Hyatt continues to improve its product and service offers this year, which I feel really got their start with the replacement of the White Ginger Portico bath amenities last fall. Although the actual benefits promised by Gold Passport to their elite members haven’t changed, there have been other efforts to create a more personalized level of service and, in general, make the Hyatt brand more rewarding in the eyes of customers.
I’m thinking of things like improved bonus categories and the opportunity to earn some extra elite stay credits with the Hyatt Visa Card. The option to choose points instead of the typical food and beverage amenity at international properties. And the new Hyatt Has It program that makes it easier for guests to replace forgotten toiletries or something bulky (like a curling iron) they just didn’t want to pack. (More on this program in a future post.)
Now Hyatt is making a special effort to improve the service it provides through its Hyatt House brand — a chain of extended stay hotels. I recently had the opportunity to compare a Hyatt Place (Hyatt’s budget brand) and a Hyatt House side-by-side while in Colorado Springs. While I’m a fan of Hyatt Place, I have to say that Hyatt House manages to stick to a similar price point while also showing significant improvements in amenities like separate bedrooms and living rooms, a small kitchen, and a better breakfast offering.
Because it’s an extended stay brand, Hyatt House wants to recognize those guests who stay there the most often with its new “Very Important Resident” (VIR) program. Guests who stay 30 or more nights will receive personalized benefits that help make their stay away from home easier. These might include complimentary snacks, laundry credits, the ability to pick your own room, and special welcome amenities.
One Mile at a Time managed to break the news on this program before me, but I think he missed an important — and potentially limiting — factor in the qualification criteria: These 30+ nights need to be as part of one consecutive stay, not total or cumulative nights over multiple stays. After all, it is an extended stay hotel.
Why offer the VIR program at all then? Well, it takes 50 nights to earn Diamond status with Hyatt’s Gold Passport program, and if you’re going to be at an extended stay hotel with a limited number of check-ins you probably aren’t going to qualify with 25 separate stays. Furthermore, Hyatt House remains a somewhat limited service brand. It is more difficult for them to properly recognize a Diamond member vs. a Platinum member or even a regular guest. This is one more way Hyatt goes out of its way to formally acknowledge its most valued customers.
- Personalized service — From learning guests’ personal preferences to building a relationship with them during their stay, each property is committed to making guests feel like they’re right at home.
- Pick-Your-Suite — Guests will have the opportunity to pick their own suite from available rooms in their room type at the time of their arrival.
- VIR Key Card — Each key card will reflect guests’ VIR status so that hotel staff can quickly recognize a VIR guest and provide them with above and beyond personalized service.
- VIR Tour — A personalized hotel tour from hotel management staff.
- “Favorites” Folio — A place to make note of guests’ likes, dislikes and special requests so HYATT house can personalize their stay in every way, every time.
- Grocery Shopping Service — By providing a grocery list to the House Host, the staff will stock guests’ refrigerators and kitchens with their favorite food items before their arrival or for when they come home.
- Grub Stub — Redeem for a $10 food and beverage credit from the H BAR or the Guest Market.
- Scrub Stub — This voucher can be redeemed for one washer and dryer cycle.
- VIP Welcome Amenity — Guests can select an amenity of their choice to be waiting for them when they arrive.
I will probably never stay at one hotel for 30 nights, but Hyatt House still has something for the rest of us. Through their Facebook page, all guests can send two free postcards using photos from their trip! That sounds like a great idea to occupy some kids on a family vacation.