As the first area impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) had to react quickly. New safety measures had to be put into effect immediately, without any precedent on how to handle this new threat. These new protocols extended to all industries, and hospitality was no exception.
Hyatt noted how quickly its hotels rebounded in the region, and is now seeing significant demand, according to Stephen Ho, the company’s president, greater China, growth & operations.
“Our expansion emphasizes Hyatt’s commitment to drive meaningful growth in destinations where we see demand for Hyatt hotels and the distinct luxury experiences that our Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Alila brands have to offer,” Ho said. “Furthermore, we are seeing pent-up demand today for domestic leisure travel across some of these markets, such as Greater China, Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.”
Hyatt plans to grow its luxury portfolio by nearly 15% with recent openings, and more are planned for the next two years. Hyatt is no stranger to the region; in fact, it’s been operating in APAC for more than 50 years. The Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt brands—which debuted in the U.S. more than 40 years ago—have expanded their presence worldwide, with APAC accounting for half of each brand’s global portfolio.
“We are continuing with our strategic expansion in the region and opening hotels in the destinations our guests will want to go when they are ready to start flying again,” Ho said. “We continue to have proactive dialogues with our World of Hyatt members, key customers, professional conference organizers (PCOs) and travel partners to gauge their sentiments. The consensus is people are keen to travel when the borders open up, and they will stay with reputable brands that have taken serious measures to provide a safe environment.”
With a focus on both urban and resort destinations across APAC, Hyatt has opened the Park Hyatt Auckland in New Zealand, Andaz Xiamen in China, Park Hyatt Suzhou in China, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono in Japan, Andaz Shenzhen Bay in China and Grand Hyatt Jeju in South Korea.
Additional properties with expected openings this year include Alila Dalit Bay in Malaysia, Alila Taihu Suzhou in China and Andaz Bali in Indonesia. Park Hyatt Jakarta in Indonesia is slated to open in January 2022.
“We remain focused on markets that are both of high importance and of interest to our guests,” Ho said, “such as the Park Hyatt Suzhou, which is located near a lake in the heart of Suzhou Industrial Park and provides guests and local residents with the brand’s sophisticated home-away-from-home experience; whereas Andaz Xiamen, our second Andaz hotel in China, introduces a vibrant, contemporary hospitality inspired by the city’s colorful Nanyang style.”
Ho said that from a luxury standpoint, as travel returns in some markets across APAC, guests are placing a greater emphasis on health and safety standards and personalized service at top-end hotels in the segment.
“We’ve seen that more guests are appreciating surroundings that lend themselves to more space and privacy,” said Ho. “For instance, we have seen a good rebound, particularly those hotels in the luxury segment including Park Hyatt, Andaz and Alila properties. Travelers are focusing more on quality over quantity, as they want to make the most of these limited opportunities and are more willing to indulge in rare experiences. The Alila brand, which embraces conscious living, eco-luxury and bespoke journeys, is well-positioned to meet this need.”
Ho is confident that as long as safety and well-being are at the forefront, Hyatt plans to reimagine the hotel journey through new amenities, offerings and enhanced protocols.
“With the backdrop of travel restrictions and economic uncertainty, recovery will be slow, but Hyatt is confident in our guests’ desire to be in safe environments and to gather with close friends and family,” he said. “Once a vaccine becomes widely available, we are optimistic that travel demand will rebound quickly and dramatically.”
With guests focused on well-being and relaxation, the APAC region may be just the place to begin traveling once again.
“With our commitment to care and cleanliness, Hyatt hotels are well-positioned to address these needs while enabling guests to make the most of these precious opportunities to travel mindfully, indulge in rare experiences and discover something new,” Ho said, noting the significant growth opportunities for the luxury segment. “In the next few years, we plan to open more luxury hotels in key markets like Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Sanya in Greater China; Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Pattaya, Thailand; and in the Maldives.”