Hyatt forges forward with Studios brand development

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has revealed the first locations for its latest select service brand, Hyatt Studios.

The debuts will be in the USA, in Mobile, Alabama and Marysville, California, emphasising Hyatt’s strategy of entering untapped markets where its brand presence is yet to be established.

Key accelerator

Hyatt’s first upper-midscale extended-stay brand in the Americas is expected to be a key accelerator for the group, building on six years of high net rooms growth.

When Hyatt launched Hyatt Studios in April, the group revealed it already had signed letters of interest for more than 100 hotels.

Alabama introduction

The inaugural hotel will arrive in Tillman’s Corner, just outside of Mobile, Alabama, thanks to a franchise agreement with 3H Group, Inc, founded by Hiren Desai, an expert in the select service space.

The site will also mark Hyatt’s first branded hotel in the area and is strategically located near Mobile Bay’s Gulf Coast, providing extended-stay guests easy access to this rapidly expanding port city. This property is set to open in late 2024.

Significant milestone

3H’s Desai said: “We are honoured to be a part of this significant milestone with Hyatt.

“Hyatt’s unwavering commitment to delivering world-class service to owners, operators and guests alike makes them the ideal hospitality company to expand our extended-stay presence in this growing community.”

Coming to California

Next up for the brand will be a 113-room hotel in downtown Marysville, California, located in Yuba County and part of the North Sacramento area. This site is a result of a franchise agreement with Presidio Hotel Development LLC.

Hyatt believes that Marysville is an ideal location to develop a Hyatt Studios hotel due to the city’s rapid growth in recent years, which has led to increased demand in the midscale segment. Expected to open in 2025, the property will feature a custom buildout, including dedicated meeting spaces, to serve the needs of both business travellers and those attending local events in the area.

Tailored product

Guneet Bajwa, president and CEO of Presidio Hotel Development LLC, commented: “The experience of working with Hyatt is unparalleled. They authentically embrace their ethos of listening to understand and have created an innovative extended-stay offering, shaped by input from the development community.

“That, coupled with the adaptability to tailor the product to my market’s demands, are among the reasons we’ve chosen to invest in developing a Hyatt Studios hotel.”

Growing brand loyalty

Dan Hansen, global head of Hyatt Studios, analysed: “Hyatt’s entry into these new markets with Hyatt Studios hotels exemplifies our commitment to developers, guests and World of Hyatt members.

“We’ve learned that when Hyatt guests stay with a competing brand, they appear to do so for one of two reasons: the absence of a Hyatt hotel within five miles or the choice to stay at a lower chain scale. By enabling guests to choose a Hyatt hotel in new markets, we grow brand loyalty without intra-brand competition and present more white-space options to developers.”

Leadership team

Under Hansen’s leadership, a carefully selected and dedicated team has been formed to ensure the brand delivers on its value proposition. Hyatt veteran Jason Ballard has been promoted to the position of head of operations, Hyatt Studios, reporting directly to Hansen.

Most recently serving as the group’s vice president of franchise operations, select service, Ballard was instrumental in establishing and nurturing Hyatt’s franchise and owner relations group (FORG). Under his leadership, the Americas select service franchise portfolio saw its highest-ever owner and operator satisfaction scores. Since joining Hyatt in 2006, Ballard has held positions in revenue management, capital planning and operations analytics across all three Hyatt regions – Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Africa and Middle East.

Ballard played a critical role in establishing the global footprint of the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands, spearheading the first Hyatt select service properties in Thailand, China, Japan and Australia, and the first Hyatt branded hotels in Barcelona, Athens and Budapest. His role in implementing global processes and assembling teams in these new markets facilitated the expansion of Hyatt’s international brand presence in the select service segment.

Enlisting experts

In addition to Ballard’s role, Hyatt has enlisted internal experts and external industry professionals, making substantial leadership appointments in finance and commercial services. Furthermore, the team has strengthened its development efforts by recruiting additional team members who are dedicated to advancing the expansion of the brand.

Ballard noted: “Hyatt’s transformative growth demonstrates the importance we place on fostering strong relationships with owners, developers and franchisees. Prioritising owner satisfaction has allowed us to position Hyatt Studios hotels as a compelling option with competitive market availability. By listening to the needs of our owners and guests, we can now offer solutions for more stay occasions for 40 million World of Hyatt loyalty members.”

Scale flexibility

The Hyatt Studios brand joins the group’s growing portfolio in the Timeless collection and is positioned to transform the extended-stay experience.

Developers can expect a product that delivers three main components for success: efficient and scalable prototypes, a lean operating model, and flexible brand and design elements to adapt to local market needs across primary, secondary and tertiary markets. Accommodating extended-stay and transient demand, each Hyatt Studios hotel will be sized to fit approximately 122 rooms with flexibility to scale up or down.