Hyatt’s Just Launched a New “Unbrand” to Bring More Upscale Hotels into Gold Passport

Last year Hyatt launched Hyatt Centric as a new brand to join Regency, Grand, Andaz, House, Place, and Park as well as all-inclusives Zilara and Ziva — and now they’re bringing on another brand as well: unbound collection.

This is really an “un-brand” along the lines of Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio and Marriott’s Autograph Collection which has been under consideration for some time.

It appears to be:

  1. A conversion brand, they can take over a hotel that was built as an independent or that had been managed by another chain and they don’t have to worry whether it ‘fits’. This lets them grow, take on more management contracts, and fill geographic gaps.

  2. Upscale, but often at a price point somewhat lower than Park Hyatt. These will be full service hotels, but they aren’t constrained by the Park Hyatt brand standard. It will include both modern and historic properties.

What holds it all together is Gold Passport. Instead of a consistent “Hyatt experience” for the consumer the only thing that makes the properties “Hyatt” as opposed to unaffiliated hotels is the Gold Passport program. It’s an opportunity to earn and burn points in more places, and receive elite recognition. More nice hotels affiliated with the Gold Passport program — in my opinion the most lucrative major hotel loyalty program for frequent (elite qualifying ) guests but also the smallest — is unquestionably a good thing for members.

Initial announced properties are:

  • The Driskill Hotel (Austin, Texas)
  • Hôtel du Louvre (Paris, France)
  • Carmelo Resort & Spa (Carmelo, Uruguay)
  • Coco Palms Resort (Kauai, Hawaii) re-opening after renovation spring 2018

Carmelo Resort Bungalow

As I wrote last summer when Carmelo Resort joined Hyatt, it seemed like it might presage the introduction of an un-brand.

The hotel doesn’t appear branded in any of Hyatt’s usual monikers — when the Four Seasons Aviara became a Hyatt it was named a Park Hyatt, that doesn’t seem to apply here. That may or may not change, and I wonder if it’s dependent on whether Hyatt launches a non-brand brand like Starwood has done with Tribute. (This possibility could also explain why the former Radisson LAX, now the Concourse Hotel, is merely an ‘affiliate’ rather than taking on a Hyatt brand.)

(I ultimately don’t see the Concourse Hotel fitting into the way Unbound Collection has evolved, and certainly not matching the tagline “the freedom to be extraordinary.”)

Here’s Hyatt’s CEO discussing Unbound Collection.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hi Gary,
    Two-part question here:

    1. How do you think the SPG/Marriott merger will affect the value of Starpoints?

    2. Do you think Hyatt is making a strong case to get on the same level as SPG? Especially with the free 2-nights on the Hyatt CC.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. I expect the Hyatt at the Bellevue to be a part of this collection at some point… it didn’t quite hit the average rates of a PH and seems sort of out-of-place in the Hyatt (full stop) portfolio.

    Simply rebranding it as The Bellevue, part of the Unbound Collection, makes sense to me.

  3. @Dominic – if i had to make a bet, (1) yes and not in a good way; (2) I think that Hyatt Diamond is the best hotel elite level, whether or not Hyatt works for you is really a geographic question (do they have properties where you travel).

  4. Gary –
    Any ideas if this will mean the Hotel du Louvre will get renovated? The location is PERFECT – but the hotel could use some updating. I believe it was originally supposed to become an Andaz!

  5. “(I ultimately don’t see the Concourse Hotel fitting into the way Unbound Collection has evolved, and certainly not matching the tagline “the freedom to be extraordinary.”)”

    Hyatt have already said that the “Concourse Hotel” branding was temporary while they brought the hotel up to brand standards. It will be re-branded again in the near future as the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport.

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