Hyatt added another couple of hotels to its (All) Inclusive group this week and it may provide some hints about the future of the business segment for the chain.
Hyatt Acquires Two Globalia Properties
In a clear move that Hyatt continues to explore opportunities in the all-inclusive space, the brand has two properties joining the fold from Globalia. The Spanish tour operator (and parent company to Air Europa) expects to complete the transition before the end of the year:
“Two Be Live Hotels properties in the Dominican Republic, owned by Spanish hospitality company Globalia, will be renovated and transformed into Sunscape Resorts & Spas. The renovated hotels are expected to open in 2023, bolstering the family-friendly brand’s presence in the Caribbean.”
“We are seeing great demand for the four-star product and are grateful for the trust of Globalia in the future of these properties as part of our growing global Inclusive Collection brand portfolio. We believe this collaboration showcases the combined strength and potential of Hyatt and Apple Leisure Group and how owners are empowered to remain vested in their assets while achieving success through our brands, distribution channels and global reputation.” – Hyatt and Inside Travel Report
Both properties are in the Dominican Republic and constitute 2,000 rooms. The Be Live brand is currently offering stays for as little as $69/night.
While two properties coming into a brand (even with as many rooms as these resorts have) wouldn’t normally mark a directional shift about the future of the brand, it’s the placement of these two properties that give pause.
What’s Going On With Ziva/Zilara?
Hyatt first began dipping its toes in the all-inclusive market with Hyatt Ziva, a chain of family-friendly resorts, and Hyatt Zilara which is reserved for adults only. Prior to the creation of the twin brand, members couldn’t stay loyal to Hyatt and stay at an all-inclusive. With the creation of those Ziva and Zilara, members could use World of Hyatt points and a fixed award chart to book everything from standard rooms to private terraces all with food and drinks included.
Cash rates for the properties hovered around $550/night pre-COVID (in Cancun); the chain included resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Recent additions to the brand have included Punta Cana and Riviera Maya.
I mentioned that I was at an event for Hyatt Privé agencies last week and some readers remarked that they’d like to learn more about what I saw. However, it’s what I didn’t see that tells more about the future of Hyatt All-Inclusive resorts, in my opinion.
Among the dozens of properties in attendance from the Inclusive side of the offering (Secrets, Dreams, Thompson, Playa) I couldn’t find any more Ziva and Zilara properties on the horizon. I confirmed that from Hyatt’s own website there doesn’t seem to be any more Ziva/Zilara properties in its pipeline. That said, the same page doesn’t list the Park Hyatt Marrakech at all and that’s very much coming to fruition.
While all-inclusive resorts are a high priority for the Hyatt, Ziva and Zilara may not have the brand clout the other acquisitions have established. I wouldn’t call the brand dead, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of further expansion. I find that surprising given the warm reception many Hyatt loyalists have given both Ziva and Zilara.
Why Is This So Important For Hyatt, Others?
All major hotel chains have dived headlong into the all-inclusive space. IHG, Marriott, and Hilton have expanded significantly in the last couple of years. The model may have proven to generate higher cash prices than resorts that sell food and drinks separately. The model also appears to have significant elasticity to fluctuating market conditions as the last few years have indicated.
Most importantly, brands like Hyatt have a massive marketing list of loyal customers that haven’t had a large offering of all-inclusive options leaving the market to smaller brands. For those customers, inclusives represents a way to spend points they didn’t have before and a reason to stay loyal and find ways to earn more.
What’s interesting about the way that Hyatt has integrated new acquisitions into the brand is the market segmentation. The two Globalia resorts join Sunscape and representatives specifically state the strength of the “four-star” market. Hyatt is clearly delineating its brands and Ziva and Zilara fit a different segment. Some of the Zöetry properties could have been ideal for Zilara, but Hyatt has left them as they are.
I experienced a Sunscape property nine years ago this week and it was so shockingly bad that I bought a URL they hadn’t secured for the brand with the intent of building a spite site (much like Larry’s David’s Spite Store) but unlike Latte Larry’s, it never launched. While I have more hope for Sunscape under Hyatt’s management, the rate for these properties as Be Live supports that four-star may be a stretch. Still, there’s a place for that in the market and Hyatt sees the continued growth of the entire segment as key to withstanding headwinds in its business hotel-heavy model. The other chains do too.
While Hyatt hasn’t officially shut the door on future Ziva and Zilara properties, it also doesn’t appear to have any planned. It hasn’t migrated new resort acquisitions to the brands, rather resting on the strength of the existing ALG and AMR brands they have already built. Future properties appear to fall into particular buckets for the hotel chain including Sunscape for this partnership. What remains crystal clear is that Hyatt is not done looking for additional all-inclusive opportunities and continues in a targeted fashion even if that means it doesn’t prioritize growing its homegrown brand.
What do you think? Have you looked into Hyatt All-Inclusives? What was your experience?