help Hyatt retain and grow its membership base, and increase credit card sign-ups and enthusiasm for the program and brand.
Hyatt added a luxury booking platform with strong boutique partnerships that align with its goal of being asset-light while growing the brand. It further positions the brand with upper-echelon clientele and will increase Hyatt’s eligible footprint for members. It also continues in the hotel’s unique strategy of acquiring hotel-adjacent businesses.
What do you think? Where will Hyatt turn next? Do you have a favorite Mr. and Mrs. Smith property?