Caption this: Hyatt’s new brand focuses on connections

CHICAGO—For younger generations—especially Gen Z—what you post online says a lot about you—about your lifestyle, personality, likes and dislikes. Posts, specifically image posts, don’t frivolously get thrown up on social media platforms either; they’re edited, scrutinized and debated via texts with friends before being posted online.

After applying filters, adding locations and tagging, the last thing to do is write a photo caption—possibly the most thought-provoking step in the process.

Generally speaking, captions explain a photo and provide focus, but today, captions are meant to assign feelings and tones, all with the goal of increasing likes, comments and interactions.

Hyatt’s latest brand, Caption by
Hyatt, isn’t unlike social media captions in this way, a lifestyle select-service brand built for fostering social connections among guests and making these interactions natural.

“Across our brands, we start by listening to understand how we can best care for our guests and members of the communities in which we operate,” said Heather Geisler, VP of global brands, Hyatt Hotels Corp. “At Caption by Hyatt hotels, we will focus on facilitating stronger, more authentic social connections for those traveling alone or with someone else through a differentiated lifestyle, select-service offering. We’re singularly focused on meeting guests where they are with spaces and experiences they can truly make their own.”

For Caption by Hyatt, it’s about creating unpretentious communal areas where guests feel free to mingle with each other and with locals, using the space to fit their needs.

“Our guests like to meet new people and try new things when they travel, but don’t always want to do that at a neon-lit bar or a ‘see-and-be-seen’ club. Existing hotel options aren’t resonating and the current definitions of social are too limited and narrow,” Geisler said.

Aside from truly flexible spaces that guests are encouraged to feng shui themselves, what may be Caption’s real differentiator comes from the ultimate source of human interaction: F&B. 

It’s no mystery: Food brings people together. Designing and curating Caption by Hyatt’s F&B operations is Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the team behind a slate of restaurants, cafés and bars in New York. 

Geisler said that these outlets will be extensions of Caption’s public spaces, designed with inclusion and approachability in mind. A combo café/market/bar, these all-day options will also highlight local culture through taste. 

“We intentionally designed the Caption by Hyatt experience to be an alluring and unpretentious place where it’s easy for guests and locals to connect with friends old and new,” Geisler said.

The brand will also use a cost-efficient model that’s easily flexible to adapt to the needs of different markets, Geisler said, bringing a more streamlined approach to design and operations. 

“Consistent with Hyatt’s development approach, we will collaborate closely with owners to identify their needs and interests, whether that be a conversion or new-construction,” she said. “We look at new brands as new opportunities to address the unmet travel needs of our guests and to create distinction both within our portfolio and within the industry.”

According to the VP, the brand is already engaged in development projects and she expects Caption by Hyatt to be a growth driver both here in the U.S. and abroad, specifically in dense urban and downtown markets, emerging neighborhoods, mixed-use developments and in high foot-traffic areas. 

“Hyatt is committed to growing in the places where our guests are traveling, and this brand is designed to allow us to do just that,” Geisler said. “It will offer the efficiency and flexibility of select-service, while creating a compelling lifestyle experience that is designed to be fulfilling for guests and result in superior revenue opportunities.” 

Caption by Hyatt hotel room count will vary, based on location or market. The standard guestroom is expected to be 270 sq. ft., but can scale and flex smaller or larger by 15-20%. The properties will also include 24-hour fitness centers and meeting spaces.

Caption by Hyatt won’t turn away from technology, either, but its focus will remain on interactions. Geisler explained that host-assisted check-in will not be self-check-in and not individual check-in, but a blend between the two so a human element is still present. 

“We view technology as a way to scale care and achieve our goal of increased guest personalization, but authentic human connections will remain at the core of the Caption by Hyatt brand,” Geisler said. HB

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