In April, Hyatt joined the ranks of hotel companies expanding into the extended-stay space with the launch of its newest select-service brand, Hyatt Studios. LODGING caught up with Jim Chu, chief growth officer at Hyatt, to learn how the brand came to be and the types of guests Hyatt is aiming to attract.
Chu said the company conceived Hyatt Studios after identifying a need among hotel developers and World of Hyatt loyalty members for a high-quality, upper-midscale product in the extended-stay category.
“Hyatt has long targeted the upper-midscale market but sought the right moment in which our scale and market opportunity perfectly complemented one another to launch into this segment,” Chu explained.
When that moment struck, Chu said Hyatt worked quickly to flesh out the concept under the leadership of industry veteran Dan Hansen and in partnership with developers. Throughout this process, they prioritized scalable construction costs and an efficient operating model, creating a brand that caters to the needs of both developers and the high-end guests in the upper-midscale segment that Hyatt is targeting.
“Hyatt Studios was conceived in direct collaboration with hotel developers and supported by listening closely to the needs of our guests,” Chu noted. “That is part of the reason we have signed letters of interest for more than 100 Hyatt Studios hotels from multiple developers, with construction expected to begin in 2023 and the first hotel expected to open in 2024.”
The brand will consist entirely of new builds, with no plans to support conversions. Its flexible design allows developers to adapt properties to fit local markets and stand out among a broad mix of competitors. For instance, Hyatt Studios can work in urban and suburban environments and across primary, secondary, and tertiary markets. Developers can also adjust offerings to accommodate extended-stay guests and shorter-stay leisure and business travelers, depending on the market’s needs.
To attract higher-end guests within the upper-midscale category, the brand will feature the amenities those guests rely on during their travels. “Hyatt Studios hotels will bring the high-quality experience and level of care promised by Hyatt to the upper-midscale category,” Chu said. “Guests won’t have to compromise on the quality of their experience to enjoy an extended stay, making it a natural choice for the higher-end guest within this category.”
The brand’s design will marry form with function, incorporating elements that are both practical and comfortable. Amenities will include a multi-function convection microwave in guest suite kitchens, complimentary grab-and-go breakfast in the lobby, and a 24-hour lobby market stocked with a variety of “health-conscious snacks and ready-made meals,” Chu added. “By listening to both guests and developers, we know that specific amenities—such as the 24-hour market and in-room kitchen amenities—are an important part of making guests feel comfortable during extended stays away from home and are also viable for a lean operating model.”
Hyatt Studios is expected to open the door to new markets and guest bases for Hyatt, accelerating the company’s growth and expanding its footprint in the Americas. “We see a unique opportunity in smaller, tertiary markets for Hyatt Studios where there may not be a Hyatt hotel currently,” Chu explained. “There is also a big opportunity for us to introduce World of Hyatt to new guests and care for our existing members in more markets and more stay occasions.”