Yesterday Hyatt announced that effective November 1 Hyatt Place breakfast would be restricted to program members who book direct.
Hotel chains are increasingly pushing ‘book direct’ versus booking through online travel agencies like Expedia and Booking.com. It’s not a new push, for years elite status credit has only been available when booking direct. One change with introduction of World of Hyatt last year was that elite status would no longer be recognized for guests who booked through third party websites.
Hyatt Place Breakfast
One way they encourage direct booking is Best Rate Guarantees, though Hyatt’s has become mostly marketing hype rather than real substance. Another is ‘book direct’ rates that are supposed to be lower than those offered on third party sites.
Now Hyatt is leveraging breakfast in the battle with online booking sites.
However they’ve clarified their position on the matter, telling me that they’re,
allowing those who sign up on the spot for World of Hyatt at Hyatt Place hotels, no matter how they book, to get free breakfast during that stay. Moving forward, guests will get free breakfast when they book an eligible rate as a World of Hyatt member.
Hyatt Place Breakfast
This makes a certain amount of sense. They want to convert an online travel agency customer into a Hyatt customer, so using breakfast to sign them up for the program helps do that.
However it creates a bizarre scenario.
- A non-member booking through an OTA can sign up for World of Hyatt on the spot and get free breakfast
- A top tier elite member booking through an OTA will not receive breakfast [they are already a World of Hyatt member and not eligible to sign up on property]
A Hyatt spokesperson confirms, “Yes, that is the plan as of now.”
This tells me they’re thinking about their strategy against online booking sites, rather than thinking about their customers. If someone spends 55 nights or more a year (or spends over $20,000) with Hyatt they’re a valuable customer every time they walk through the door.
If a top tier elite books through Expedia because the rate was lower, or because the hotel was sold out on the Hyatt site but still available at GetARoom they’re demonstrating their loyalty. Treating them less well than a first time guest simply makes no sense.