Hyatt Place Ending Free Breakfast for Non-Members and Extending Early Check-in to Explorists

Hyatt’s biggest challenge is scale. They have 10% the footprint of Marriott, which makes it hard for guests to stay loyal. Their coverage doesn’t meet all guests’ needs, and it’s often necessary to stay at a less convenient property in order to stick with Hyatt. As a result the program needs to work harder — give guests a reason to go out of their way — to be loyal Hyatt customers.

While I believe their top elite tier is the most rewarding for those who can make Hyatt’s 600 hotels work for them, the level below Globalist isn’t competitive with Marriott or even Hilton’s mid-tier. Hyatt’s limited-service properties don’t offer meaningful elite benefits. And the credit card isn’t the fastest way to accumulate Hyatt points, and doesn’t provide benefits for those chasing top status.

These are the major challenges faced by the chain. They’re announcing changes at Hyatt Place which largely do not address these challenges.


Hyatt Place Lobby

Hyatt Place Free Breakfast Will Require World of Hyatt Membership

Three months ago I broke news that Hyatt Place was testing charging for breakfast at a limited number of properties. Top elites still received breakfast via coupon during the test.

Now we know more about what they’re doing with the idea going forward. Hyatt Place breakfast becomes a loyalty program signup play, and also a book direct play. Program members who don’t book direct (e.g. book at Expedia or other online travel agency) won’t be entitled to breakfast — giving Hyatt Place customers a stronger reason to book direct.

For reservations booked November 1 onward Hyatt Place breakfast will only be free for World of Hyatt members, including those who sign up at check-in. Anyone staying in the same guestroom as a registered program member qualifies for breakfast.


Hyatt Place Breakfast

They Also Promise Changes to Breakfast

Hyatt Place keeps changing breakfast. They were known for their breakfast sandwiches that were a lot like Egg McMuffins, but got rid of those in favor of ‘make your own breakfast bowls’. The breakfast sandwiches weren’t super healthy, but they were tasty.

Now they promise to add regional items that provide a sense of place, such as “in the southern U.S. [Hyatt Place breakfast] may feature biscuits and gravy or Hyatt Place hotels in the west/Pacific Northwest may feature avocado toast.”


Hyatt Place Breakfast

Explorist Members Will Get Early Check-in at Hyatt Place

Top tier elites (Globalists) get early check-in — subject to availability and starting at 9 a.m. — at all Hyatt brands except for Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Oasis Homes, and M Life Rewards destinations (which aren’t Hyatt properties, but Hyatt has an alliance with MGM).

Hyatt will be extending early check-in “based on market and occupancy” to Explorist members staying at Hyatt Place hotels starting in early 2019.


Hyatt Place Bathroom

New Build Hyatt Places Will Offer Keyless Starting Next Year

New Hyatt Place properties are nice. Legacy AmeriSuites properties are awful, with sinks in the room and a separate room for toilets and showers. Rooms are smaller and may have window unit air conditioning systems.

The newest Hyatt Place properties “will be mobile-entry capable..coming in 2019.” Improvements to new build hotels are great, but the older hotels desperately need capital investment.


Hyatt Place Guestroom

Continuing to Integrate Exhale Lifestyle Brand into Hyatt

Hyatt Place properties are going to offer “more space to enable activities like yoga and stretching” in their fitness rooms. Exhale spas will “extend preferred privileges and rates” to Hyatt members late in 2018. And Hyatt will be adding “fitness and mindfulness program[..]” videos into its mobile app.

They’re going to need to do a lot more than that if they believe acquiring Exhale spas is going to create a halo over Hyatt properties so that people stay – and are willing to pay a revenue premium to stay – at Hyatt hotels as a destination for being a better person. I remain skeptical of the play, but it’s an early step and one we’ll have to continue to watch.

This Isn’t About Members, It’s About Booking Channels

Early check-in at Hyatt Place for Explorist members subject to availability so you can’t count on it is a modest benefit, but doesn’t address the lack of overall benefits (or the lack of benefits for a top tier elite ) at limited service properties.

As a Globalist member staying at Hyatt Place — where breakfast is already included, where I cannot use suite upgrades, where there’s no club lounge and there’s no longer a check-in amenity — my benefit is a bottle of water.

In the future Hyatt will market Hyatt Place breakfast as a benefit of program membership but they’re getting there by taking it away from non-members and making it a tool for program signups.

Hyatt told themselves World of Hyatt program changes were working because more people were signing up for the program — nevermind that the program changes were about elite levels, not general memberships, and they were pushing discounted rates for members. Give discounts and breakfast for people to sign up, they’ll sign up, but that tells you nothing about whether the program is working to keep members staying.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. […] Hyatt Place Ending Free Breakfast for Non-Members and Extending Early Check-in to Explorists. – I understand Hyatt’s desire to get people to register (for free) for their loyalty program. And I don’t understand why people haven’t already. But this is a bad trend and, to me, it raises the possibility of further dilution of benefits down the road. […]

Comments

  1. I agree ever since the WOH Hyatt has slowly but steadily diminished the “value” to travels sans Globalist. As a former Globalist for 10 years their “foot print” was difficult under the new qualification, normally I did 25/30 stays @50 nights balance Marriott. Now I have reverted back to my Marriott PLT PLT status.

    Their breakfast product in subpar when comparing to a Marriott or SPG. While I understand their reasoning most of us business owners can we have ask ourselves “What’s next” ?

  2. @gary – you seem to have conflicting statements about breakfast requiring direct booking. If this is the case then I’ll never stay at a Hyatt Place location again since I’m required to book hotels via our corporate Egencia (Expedia Corp) account (nevermind that it’s always at least $5 cheaper to book direct anyway). I find it hard to believe that Hyatt thinks this is a positive change; they’ll have the regulars and they’ll have leisure, they’ll lose out on the midground, which seems to be exactly where they should be working to increase loyalty.

  3. Gary, I know breakfasts are supposed to be included for everyone (right now) at Hyatt Place properties but I don’t think that’s the case. See, for example, the Hyatt Place LHR. This property offers a “Bed and breakfast” rate that is GBP10 more than the standard (flexible) rate. Why offer a B&B rate if breakfast is included?

  4. I think most hotel breakfasts are too complicated and therefore overrated. I find little spare time available to enjoy the wide selection of a breakfast buffet. If they could lower my room rate in return for less food I would be just as happy.

  5. Anyone that has had breakfast at HP’s know it to be on the verge of equaling Holiday Inn Express. It’s lame and getting worst to the point I do not even use it. My company as well used it for term staff stays while on assignment, not anymore. Poof out of our system

    Hyatt is slowing diminishing any compelling reasons to stay other than if your a “Globalist” and staying at a Park/GH/H

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