Q4 2020 Covid development update: Hyatt Hotels Corporation

by | 25 Oct 2020 | Chains

With the aid of exclusive stats from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database, we explore what’s going on with Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s ambitious development plans, given that the coronavirus crisis shows little sign of ending anytime soon.

It’s increasingly apparent that the world’s biggest hotel companies need to adapt in order to successfully navigate the challenges brought about by Covid19 and, like many of its peers, Hyatt has had to think carefully about the very future of hospitality – something that would’ve been simply unimaginable to its leadership in previous decades.

Founded in 1957 when entrepreneur Jay Pritzker bought the Hyatt House motel next to Los Angeles International Airport, the business expanded rapidly in the years that followed, opening its first property outside the US in 1967, and acquiring prominent brands like AmeriSuites and Summerfield Suites in the early 21st century; an impressive growth trajectory that has only accelerated since floating on the New York Stock Exchange in 2009. The Chicago-headquartered group now boasts around 950 properties and 230,000 rooms across more than 65 countries, alongside a plethora of well-known brands like Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Alila and Miraval in the luxury category; Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Destination, Joie de Vivre and Hyatt in the upper-upscale bracket; and Hyatt Place and Hyatt House in the upscale sector.

Yet the company’s proven ability to grow rapidly brings its own set of challenges in a pandemic, with relatively new management teams having to contend with countries and territories imposing lockdowns, travel bans and targeted restrictions with bewildering speed in a bid to keep the virus in check.

Hyatt’s expansion drive marches on

To help us form an accurate impression of how Hyatt’s responding to the global health emergency, our in-house research team has been dutifully monitoring some of the company’s key development stats on a month-by-month basis, and we can now reveal them to the public for the very first time:

In progress
On hold
Cancelled this month
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation

What’s most striking about the above table, a snapshot of the kind of information held in our subscription-based database, is that the total number of live Hyatt projects has barely fluctuated at all over recent months. The company had 296 schemes in progress as of 13 May 2020 – when coronavirus was raging through its US heartlands – but this figure actually increased slightly to 298 as of 2 October. It’s certainly an unexpected finding that paints a very different picture of the attitudes over in Chicago compared to some of the other industry giants we’re tracking, and suggests that by and large the business is sticking to the same aggressive expansion strategy that served it well in the pre-Covid era.

It’s a similar story when we switch our attention to investigating how many of its projects have been deactivated. In total, 38 schemes were marked as on hold as of 13 May, and this figure stayed remarkably static amid the wider industry panic of the months that followed, and had actually fallen by the narrowest of margins to 37 as of 2 October. Again, it seems Hyatt is shunning the path taken by more cautious groups, and is choosing not to mothball more projects, despite the fact that global hopes for a quick resolution to the crisis have faded lately.

We also see some intriguing data around how many schemes have completely fallen through. Only one of the company’s projects had been cancelled in the month leading up to 13 May, and this number climbed to three in the summer, before dropping all the way down to zero in the month leading up to 2 October. Hyatt, it appears, definitely can’t be accused of binning some of the more challenging schemes on its books because of Covid19, unlike some other key players in the hospitality sector.

On the contrary, these are the sorts of figures we might expect a hotel company to have posted long before the pandemic took off – even back then, it was commonplace for the odd project to be abandoned in any given month, owing to unforeseen problems around planning, development, management and so on. Likewise, we frequently saw quite a few projects at the big groups put on hold before coronavirus, only to eventually be given the green light and taken through to completion, so the number of dormant projects posted by Hyatt is nothing out of the ordinary either.

Hyatt remains optimistic about the future

Clearly, the data shows that Hyatt is continuing to progress its hotel development pipeline, and has not been deterred by those commentators who feel that the sharp drop in global travel demand witnessed during 2020 may be a harbinger of worse to follow in 2021 and beyond. We’ve seen this optimistic approach manifested on TOPHOTELNEWS too, with the company having finished a host of eye-catching schemes recently, not least a dual-branded hotel in a landmark Beaux Arts building in Chicago, a sophisticated 200-room property in California and a first Hyatt-branded hotel in Bulgaria.

Also, it’s worth remembering that the business still has almost 300 active projects on the go – a reassuring fact for hospitality industry professionals to hold onto in these worrying times. While some hotel companies, fearing the worst, have adopted a much more cautious attitude towards development lately, Hyatt for one appears to be finding plenty of opportunities to keep expanding an empire that began rather inauspiciously with the acquisition of a single unassuming motel back in 1957.

Click here to read our exclusive Q4 2020 Covid development update series in full: Marriott International | Hilton Worldwide | Accor | IHG | Hyatt Hotels Corporation | Radisson Hotel Group | The Ascott | Wyndham Hotel Group | What the data tells us

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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As it continues to grow, Hyatt doesn't lose sight of what’s most important - people. Hyatt is a company that was built by family.

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