Hyatt Hotels is rebranding three all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean owned and operated by Playa Hotels & Resorts. This is a bit of a shake up in the all-inclusive hospitality sector, and it’s an exciting development for U.S.-based meeting planners for a variety of reasons.
Hyatt is developing two new brands: Hyatt Ziva and the more upscale, couples-only Hyatt Zilara. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Hyatt Zilara Cancun opened in November with multimillion dollar renovations planned this year.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall will open in Montego Bay, Jamaica late this year inside the previous Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall property, located just 10 minutes from the airport.
“We’ve been exploring the all-inclusive sector for about four years actually, and this immediately expands our resort offerings for our loyal customers who want to book Hyatt more,” says Chris Walker, VP of brand experience at Hyatt Hotels. “Meeting planners really like all-inclusives, and obviously Hyatt has a strong legacy in groups, meetings and conventions. We think we can work with Playa Resorts to make it even better.”
Hyatt is coming in with a range of initiatives designed to align the all-inclusive model with today’s group travel trends. The first thing Hyatt did was start asking planners questions about what works, what doesn’t, and their attendees’ overall perceptions of the all-inclusive market.
“One thing we heard a lot was planners saying, ‘I’m really excited when I’m planning my program, I’d love to learn more, know more at the start of the research phase,’” says Walker. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the websites becomes a lot more robust with more components, because everyone, both the planner and group participants, wants to be able to know what’s available.”
Onsite programming is also going to tweaked to offer more spontaneous options, with a focus on non-traditional activities, above and beyond pool volleyball games. That might mean unplanned bonfires on the beach for roasting marshmallows, unexpected group tours around the resort property, or a paddleboarding competition to keep the vibe fresh.
Hyatt is also actively building offsite activities that take into account more local culture, again offering something unexpected within the all-inclusive competitive set.
“You want some surprises, those are the things that create memorable experiences during any trip,” explains Walker. “More and more people want to do things they can’t do at home; those bits of discovery about the destination are important.”
Hyatt is also taking a hard look at F&B to see where it can bring its EP brand initiatives into play. Walker acknowledges that food quality and consistency are paramount considerations for planners with international groups.
“We believe we can deliver an outstanding food and beverage experience in an all-inclusive environment that Hyatt would be proud to offer, so I think you will definitely see some changes in F&B offerings,” he says. “Playa Resorts specifically sought out Hyatt for our F&B expertise to raise the game in the culinary space.”