Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of Hyatt. If a Four Seasons (my top choice) is not available, I’ll opt for a Hyatt product. Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency properties are comfortable, with friendly staff, excellent service levels and high-quality furnishings. Please don't ask me to tell you the differences among these three brands. I have some difficulty. But that’s fodder for another story.
What intrigued me was a recent article about Hyatt’s Andaz brand. This followed an announcement by Hyatt management of plans to double the number of outlets for this relatively new “chain” through re-flagging/re-branding as well as possible new buildouts. The article quoted one an Andaz GM as stating, “Properties will remain true to the Andaz core principles: locally inspired with the feel of an independent and not a chain; service that is excellent not fussy; while offering the backbone of a major brand with benefits including the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program.”
From an outsider’s perspective, it appears Hyatt management has decided to test the concept of a “non-brand brand.” In effect, Andaz properties are supposed to be chain properties that act as independent hotels with similar uniqueness and coolness of the successful Starwood W chain.
But Hyatt has a terrific brand, and all of its current products revolve around the Hyatt name. So does it make sense to have a dozen (or so) properties floating around with support limited to a website, the Hyatt reservation system, loyalty program and supplier network? To me, Hyatt had it right before Andaz, which I see as another orphan brand for the company to support. I would hate to burden a successful brand with an offshoot like Andaz. But, perhaps I am too “old school.” Hyatt: I love what you do, but this one escapes me.
Branding is complex. Hyatt has a great brand name, which has been nurtured through years of excellence in service and product. So I offer this solution. By slightly changing the name to “Andaz by Hyatt” the product would be better positioned. This would allow consumers the reassurance of the Hyatt quality standard while recognizing that there is something new and cool about the property. Does anyone have other thoughts on this?
(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in HOTELSMag on April 16, 2012)