CHICAGO—Point. Click. Shoot. But wait, there’s more to photography than that. It tells a story, capturing all aspects of life and creating memories long after the moment has passed. It is powerful. An image can be uplifting and inspiring in just one click.
Park Hyatt and National Geographic have teamed up for a global collaboration to tell the stories of travelers’ favorite mementos with the goal of illustrating how luxury can be personal and meaningful.
“An important point of differentiation for the Park Hyatt brand is our commitment to delivering authentic, highly personal, enriching experiences our guests seek as they travel the world,” said Heather Geisler, VP of full-service global brands, Hyatt.
“The collaboration with National Geographic, globally recognized for its compelling storytelling, was a way for us to highlight these experiences through engaging, authentically human content,” she said. “Each story reinforces our ‘Luxury Is Personal’ positioning by showcasing the powerful personal stories behind treasured travel mementos. The program also included curated photo walks for Park Hyatt hotel guests and clients, led by renowned National Geographic photographers, in Tokyo and Washington, DC, and the distribution of National Geographic magazines in Park Hyatt hotels.”
Luxury is global, aspirational, an indulgence—and personal. Geisler noted that luxury travelers have high expectations, and it’s the brand’s job is to know what they expect, exceed those expectations and provide memorable, unmatched experiences.
“Through this lens, the idea of luxury becomes extremely personal, as it embodies a sense of purpose, security, comfort and enrichment,” she said. “Our partnership with National Geographic is aimed at providing an authentic representation of luxury through this personal lens, diving deeply into the unique lifestyles of our guests in a way that is both unexpected and captivating.”
National Geographic photographer Andy Mann was tapped to profile four Hyatt Globalists—and Park Hyatt brand loyalists—and follow them as they return to the countries where their travel mementos originated.
“The Park Hyatt brand worked closely with National Geographic to identify a number of Park Hyatt loyalists in the top tier of the company’s loyalty program, asking each to share their stories of a highly valued memento they collected on their travels,” she said.
“The response far surpassed our expectation, ultimately resulting in a complex decision-making process that required a great deal of deliberation between our teams. Once our four Globalists were selected, the National Geographic editorial teams—under the direction of photographer Andy Mann—elicited their stories about the memento, its origin and significance. Andy then retraced its journey to being—traveling to Sydney, Tokyo, South Africa and Uzbekistan—providing us all with an intimate view of the people and places that shaped the experience behind a simple bamboo tea whisk, a paper tole, handmade tiles and a sculpture. The photography and storytelling is compelling and the level of engagement with the content has surpassed all of our expectations,” she said.
The first two stories, which launched in the fall, share the unique life experiences that these men have adapted as a result of their travels—one immediately embraced by the spirit of Sydney, and the other who feels a deep serenity in Tokyo, noted Geisler.
Robert McNeil is a World of Hyatt Globalist and native New Yorker who was chosen for his deep affinity toward the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney, Australia, which he routinely calls his “second home.”
“His passion for Sydney comes largely from what he feels is a sense of warmth, care and humanity coming from within the city, which 20 years ago was made clear to him after a chance meeting with two talented artists who specialize in the creation of paper toles—the art of layering paper images to create a 3D effect. Over time, Robert began to bring these home as gifts, and now commissions them to be made as gifts for family and friends in America,” she said.
World of Hyatt Globalist Ismael Ghalimi was chosen for his incredibly diverse background and affinity toward Tokyo, crediting its refined aesthetics and a culture that emphasizes gracious respect for others as his reasons why.
“Ismael began traveling to Tokyo a little more than a dozen years ago, where he met his sensei, in the art of Japanese tea ceremony,” she said. “When visiting Tokyo, Ismael will visit his sensei at their temple, her home, or the Park Hyatt hotel where he stays each time he visits. When home in Palo Alto, CA, he conducts the tea ceremony in his garage, which through his experiences has been turned into a personal temple for not only tea, but also work and entertainment.”
The brand will soon release the next two stories in the series, featuring World of Hyatt Globalists Juan Pablo Molynaux, a world-renowned designer, and Ali Shirizinia, a famous DJ.
Propelled by the creativity of the World of Hyatt Globalist program, the brand is currently exploring ways to improve and expand upon the relationship.
“Plans to extend the Park Hyatt brand’s relationship with National Geographic are already underway,” she said. “These photo galleries will live alongside the other two stories on a new digital hub. This expanded digital presence provides even more travel inspiration, including an interactive map that features National Geographic photography from picture-perfect locales surrounding each Park Hyatt hotel and resort.”